All submissions are initially assessed by at least two editors, who decide whether the article is suitable for peer review. Submissions considered suitable for peer review are assigned to two or more referees, who assess the article for philosophical soundness and insight, argumentative coherence, and the understanding and knowledge of existing literature on the subject.
The journal has a triple anonymous peer review process. This means that the editors do not know the identity of authors, and the identities of authors and reviewers are not disclosed to one another. The evaluation period (including initial assessment) takes approximately ten to sixteen weeks, but this may vary depending on reviewer availability. Reviewers are asked to provide constructive feedback, even when a manuscript is not accepted for publication.
The editors make a decision of rejection, minor or major revisions, conditional or direct acceptance, taking into account the recommendations received from referees. If revisions are required, the resubmitted manuscript is typically evaluated by the original referees. However, if the original referees are unavailable or if the referees' recommendations conflict, a new or additional report may be invited. The overall editorial responsibility rests with the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, who is supported by the Editorial Committee (Associate Editors) and the international Editorial 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 related to 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 welcomes 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 provide a link to any prior posting in the final published version.
Reviewers are asked to provide comments on the following aspects of the manuscript:
- Content: Does the article fit within the scope of the journal? Is the submission original, relevant, and rigorous? Is the author’s depth of understanding of the issues researched adequate? Are the sources and references adequate? Has the existing knowledge base been explored and built upon? Does the conclusion reflect the argument in the main body text and bring something new to the debate?
- Structure and argument: Does the abstract summarise the arguments in a succinct and accurate way? Is the manuscript logically structured and do the arguments flow coherently? Is there enough reference to methodology in the introduction and are the arguments fully evidenced and substantiated? Does the introduction signpost the arguments in a logical way and does the conclusion adequately summarise them?
- Language: Is the text well written and jargon free? Is there any need for grammatical improvement?
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. The journal accepts papers that have been published within formal conference proceedings, provided that the paper provides substantially more data, analysis and/or discussion than the original conference paper. 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
All listed authors must qualify as such, as defined in our authorship guidelines, which have been developed from the ICMJE definitions. All authors must have given permission to be listed on the submitted paper.
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, ensuring that ethical approval and consent statements are detailed within the 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. Visit our Correction Policy page for more information.
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. Where misconduct is proven or strongly suspected, the journal has an obligation to report the issue to the author's institution, who may conduct their own investigation. This applies to both research misconduct (e.g. completing research without ethical approval and consent, fabricating or falsifying data etc) and publication misconduct (e.g. manipulating the peer review process, plagiarism etc). Should an investigation conclude that misconduct or misinformation has occurred then the author, along with their institution will be notified. Should the publication record need to be corrected, the journal's correction policy will be followed.
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 adequate, the author 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.
The journal does not tolerate abusive behaviour or correspondence towards its staff, academic editors, authors or reviewers. Any person engaged with the journal resorting to abusive behaviour or correspondence will have their contribution immediately withdrawn and future engagement with the journal will be at the discretion of the Editor and/or publisher.