Publishing Ethics


Publishing policy and best practice information

At RLJ, the integrity of our academic content and publishing process is paramount. These guidelines outline the best practice principles that we apply to our Academic products. We hope these guidelines will be useful to many different groups, including authors, peer reviewers, editors within and outside of RLJ, societies, publishing partners and funders.

RLJ is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE); a global not-for-profit organisation which aims to support publishers and editors to achieve high standards in publishing ethics. We also follow standards and best practice guidelines set by other relevant industry associations. Any external guidelines we follow are referred to in the relevant sections below.

Core editorial policies

Research integrity

We uphold the same high standards in research published by RLJ. These principles cover:

  • honesty in all aspects of research;
  • scrupulous care, thoroughness, and excellence in research practice;
  • transparency and open communication;
  • care and respect for all participants in and subjects of research;
  • accountability both for one’s own research integrity and that of others when behaviour falls short of our standards.

In addition to the general principles above, we expect our journal editorial teams to provide specific guidelines and policies for authors on research integrity and ethics appropriate to their subject matter and discipline. Please refer to the Journal policies pages of the relevant journal for further details.

Anyone who believes that research published by RLJ has not been carried out in line with these Research Publishing Ethics Guidelines, or the above principles, should raise their concern with the relevant editor or email Concerns will be addressed by following COPE guidelines where possible and/or by following our own internal escalation procedure if necessary.

Editorial process

We are committed to editorial independence, and strive in all cases to prevent this principle from being compromised through competing interests, fear, or any other corporate, business, financial or political influence. Our editorial processes reflect this commitment to editorial independence.

We do not discriminate against authors, editors or peer reviewers based on personal characteristics or identity. We are committed to embedding diversity, removing barriers to inclusion, and promoting equity at every stage of our publishing process. We actively seek and encourage submissions from scholars of diverse backgrounds, including race and ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, and disability.

Editorial decisions on manuscripts submitted to our journals are made by external academic editors and consider independent peer review reports, in line with the journal’s stated peer review policy. The EDITORIAL is required to approve RLJ taking on the publishing of an established journal or the creation of a new journal. The EDITORIAL approves the appointment of individual editors and editorial board members. The EDITORIAL may also advise on policy changes, ethics or other matters affecting the conduct of our journals’ business, but EDITORIAL responsibilities do not include decisions to publish individual articles.

We encourage all journals to provide a public policy and process for considering appeals of editorial decisions. Please refer to the ‘Peer review process’ page of the relevant journal for further details. If you have concerns and wish to appeal or file a complaint, please contact, or the relevant journal contact as outlined in that journal’s appeals process.

We do not tolerate abusive behaviour or correspondence towards our staff and others involved in the publishing process on our behalf. If anyone involved in this process engages in such behaviour, we have the right to take action to protect others from this abuse. This may include, for example, withdrawal of a manuscript from consideration, or challenging clearly abusive peer review comments.

Peer review

Peer review is critical to maintaining the standards of our publications. We:

  • provide appropriate systems, training, and support to facilitate rigorous, fair and effective peer review for all our publications;
  • encourage our editors and peer reviewers to familiarise themselves with and act in accordance with relevant best practice guidelines on peer review. Journal editors and peer reviewers should refer to COPE’s Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers and RLJ guide to peer reviewing journal articles;
  • expect those who oversee the peer review process to be able to recognise warning signs of fraudulent or manipulated peer review, and to raise any concerns by emailing People who oversee the peer review process may be internal to RLJ or contracted by us directly or indirectly;
  • support our editors and peer reviewers in investigating and acting on any suspected cases of manipulated or fraudulent peer review;
  • protect the confidentiality of participants in the peer review process where anonymity forms part of that publication’s peer review process. We also expect our publishing partners, authors and peer reviewers to uphold any relevant confidentiality arrangements for each journal and to provide necessary information to support this.
  • expect our journals to display their peer review model on the journal homepage. Further details on peer review models operated by Russian Law Journal journals can be found on our peer review Core page.


