Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement 

 

Introduction 

Rechtskultur is owned and edited by Edition Rechtskultur (Förderverein Europäisches Rechtskultur e.V., Universität Regensburg, Fakultät für Rechtswissenschaft, 93040 Regensburg, Germany), on whose behalf it is published at regular intervals once a year in printed and electronic form. 

Rechtskultur recognizes its responsibilities in upholding ethical standards and pursues best practices in scholarly publishing. Rechtskultur supports the recommendations of the German Research Foundation (DFG) regarding „Leitlinien zur Sicherung guter wissenschaftlicher Praxis“ (Kodex) 2019. Rechtskultur also fully supports the Core Practices developed by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). 

In this statement, Rechtskultur provides basic information about the journal and outlines its principles of expected ethical behavior. The following list of tasks and responsibilities of the members of the editorial and scientific advisory boards, the editorial board, authors, peer reviewers and publishing house is intended to give a broad overview; it is not exhaustive. It is consistent with COPE guidelines and the wording is partly based on Elsevier’s Publishing Ethics policy 

 

Name of the journal

Rechtskultur Zeitschrift für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte European Journal of Legal History Journal européen d‘histoire du droit. 

 

Ownership and management 

Rechtskultur has been owned, funded, managed and edited since 2012 by Edition Rechtskultur at Förderverein Europäisches Rechtskultur e.V., Universität Regensburg, Fakultät für Rechtswissenschaft, 93040 Regensburg, Germany. 

 

Open access policy 

Rechtskultur is an open access journal (embargo: two years). No author processing charges (APC) apply for peer review, editorial processing or publication of a manuscript. 

The journal’s website provides free online access to the entire current issue and the complete archive of the journal. 

A print subscription can be ordered at rechtskultur@ur.de (49,-- EUR per year incl. shipping). 

 

Publication schedule 

Rechtskultur is published once a year at the end of the year. 

 

Copyright and licensing information 

If not otherwise indicated, all articles are published under the Creative Commons license CC BY NC ND 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Authors agree to publish their articles under this Creative Commons license by giving their approval for publication in Rechtskultur. Full copyright as well as all other exploitation rights remain with the authors. 

 

Archiving 

Past issues are freely accessible online via www.rechtskultur.org. 

To ensure permanent availability and accessibility, Rechtskultur pursues various strategies:  

1.      German National Library (DNB) mandatory deposits: The publishing house Edition Rechtskultur committed itself to submit all online issues of Rechtskultur to the DNB, which catalogues and archives online publications, guarantees their authenticity and ensures  long-term preservation. 

2.      Rechtskultur digital archives: Furthermore, all issues of Rechtskultur are fully open access on <intR>²Dok [§] (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz).  

The website 

All Rechtskultur journal content and information – including that provided in this statement – are   available on the website https://www.Rechtskultur.org. The website has an English, a French and a German version. 
 

Editorial processes 

Rechtskultur is committed to editorial independence, and strives in all cases to prevent this principle   from being compromised through conflicts of interest, fear, or any other corporate or political  influence. Any person involved in Rechtskultur’s editorial processes is required to respect this commitment to editorial independence. Further information about complaints and appeals during and after the editorial process can be found below in this Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement. 

1.      Corresponding authors may submit a manuscript at any time to the journal's editorial board. 

2.      Upon receipt, the editorial board, if necessary in cooperation with disciplinary experts from the   journal's editorial board or scientific advisory board, pre-checks the submitted manuscript in view to its thematic fit with the journal's remit, scientific quality and compliance with the journal's publication ethics as well as scientific and formal editorial standards. The editorial board reserves the right to reject any manuscript that does not comply with  content requirements, formal specifications, or quality standards of the journal. (The corresponding author will be notified within approx. two weeks.) 

3.      If the pre-check is successful, then the corresponding author is notified that their manuscript will enter the double-open ("non-blind") peer review process. (Approximate timescale - four weeks.) 

4.      If the outcome of the peer review process is positive ("acceptance without revisions", or "acceptance with (major) revisions"), the editorial board forwards the reviews to the corresponding author within approx. two weeks. The corresponding author is then given the necessary time for revisions. If the peer reviews are conflicting ("acceptance without revisions" and "rejection") the editorial board will request a third review, usually issued by one of the members of the editorial board or the scientific advisory board. If the manuscript receives two  negative peer reviews, it is rejected and the corresponding author notified. 

