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The peer-review process
The Journal strictly adheres to the rules of the double-blind review process. With anonymity as the most important principle, this process consists of three stages:
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:
The peer reviewers (experts) shall answer the following questions within the framework of the double-blind review process:
Note: The editorial team specifies its inability to pay remunerations for peer review, but it does issue a certificate of participation in the peer-review on request.
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.
In case of the editor's supporting decision on publishing, the editor may decide to send the manuscript to a linguistic proofreader, if the author’s native language is not English. The costs of linguistic proofreading are covered by the Publisher.
Obligations of peer reviewers
Contribution to editorial decisions: Peer reviewers help the editorial team 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 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.