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The Refereeing Process for Articles in the Journals

What does the refereeing process entail?

The Electronic Law Journals Project was established to provide a medium for high quality academic work in electronic medium in the form of refereed articles from an international set of authors. We believe we have achieved this through our rigorous refereeing procedure, as detailed below.

1. Papers are submitted to the appropriate journal.

2. Production editors acknowledge receipt of papers and check with the authors that the articles have not been previously published elsewhere or are currently being considered by other journals[1].

3. Papers are passed to the editorial board for evaluation. The editors decide if the paper could be considered as a refereed paper, or  published as a commentary, or  rejected[2]. 

4. If a paper is to be refereed, it is then passed anonymously onto two or more independent referees who may be academics or the author's peers in the relevant field.  The referees assess the papers on the following basis:

  • Does the paper contain original thought?
  • Does the paper advance the legal thought of the relevant discipline?
  • Is it well written?
  • Are the arguments supported by sound references?
  • Does it have academic worthiness?
  • Does it provide a suitable academic level of evaluation and analysis of the topic?

5. The referees make an assessment of the paper and will recommend one of the following actions:

  • The paper is suitbable for publication as is (with any minor typographical changes to be made by editors) in the next available edition of the appropriate journal.
  • The paper should be suitable for publication in the next available edition of the appropriate journal, subject to the author making some minor changes. The referees do not need to see the amended version.
  • The paper needs some more major revisions in specific areas and the author should therefore resubmit their article. The article goes through the refereeing process a second time (and again as required).
  • The paper needs to be significantly expanded or reduced in size and should therefore be substantially rewritten and resubmitted.
  • The paper should be rejected as the subject matter is out of the journal's area of interest.
  • The paper should be rejected on the basis of inadequate quality.

6. The referees' comments are compared and evaluated by the editors and a final decision is made regarding the publication of the paper.  

7. The production editors contact the authors with the decisions and referees' comments.

8. Revisions are made to the paper by the author as per the referees' comments.

9. The paper is then forwarded back to the referees if required or accepted by the editorial team.

10. The appropriate papers are published.

Footnotes

1. In a bid to keep the academic quality of the journals high, ELJ has adopted a policy of publishing original electronic material (content not already, or likely to be, published elsewhere) wherever possible. Refereed articles undergo our particular quality assessment procedure, and we do not wish to impose on referees' time (and also readers' time) unecessarily with the re-publication of articles already available. This also helps to reduce any potential copyright problems with other publishers.

We realise however, that it is not always feasible to rigidly uphold this policy and there will be times when dual publication (with the appropriate acknowledgements) is the best course of action. Each article will be decided on its own merit.  

2. A refereed article is one that has successfully gone through the refereeing process and met the criteria as outlined here in Section 4.

A commentary may be more of a descriptive piece than an analytical or evaluative article and may not have necessarily gone through the refereeing process, but it is expected the same written standards will apply.