5.      The final manuscript version is checked by the editorial board for compliance with the journal's publication ethics, scientific and formal editorial standards, if necessary in cooperation with disciplinary experts from the journal's editorial board or scientific advisory board. (Approximate timescale - three weeks.) 

6.      If the manuscript meets the scientific quality and complies with editorial standards, then the corresponding author is notified and the editorial copy editing and external layout processes begin. If, after a prolonged period of revisions, the manuscript still does not meet the reviewers' scientific requirements and/or editorial standards it may be rejected by the journal's managing editor in coordination with the editorial board. 

7.      The corresponding author receives the galley proofs, and gives print approval within one week. 

8.      The manuscript is published in one of the upcoming issues of the journal in print and online. (Approximate timescale - four weeks.) 

 

Editors’ responsibilities 

The following responsibilities apply to all members of the editorial, all subsumed in this section under the term “editor”. 

 

Fair play 

Submitted manuscripts are evaluated for their intellectual content without regard to age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the author(s). 

 

Confidentiality 

The editors of Rechtskultur must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial  advisers, and the publishing house, as appropriate. 

 

Disclosure and conflicts of interest 

Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in the own research of an editor without the express written consent of the author(s). Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. The editors should recuse themselves from considering manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or (possibly) institutions connected to the papers. 

 

Publication decisions 

The editors are responsible for deciding which of the submitted articles will be published. They should be guided in their decisions by the journal’s high standards of quality assurance, thematic profile and formal editorial standards. They are constrained by legal requirements regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism. They   may confer with members of the journal’s editorial board, its scientific advisory board, other editors or reviewers when making these decisions. 

 

Peer-review process 

Rechtskultur’s peer review process is non-blind and not public: the persons involved in the peer review process (authors, reviewers, editorial board, as well as, in the case of conflicting reviews, members of the editorial board or scientific advisory board) know  each other by name and interact with equal rights in a fair and constructive way. 

The central aim of the peer review process is quality assurance. The reviewers’ comments support the editorial board of the journal in their assessment of manuscripts and include suggestions for their improvement. This also includes  the reasoned rejection of manuscripts. 

Reviewers are qualified by unbiased and proven scientific expertise in the field of the manuscript under review. This means: 

 

1.      Peer reviewers should not consider evaluating manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any one of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the manuscripts. 

2.      All judgements and findings in the peer review process should be objective. 

3.      Reviewers should sustain their critique by pointing to relevant published work which is not yet cited. 

4.      Reviewers must treat all information from manuscripts under review confidentially before publication, or in the event that the manuscript is rejected. 

5.      Reviews and possible replies from the authors are not published. 

Manuscripts are reviewed by two external reviewers who are not members of the editorial board. In the case of conflicting peer reviews ("acceptance without  revisions" and "rejection") a third review is issued. 

 

Reviewers’ responsibilities 

Contribution to editorial decisions 

Peer review assists the editorial board of Rechtskultur in making editorial decisions and through the editorial communications with the author(s) may also assist the author(s) in improving the paper. Any selected referee who feels unqualified to peer review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its timely review will be impossible should immediately notify the journal’s editorial board. 

 

Confidentiality 

Any manuscripts received for peer review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the journal’s managing editor. 

 

Standards of objectivity 

Peer reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author(s) is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments. 

All reviews include an assessment of the submitted manuscripts according to the following seven dimensions: 

1.      scientific quality (the article complies with scientific standards); 

2.      relevance (the article raises a current issue significant within the respective context); 

3.      substance (the article provides sufficient theoretical, argumentative, and, if applicable, empirical substance); 

4.      style (language, figures, tables), 

5.      novelty (the material used and/or the argumentation have novelty value); 

6.      adequateness (the article falls thematically within the remit of Rechtskultur); 

7.      audience (the article considers Rechtskultur’s interdisciplinary readership and is written in comprehensible language). 

 

Acknowledgement of sources 

Peer reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the author(s). Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. Peer reviewers should also call to the editors’ attention any substantial similarity or overlap  between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge. 

