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Editorial Policies

Peer Review Process

For individual submissions, the Editors make an initial appraisal of each manuscript. If the topic and treatment seem potentially appropriate for the journal, the manuscript is assigned to a managing editor, or to a member of the editorial board, who organizes and oversees the review process. Once the review process has been completed,  the managing editor recommends acceptance, revision, or rejection of your manuscript. The final decision is made by the Editor-in-Chief.

For research papers pertaining to a special feature, the guest-editors are responsible for setting up and carrying out the review process. After completion of the review process, they will issue an editorial advice. Also in this case, the Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the final decision.

If granted the opportunity to revise a manuscript based on the reviews, authors are requested to resubmit their revisions within eight weeks after receiving the notification with the editorial decision. They are asked to then also submit a letter (as attachment to the notify editor e-mail) with a detailed description of how they have responded to the separate issues raised by the reviewers.

We apply a double blind peer review, meaning that the author's name and affiliation are not made public to the referee. The referee's name and affiliation are also not revealed to the author. We always seek to mobilize a minimum of three independent reviews. In case of a significant discrepancy, the managing or guest-editor will consult with the Editor-in-Chief, in order to take a final editorial decision.

Review requests are sent to peers that are qualified to issue an assessment in terms of the relevance of their theoretical, methodological, thematic and/or geographic expertise. IJC has an extended reviewer database that is used for the identification of suitable reviewers. In addition, we will approach peers who are not (yet) registered. We aim for the inclusion of minimally one editorial board member in the set of reviewers.

Desk-rejects will be motivated, but can unfortunately not go accompanied by an extended argumentation. A rejection based on the outcome of a review process will be backed up by the actual reviews, and a motivation by the editor. 

We work hard to make this process as fast and efficient as possible, but depend on the voluntary input delivered by reviewers who are typically dealing with an above-average workload. A decision on the manuscript generally may be expected within 2 months of submission; delays in obtaining reviews may prolong this process. Manuscripts are sent out for review electronically, and all correspondence takes place via e-mail. Although the peer review process is accelerated by the use of electronic communication, traditional high-quality, peer-review standards are applied to all manuscripts submitted to the International Journal of the Commons.

Special features will be introduced by an editorial piece by the guest editor(s). These editorials are not subject to review. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the decision to publish an editorial.

Book reviews are not submitted to peer review. In this case, the book review editor is responsible for the decision to publish a review.

We will communicate with reviewers via our online journal management platform, OJS. Reviewers are expected to use OJS also for uploading their reviews, and sharing their decision. They can also contact the editors in case they experience problems in using OJS.

Reviewers are asked to submit their assessment within a maximum of four weeks after receiving the invitation to support us in the important task of meeting the quality standards that IJC applies.

Although we do not encourage the use of a strictly applied review form, we ask reviewers to rate the quality of a manuscript according to the following broad-stoke criteria:

General issues

  • Does the topic fall within our scope?
  • Is the topic original?
  • Is the English in good enough shape?
  • The entire manuscript does not exceed 8,000 words

Structure of the manuscript

  • Are the following elements clearly distinguishable?
  • Problem description
  • Research questions/objectives
  • Theory section
  • Conceptual model
  • Methods section
  • Results/Findings
  • Discussion/Conclusion

Problem description and research question/objective

  • Is it clear what problem is addressed in the manuscript?
  • The problem has scientific relevance
  • The problem has societal relevance
  • The problem is stated and approached in such a way that addressing it is likely to result in new knowledge (added value, filling in a clear knowledge gap)

Theory and conceptual framework

  • The theory referred to is relevant
  • The theory referred to is complete
  • The theory referred to results in a clear and appropriate conceptual framework
  • The conceptual framework contains an innovative twist (i.e. seems to go beyond the obvious, and can therefore be expected to result in new knowledge)

Methods

  • The sample selection strategy is appropriate
  • The operationalization is appropriate (i.e. identification of indicators to render the variables measurable)
  • The data collection methods are appropriate (i.e. identification of instruments to take measures on the indicators)
  • The methods for analysis that are used are innovative (i.e. they go beyond the obvious and can be expected to lead to new knowledge)

Findings and results

  • The empirical foundation is robust (i.e. analysis seems to lean on sufficient and appropriate data)
  • The analysis seems to be carried out in an appropriate way
  • The results are presented in a clear and comprehensive manner

Discussion

  • The authors address methodological caveats that apply (e.g. validity, reliability, representativeness) and indicate their consequences for the claims made in the paper
  • The authors place their findings in the broader literature (i.e. do earlier findings need to be dismissed, reconsidered, or are they confirmed)? (i.e. scientific value)

Conclusion

  • The conclusion (e.g. the answer to the research question) explicitly and clearly result from the analysis
  • Note, that for typical review papers, some of the criteria listed above will not apply.
  • The editorial board reserves the right to refuse an article after submission in any stage of the editing process.

Section Policies

Editorials

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Research articles

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Review articles

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Book reviews

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Section Editors

Editorials

Editors
  • Frank van Laerhoven
  • Michael Schoon

Research articles

Editors
  • Michael Schoon
  • Frank van Laerhoven
  • Sergio Villamayor

Review articles

Editors
  • Michael Schoon
  • Frank van Laerhoven
  • Sergio Villamayor

Book reviews

Editors
  • John Powell

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