In journals that allow co-reviewing, an invited reviewer can work with a more junior colleague to review a manuscript for the purpose of reviewer training. This allows the co-reviewer to gain experience with the review process. Invited reviewers must declare any co-reviewers to the journal in advance of sharing the manuscript, and core viewers must declare any relevant competing interests. Further details on individual journals’ co-reviewing requirements can be found on the journal’s information and policy pages.

Editing of peer reviews

Unless entered into a written agreement otherwise, reviews are the intellectual property of reviewers. We encourage all those involved in the editorial process to familiarise themselves with the COPE Guidelines on Editing of Peer Reviews. Where breaches of the following policy are suspected, authors/reviewers should raise their concerns through the appeals/complaints process for that publication, or to

We expect all our journals to have a stated policy on the editing of peer reviews, including whether reviews may be edited (and, if so, under what circumstances). The

journal’s policy should be clearly communicated to authors and reviewers.


We strive to follow COPE’s Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing and encourage our publishing partners to uphold these same principles.

Integrity of record

We maintain a record of the existence of everything we publish with information (metadata) describing each publication. If our content is deemed not to comply with the laws of a sovereign nation, we make every effort to ensure the metadata remain accessible within that jurisdiction.

Where we are obliged to alter the publication record in any way, such as in the case of research misconduct leading to retraction of a publication, we preserve the academic record as far as possible. See the Corrections, Retractions and Removals section of these guidelines for information about how we do this.

We apply these same principles to our marketing, and do not modify or manipulate the representation of the academic record in our marketing activities.

When any product (chapter, article, book, Element or journal) is purchased or subscribed to, we supply it only in its totality to the customer, who is not entitled to alter its content in any way that is inconsistent with the licensing terms under which it was published. Any sale of disaggregated products is subject to the contracts with the copyright holders of the original products.

Authorship and contributorship

We acknowledge that different disciplines and publication formats have different norms for who is listed as an author. We expect all authors on any content submitted to Russian Law Journal to be in agreement that the authors listed would all be considered authors according to disciplinary norms, and that no authors who would reasonably be considered an author have been excluded. We also expect all listed authors to take responsibility for the integrity of the work. In the event of a dispute or change request (including author order or designation) at any stage of the publishing process, we will be guided by the relevant COPE flowchart, guidance, or case precedents in deciding the appropriate action(s). If these changes raise concerns about the broader integrity of the work further investigation may follow.


Prospective authors should refer to individual journals’ publishing ethics policies for additional authorship criteria. Where no other criteria are specified, authorship should be based on the below principles.1

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; and/or
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and/or
  • Final approval of the version to be published; and
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Journals may have their own policies on anonymous or pseudonymous authorship, consortia authorship, equal first authorship, appendix authorship, and other authorship approaches.

Corresponding authors

The corresponding author’s specific responsibilities include:

  • Manuscript correction and proofreading. Handling the revisions and re-submission of revised manuscripts up to the acceptance of the manuscripts;
  • Agreeing to and signing the Author Publishing Agreement on behalf of relevant co-authors and/or arranging for any third-party copyright owners’ signature;
  • Arranging for payment of an APC (article processing charge) where one is required. The affiliation of the corresponding author is used to determine eligibility for discounted or waived APCs under transformative agreements;
  • Acting on behalf of all co-authors in responding to queries from all sources post publication, including questions relating to publishing ethics, reuse of content, or the availability of data, materials, resources etc.

Requests to change the corresponding author after submission will be subject to scrutiny and a formal process, as with any authorship change. This applies to both pre- and post-publication of the article.

  • Whether there is a breach of copyright.

Where text recycling is deemed unacceptable, a submitted manuscript may be rejected. A published article may require retraction or a post-publication change as described in the Corrections, Retractions and Removals section of these guidelines.