Code of Ethics
Central European Journal of Comparative Law – hereinafter referred to as the Journal – fully adheres to the core practises of COPE and makes an unquestionable effort to live up to the standard adopted by COPE. The Journal functions on the principles of morality and cooperation, serving the development of academic research on law.
The Journal follows a double-blind review process. Each contributing party to the publishing process – author(s), translator(s), editor(s), peer reviewers, and the publisher – shall accept the standards relevant to the expected moral behaviour.
The Journal’s organisational structure
The Journal has an Editor-in-chief, who is supported by an editorial team. This team currently consists of five editors. The editors’ tasks regarding the peer review process are detailed below. Besides the editorial team, there is an eight-member editorial board. These members are requested by the Editor-in-chief for a period of three years. The supportive functions of the editorial board include:
- recommending our Journal to authors for publication,
- recommending different authors to the Journal’s editors to request them to be published in the Journal,
- promoting our Journal in academic events,
- reading the manuscripts submitted or the articles published and making relevant suggestions.
The peer-review process
The Journal strictly adheres to the rules of the double-blind review process determined in the Code of Ethics. With anonymity as the most important principle, this process consists of three stages:
- General editorial review.
- Double-blind peer-review with the help of experts.
- Final decision on publishing by the Editor-in-chief.
During general editorial review, one of the editors examines the submitted manuscript based on general requirements, namely academic suitability, morality, and uniqueness.
If the editor so decides, the manuscript is sent to the peer reviewers. Neither the peer reviewers nor the authors shall be acquainted with each other to ensure personal and institutional independence. The editor further sends the generally reviewed manuscript to two academically qualified experts from the relevant branch/field of law, who then provide their professional opinions about the manuscript. The editor mediates all interactions between the author(s) and peer reviewers.
During the process of reviewing, the editor communicates with the author(s) via e-mail. The author is informed about the result of the process of peer-reviewing by the editor who conducted the general editorial review. Correspondence related to peer-review and peer reviewers’ reviews are archived by the Editor-in-chief. Peer reviews are not published.
The editor shall answer the following questions about the general editorial review:
- Does the manuscript ensure anonymity? Yes/No
- Does the study meet the detailed formal requirements of the Journal? Yes/No
- Did the author attach the declaration that he/she has not recommended his/her study for publication in other journals and that his/her study has not been published yet? Yes/No
- Did the PhD student attach the reference to his/her scientific supervisor? Yes/No
- Does the manuscript comply with the above-mentioned general requirements of academic suitability, morality, and uniqueness? Yes/No
The peer reviewers (experts) shall answer the following questions within the framework of the double-blind review process:
- Is the study of high quality? Yes/No
- Are the relevant national and international sources of law and case law adequately processed in relation to the subject of the study? Yes/No (peer reviewers may suggest further sources of law and case law to the author)
- Is the relevant national and international scientific literature adequately processed in relation to the subject of the study? Yes/No (peer reviewers may suggest further scientific literature to the author)
- Does the study evaluate the analysed sources of law and case law, and does it contain de lege ferenda proposals? (Does the study contain their own scientific results?) Yes/No
- Is the study’s reference system relevant and correct? Yes/No
- Does the peer reviewer recommend the study for publication in the Journal? Yes/No/With changes (for example, with the above-mentioned additions related to sources of law, case law or scientific literature)
Note: The editorial board specifies its inability to pay remunerations for peer review, but it does issue a certificate of participation in the peer-review on request.
The author or editor might seek the help of a linguistic proofreader if the author’s native language is not English. A linguistic proofreader shall answer the following question:
- Is the study correct concerning the translation? Yes/No
Where necessary, the linguistic proofreader may correct only some and not large parts of the manuscript. If the linguistic proofreader does not pass the manuscript for publication even in the third attempt, it results in its final rejection.
After receiving the professional opinions of peer reviewers, the editor makes the decision regarding the publishing of the manuscript. The editor exercises discretionary competence regarding this only in the case of one supporting and one rejecting opinion. Two supporting opinions results in the manuscript being published. However, the editor shall decide in which issue of the Journal the manuscript will be published. Two rejecting opinions implies rejection. In case one or both the opinions recommend(s) the manuscript for publication with changes, the editor sets a fair time limit for making the necessary changes. If the author addresses these required changes, the modified manuscript is sent to the same peer reviewers again for their professional opinions.
The Editor-in-chief holds the right to veto the editor’s decision.
The Journal exclusively publishes manuscripts that
- are written in English,
- have not been submitted to other journals for publication, and
- have not been published in other journals.
Prior publication in any language other than English is permitted.
Note: The author may upload her/his manuscript before or simultaneously while submitting to the Journal as a preprint to a website that contains discussion papers to enhance the quality of research. This is not considered an obstacle to publishing the ultimate version of the research in the Journal.
Obligations of peer reviewers
Contribution to editorial decisions: Peer reviewers help the editorial board in decision-making if required, anonymously supporting the author in raising the scientific level of the scholarly work during the process of collegial revision (double-blind review).
Efficiency: In case the selected peer reviewer thinks that:
- she/he cannot provide scientifically and professionally well-founded opinions because she/he does not feel qualified, or
- she/he cannot evaluate the research presented in the manuscript for other reasons, or
- she/he is aware of the inability to prepare her/his opinions effectively and within the given time,
she/he is obliged to notify the editor and waive participation in the peer-review.
Confidentiality: All received manuscripts are considered confidential. Peer reviewers shall refrain from using information obtained during the peer-review process to their own or another’s advantage or to the disadvantage or discredit of others. They shall not involve anyone else in the review without first obtaining permission from the Journal.
Objectivity: The evaluation shall be carried out objectively. Personally criticising the author is considered inappropriate. The peer reviewers’s views must be conveyed in a straightforward and argumentative manner.
