PELJ/PER follows strict ethical standards for publication to ensure high-quality scientific publications and public trust in research findings. Our publication ethics policy is based on the ASSAf National Code of Best Practice in Editorial Discretion and Review for South African Scholarly Journals published by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). Ethical standards summarised below provide guidelines for editors, reviewers and authors who contribute to the journal. Please see the guidelines and policies for more detailed information on ethical issues. The policies will be continuously monitored and updated as necessary to remain current and in line with developments worldwide.
Open Access Policy
PELJ/PER follows strict ethical standards for publication to ensure high-quality scientific publications and public trust in research findings. Our publication ethics policy is based on the ASSAf National Code of Best Practice in Editorial Discretion and Review for South African Scholarly Journals published by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). Ethical standards summarised below provide guidelines for editors, reviewers and authors who contribute to the journal. Please see the guidelines and policies for more detailed information on ethical issues.
PELJ/PER is an Open Access journal supporting the Budapest Open Access Initiative principles: “By ‘open access’ to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public Internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the Internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, is to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.” Therefore, the copyright remains with the author/s of the article/s.
This journal’s ethics statement is based on the ASSAf National Code of Best Practice in Editorial Discretion and Review for South African Scholarly Journals.
PELJ/PER is also a member of OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association).
The editorial board members provide editorial oversight and advice to the editor and other persons involved in producing the journal. The members of the Editorial Board are listed under Editorial Team.
Peer Review Process and Policy - General
The Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal (PELJ/PER) maintains a high standard of academic rigor and contribution to the development of legal scholarship as the primary criteria for acceptance of publications. All contributions are subject to peer review, except for orationes and book reviews. Our peer review process consists of two steps.
Step 1: Initial Assessment by the Editor-in-Chief
At Step 1, the Editor-in-Chief conducts an initial assessment to ensure that:
- The submission falls within the focus and scope of PELJ/PER.
- The content does not potentially infringe upon intellectual property rights and is free from plagiarism.
- The contribution has not been previously published elsewhere.
- The language quality is of a high standard.
- The guidelines and referencing style conform to the PELJ/PER Standard for Style and Citation.
- The contribution demonstrates an adequate level of scholarly quality.
The Editor-in-Chief may reject a contribution at this stage or recommend revisions. For submissions intended for inclusion in special editions, the initial assessment will also consider the thematic relevance and alignment with the objectives of the special edition. The journal does not feature standalone conference proceedings as part of its publication scope.
Step 2: External Blind Peer-Review Process
For contributions intended for special editions or special themes, the same two-step process is followed. Submissions are assigned to an editor to commence with step 2, the external blind peer-review process. Editors may reject a contribution or refer it back to the author for revisions, with particular attention to thematic relevance for special editions.
The review process for contributions will adhere to the following timelines:
- Reviewers are given two weeks to decline or accept a review request.
- Reviewers are provided with four weeks to complete the review. However, the editor may allow additional time at a reviewer's request.
- The average period for author feedback is about four (4) months, although more extended periods may be experienced.
These timelines serve as general guidelines, but flexibility is allowed when additional time is needed for revisions or when special editions require a more extensive review process. The timelines for special editions are within the discretion of the special editions guest-editor.
Decision-Making Process for Special Editions
In the case of contributions intended for special editions, the decision-making process will consider not only the scholarly quality but also the thematic relevance and alignment with the objectives of the special edition. Editors will ensure that the content meets the specific criteria set for the special edition.
Guest Editors and Editorial Oversight for Special Editions
For special editions, guest editors may be appointed to oversee the compilation and review process. The details of the guest editors are reflected on the first page of each contribution. Guest editors will collaborate with the Editor-in-Chief to maintain the quality and thematic consistency of the special edition. Permission to publish will not be unreasonably withheld.
Final Decision to Publish
The final decision to publish rests with the Editor-in-Chief, who will exercise this authority judiciously and without undue delay, taking into account the recommendations of reviewers and guest editors. The author is subsequently informed about the reviewer's recommendations and, if necessary, requested to make the revisions as suggested. In the case of special editions, the Editor-in-Chief will convey the outcome and any revision requests through the guest editor assigned to oversee the special edition.
