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Author Guidelines

Requirement for submissions

 Download the style guidelines for contributors

The editors will consider only manuscripts that comply with the following requirements:

  • The submitted manuscript must be original. Authors must indicate in a covering letter accompanying the manuscript that themanuscripts has not already been submitted for publication or published elsewhere. Only manuscripts that have not already been submitted for publication or published elsewhere will be considered.
  • Authors must disclose all information that may be reasonably perceived to lead to a conflict of interest; and must declare any financial support related to the submitted manuscript.
  • If manuscripts are submitted by co-authors, it must be clearly indicated that all authors have significantly contributed to the research.
  • All authors are obliged to provide retractions or corrections of mistakes when so required by the publisher or editors.
  • All manuscripts selected through the process of anonymous peer-review will be made freely available online upon publication.
  • The copyright of articles are retained by the author/s who also retain publishing rights.
  • Manuscripts must follow the African Human Rights Law Journal’s style guidelines for contributors. Manuscripts that do not conform to the African Human Rights Law Journal’s style guidelines will be rejected out of hand.
  • The African Human Rights Law Journalis published in English. Manuscripts will not be considered if the English is below standard. In case of doubt about the correct use of the English language, authors are advised to have their text checked by a native English speaker before submission.
  • Manuscripts should average between 7 000 and 10 000 words (including footnotes) in length. Authors of manuscripts must indicate their university degrees, professional qualifications and professional or academic status. Authors should supply a summary of their contributions of not more than 300 words, setting out the main findings and contribution to scholarship. Footnotes must be numbered consecutively. Footnote numbers should be in superscript without any surrounding brackets.
  • Authors must provide their ORCID identifier together with their manuscript. ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognised. If you do not have such an ID, please register at the website, and thereafter provide us with your ID.  
  • The Journal does not charge article processing fees of any kind.

After submission: Screening and review process

  • Screening for plagiarism:The African Human Rights Law Journal has a strict policy of screening manuscripts for plagiarism. The AHRLJ uses the Turnitin software to detect plagiarism prior to considering a submitted manuscript for review. Manuscripts displaying plagiarism may be rejected on this ground alone. Authors not adhering to the AHRLJ's policy that verbatim quotes must be clearly indicated as such may be requested to revise their articles in light of this requirement.
  • In-house substantive screening:All manuscripts then undergo an in-house substantive screening by the Editor-in-Chief and the Associate Editors.  Manuscripts may at this stage be rejected without undergoing anonymous peer review, on grounds such as: it falls outside the scope of the AHRLJ; the AHRLJ style guidelines were not followed; the manuscript does not conform with formal submission requirements; the language use significantly impedes comprehension; the manuscript does not present a substantiated argument. Authors of manuscripts rejected at this stage are informed about the in-house screening decision.
  • Peer-review process: Selected manuscripts are then sent for anonymous peer review by at least two experts in the relevant field, for their views on whether the submitted manuscript is publishable.  The review process is double blind, in the sense that reviewers are not aware of authors’ identity, and authors are not aware of reviewers’ identities. Reviewers are required to engage in an objective assessment and should indicate if they have any conflict of interest. After peer review reports are received, the Editors decide on whether to invite authors to submit a revised version of the article together with a report on how authors have implemented comments from the reviewers. On receipt of the revised version, the Editors decide on whether to publish.
  • The Editors reserve the right to modify manuscripts that have successfully passed through the peer-review process, to bring them in conformity with the house style, to improve accuracy, to eliminate mistakes and ambiguity, and to bring the manuscript in line with the tenets of plain legal language.

Publication ethics and publication malpractice statement of the African Human Rights Law Journal

Authors should observe high standards with respect to publication ethics as set out in the guidelines adopted by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), Any cases of ethical misconduct will be treated very seriously and will be dealt with in accordance with these guidelines.

In the event that the African Human Rights Journal publisher or editors are made aware of any allegation of research misconduct, the publisher or editor will investigate and act upon such allegations.

When information comes to the attention of the publisher or editors of the AHRLJ that requires the retraction or correction of a published article, the matter must be investigated and acted upon appropriately.  The AHRLJ is committed to publishing corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies when so required, in the issue immediately following, in line with COPE guidelines.


Conflict of interest

Authors should declare if they consider that they may be reasonably perceived to have a conflict of interest in respect of the content of the manuscript they submit.  The ground for the potential perception of a conflict of interest must be acknowledged in the manuscript. 

Editors must refrain from participating in the selection of articles about which they may reasonably be perceived to have a conflict of interest.

External reviewers are expected to refrain from participating in the selection of articles about which they may be reasonably perceived to have a conflict of interest.

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) states in its Guidelines on Good Publication Practice (2003) as follows:

‘Conflicts of interest arise when authors, reviewers, or editors have interests that are not fully apparent and that may influence their judgments on what is published. They have been described as those which, when revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived.’

Conflict of interest include any personal involvement in a case or other matter related to a manuscript under consideration for publication that may reasonably perceived to lead to bias, such as having a meaningful financial interest in a related matter, having received funding, having an interest in the outcome of a case being discussed in a manuscript, or having a personal relationship. 

Submission Preparation Checklist

All submissions must meet the following requirements.

  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, or RTF document file format.
  • Where available, URLs for the references have been provided.
  • The text is single-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.


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