Policies

Open Access Policy

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, copyright remains with the author/s of the article/s.

Editorial Policy

This journal subscribes to 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).

Editorial Board

The editorial board members provide editorial oversight and advice to the editor and other persons involved in producing the journal.

The members on the Editorial Board are listed under Editorial Team.

Peer Review Process and Policy

The scholarly rigour and the contribution that a research publication make to the development of legal scholarship serve as primary criteria for acceptance for publication. Accordingly, all contributions are subject to peer review, except for orationes and book reviews. A two-step process is followed.

Step 1 is an initial assessment by the Editor-in-Chief to ensure that:

  • the contribution  falls within the focus and scope of PELJ/PER;
  • the content has not potentially been plagiarised by subjecting it to a similarity detecting process;
  • the contribution has not been published elsewhere;
  • the quality and clarity of the language is good;
  • the guidelines and referencing style have been complied with (see PELJ/PER Standard for Style and Citation); and
  • the contribution has an adequate level of scholarly quality.

At this stage, the Editor-in-Chief may reject a contribution or refer it back to the author for revisions. Next, all potentially suitable contributions are assigned to an editor to commence with step 2, the external blind peer-review process. Again, the editors may reject the contribution or refer it back to the author for additional revisions. Finally, if a contribution is deemed suitable for review, two reviewers will be selected and invited to assess the scholarly quality of the contribution.

The review process is double-anonymous. Reviewers are given two weeks to decline or accept a review request and 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, but more extended periods have been experienced.

At least two reviewer reports are required to make a decision. Suppose the reviewers disagree on whether a contribution is publishable or differ considerably on the changes/additions. In that case, the editor may arbitrate the recommendations or send the contribution to a third reviewer. However, the editor makes the final decision to publish or not. The author is subsequently informed about the reviewer’s recommendations and, if necessary, requested to make the revisions as suggested by the reviewers. 

Authors are given 30 days to revise a contribution requiring minor revisions and 60 days to revise a contribution requiring significant revisions. Revised contributions must be submitted online with clear indications of the revisions made.

In some instances, a revised contribution has to be sent back to a reviewer for a re-evaluation, or a further review process has to be initiated. Finally, the editor makes the final decision regarding the publishability of the revised contribution.

Authors may appeal a decision in writing to the Editor-in-Chief.

Accepted contributions are uploaded onto the online journal system, where they enter the production queue to undergo copy-editing, language editing and layout editing. A contribution will not be published before an invoice has been generated for the processing fees and before the author and Editor-in-Chief have a final control check.

Article Processing Charges (APCs)

The costs to publish an approved article in PELJ/PER is charged at ZAR200.00 (plus 15% VAT) per page. This to cover editorial costs.

No article submission charges apply, and an invoice will be generated and must be settled prior to publication.

Language Policy

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 the article’s lifetime, whereas its location and other 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 Policy

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 on an individual basis.

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 a contribution has been published, 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 admitted 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 furthermore agrees that the same contribution may not be published elsewhere without the written permission of the editor.

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 both 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/Retractions Policy

Errata or retractions of findings or statements in published contributions should be immediately brought to the editor’s attention. 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:

  1. include the title, names of the authors and the reason for the retraction; and
  2. be linked to the online article.

Complaints Policy

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;
  • plagiarism;
  • multiple, duplicate, concurrent publication or simultaneous submission;
  • errors and fraud;
  • research standards violations;
  • undisclosed conflicts of interest;
  • reviewer bias; or
  • any other complaint that deals 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’ identity. 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 they 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.

Confidentiality

Authors, reviewers, assessors and editorial staff should treat all submitted manuscripts and correspondence with the editorial team as confidential.

Disclaimer

PELJ/PER, the Faculty of Law and ASSAf make every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information contained in our publication. However, PELJ/PER, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever regarding the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the contributions. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors and are not the views 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.