Submissions Policy

Want to write for us?

We want to hear from you.

We welcome stories from students and academics that speak to issues at the intersection of being disabled and chronically ill in academia.

Who should submit?

Our main goal is to provide a space for the much under-discussed slice of experience that is being a disabled or chronically ill PhD researcher in academia.

Too often universities and disability support services are geared toward supporting undergraduates, with PhD students being lumped into the “postgraduate student” category despite differences in academic methodology between taught- and research-based postgraduate study.

That said, we’re keen to publish pieces representing the full pipeline of academic experience. Many of us have been disabled or chronically ill undergraduates trying to work out if a career in academia is even feasible for us given our conditions. Many of us have been taught postgraduates doing the same. Many of us aspire to be disabled or chronically ill academics.

Therefore stories from across the gamut of experience are welcome, including but not limited to:

  • Academics who have completed PhDs with disability or chronic illness, including post-doctoral researchers, early career researchers, tenure- and non-tenure track academics, part- and full-time employed academics and professors.
  • Ex-PhD students especially those who had to interrupt or withdraw from the PhD for reasons relating to disability or chronic illness.
  • Taught postgraduate students with disability or chronic illness especially those who would like to pursue careers in academia.
  • Undergraduate students with disability or chronic illness.

What do we publish?

The short answer is: whatever you need us to so that we can continue to stimulate conversations and connection around disability and chronic illness in academia.

We’ve published stories that speak in the general about what it’s like being a disabled or chronically ill PhD researcher and stories that talk about specific, personal experiences with particular conditions or combinations thereof. The authors of these stories talk about the process of writing – sometimes finally, after long periods of silence – as being akin to a catharsis, the getting out of something that was previously kept bottled. Some stories are happy, some are sad, and some are shocking.

We’ve published essay-based pieces that locate and examine particular presumptions, stereotypes, tropes or principles that seem to consistently inform the experience of disabled and chronically ill students in academia (see here and here).

We’ve published how-to guides that offer help, resources and insight on strategies employed by others to support themselves through the PhD.

We’ve published campaigning pieces that seek to draw attention to pressing issues confronting disabled & chronically ill students that in many cases threaten to undermine the already too-often precarious provision of support and guidance that exists in Academia.

More of all of these are welcome, including pieces that fall into more than one of these broad categories as many of the above do. Make us think, make us feel, and help us make everyone more aware of the issues we face.

Submission guidelines

  • Word length. Ideally pieces are between 500-1500 words, though we’re happy to go up to 2000 words depending on the depth and scope of the piece.
  • How to submit. Email your article to submissions@phdisabled.org as a Microsoft Word-compatible file or PDF document.
  • If your piece is accepted, we’ll ask you for (a) a 50-200 word byline telling us a little bit about you, including links to your twitter or blog if wanted, (b) suggested keywords for your article and (c) a CC-licensable image at least 750px wide by 500px tall.
  • Anonymity: We’re happy to publish articles anonymously, but please indicate in which country/continent you’re doing your PhD, which year you’re in, and if possible, which subject or broad disciplinary area.

Our editorial process

All articles are edited by a member of our editorial team and then passed up to our Editor-in-Chief (@zaranosaur) for approval. We’ll make suggested edits, and then send a copy back to you for approval. Only once you’re happy with the edits will we publish your work on the blog. All work is attributed to the author in accordance with their wishes, and all our content is licensed for non-commercial use through Creative Commons.

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