COHA Style Guide for Authors and Editors
COHA seeks to offer progressive expert analysis of current affairs across the hemisphere, providing policy recommendations and engaging in ongoing debates surrounding a wide range of issues such as democracy, poverty reduction, human rights, economic policy, environmental protection, social inequality, and more.
COHA stands in solidarity with grassroots efforts throughout the region to actualize the richest expression of democracy—one that is fully inclusionary, participatory, and transparent.
COHA supports the full expression of human identities in sexual orientation, expression, and gender. COHA is feminist and is fully committed to working to advance the recognition of the equal rights of all people.
Contributions should be original and offer information, perspective, or analyses that are not easily found in other media sources. Republication is permitted in special cases. The author must inform COHA if the content is already published, for consideration.
Editorial guidelines and instructions for submission
2. ACADEMIC TONE: COHA articles do not follow academic formal styles and format, but they do benefit from an academic tone, balance, vocabulary, treatment of sources and factual information.
3. EXPERTISE: Except in the case of Op-Eds, articles should avoid rhetorical expressions and propaganda-style language. Language must be authoritative in the area of expertise, precise, not ideological, direct, agile, informative. Even in the case of Op-Eds, rhetorical/propagandistic expressions should be limited and must be relevant to specific contexts of the narrative. COHA’s Editorial Board has ultimate decision regarding the use of rhetorical/propagandistic expressions.
4. EDITING PROCESS: The author has the right to object any corrections. The Editorial Board may review any objection one more time and make a final decision. Once the final version of a content piece is created, the author may accept it or reject it. If accepted, it will be scheduled for publication. If rejected, the Editorial Board will hear the objections and make a final decision. It is the author’s right to accept or reject this final version. The headlines (main title) of content pieces will be decided by the Editorial Board in coordination with the author. The Editorial Board has the final decision on publication.
5. CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE: By submitting the content piece for consideration, the author provides COHA with full rights of publication at no cost whatsoever, for online, print or any other format of publication. COHA is governed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-ND 4.0).
6. PROMPT INTERACTION: It is the responsibility of the author to fulfill, comply, address all comments made by COHA editors in a timely matter. Any delay may compromise final publication. Editors will communicate directly with the author all deadlines involved, that must be respected.
7. DATA MUST BE SOURCED: All inclusions of data (including macroeconomics of countries, polls, statistics, demographics), must be sustained by relevant sources, in footnotes. Ideally, sources should be primary (official governmental offices, recognized think tanks, relevant research institutes, universities), or formal international entities (CEPAL, UN, international think tanks, World Bank, IADB, etc), or media sources, that reflect closely those primary sources. Social media posts (Facebook, Twitter or others) can be sources of data only if they are the only source of such information (some organizations, for example, human rights ombudsman offices, may publish data about victims through social media while events are occurring). But if the data posted in social media outlets is linked to a website, the website URL must prevail in the footnote.
8. QUOTES MUST BE SOURCED: All quotes from authorities, testimonies of any person, witnesses, analysts, press releases, institutional statements, and so on, must be linked to an actual source. Media sources are acceptable from relevant outlets, or in the case of independent or community-based media, the author must make sure the information is accurate. Quoting social media posts (Facebook, Twitter or others) are accepted only if they are the only source of information. If the quote posted in social media outlets is linked to a website, the website must prevail. Quotes must be direct and reflect precisely what the source expressed. Quotations marks must be used for direct quotes.
9. AVOIDING FALSE NEWS: The use of information from online sources that do not identify themselves transparently and openly, is not allowed in COHA articles. Also, sources that clearly are manipulating information to create specific political outcomes must be avoided. “Exclusive” information from unique sources, both relevant media outlets and independent blogs, must be checked thoroughly before being quoted.
10. EDITING IN THE CLOUD: COHA uses Google Docs to organize its editorial process and share the content with the author. Here you can find information to share with authors not familiar with Google Docs.
11. HYPERLINKS AND FOOTNOTES: Sources may be hyperlinked directly in the text but footnotes should also be provided in case the article is republished by a venue that does not provide hyperlinks. The automatic footnote function of Word must be used to create them. Google Docs also includes a tool to add footnotes: Menu > Insert > Footnote
12. FORMAT FOR ONLINE SOURCES: COHA utilizes a simple way of quoting online sources: “Title of the report, article, news piece, essay, press release, statement, etc, between quotation marks”, COMMA + LINK (include complete URL, already clickable). Sample in both languages
(2) “White House Officials Worried Freezing Ukraine Aid Could Break The Law,” https://www.npr.org/2019/11/26/783130582/white-house-officials-worried-freezing-ukraine-aid-could-break-the-law
(4) “Presidente Evo Morales: La lucha no termina acá”, https://www.telesurtv.net/news/bolivia-evo-morales-condena-violencia-golpe-estado-20191126-0034.html
13. PRINT SOURCES: All quotes from any material that is not available online (academic journals, printed books, or similar paper format) must follow the Chicago Style. Example: John K. Smith, Tim Sampson, and Alex J. Hubbard, A new era of democracy (New York: Scholastic, 2010), 65. [Authors, title of the book in italics, city of publication, publishing company, year of publication, page of the quote]
14. SUBTITLES: Articles must have subtitles every few paragraphs identifying the subject common to those blocks of text.
15. AUTHORIZED PHOTOS: The author must provide at least one photo or graphic element to accompany the content piece. The graphic must be of high resolution, at least 800 px wide. Ideal size is 1,200 px wide. Ideal format is portrait (horizontal picture). The author must make sure he/she has the right and permissions to use such photo. In certain cases, screenshots of Social Media posts may be acceptable, if any image included is not subjected to copyrights. Google offers tools to find images for non-commercial use, as seen in this screenshot:
16. AUTHOR’S NAME: Authors must identify themselves at the beginning and at the end of their articles. At the beginning, authors will include full name and city of residence, bold and italics. Samples:
By John Smith
Por Juan Ramírez
At the end of the article, the author’s name will be displayed again, with brief bio information in bold and italics. Links to organizations, blogs, websites are allowed only for non-commercial entities.
John Smith is an academic at Orlando University, and co-author of the book “A New Country”. He is also an analyst for The Truth Project.
17. Other details
- 20 percent, not 20%
- Write out numbers one through nine; numerals for 10 and above
- Numerals for all numbers when paired with “million” or “percent” (2 million, 2 percent)
- $20 million USD
- We do use an Oxford comma (Huey, Dewey, and Louie)
- There should be a single space between sentences, not two spaces.
- May 31, not May 31st.
- Acronyms should not be established if an organization is referred to only once in the article. If, however, the organization is used multiple times, put the abbreviation in parentheses—United Nations (UN)—and use the acronym for the rest of the article.
- Commas come after countries: Geneva, Switzerland, is a lawless wasteland.
- Quotation marks go after periods and commas. Endnotes go after quotation marks: “Quotation.”
- Italicize: Newspapers, Publications, Words in a foreign language, Book titles.
- Caps for titles and subtitles: Capitalize all words of a title, but articles, prepositions, and conjunctions of four letters of fewer should not be capitalized.
- The use of “United States”. COHA follows AP Style: we use periods in the abbreviation for United States within the text (U.S.). In headlines, the abbreviation has no periods (US).