Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

JOAL is an open-access, peer-reviewed academic journal of international scope.  Its purpose is to promote international research on the topic of open access to law.

JOAL provides an international forum for academic researchers as well as for practitioners of open legal publishing. Central topics of concern include

  • critical construction of legal information methods
  • governance of new models of legal publishing
  • the relationship between open-access legal information and technology
  • projects in open access to law
  • the technical challenges and economic opportunities created by open access to law and public sector information
  • the economic dimensions of open access to law
  • trends and changes suggested by the globalization of access

JOAL is meant to stimulate and promote an interdisciplinary approach to law, relocating classical topics in a new framework at the crossroads of law and history, law and literature, law and philosophy, law and technology, and law and AI.

The Editorial Board invites the submission of essays, topical article, comments, critical reviews, which will be evaluated by an independent committee of referees on the basis of their quality of scholarship, originality, and contribution to reshaping legal views and perspectives.


Section Policies

Free and open access to legal information in the digital age

Appropriate topics for this section include:

  • Access, authorization and authentication of digital legal information
  • Quality and timeliness of online legal services Licensing for digital resources
  • Trends in Legal Publishing
  • IPR Issues and challenges
  • Best practices of information and knowledge management in libraries

  • Graham Greenleaf
  • Jules Winterton
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Data organization and legal informatics

Appropriate topics for this section include:

  • Multi-lingual legal databases
  • Automatic processing of large-scale legal data on the web
  • Semantic web technologies and law
  • Uniform tools for legal referencing
  • Social networking technologies and their implications for free access to law

  • Mariya Badeva
  • John Joergensen
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Open government data and its applications

Appropriate topics for this section include:

  • Role of ICT in development of comparative jurisprudence
  • Government information policy
  • Governance and funding models for sustainability of free acess to law
  • Governance and accountability
  • Challenges and barriers in free access to law in developing countries
  • E-rulemaking
  • E-participation


  • João Lima
  • John Sheridan
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Legal services based on free access to legal information

Appropriate topics for this section include:

  • Teaching law using internet resources
  • Open legal publishing
  • Economics of legal information

  • Colin LaChance
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Reports and reviews

JOAL welcomes occasional conference reports and reviews on websites, information services, software, and ICT tools in the legal area.

Articles should be no longer than 1.500 words. Conference reports should refer briefly to a list of topics discussed at the conference and present their main positive or negative aspects.

  • Thomas Bruce
  • Pompeu Casanovas
  • Enrico Francesconi
  • Graham Greenleaf
  • Ginevra Peruginelli
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Sharing opportunities and initiatives

JOAL publishes announcements of projects and initiatives, as well as calls for expressions of interest in specific themes or aspects of open access to law.

  • Thomas Bruce
  • Pompeu Casanovas
  • Enrico Francesconi
  • Graham Greenleaf
  • Ginevra Peruginelli
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Peer Review Process

Reviewer selection for each article submitted is up to the section editors and takes into account reviewers' experience, competence, suggestions by authors or different editors, and previous experience in reviewing papers for JOAL.

Every proposal submitted for publication is read at least by an editor, for an initial review. If the paper agrees with editorial policies and reaches a minimum level of quality, it is sent to two reviewers for evaluation. JOAL uses  blind peer review.

The review process aims to provide authors with a competent opinion on their paper. A review should give authors suggestions, if needed, on how to improve their papers.

The peer-review process is managed using this OJS software platform.


Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.



This journal utilizes the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. More...


Copyright Policy

Authors submitting a paper to JOAL automatically agree to confer a limited license to JOAL if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication. This license allows JOAL to publish a manuscript in a given issue, by any means, anywhere in the world. Authors whose submissions have been accepted then have a choice of:

  1. Dedicating the article to the public domain. This allows anyone to make any use of the article at any time, including commercial use. A good way to do this is to use the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication Web form; see http://creativecommons.org/license/publicdomain-2?lang=en.

  2. Retaining some rights while allowing some use. For example, authors may decide to disallow commercial use without permission. Authors may also decide whether to allow users to make modifications (e.g.translations, adaptations) without permission. A good way to make these choices is to use a Creative Commons license.

    • Go to http://creativecommons.org/license/.

    • Choose and select license. Choose "generic" if you are in the U.S. and "text" for JOAL articles.

    • What to do next — you can then e–mail the license html code to yourself. Do this, and then forward that e–mail to JOAL’s editors. Put your name in the subject line of the e–mail with your name and article title in the e–mail.

    Background information about Creative Commons licenses can be found at http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/.

  3. Retaining full rights, including translation and reproduction rights. Authors may use the statement:  © Author 2013 All Rights Reserved. Authors may choose to use their own wording to reserve copyright. If you choose to retain full copyright, please add your copyright statement to the end of the article.



Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice

JOAL has high standards for expected ethical behavior by all parties involved in the act of publishing: the author, the journal editor, the peer reviewer and the publisher.  The following ethics statements are based on COPE's Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors.

Publication decisions

The editors of JOAL are responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published. The editors may be guided by the policies of JOAL's editorial board and constrained by such legal requirements as shall then be in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism. The editor may confer with other editors or reviewers in making publication decisions.

Fair play

An editor at any time evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors.


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

Disclosure and conflicts of interest

Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in an editor's own research without the express written consent of the author.

Duties of Reviewers

Contribution to Editorial Decisions

Peer review assists the editor in making editorial decisions and through the editorial communications with the author may also assist the author in improving the paper.


Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself from the review process.


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

Standards of Objectivity

Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.

Acknowledgement of Sources

Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also call to the editor's attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.

Disclosure and Conflict of Interest

Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider 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 papers.

Duties of Authors

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. A paper should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.

Data Access and Retention

If applicable, authors are asked to provide the raw data in connection with a paper for editorial review, and should be prepared to provide public access to such data, and should in any event be prepared to retain such data for a reasonable time after publication.

Originality and Plagiarism

The 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.

Multiple, Redundant or Concurrent Publication

An author 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 behaviour and is unacceptable.

Acknowledgement of Sources

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.

Authorship of the Paper

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. 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.

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. 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 editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper.


For the Reader

We encourage readers to sign up for the publishing notification service for this journal. This registration will result in the reader receiving the Table of Contents by email for each new issue of the journal. This list also allows the journal to claim a certain level of support or readership. See the journal's Privacy Statement which assures readers that their name and email address will not be used for other purposes.


For the Author

Authors need to register with the journal prior to submitting, or if already registered can simply log in and begin the process.  It is short and simple.


For Librarians

We encourage research librarians to list this journal among their library's electronic journal holdings. As well, it may be worth noting that this journal's open source publishing system is suitable for libraries to host for their faculty members to use with journals they are involved in editing.

ISSN: 2372-7152