Accepted contributions, including those intended for special editions, are uploaded onto the online journal system, where they enter the production queue to undergo copy-editing, language editing, and layout editing. Contributions will only be made public after an invoice for processing fees has been generated and successfully settled, and after the author, guest editor, and Editor-in-Chief have conducted a final quality control review.
The ultimate decision to publish or reject a contribution lies with the journal's editors or editorial board. Authors should be prepared for the possibility that their work may not be accepted for publication in the specific journal and should explore alternative publication options if necessary. However, if an author is not satisfied with an editor's decision to publish or not, the following steps can be considered:
- Review the PELJ/PER's Policies: Authors should start by reviewing the journal's policies and guidelines, which often include information on the submission and review process, as well as the reasons for possible rejection. Understanding the journal's policies can provide insights into the basis for the decision.
- Understand the Decision: The author should carefully read the editor's decision letter, which usually provides feedback and reasons for the rejection. Understanding why the contribution was rejected is important for addressing the issues.
- Contact the Editor: Authors can contact the journal's editor for further clarification on the decision.
- Address Reviewer Feedback: If the decision was based on peer reviewer feedback, authors can consider revising the contribution based on the reviewers' comments and addressing any specific concerns raised during the review process.
- Submit an Appeal: If a decision was taken by one of the editors, authors who believe that their work was unfairly rejected can submit an appeal to the Editor-in-Chief, which typically involve providing a detailed response to the editor's feedback and explaining how any concerns have been addressed.
- Consider Resubmission: If the appeal is unsuccessful, authors may consider revising the contribution based on the feedback received and submitting it to another journal that aligns with the work's focus and scope.
Article Processing Charges (APCs)
The cost to publish an approved article in PELJ/PER is currently charged at ZAR200.00 (plus 15% VAT) per page.
No article submission charges apply, and an invoice will be generated and must be settled before publication.
Authors are invited to submit articles written in Afrikaans, English, German and Dutch. When a contribution is in a language other than English; it must also be accompanied by an English title, abstract and a list of keywords.
DOI & CrossRef
PELJ/PER uses a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency (CrossRef), to identify content and provide a persistent link to the location of individually published items on the Internet. The publisher (through the online system) assigns a DOI when an article is published and made available electronically.
The DOI for an article remains fixed over its lifetime, whereas its location and metadata may change. Therefore, referring to an online article by its DOI provides more stable linking than simply referring to it by its URL. If its URL changes, the publisher only needs to update the metadata for the DOI to link to the new URL.
Plagiarism is defined as using another’s work, words or ideas without attribution or permission and representing them as one’s own original work. Plagiarism may take many forms, ranging from major plagiarism (the copy-and-paste of large amounts of text) to minor plagiarism without dishonest intent (e.g. when an author uses parts of an introduction from an earlier paper) and even self-plagiarism (the re-use of significant, identical or near-identical portions of one’s work without citing the original version).
PELJ/PER subscribes to plagiarism detection software, and all contributions submitted to the journal will be scanned to verify originality. All cases of suspected or alleged plagiarism will be considered seriously and individually.
At least two scenarios are possible:
Unpublished contributions: If an editor becomes aware of suspected plagiarism, it will be investigated to determine the extent of the plagiarism. Suppose the extent of the plagiarism is minor or the author provided an acceptable explanation for the similarities. No further action will be taken, subject to the author revising the contribution as agreed between the editor and the author. However, the editor will inform the author’s institution and funding bodies if the plagiarism is significant, and the submission will be rejected. In addition, the author will be banned from future submissions to PELJ/PER.
Published contributions: If an editor becomes aware of suspected plagiarism after publishing a contribution, the editor will conduct a preliminary investigation. The author will be informed of the extent of the plagiarism and provided with an opportunity to explain the similarities. If the extent of the plagiarism is minor and the editor determines that the author did not intend to plagiarise, a statement indicating the plagiarised material and appropriate reference will be published online as an addendum and linked to the published article. If the plagiarism is extensive or the author admits to it, the article will be retracted (see Errata/Retractions Policy).
