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Editorial style and referencing research

Guidelines for editorial style

The style of presenting information affects how comprehensible and usable it is. Open Development Initiative recommends adherence to the following two well-established systems for editorial style and referencing:

For general editorial style guidelines, punctuation, spelling and definitions:

AP Style

Specific departures from AP, developed for ODI, have been documented in an in-house style guide (v0.9) that builds on AP and includes a detailed list of Cambodian place names in English.

For referencing research:

Chicago Style

ODI has been transitioning to a modified and simplified referencing style based on Chicago Style. Given that all ODI references can be sourced online, the preference is to include the document title as a hyperlink to the URL of the document on CKAN or other source location. In addition, the date of access is necessary.

These are the preferred styles for the types of documents most frequently referenced:

Webpages, reports, news articles, briefings, datasets

Open Development Mekong. 2019. SDG 3 Good health and well-being. Accessed January 10, 2020.

Chapters from books

Jorg Menzel. 2016. "Cambodia from Civil War to a Constitution to Constitutionalism?" in Cambodian Constitutional Law, edited by Hor Peng, Kong Phallack and Jorg Menzel, pp 5-40. Cambodia: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Accessed January 10, 2020.

Articles from journals

Elizabeth Rataj, Katharina Kunzweiler and Susan Garthus-Niegel. 2016. "Extreme weather events in developing countries and related injuries and mental health disorders - a systematic review" in BMC Public Health 16:1020. DOI 10.1186/s12889-016-3692-7. Accessed January 10, 2020.

Although your organization may choose to establish its own specific guidelines for editorial style, we require that these be based on AP or Chicago Style, be well documented, and in general the following principles should apply:

  • Consistency: whatever decisions are made about spelling, punctuation, or other matters of style, they should be settled and followed consistently. The decision can be based on most common usage instead of what is strictly “correct.” For example, official spellings of a place's name may differ from how it is spelled by newspapers or by local residents. Choose the spelling that is most likely to be recognizable to your expected users. If there are many variations in such spellings, it may be worthwhile to maintain a list of names and alternate versions. Style for abbreviations should also be consistent (“St.” or “St” without a period for “Street”; EWMI or E.W.M.I.).
  • Conformity: consider adopting well-known editorial styles such as the Associated Press or Chicago Manual of Style as a foundation or default, since they have been professionally developed and cover a wide range of issues. The basic rules that these guides provide a good reference point and can help avoid having to make new style decisions every time.
  • Clarity and simplicity: ease of comprehension and usage should take precedence if there is doubt about what style option is best. Clarity means using language that is concise and not overly technical or specialist, so that readers can understand the basic ideas and then look for more detail if they need it. Provide a logical explanation for any debatable choices made, in terms that users/readers will be familiar with. Consider the literacy level of your audience.

Guidelines for editorial news gathering and publishing

The OD country instance is pre-installed with the tools necessary to gather, edit, geo-tag and publish news summaries according to established editorial standards and best practices.

Please see News collection and curation.

public/editorial_style.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/04 06:26 by mchung