Contributor FAQs

How long will it take to get published and what’s the editing process?

Generally, we will publish your submission within about four to six weeks from receipt, however, that may vary based on where we put it in our publishing schedule. 

The basic process is that you begin by submitting an abstract in the MAPS Editorial Management System (or MEMS) by clicking on ‘Add Article’ in your queue. At this stage, we need a working title, an abstract, and the type of content you are proposing. You may also select proposed article categories if you’d like, but it is not required.

We will review your abstract and, if we believe it is a good fit for our audience/community, we will approve it and we will put it in our queue to be “slotted” for publication. Once we have slotted your content, we would like to receive it no later than 14 days before the publication week. Upon receipt, we will review and edit the content and return it to you for review. Our objective of this review is primarily to ensure that we have not changed your intended meaning or distorted your “author’s voice” during the editing process. 

Once you have submitted your revision, we will do final editing (including for the purposes of search engine optimization) and prepare it for publication. Please note that we approach our editing process more like a magazine than an open platform, meaning that we are doing fact-checking, focusing on flow and continuity, and ensuring that it is aligned to our brand voice, etc. If you have not had content edited in this fashion before, it may feel as if it is a “heavy edit,” but we hope you find value in the process. This article may provide a little more insight into the type of editing process we use.

What is an abstract and why do I need to create one?

For us, an abstract is simply a short summary or description of the content you’d like to propose. We are primarily interested in ensuring that your content will be something that will be of interest to our community and that it is not overly similar to content we have already published or that is in our publishing pipeline. Please give us a working headline that gives us a sense of the piece’s tone and angle and a brief description that helps us understand what will make your piece unique, what it will delve into, and what questions it might answer.

What kind of content can I create?

We accept written, audio, and video content.

How long should my content be?

As you might imagine, we value quality over quantity, (time IS the most precious asset). Generally speaking, our “MAPS Articles” are between 800 and 2,000 words. We will also publish long-form content in the 2,000 — 4,000 word range, however, these pieces should be heavily researched and considered authoritative. If you’d like to write one of these pieces (we call them Deep Dives), make sure you select the appropriate Article Type in your submission and provide a little more explanation in your abstract. Audio and video content duration can vary widely depending on the subject and audience. Please include your expected duration in your abstract.

Does my content need to be original?

Generally, yes. While we will occasionally make exceptions to this, we generally will only publish articles and other content that have not been published elsewhere.

Can I write a personal essay or “I Tried It” piece?

Although we do NOT accept personal essays, as we aim to remain science and research based, we do publish “I tried it” pieces.

Can I do funny?

YES. For goodness sake, absolutely. Please, give us all the controversial, funny, edgy, myth-busting angles you can think of! We just ask that you still root your piece in research or science. Funny is good, but we do not publish satire, opinion or purely “inspirational” pieces.

Do I need to include links? Can I include links?

It is very important that all content we publish rely on research or other referenceable and authoritative resources. As such, we ask that you lease include at least 3 external links from reputable sources that either served as reference for you in writing the piece or which support your ideas, and at least one internal link (a link to another MAPS Institute article). You are also free to include links to your own website, to your books, or other promotional-type links provided that they are contextual to the piece you’ve produced and do not come off as click-bait. Please use hyperlinks rather than footnotes or similar notations. This is not a research journal, so we don’t need it to be peer reviewed or in MLA format.

What about images?

You do not need to provide images. We will select them during the publishing process. If, however, you feel that a specific image would be useful or appropriate, you may submit it to us provided that it is royalty-free. The easiest way to ensure this is to submit pictures you’ve taken personally, graphics you’ve created personally, or to select one via Pixabay, Unsplash, or another royalty-free image sight. If you are not submitting an image you took personally, we prefer that you send a link rather than the photo. Please note that it must be high-resolution (at least 1200px wide) and we reserve the right to not use the image you selected or provided if we do not feel it meets the site’s aesthetic.

Can I create a workshop, class or online program?

Yes! We love to collaborate with our contributors to create live events and workshops, online programs, and other educational opportunities for our community. That said, you should not enter that as an abstract in MEMS. Instead, please email Laura ( and let her know you’d like to explore collaboration opportunities.