The editor will inform the author’s institution and funding bodies of the plagiarism and all relevant documents will be sent to them. In addition, the author will be banned from future submissions to PELJ/PER. Anyone reporting the suspected plagiarism will be notified of the outcome of the investigation.
Copyright & License Terms
A Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License applies to all articles published in PELJ/PER.
Copyright in all material published in PELJ/PER vests in the author provided that authors grant, by submission of their contributions, permission that their contributions may be shared and adapted without restriction. An author agrees that the same contribution may not be published elsewhere without the editor’s written permission.
Anyone gaining access, electronically or otherwise, to a contribution published in PELJ/PER, may quote from such contribution, use the intellectual content thereof, share and adapt it, but subject to the following conditions:
- you must give appropriate credit, provide a link and indicate if changes were made; and
- the copyright of the author(s) may not be infringed in any way.
Deposit Policy and Self-Archiving
Please refer to the PELJ/PER policy on Sherpa Romeo. Authors can self-archive copies of their published contributions in any repository or on a personal website, subject to the following conditions:
- Always upload the final version as published at https://perjournal.co.za/.
- Acknowledge the publisher.
- Cite the article as part of the metadata and include the DOI as part of the citation to the article.
Digital Preservation Policy
The digital content of PELJ/PER is precious, and measures are in place to ensure its current accessibility and long-term preservation. All digital journal content is stored on a secure server backed up frequently. In the event of a problem, the backup will be restored within 24 hours.
PELJ/PER utilises both the Portico and the PKP Preservation Network (PN) systems to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. Click here to view PELJ/PER in the Portico Keeper’s Registry.
Errata or retractions of findings or statements in published contributions should be immediately brought to the editor’s attention. Likewise, corrections or alterations would be flagged and may, if necessary, be replaced with a corrected version of the contribution.
In severe transgressions of the generally accepted standards of responsible scholarship, such as plagiarism, a published contribution may be removed from the PELJ/PER website. A notice of retraction will be published in the next issue. This notice of retraction will:
- include the title, names of the authors and the reason for the retraction; and
- be linked to the online article.
This procedure applies to complaints about the contributions, policies, procedures or actions of the PELJ/PER editorial staff. We welcome complaints as they provide an opportunity for improvement, and we aim to respond quickly, courteously, and constructively. Please write your complaint with the contribution title and URL to the editor.
A complaint includes any of the following issues:
- contested authorship;
- copyright infringement;
- multiple, duplicate, concurrent publication or simultaneous submission;
- errors and fraud;
- research standards violations;
- undisclosed conflicts of interest;
- reviewer bias; or
- any other complaint with content or process within the journal’s responsibility.
PELJ/PER will investigate the complaint. An investigation may include a request that the parties involved substantiate their claims. PELJ/PER will make a good faith determination whether to remove the allegedly offending contribution. A decision not to remove material should represent the journal’s belief that the complaint is without sufficient foundation or, if well‐founded, that a legal defence or exemption may apply, such as fair use in the case of copyright infringement or truthfulness of a statement in the case of defamation.
Also see the Plagiarism Policy and Errata/Retractions Policy.
Conflicts of Interest Policy
A conflict of interest can be personal, commercial, political, academic or financial. It involves something that may deceive or mislead someone else. In case of uncertainty, rather disclose. Different scenarios are applicable:
Authors’ conflicts of interest: The authors must declare if there are (potential) conflicts of interest during the submission process. Examples include employment, funding sources, owning of shares and payment for lectures or travel. Should a potential conflict of interest exist, it must be declared and included in the published version of the article. However, a potential conflict of interest does not necessarily mean the submission will be rejected.
Reviewers’ conflicts of interest: Reviewers are asked to declare any potential conflicts of interest in the manuscript review form. Examples include family members or students submitting and discerning the authors’ identities. A conflict of interest does not necessarily invalidate the review report.
Editors’ conflicts of interest: The same policy for authors’ conflicts of interest applies when editors are the authors of editorials, non-reviewed front section articles and manuscripts for peer review. Concerning assigning reviewers and deciding on a contribution, an editor must withdraw as an editor for that manuscript if there is a conflict of interest, such as in the case of a submission by a family member or student. Editors may submit contributions for publication but may not partake in the review process.
