At Legal Issues Journal (LIJ) we greatly appreciate the contribution of our peer-reviewers. It is only with the help of our reviewers that our editors can ensure that we publish high quality research.
Ethics: reviewing considerations
We operate a double blind reviewing process: the identities of authors and reviewers are not disclosed during the review process. Editors, authors, and reviewers are required to keep confidential all details of the editorial and peer review process on submitted manuscripts.
If a reviewer wishes to seek advice from colleagues while assessing a manuscript, the reviewer must consult with the editor prior to involving other reviewers.
Fairness and promotion of Quality research
LIJ encourages Reviewers to assess the articles thoroughly and to provide helpful comments to authors, to ensure that:
- no paper is unfairly rejected;
- only useful research is published; and
- authors obtain useful advice on how to improve their research.
Criteria for publication
LIJ has as a priority publishing research that is useful to those in the specific fields, to other disciplines and ultimately to society in general. Therefore, it is important that: publications add to the research available; and they are written in a way that is accessible across disciplines. To be published in the LIJ, articles should meet the following criteria:
- Contribute knowledge (e.g. research, idea) that is lacking in the specific field.
- Provide strong evidence for its conclusions.
- Novelty (conference abstracts, course or program assignments, summaries of the existing research (unless it is a comprehensive review, meta-analysis, or a novel evaluation) are not considered novel).
- In addition, articles that contribute to interdisciplinarity are preferred (e.g. be useful to other disciplines).
All papers should:
- be well-structured, with logical and clear flow and argumentation (minor problems may be remedied after acceptance).
- use minimal number of headings.
- provide appropriate citations, unless a statement is an opinion or recommendation, and is clearly expressed as being so.
- use clear, grammatically correct language.
- Use consistent referencing style, with references easily locatable with the information provided.
The process is designed to ensure fair selection of papers.
All papers are read by the journal editorial team before being sent for review, to ensure that only those papers that are more likely to meet our publishing criteria are sent for review. This is done to save reviewers’ time, and to enable a faster process for authors. The following process is then applied:
1. Complying/suitable papers are allocated to Associate Editors to arrange for anonymous reviews from two reviewers. The reviewers provide their reviews, also recommending one of the following next steps:
- – Accept; – Accept with Minor Revisions; – Accept with Major Revisions; Reject with Right to Resubmit; – Reject.
2. On receipt of reviews, papers are returned to Authors together with blinded reviews to make the required revisions and re-submit. In the rare event when a paper is accepted without revisions, the paper is published on FirstView and sent for production.
3. The resubmitted papers are then sent back to reviewers to re-evaluate.
4. The second round of Reviews are then returned to the Chief Editors together with the opinion of Associate Editors.
5. The Chief Editor discusses arising ethical issues (if any) with the Board; as well as whether any of the papers need to be returned to Reviewers for a third and final evaluation.
6. Accepted papers are published in First View, and sent for formatting.
7. After formatting, the whole Issue is published online.
Content of Review
Beyond providing the editors with the information needed to reach a fair decision, the main purposes of the review is to provide authors with information on reasons for the decision and with knowledge on how they can strengthen their paper and research.
In addition to your in-file comments, please provide your evaluations of the following:
- Does the paper contribute knowledge (e.g. research, idea) that is lacking in the specific field?
- Does the manuscript provide evidence for its conclusions? If not, how can this be improved?
- Is the research question/questions clearly stated?
- Is the question addressed novel, or does it take a new angle – useful to the professionals in the filed, including inspiring thinking?
- Are the arguments evidence based?
- Are there any major flaws, such as misrepresenting of the law and its application; misrepresentation of scientific findings, etc.?
- If empirical data, are the findings presented clearly and in a non-misleading way?
- Is the paper well-structured, with logical and clear flow and argumentation? If not, please provide your suggested structure.
- Is use of headings kept to a minimum – to enable accessibility of the paper?
- Are appropriate citations used and is the evidence reliable?
- Is the language clear and correct?
Recommended procedure for reviewing
Reviewers should aim to, where possible, prevent own views in the area affecting evaluation of the paper.
The first reading should aim to get an understanding of the research question addressed, method used, flow, structure, results and recommendations. Following the first reading the reviewer will get an idea on whether the papers satisfies the quality to be accepted.
It is important to read the whole paper. It often can be tempting to decide to reject half way though the paper, including due to lack of flow. It is important to resist this temptation, and to read through the whole paper, even if reviewer intends to reject, because: the authors might have addressed important questions further down in the paper, and reviewer will be able to help authors improve the research for future publications.
Following the first reading, a summary of the review should be written, addressing the points listed in the Content of Review section. Reviewers should point to any important work missed by authors.
We ask reviewers to consider all aspects of the paper:
- from title,
- to abstract,
- to structure,
- to language,
- to any points missed or not addressed,
- to unnecessary content,
- to conclusion.
Language: Quality of research and clarity is a priority, so if language is not correct, please include in the review, providing examples, but not correcting the article if there are many language shortcomings. We encourage reviewers to focus their input on ensuring quality and accessible research is published – rather than in editing.
Recommended concise guides
We also recommend a paper in Nature by Mathew Stiller-Reeve, How to write a thorough peer review, which can be accessed here: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06991-0
As well as: ’A Peer Review Process Guide’, which can be accessed here: https://www.scisnack.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/A-Peer-Review-Process-Guide.pdf