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Editorial Policies

Peer Review Process

After your article is submitted, it will first be evaluated by our Editor to assess whether or not it is suitable for the publication before being passed on for peer review. Two or more subject experts will be assigned to review the submission. If suitable experts external to the journal cannot be found, then members of the Editorial Board may be asked to complete a review. 

Reviewers will be asked to declare all competing interests. 

Peer review is anonymous: authors and reviewers do not know each other's identities during the review process. We aim to complete peer review in six to eight weeks, but it may vary depending on reviewer availability.  

Based on the reviewer reports the editor will recommend rejection, minor or major revisions, or acceptance. Reviewers are asked to provide formative feedback, even if they do not consider the article suitable for publication in the journal. 

Overall editorial responsibility rests with the General Editor of the journal who is supported by an expert, international Editorial Board. 

Members of the editorial team/board can submit their own papers to the journal. However, in cases where an author is associated with the journal, they will be removed from all editorial tasks for that article and another member of the team will be assigned responsibility for overseeing peer review. They must also declare competing interest within the submission and any resulting publication. 

Reviewer Guidelines 

Reviewers assess articles based on the following criteria: 

Content: Does the article fit within the scope of the journal? Is it original, relevant and rigorous? Does the article demonstrate depth of understanding of the field being researched? Are the sources and references sufficient? Does it adequately explore and build upon the existing knowledge base? Are the chosen methodologies appropriate? 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 accurately? Do the arguments flow coherently? Is there enough reference to methodology in the introduction and are the arguments fully substantiated? Does the introduction signpost the arguments in a logical way and does the conclusion adequately summarise them? 

Figures/tables: Does the authors use of tables, charts, figures or maps illustrate the arguments? Is the quality of the formatting and presentation acceptable? 

Formatting: Does the submission adhere to the author guidelines listed for the journal? Are the citations and references formatted to house-style? 

Language: Is the text well written and jargon free? Please comment on the quality of English and need for grammatical improvement. 

Ethical approval: Have all necessary statements of ethical approval been included? Please note, where humans have participated in research, informed consent should be declared. 

Data availability: Has data used in the study been adequately described and made available? Is the data curated in a usable format? Is there a 'Data Availability Statement' providing information on how to access the data? 

Prior Publication

The journal can accept submissions of papers that have been posted on preprint servers or personal websites, or have been presented at conferences, or other informal communication channels. These formats are not considered 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. The accepted manuscript may also be uploaded to an open platform, under a CC BY licence. 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 published. 

Preprint Policy

Please feel free to make your article available via a preprint server, but make sure you tick off the following:

  • Retain copyright to the preprint and make sure you have permission to submit to the journal.
  • Declare your preprint during the submission process and link to its location. 
  • Be aware that that having a preprint publicly available means that the journal can’t guarantee author anonymity during the review process, even if files are anonymised (see review policy). 
  • If published, please update the preprint to show that a final version has been published in the journal. Do include the DOI and link to your publication. 


For our authorship policy, please see here.


We strongly encourage all authors to register for an (ORCID) account. This will give you a unique identifier and makes sure you get credit for your work. It means that if you change your name or move to another institution your work is still discoverable. 

Corresponding and submitting authors are also encouraged to submit and ORCID. Just add them to your author data on submission. 


Open Data

If at all possible, please make your research data openly available, according to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). Cite and reference any data in your manuscript, encouraging others to use it too. Always remember to include a Data Accessibility Statement to show how your data can be accessed and re-used. 

 If you cannot make your data available (e.g. legal constraints) then please include a statement to tell your readers why and always credit other data sources, you use.  Try to present your data in a way that makes it easy to understand and re-use (e.g. sensible column headers, descriptions in a readme text file). Just imagine you were seeing it for the first time, what would make it easy to follow? 

Structured Methods

Materials and Methods sections and Readme files are sometimes not enough to explain your research process in a way that others can follow and reproduce. We encourage authors to use platforms like which allow you to create a good easy to follow structure for your methods. Increasing reproducibility may even gain you additional citations and credit. Making things as easy as possible for your reader to follow benefits everyone, including you. 

Open Code

If your research uses any software code, statistical analysis or algorithms then we encourage that you also make this available. There are specific hosting sites like Code Ocean, or you could use a generic repository like OSF or Figshare to make your code available alongside your data. Again, please provide as much detail as you can to show how your code can be understood and re-used and always remember to apply a license. 

Competing Interests, Funding and Ethics 

To maintain transparency, we ask authors to declare any interests that might compromise, conflict or influence the validity of the publication. Competing interests guidelines can be viewed here. 

Authors are also asked to mention funding sources and detail requirements for ethical research in their submitted manuscript. Ethical approval and consent statements should always be included in the manuscript. (seeAuthor Guidelines). 

Corrections and Retractions

Once the article is published, changes are not allowed to be made to it. If an error is discovered in a published article, then the publisher will decide whether a Correction paper or Retraction is required. If a correction is required, a correction statement will be issued as part of the next issue of the journal. 

Appeals, Complaints & Misconduct

If an author wishes to make a complaint against an editorial decision or the editorial process in general then they should first approach the General Editor of the journal or the administrator of Aberdeen University Press, explaining their complaint and ask for a reasoned response. Should this not be forthcoming or is inadequate, the matter will be taken to the Academic Advisory Board of Aberdeen University Press. 

Accusations of academic misconduct are treated very seriously. If you have a cause to make such a complaint, please contact the General Editor. Matters will be addressed in line with the guidance offered by Aberdeen University Press. 

Expected behaviour

The journal does not tolerate abusive behaviour or correspondence towards its staff, academic editors, authors, or reviewers. Anyone engaged with the journal who resorts 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.