Editorial Board members: Members of the Editorial Board are permitted to publish in the journal. Submissions received from Board members are treated the same as other submissions concerning anonymous reviewing and confidentiality.
Authors, reviewers, assessors and editorial staff should treat all submitted manuscripts and correspondence with the editorial team as confidential.
Ethics Policy regarding human subjects
At the PELJ/PER, we take ethical considerations in research and publication very seriously. While our journal primarily publishes legal and academic works, which may not always involve the participation of human subjects, we acknowledge that there might be instances where articles do include such research. In such cases, we expect authors to adhere to the highest ethical standards and provide us with appropriate ethical clearance confirmation.
Ethical Review and Approval:
Authors are responsible for obtaining all necessary ethical approvals and clearances when their research involves the participation of human subjects or any sensitive data collection.
Authors must explicitly state in the manuscript, especially in the first footnote, that ethical clearance has been obtained, and provide details of the relevant ethics review board or institution that granted the clearance.
Anonymity and Informed Consent:
Authors must ensure that human subjects' anonymity is preserved in their research. All personal information that could identify the subjects must be removed or anonymised unless explicit informed consent has been obtained from the subjects for its use.
Informed consent should be obtained for the participation of human subjects in research and their information publication.
The PELJ/PER may, on occasion, request authors to provide documentation or evidence of the ethical clearance, anonymisation procedures, and informed consent, as stated in their manuscripts.
In cases where ethical issues arise post-publication, the journal reserves the right to conduct further investigation and may take corrective actions, such as retractions or corrections, if ethical standards are not met.
Reviewers are encouraged to highlight any concerns related to ethical issues in the manuscripts they review. These concerns will be taken seriously and addressed before publication.
By adhering to these ethical guidelines, the PELJ/PER aims to maintain the highest standards of integrity in academic research and publication, even when studies involving human subjects are published infrequently.
PELJ/PER acknowledges the growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-assisted technologies in the field of legal research and writing. This policy outlines our approach to the use of AI in the writing process for articles and papers published in our journal. It is important to note that this policy is subject to refinement as technology continues to evolve.
Use of AI in the Writing Process: Authors are encouraged to use AI and AI-assisted technologies to enhance the readability and language of their work. However, these technologies should not replace essential authoring tasks, such as providing legal insights, drawing legal conclusions, or offering recommendations within the field of law. When employing AI in the writing process, it is imperative to maintain human oversight and control throughout. All work produced with the assistance of AI should undergo thorough review and editing, as AI-generated content may carry an authoritative tone that can be erroneous, incomplete, or biased. Authors bear ultimate responsibility and accountability for the content of their work.
Authorship Clarifications: Authors should not attribute AI or AI-assisted technologies as authors or co-authors. Authorship in legal research entails responsibilities and tasks that are uniquely human in nature. Each (co-) author assumes accountability for addressing any concerns regarding the accuracy or integrity of any portion of the work. Authorship also requires the capacity to endorse the final version of the work and consent to its submission. Authors are further responsible for confirming the originality of their work, verifying that the listed authors qualify for authorship, and ensuring that the work does not infringe upon the rights of third parties. Authors are encouraged to acquaint themselves with PELJ/PER 's Publishing Ethics policy before submitting their work.
Policy Development and Adaptation: PELJ/PER recognises the dynamic nature of AI technology. As such, this policy will be continuously monitored and updated as necessary to remain current with advancements in AI and AI-assisted technologies in the field of law.
This AI policy is designed to guide authors and contributors in utilising AI and AI-assisted technologies responsibly and transparently within the writing process for publications in PELJ/PER. As technology evolves, so too will our approach to ensuring the highest standards of legal research and writing.
PELJ/PER, the Faculty of Law and ASSAf make every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information in our publication. However, PELJ/PER, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the contributions. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the authors’ opinions and views and are not those of or endorsed by PELJ/PER, the Faculty of Law (NWU), the editorial team or ASSAf. The accuracy of the contributions should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. PELJ/PER, the Faculty of Law (NWU), the editorial team or ASSAf shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, concerning, or arising out of the use of the content of the publication.