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Editorial Policies

Peer Review Process

All submissions are initially assessed by an Editor, who decides whether or not the article fits the scope of the journal and is suitable for peer review. Submissions considered suitable are assigned to an Associate Editor, who manages the review process. The Associate Editor then assigns the article to one or more independent experts, who assess the article for clarity, validity, and sound methodology.

The journal operates a double-blind peer review process, meaning that authors and reviewers remain anonymous for the review process. The review period is expected to take around three months Reviewers are asked to provide formative feedback, even if an article is not deemed suitable for publication in the journal.
Based on the reviewer reports, the Associate Editor provides a recommendation to the Editor, who then makes a final recommendation for rejection, minor or major revisions, or acceptance. Overall editorial responsibility rests with the journal’s Editors, who are supported by an expert, international Advisory Board.

Members of the editorial team/board are permitted to submit their own papers to the journal. In cases where an author is associated with the journal, they will be removed from all editorial tasks for that paper and another member of the team will be assigned responsibility for overseeing peer review. A competing interest must also be declared within the submission and any resulting publication.

The journal is happy to accept submissions of papers that have been loaded onto preprint servers or personal websites, have been presented at conferences, or other informal communication channels. These formats will not be deemed prior publication. Authors must retain copyright to such postings. Authors are encouraged to link any prior posting of their paper to the final published version within the journal, if it is editorially accepted.

Reviewer Guidelines

The journal operates a two-stage, double-blind peer review process. The author and reviewer should be anonymous at all stages of the review. After accepting the invitation to complete the review of this article, please refer to the information set out below to assist you in your feedback. The peer review form is available above (section 5). You can also upload additional files containing further comments relevant to the review on this page:

Peer review questions vary by article type, but the following items provide a general guide across articles:

  • General comments and summary of recommendation: Does the article fit within the scope of the journal? What is the overall assessment and recommendations?
  • Content: Key items to consider include the originality, relevance and rigour of the submission; the author’s depth of understanding of the issues being researched: the adequacy of the citations and degree to which the existing knowledge base has been explored and built upon; the methodologies used; and the extent to which the discussion and conclusions reflect the argument in the main body text and brings something new to the issue?
  • Structure and argument: Key items to consider include the effectiveness of the abstract in succinctly and accurately summarizing the article; the logical structure and coherent flow of the arguments across the full paper; the extent to which the arguments are fully evidenced and substantiated; and the extent to which the discussion and conclusions adequately situate and summarize the main arguments.
  • Figures/tables: Please comment on the author’s use of tables, charts, figures or maps – their relevance in terms of illustrating the arguments and supporting the evidential base, the quality of the formatting and presentation.
  • Formatting: Does the submitted file adhere to the general author guidelines listed for the journal? Are the citations and references formatted according to APA style?
  • Language: Is the text well written and jargon free? Please comment on the quality of English and need for grammatical improvement. Note that we do not expect reviewers to copyedit the manuscript, particularly since manuscripts often go through one or more revisions prior to publication. But please do comment on any notable patterns (e.g. consistent misuse of commas, common spelling errors, overall need for proofreading).
  • Provide comments and suggestions for improvement, if required, with additional references or possible clarification of arguments, etc. You can also add comments to the text of the article and upload your comments, if you see fit.

Preprint Policy

The journal allows authors to deposit draft versions of their paper into a suitable preprint server, on condition that the author agrees to the below:

  • The author retains copyright to the preprint and developed works from it, and is permitted to submit to the journal.
  • The author declares that a preprint is available within the cover letter presented during submission. This must include a link to the location of the preprint.
  • The author acknowledges that having a preprint publicly available means that the journal cannot guarantee the anonymity of the author during the review process, even if they anonymise the submitted files (see review policy).
  • Should the submission be published, the authors are expected to update the information associated with the preprint version to show that a final version has been published in the journal, including the DOI linking directly to the publication.

ORCID

The journal strongly recommends that all authors submitting a paper register an account with Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID). Registration provides a unique and persistent digital identifier for the account that enables accurate attribution and improves the discoverability of published papers, ensuring that the correct author receives the correct credit for their work. As the ORCID remains the same throughout the lifetime of the account, changes of name, affiliation, or research area do not effect the discoverability of an author's past work and aid correspondence with colleagues.

The journal encourages all corresponding authors to include an ORCID within their submitting author data whilst co-authors are recommended to include one. ORCID numbers should be added to the author data upon submission and will be published alongside the submitted paper, should it be accepted.

Reproducibility

Open Data

The journal strongly encourages authors to make all data associated with their submission openly available, according to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). This should be linked to from a Data Accessibility Statement within the submitted paper, which will be made public upon publication. If data is not being made available with the journal publication then ideally a statement from the author should be provided within the submission to explain why. Data obtained from other sources must be appropriately credited.

Structured Methods

As the traditional Materials and Methods section often includes insufficient detail for readers to wholly assess the research process, the journal encourages authors to publish detailed descriptions of their structured methods in open, online platforms such as protocols.io. By providing a step-by-step description of the methods used in the study, the chance of reproducibility and usability increases, whilst also allowing authors to build on their own works and gain additional credit and citations.

Open Code

If research includes the use of software code, statistical analysis or algorithms then we also recommend that authors upload the code into Code Ocean, where it will be hosted on an open, cloud-based computational reproducibility platform, providing researchers and developers with an easy way to share, validate and discover code published in academic journals.

For more information on how to incorporate open data, protocols.io or Code Ocean into a submission, please visit our reproducibility page.

Competing Interests, Funding and Ethics 

To ensure transparency, all authors, reviewers and editors are required to declare any interests that could compromise, conflict or influence the validity of the publication. Competing interests guidelines can be viewed here.

In addition, authors are required to specify funding sources and detail requirements for ethical research in the submitted manuscript (see Author Guidelines).

Corrections and Retractions

In accordance with guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (where applicable), the Press handles different kinds of error. All articles have their proofs checked prior to publication by the author/editor, which should ensure that content errors are not present. Please contact your editorial manager if an article needs correcting.

Post-publication changes are not permitted to the publication, unless in exceptional circumstances. If an error is discovered in a published article then the publisher will assess whether a Correction paper or Retraction is required. Please contact the editor for the full Correction/Retraction policy.

Misconduct and Complaints

Allegations of misconduct will be taken with utmost seriousness, regardless of whether those involved are internal or external to the journal, or whether the submission in question is pre- or post-publication. If an allegation of misconduct is made to the journal, it must be immediately passed on to the publisher, who will follow guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) on how to address the nature of the problem. Should the matter involve allegations against a member of the journal or publishing team, an independent and objective individual(s) may be sought to lead the investigation.

Should an author wish to lodge a complaint against an editorial decision or the editorial process in general they should first approach the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, explaining their complaint and ask for a reasoned response. Should this not be forthcoming or inadequate, they should raise the matter with the publisher, who will investigate the nature of the complaint and act as arbiter on whether the complaint should be upheld and investigated further. This will follow guidelines set out by COPE.

Section Policies

Empirical Research

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Literature Reviews

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Theory

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Response

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Guest Editorials

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

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