Guidelines for Blog Contributors

Do you work in higher education, or attend university?

If you’d like to share your thoughts, developments, collegiate experiences with a blog post in the U-Multirank community, than our communications team would be happy to hear from you.

1 – Organisational

1.1 What can U-Multirank use in addition to your text?

  • if possible: released images for illustration (with image source/ link)
  • Photo and short description (2-3 sentences) about the author
    In case you have provided us with a photo and description in the past, please verify and confirm that it is still up to date (e.g. institution of employment, job title, etc.)

1.2 When will the blogpost be published?

As a general rule of thumb, the blogpost’s publication date is discussed in the initial stages of production planning. In general, we can be flexible and accommodating to the author, however some blogposts may require more stringent deadlines, e.g. blogposts associated to events, or annual publications.

Please send us your blog post at least THREE (3) working days before the planned publication, so that sufficient time remains for editorial processing (e.g. illustration, search engine optimisation, etcetera).

1.3 How are works published (Licensing)?

The publications in our blog appear under the license CC BY-SA 4.0 (attribution, forwarding under the same conditions). If you do not agree, we ask you to inform us.

2 – Content

The text should be written from the individual perspective of one or more persons involved with the content and not from the perspective of the respective institution. It's more exciting for our community to hear about a peer's experiences than to read a text that sounds like a press release.

If there are relevant links to the provided content (e.g. project websites), we recommend linking them directly in the text under the respective keywords for additional reading.

3 – Stylistic format

3.1 Gender-neutral language

Since this is a personal report, we leave the handling of gender-neutral language to our authors. We recommend using gender-neutral language and choosing a consistent form for the entire text.

What do we mean? English is a natural gender language, where personal nouns are mostly gender-neutral and there are personal pronouns specific for each gender. The general trend here is to reduce the use of gender-specific terms as much as possible. In English, the linguistic strategy most usually used is neutralisation. In order to avoid gender references, one can use gender-neutral  terms, i.e. words that are not gender-specific and refer to people in general, with no reference to women or men (‘chairman’ is replaced by ‘Chair’ or ‘chairperson’, ‘policeman’ or ‘policewoman’ by ‘police  officer’,  ‘spokesman’  by‘ spokesperson’, ‘stewardess’ by ‘flight attendant’, ‘headmaster’ or ‘headmistress’ by ‘director’ or ‘principal’, etc.). This gender-neutral trend has led to the disappearance of the older female forms, with the previous male form becoming unisex (e.g. 'actor' instead of 'actress'). Gender-inclusive language is also used, replacing, for example, ‘he’ as a generic reference by the terms ‘he or she’.

3.2 What’s considered an easy-to-read text?

To evaluate the readability of texts, we use the Flesch Reading Ease score. Flesch reading ease was developed to measure the complexity of an English text, using a numerical score ranging from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the easier it is to read your document. Usually, a reading ease score of 60-70 is considered acceptable/normal for web copy. With a score of 60, your document will be easy to read for most people with at least an eighth-grade education (the average readability level of the general public). Therefore, short sentences and words (short words = few syllables) are easier to understand than long.

The value achieved here, in addition to the user experience, also influences search engine rankings. We ask all authors to make their text as legible as possible, keeping in mind our target demographics are students, parents, academia and international mobile students for whom English may be a second or third language.

3.3. More tips for good (blog) copy


What do we mean?


Avoid hidden verbs

A hidden verb (or nominalisation) is a verb converted into a noun. It often needs an extra verb to make sense.

Wrong: 'Please make an application for a personal loan.'


Better: 'Please apply for a personal loan.'

Avoid noun strings

Readability suffers when three words that are ordinarily separate nouns follow in succession. Bring these constructions under control by eliminating descriptive words that aren’t essential. If you can’t do that, open up the construction by using more prepositions and articles to clarify the relationships among the words.

Wrong: Underground mine worker safety protection procedures development.


Better: Developing procedures to protect the safety of workers in underground mines.

Avoid jargon

Jargon is unnecessarily complicated language used to impress, rather than to inform, your audience. When we say not to use jargon, we’re not advocating leaving out necessary technical terms, but we are saying to make sure your language is as clear as possible.

Wrong:  ‘Apply sufficient torque to the brinulator valve control ring to ensure that the control ring assembly is securely attached to the terminal such that loosening cannot occur under normal conditions.’


Better: ‘Tighten the brinulator valve control ring securely.’


*The first is jargon. The second is a necessary use of a technical term.

Write short sentences

Express only one idea in each sentence. Long, complicated sentences often mean that you aren’t sure about what you want to say. Shorter sentences are also better for conveying complex information; they break the information up into smaller, easier-to-process units.

Wrong: Once the candidate’s goals are established, one or more potential employers are identified. A preliminary proposal for presentation to the employer is developed. The proposal is presented to an employer who agrees to negotiate an individualized job that meets the employment needs of the applicant and real business needs of the employer.


Better: Once we establish your goals, we identify one or more potential employers. We prepare a preliminary proposal to present to an employer who agrees to negotiate a job that meets both his and your employment needs.

Remove excess modifiers

We often use modifiers like absolutely, actually, completely, really, quite, totally, and very. But if you look closely, you’ll find that they’re probably not necessary and may even be nonsensical.

Wrong: The results were really very positive.


Better: The results were positive.

Highlight important concepts

Adding lists and useful headings is a great way to emphasise important information in your writing.


You can also add bold and italics to emphasize important concepts within a particular section. While it is difficult to use visual emphasis in regulations, it helps bring out important information in other writing. Only emphasize important information, otherwise you’ll dilute its impact.

*When reading online, people expect underlined text to be a link. It’s better to use bold and italics for important issues.


For a possible reuse please name the given author’s name and as a source, U-Multirank.

Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0)




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