Reference to sources: Peer reviewers shall know the relevant published works not cited by the author(s). Any statement that contains an observation, thought or argument from a work published earlier must be accompanied by an appropriate reference. Furthermore, the peer reviewer should draw the editor’s attention to any substantive similarity or overlap between the examined manuscript and other material previously published and known by him/her. Peer reviewers should refrain from suggesting that authors include citations to their work merely to increase citation counts or enhance the visibility of their work; suggestions must be based on valid academic or technological reasons.
Disclosure and conflict of interest: The privileged information or ideas obtained during the evaluation shall be handled confidentially and not be used for personal promotion.
Suspected misconduct: In case the peer reviewer has concerns regarding misconduct either during the research or writing and submitting of the manuscript, or the peer reviewer notices substantial similarities between the manuscript and a concurrent submission to another journal or published article, she/he shall directly get in touch with the editor. The peer reviewer shall not attempt to investigate on her/his own.
Decisions on publishing
The editor decides which submitted manuscript will be published in the Journal. Decisions can be guided by the guidelines set by the Journal’s editorial board and shall be limited by the current legislation on libel, copyright infringement, and plagiarism. The editor may seek help from other editors or peer reviewers to aid in her/his decisions. The editor is permitted to run a computer software to filter out plagiarism.
The Editor-in-chief holds the right to veto the editor’s decision.
The editor always evaluates the intellectual content of manuscripts regardless of the authors’ race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ethnic origin, nationality or political views. The editors’ decisions shall be based on professional and scientific aspects.
The editor, the editorial board, and peer reviewers treat submitted manuscripts as confidential information. They do not provide any information related to the manuscripts to unauthorised persons. Exceptions to this rule are the main author, the peer reviewers, other editorial consultants, and the publisher.
Disclosure and conflict of interest
The editor is not allowed to use the unpublished material of the submitted manuscript for his own research without the author’s prior written consent.
Obligations of authors
Guidelines for disclosure: Authors presenting original research should provide an accurate report of the work performed. The drawing of interpretations and conclusions can only be based on facts or unbiased and logical evidence. The background data of the study should be accurately presented. The study should provide sufficient details and references so that the processes described can be replicated by others. False or intentionally inaccurate claims are considered as unethical and unacceptable behaviour.
Revoking: If authors wish to revoke or correct any part of the study, they must contact one of the editors, who will then initiate the general peer-reviewing process for the revised parts. The publisher and editors support correcting, clarifying, retracting or explaining the content of the study in all cases.
Fees and remuneration: The submission of the manuscript and any amendments or supplements thereto shall be free of charge. The author is not remunerated for publication.
Originality and plagiarism: The authors shall guarantee that the study is their own original intellectual work, and if they used others’ works and/or expressions, they are appropriately and professionally cited. The publisher and editors will take the necessary steps if a manuscript is suspected of plagiarism. Under no circumstances must the publisher or editors associate themselves with plagiarist conduct, and they do not permit any form of plagiarism. If a statement for plagiarism is sent to the publisher or editors in connection with any of the studies, the editors scrutinise the circumstances and take the necessary steps. In case of suspected plagiarism, the editor enquires with the corresponding author and simultaneously gets in touch with the submitting author. If the latter does not respond within the time frame determined by the editor, he/she contacts the institution of the author with the request to investigate. Until all the questions are clarified, the Journal does not proceed with moving the manuscript forward.
Multiple, redundant or simultaneous publishing: It is not a good practise to have the manuscript of the same research published in various independent publications or journals. The submission of the same manuscript to different journals is deemed unethical and unacceptable.
Reference to sources: The cited works must be properly referred to in all cases. The authors shall refer to all publications that have influenced their work. (For detailed information, see ‘Rules of publication.’)
Contributors to the research: Any person who contributed substantially to the concept, design, implementation or interpretation of the presented study must be included as an author. Those who contributed significantly to the study must be indicated as co-authors. However, those who were involved in certain important stages of the study/research project should be indicated as contributors. Furthermore, the main author must ensure that:
- all major co-authors are mentioned in the study,
- she/he has not nominated persons as co-authors who are not entitled to it, and
- all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the study and agreed to publish it.
Disclosure and conflict of interest: Each author is obliged to disclose any financial or other material conflicts of interest in the manuscript, which may influence its results or interpretation. All funding sources for the study/research project must be made public.
Editors will consider retracting a publication, if
- they have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of major error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error) or as a result of fabrication (e.g. of data) or falsification (e.g. image manipulation);
- it constitutes plagiarism;
- the findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper attribution to previous sources or disclosure to the editor, permission to republish or justification (i.e. cases of redundant publication);
- it contains material or data without authorisation for use;
- it involves a copyright infringement or any other serious legal issue (e.g. libel, privacy);
- it falls under unethical research;
- it has been published solely on the basis of a compromised or manipulated peer-review process;
- the author(s) failed to disclose a major competing interest (a.k.a. conflict of interest) that, in the view of the editor, would unduly affect interpretations of the work or recommendations by editors and peer reviewers.
In case of self-plagiarism (text recycling) of a published article, editors may consider the following steps.
They may consider publishing a correction to the article when the following apply:
- sections of the text are identical or nearly identical to a previous publication by the same author(s), but
- there is still sufficient new material in the article to justify its publication.
Editors may consider publishing a retraction of an article in the following cases:
- There is significant overlap in the text, generally excluding methods, with sections that are identical or nearly identical to a previous publication by the same author(s).
- The recycled text reports previously published data and there is insufficient new material in the article to justify its publication in light of the previous publication(s), i.e. redundant publication.
The overlap breaches copyright. In this case legal advice may be needed.