Submitting your work

Shilin publishes its academic journal twice a year, featuring exceptional China and Asia related theses by BA and MA students. Most of our authors study or studied at one of Leiden University’s Asian Studies programmes, but authors from other universities are most welcome to submit their work and will be evaluated equally.

Articles can either be submitted by ambitious students themselves, or by teachers who consider a work to be of such an academic quality that it qualifies to be published in Shilin. After submission, articles go through several rounds of peer review and selection. The procedure for peer review and selection is explained below.

All students are welcome to inquire about the possibilities for publishing their academic work. However, there are some pre-requisites. In order to guarantee the quality of the journal, in principle Shilin only accepts original and challenging papers that have been graded with an 8/10 or higher*. Teaching staff is encouraged to recommend students’ papers and theses for publication if these papers meet the requirements.

Submitting your article can be done by sending your original research paper or thesis by email to Please send your work in docx format, and please include the name and email address of your supervisor when sending your work to us, as well as the received grade. Submitting your article means formally accepting and complying with our editorial guidelines and the procedures explained below.

Selection procedure

Shilin receives more high-quality articles than it can publish. Even if your work is of outstanding quality, it may be rejected due to other works that better fit our current edition. Selection is based on:

  • Originality: Shilin looks for academic work that presents new angles, insights and therefore contributes to the existing body of literature. This is Shilin’s primary goal: giving outstanding students the opportunity to share their original research.
  • Recommendation: Shilin believes that teachers and thesis supervisors are in a good position to judge whether or not a work is suited for publication. If a paper is explicitly recommended by a teacher or supervisor, Shilin will definitely take this submission into serious consideration. However, a recommendation does not guarantee publication. Moreover, works without a recommendation may also still be published, if the editorial team chooses to.
  • Formal quality: Shilin does not only seek for originality. Academic work should also be well-structured and well-written. Papers that contain shortcomings in terms of structure, language, and/or style may also be rejected.

Peer review procedure

Shilin only publishes articles that have gone through several rounds of peer review and that are written to fit the format of our journal. Unfortunately, Shilin cannot publish full research papers or theses. Instead, Shilin is interested in publishing the highlights of the author’s research. The full guidelines can be found below, but an essential aspect is that the piece needs to be reduced to 3000-3500 words. In the process of rewriting, the author receives tailored advice from Shilin’s editorial board. Articles are fully anonymized before being reviewed by our editors, and peer review feedback is compiled and communicated by the editor-in-chief.

After an article is pre-selected for publication, the process of peer review is set in motion. In this process, authors receive extensive comments, advice, and critiques on their work. For some authors this can be experienced as challenging, but in the end it is Shilin’s aim is to stimulate authors to get the most out of their work and to ensure the academic standards of Shilin’s publications. The regular process, usually consisting of two rounds, is explained below.

First round: In the first round, the full thesis or paper is reviewed by two to four members of our editorial board. In the first round, the paper will be evaluated on its academic originality and significance. For editors, this round’s main focus lies on reducing the full research paper to a shorter, stand-alone article suitable for publication.

After the first round, the author will be notified about whether or not the article is accepted for publication. In case the article is accepted, the author will receive specific advice and demands on how to rewrite the piece, which parts to emphasize, and which parts to omit. Subsequently, the author rewrites the full research paper into a stand-alone article, which is sent back to the editorial board afterwards.

Second round: In the second round, the author’s rewritten article is examined independently, with the full research paper in mind. This time, more detailed attention is paid to academic quality in terms of argumentation, structure, and style. In addition, please note that it is important that the new article reflects the main argument from the original research paper. After the second round, the author receives detailed feedback on the article.

Usually, the whole process takes four to six months, but after two rounds of peer review the final article is ready to be published. The article will be formatted according to our lay-out standards. The final version will be sent to the author for final approval.

Book reviews

In addition to research articles, Shilin also features book reviews. Book reviews should be between 1.500 and 1.800 words in length and can be submitted via email. Also, it is possible to discuss multiple books covering a central theme, region or period, although for those reviews different criteria apply: they should discuss at least one book published no longer than three years ago.

Editorial guidelines
Please refer to our editorial guidelines for more information on how to edit your article for publication in Shilin. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact our editorial team.

* Grades are not everything, exceptions are made for research that we consider unique and extraordinary.