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Pitch your idea

Thank you for considering Research Matters for publishing your content! Since you are here, we hope that you have familiarised yourself with the content we offer on our website. If you haven’t yet, we strongly encourage you to go through the website to understand our offerings better. Below is a comprehensive summary of the same.

Deep Dives are stories that highlight the findings of a published research paper, and provide the context behind any research, delving into its implications and applications. By design, we cover stories on research carried out in India or research that is connected to India. Typically, they are around 700 words.

We accept pitches for long-form journalistic pieces on topics relevant to the Indian audience. These are not based on a single study, but encapsulate a broader topic or try to provide insights into a broader question. They are typically 1000–1500 words.

We also cover Deep Dive stories in regional languages, currently অসমীয়া, हिंदी, ಕನ್ನಡ, मराठी, and தமிழ், where they are either translated from our English stories with a local flavour or written primarily in these languages. (We are spreading our wings into languages that we do not yet offer. Feel free to let us know if you wish to write in a language not listed in this document.)

Our opinion section brings to fore the different voices on the goings-on of Indian science related to academia, policymaking, and research practice. We also produce podcasts on science content. We are inviting pitches for a series of 20-minute podcasts that tell exciting and thoughtful stories from the world of science.

We encourage you to pitch us your idea that may suit any of the above categories. We strongly urge you to take a look at the pitch database on The Open Notebook to get a feel for what successful pitches look like. We have a diverse bunch of readers who look for interesting stories in science. While it’s fine to get into the details of science involved, your submission should cater to a general audience and be free of jargon. We strongly recommend that you consult sources who represent the diversity in gender, caste, class, age, geography, and socioeconomic background.

Please submit your pitches through this form. The form will ask for the following details about your pitch.

For Deep Dives:

  • The research paper that would be the focus of the story. Please ensure that the study is recent. Please indicate if the pitch is time-sensitive.
  • If the paper is published online, please provide a link to it. If the paper is embargoed, please include the PDF along with the pitch, and tell us how you got access to it. Please also let us know the journal it is published in. Please do not pitch articles from predatory journals.
  • Why is it important to communicate this research to the Indian audience?
  • Have other media outlets covered this paper/research already? If yes, please include a link to the same. What fresh perspective will you bring to your story?
  • Why should you be the one to tell the story? Please mention a line about your interests, writing experience or academic background that may be related to covering this story. If available, please provide two samples of your writing (published articles, blog posts, or any sample that demonstrates your writing in science).
  • How are you going to tell the story? Have you contacted the authors of the paper? Have they agreed to give you an interview?
  • Indicate a tentative date by when you could provide us with your draft. If it’s an embargoed paper, we would like to publish it as soon as the embargo is lifted. Please provide us with the details of the embargo.

In short, tell us: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

For journalistic pieces or opinion pieces:

  • A prospective title.
  • We strongly encourage you to include a structure –– this would consist of a lede and the nut graf, provisional sub-heads under which your story can be arranged, and the conclusion.
  • Why should our readers care about the story?
  • Who are the different stakeholders you will talk to for this story?
  • A tentative list of published papers, reports, news articles or other sources you will consult for this story.
  • What are the next steps? Are you already working on the piece? Is the draft ready?

For translated content in regional languages:

Please submit a version of an English story published on our website in the past three months, translated in the language of your choice. Please make sure there is no previous version of the translation in the language and that the article is not listed in this sheet.

Our objective behind translating our articles into regional languages is to make them accessible to those readers who may not be native English speakers. Translation of articles, we believe, plays a huge role in bridging the gap in a multilingual country like India. Please follow the below guidelines when translating articles.

  • Translations should not be ‘word-to-word’. Please include the local context for readers in the specific language (adages/news/examples/others). This will make your article interesting for the target audience who can relate to it better.
  • Do not stray away from the essence of the article. While a few changes in some sentences are fine, the article should not convey a completely different meaning or represent a different scientific finding from the original English version.
  • Since all languages have several dialects, we stick to the officially accepted dialect for each language.
  • For translating existing scientific words, please refer to what is locally preferred or used. School textbooks in these languages could be a good reference.
  • For scientific terminology that does not have existing translations in textbooks, especially for those where literal translations run the risk of being vague, please use transliterated versions of the English word, and include the English word in parenthesis in the first instance.

For Deep Dives or journalistic pieces in regional languages (original, not translated):

  • Please refer to the pitching guidelines for Deep Dives and journalistic pieces, as mentioned above. Kindly send us your pitch in English.

For pitches on a podcast series, please provide the following details:

  • Podcast format: Are these going to be monologues, conversational dialogues, interviews, narratives or panel discussions? Please add if you have in mind any format not mentioned here.
  • A working title for the series
  • Describe the theme and narrative of the podcast in less than 200 words.
  • An outline of the concepts you would like to cover over different episodes
  • Number of episodes
  • Length of each episode
  • Production timeline including tentative release dates for each episode
  • Guests or hosts who would be featured on the podcast
  • How are you going to engage with the listeners?
  • Will it be scripted or unscripted?
  • Why should this be a podcast and not an article?
  • Language. While we have produced shows in English so far, we would also like to hear pitches for podcasts in other languages.
  • Although this is not a prerequisite, please mention if you will provide voiceovers, audio editing or music for the podcast.
  • If you have produced other podcasts before, provide links to the sample scripts or podcasts. Please mention your role in its production.

Don’t have an entire series planned out, but an interesting story to tell? Write to us anyway, and we will let you know if it’s a good fit for us. For pitches on individual episodes, please send us these details in addition to the above list:

  • An outline of the topic.
  • Could the topic potentially be a part of a series? Give us examples of similar series if available.

Importantly, don’t worry if your pitch is nothing like our older podcasts. We are open to exploring new formats of storytelling.

When you correspond with us, please use gender-neutral salutations (if you have to): Mx works fine for all of us. Email responses which assume that all of us are men will be summarily ignored.

For stories that are time-sensitive (Deep Dives and journalistic pitches), we will revert in two days. For others, please expect to hear from us within a week. In the meantime, we suggest you not to pitch to other media houses until we get back within the stipulated time. We consider a breach in this practice as a lapse in professionalism, and it may result in us blacklisting writers. We also have strong views on plagiarism and any writer found to be indulged in plagiarism and other unethical processes (bullying people who are quoted and delving information that was shared with a confidentiality clause) will be blacklisted from writing for Research Matters.

We pay a flat fee of INR 2,500 for long-form journalistic pieces, INR 2,500 for opinion pieces, INR 2,000 for Deep Dive pieces (in English and regional languages), and INR 1,500 for translations of stories already published on Research Matters. The payment for podcasts will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the editor based on the amount of work required to produce it.

If you have any more questions or need further clarifications, please do write to us on researchmatters[at]gubbilabs[dot]in.