 

Disclosure and conflicts of interest 

Peer reviewers should not consider evaluating manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the manuscripts. Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer’s own research without the express written consent of the author(s). Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Rechtskultur does not accept the use of trade names unless these form a relevant aspect of the empirical analysis or argument. 

 

Authors and authors’ responsibilities 

Rechtskultur lays out detailed principles of the ethical behavior that is expected from authors in its guidelines for authors. The   most important authors’ responsibilities are summarized below. 

Rechtskultur is an open access journal (embargo: two years). No author processing charges (APC) apply for peer review, editorial processing or publication of a manuscript. Authors interested in submitting a paper to  Rechtskultur can find this information clearly stated on the Rechtskultur website. 

 

Reporting standards 

Authors of reports of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the paper. The manuscript should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable. Review and professional publication articles should also be accurate and objective, and editorial ‘opinion’ works should be clearly identified as such. 

 

Originality and acknowledgement of sources 

Authors should ensure that they have written entirely original works, and if the authors have used the work and/or words of others that this has been appropriately cited or quoted and permission has been obtained where necessary. Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Authors should cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical behavior and is unacceptable. 

 

Multiple, redundant or concurrent publication 

Authors should not in general publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. 

 

Authorship 

Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. Where there are others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the research project, they should be acknowledged or listed as contributors. A so-called “honorary authorship” is inadmissible. 

The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors and no inappropriate co-authors are included on the paper, and that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication. Authors of scientific publications are always jointly responsible for their content. Moreover, Rechtskultur integrates established and emerging industry standards to increase transparency in authorship (for example, DOI). 

 

Hazards and human or animal subjects 

If the work involves chemicals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use, the author(s) must clearly identify these in the manuscript. If the work involves the use of animal or human subjects, the author(s) should ensure that the manuscript contains a statement that all procedures were performed in compliance with relevant laws and institutional guidelines and that the appropriate institutional committee(s) have approved them. 

 

Disclosure and conflicts of interest 

All authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or other substantive conflict of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed. Rechtskultur does not accept the use of trade names unless these form a relevant aspect of the empirical analysis or argument. 

 

Fundamental errors in published works 

When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editorial board or editorial board and cooperate with the editorial board to retract or correct the paper. 

 

Publication ethics 

For all parties involved in the act of publishing it is important to agree upon standards of proper ethical behavior. Rechtskultur lays out its principles of expected ethical behavior for members  of the editorial board, authors, reviewers and publishing house in this Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement 

Rechtskultur is committed to following these guidelines and enforcing the stated standards of behavior. Rechtskultur asks the members of the editorial board, authors, and reviewers to read the journal’s guidelines and this statement carefully and adhere to the conditions. Where Rechtskultur suspects or is made aware of ethical breaches by members of the editorial board, authors, or reviewers, Rechtskultur will proceed to take the necessary measures, handling the suspected case with confidentiality. Depending on the scope and severity of the case, measures taken can range from contacting and investigating those under suspicion, to informing relevant institutions (e.g. those of members of the editorial board, authors, and reviewers), and involving further institutions or organizations as appropriate. In doing so, Rechtskultur will follow COPE guidelines and  flowcharts. 

 

Allegations of misconduct 

Rechtskultur is committed to upholding the integrity of the work Rechtskultur publishes. Rechtskultur regards as scientific misconduct "the intentional and grossly negligent statement of falsehoods in a scientific context, the violation of intellectual property rights or impeding another person’s research work". Rechtskultur will take all appropriate measures against publication malpractices such as alleged or proven scientific misconduct, fraudulent publication or plagiarism pre-publication and post-publication. 

In order to actively identify and prevent such publication malpractices, Rechtskultur has various systems in place. The managing editor checks that all submissions adhere to scientific quality and standards. External reviewers evaluate scientific quality, substance and novelty during the  peer-review process. 

 

Plagiarism 

Rechtskultur does not tolerate plagiarism in any of its publications, and reserves the right to check all submissions through appropriate plagiarism checking tools. Submissions containing suspected plagiarism, in  whole or part, will be rejected. If plagiarism is discovered post-publication, Rechtskultur will follow its  guidance outlined in the Retractions, corrections and expressions of concern section of this Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement. 

