Publication Ethics

Journal Complaints and Appeals Process

The journal's publisher, Open Library of Humanities (OLH), will carefully consider complaints, appeals, and allegations in line with guidance from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). This applies both pre- and post-publication.

When a complaint is made to a journal, it must be passed to the journal's editor(s), who must then inform the publisher, OLH, and address the issue following COPE guidelines. Where necessary, allegations will be referred to the appropriate institution for further investigation. Pending the outcome of an investigation, the published record will be updated accordingly, with a post-publication notice in the form of either a correction or a retraction. This notice will be linked to the original article (see below for further details). A permanent digital object identifier (DOI) and universal resource locator (URL) link between the notice and the full article enhances transparency and the integrity of the publication record; only in rare cases, where it is in the public interest, will an article be removed.

Well-evidenced appeals to editorial decisions are welcome and will be handled by the journal's editor(s) in the first instance, who will assess the appeal's validity. If valid, the journal's editorial board and/or external peer reviewers will review the appeal. A new editorial decision will be made based on the results of this review.

To submit a complaint or raise an issue of potential misconduct to a journal, or to appeal an editorial decision:

  1. Contact the journal's editor(s) with an explanation of your complaint or appeal. If you have a complaint regarding the editors of a journal, you may, alternatively, address your complaint directly to the publisher by writing to
  2. If the response to your complaint is not satisfactory, raise the matter with the publisher, OLH (, who will investigate the complaint and decide whether a further investigation is required, following COPE guidelines.
  3. Especially complex cases may be submitted directly to COPE for guidance on how to proceed.

Please submit complaints or appeals by email via the journal's contact form. Our aim is to acknowledge complaints or appeals within five days of receipt, and to keep complainants updated throughout the process. If the resolution reached by the journal/publisher is not satisfactory to the complainant, the matter may be escalated to COPE or a similar, appropriate body.

Journal Options for Post-Publication Discussions and Corrections

Where post-publication corrections or retractions need to be made, or if an article is to be removed, these will be accompanied by a correction or retraction notice to indicate the incorrect elements of the article and the extent of the corrections made, or the basis for the article's retraction or removal.

  • Correction notices are issued to address relatively minor errors in the article's content or changes that have been made to the article's metadata. To avoid multiple versions of the same article being circulated, these corrections are strictly limited to, for example, errors of spelling and phrasing that affect meaning, data errors, or mis-citations. These changes are outlined in the corrections notice and the original article must be clearly linked to this notice. Corrections are usually made within a short time period after publication (typically within seven working days).
  • Retraction notices are issued for major issues affecting the argument or substantive content of an article that a correction would otherwise not fix. When a retraction is made, following COPE's Retraction Guidelines, a retraction notice will be issued, linking to the original article, which states very clearly and exactly which part(s) of the article are incorrect or unreliable, and therefore the basis for the retraction. A "Publisher's Note" will be added to the original article linking readers to the retraction notice.
  • Removals are only to be made in rare circumstances, where not doing so would infringe copyright or cause harm. In the case of an article's removal, the contents of the article will be removed from circulation. It will not be downloadable as a file or displayed on the article's web page. A notice of retraction will be issued in the same manner as a standard retraction notice, and it will include the reason(s) for the article's removal. The original article's metadata will remain, linked to the retraction notice.

Journal Policies on Conflicts of Interest/Competing Interests

Competing interests can be financial, commercial, legal, familial, or professional. Authors must declare any conflict or competing interests that are relevant to the published article (as well as those that may be perceived to be relevant by others).

To ensure transparency, neither editors nor board members may be involved in editorial decisions about their own scholarly work. Any published article that lists editors or board members as authors must include a statement on competing interests following the OLH journal guidelines.

Journal Policies on Data Sharing and Reproducibility

OLH is committed to a more open research landscape and facilitating access to research by enabling reproducibility. OLH encourages authors of articles published in our journals to share their research data where relevant, including, but not limited to, raw data, processed data, software, algorithms, protocols, methods, and materials.

Journal Policy on Intellectual Property

Authors at OLH journals retain their copyright but grant the ability for the publisher to disseminate the work under the Creative Commons license CC BY 4.0 (and in very rare circumstances under other Creative Commons licenses). Full details are available in the Copyright Notice of the Submissions page.

Journal Policy on Ethical Oversight

Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. Where applicable, the studies must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee and the authors should include a statement within the article text detailing this approval, including the name of the ethics committee and reference number of the approval. Authors are expected to follow their institutional policies for research ethics. For most research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study should be obtained from participants (or their parent or guardian in the case of children under the age of sixteen). Moreover, peer reviewers are asked to comment on any ethical problems perceived within submissions.

Journal Policies on Authorship and Contributorship

Articles should list the names of all those who contributed to the published work, to ensure transparency and research integrity. Authors take collective responsibility for determining who should be listed as an author and the order in which they should appear. Individuals who have contributed to the article, but do not meet the full criteria for authorship, should be credited by name and affiliation in the article's Acknowledgments section.

Where editors wish to incorporate the CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy) system to acknowledge different models of contribution, this will be permitted on a case-by-case basis, although it is not a requirement.

Author Name Changes Post-Publication

In accordance with OLH's core values of inclusivity and openness, we acknowledge that an author may change their name during their career. OLH will therefore support post-publication author name changes where we have the technical capacity to do so (i.e., access to PDF source files). This will be actioned without publicly announcing these changes via a correction notice. Requesting authors will not be asked to provide legal evidence or documentation, nor of the reason for a name change. However, they may be asked to provide evidence that they are the author of the article in question (for example, email correspondence relating to the submission or revisions). Authors requesting a name change should contact the journal's editor(s) by email using the contact form.