Where Rechtskultur suspects or is made aware of alleged or proven scientific misconduct, fraudulent  publication or plagiarism, it will launch investigations and take all reasonable steps to prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred. This includes the prompt publication of corrections as errata or, in the most severe cases, the complete retraction of the affected work. 

Cases of alleged plagiarism initiate a process in which authors must provide exonerating evidence and/or correct the manuscript. The editorial board will evaluate the evidence and/or corrections. 

In the event of demonstrable fundamental errors in a published article, Rechtskultur’s editorial board  may decide to retract the article from the Rechtskultur online presence as well as from associated databases. This process is carried out in collaboration with an ombudsperson selected from the     Rechtskultur editorial board members and the managing editor. Fundamental errors include, amongst others, the deliberate or unconscious use of false empirical data that is central to the argumentation of the text, and the deliberate or unconscious omission of references to sources for empirical data or cited text passages. Authors may be given the opportunity to add the errata to the publication. If this is not possible, the result may be the permanent withdrawal of the article. 

By publishing in Rechtskultur, authors commit themselves to expressing any concerns and notifying the managing editor and/or members of the editorial board at the earliest possible opportunity should they become aware of any fundamental error in their text. Rechtskultur expects its readers, reviewers and editors to notify them of any concerns about plagiarism, by contacting the chairman of the editorial board. 

 

Complaints and appeals 

Complaints and appeals against the journal, its editorial board, reviewers, publishing house, or authors are handled by the chairman of the editorial board as the journal’s ombudsperson. The ombudsperson shall be the first point of contact and is responsible for investigating the issue, mediating between parties and taking a final decision on the issue. In this process the ombudsperson may consult the expertise of other members of the editorial board or any other person the ombudsperson deems appropriate in order to resolve the conflict. The ombudsperson shall not be obliged to follow instructions. If the ombudsperson is accused of a conflict of interest, the editorial board shall appoint a substitute. 

The editorial board, or its chairman, shall also handle conflicts of interest of authors, reviewers, the editorial board and publishing house, whether identified during the editorial process or after publication. The same process as described above will apply. 

 

Complaints and appeals during the editorial processes 

Rechtskultur will consider appeals on decisions taken during the editorial processes listed above. The editorial board, together with the original reviewers and/or a third reviewer and/or members of the journal's editorial board, will consider any new data supplied by the author in support of their argument. The author will be notified of the outcome of their appeal along with an explanation of the decision. 

 

Complaints and appeals after the editorial processes 

Such cases include: 

1.      When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal's editorial board and cooperate with the editorial board to retract or correct the paper. 

2.      In the event of errors noted after publication, the corresponding author is obliged to provide corrections, which will be published as errata. 

3.      In the event of fundamental violations of the journal's publication ethics detected after publication of the manuscript, the corresponding author is obliged to consent to the retraction of the article. 

4.      In the event of errors detected only after publication of the manuscript and committed by the journal's editorial board, or the publishing house, the latter are willing to publish  corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies where needed. 

 

Conflicts of interest 

A conflict of interest exists when any personal interests of the editorial board, reviewers, publishing house, or authors conflict with the veracity or integrity of a publication, peer review, or editorial decision-making. Conflicts of interest can arise from commercial, intellectual, financial, and other grounds. 

In the event that any member of the editorial board has a conflict of interest with any subject  matter or authorship of any work, he or she should decline to manage the work, in order to avoid incurring any subjectivities or undue delays in the process of editing the work. 

The editorial board or its chairman shall also handle conflicts of interest of authors, reviewers, the editorial board and publishing house, whether identified during the editorial process or after publication. The same process as described above will apply. 

Readers who wish to comment on a published work should declare their conflicts of interest with the subject matter or authors.  

Confirmation from the publishing house 

In the event that the publishing house Edition Rechtskultur is made aware of any allegation of research misconduct relating to a published article in Rechtskultur, it will in cooperation  with Rechtskultur’s editorial board take all measures necessary, including the prompt publication of an erratum or, in the most severe cases, the complete retraction of the affected work (see Retractions, corrections and expressions of concern above). The publishing house, and the editorial board declare that they shall follow the principles of  expected ethical behavior developed in line with COPE Core Practice and laid out in this Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement and shall turn in cases of controversial issues to the procedures and recommendations provided by COPE.