Dalhousie Law Journal

Publication Ethics


The Dalhousie Law Journal strives to maintain the highest standards for ethics and quality in both the processes and content of its publication. This applies to editors, board members, staff and contributors who collectively uphold these values that create the following general expectations.

Editors, Board Members, and Staff will:

  • Take reasonable steps to identify, investigate and prevent research misconduct in the publication of works. These processes are outlined in the procedures section below.
  • Foster a community of knowledge and accountability around research ethics.
  • Conduct investigations of alleged research misconduct with vigour.
  • Oversee the anonymous peer review so that it is confidential and impartial.
  • Deal with errors, corrections and retractions in a transparent and timely way.
  • Attend to conflicts of interest, ethical challenges, intellectual property disputes and other policy concerns in a timely and reasonable manner
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    Editors will:

  • Maintain a board of directors with recognized experts capable of ensuring the integrity of the journal.
  • Make public the names and any relevant affiliations of the editorial board.
  • Uphold the Journal's processes and policies for submission, peer-reviewing and editing.
  • Consider and address any conflicts of interest arising for themselves, authors, board members, editors or staff. Where applicable, editors will recuse themselves or request the recusal of others.
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    Authors will:

  • Ensure that all research was conducted ethically and transparently. It must conform to the standards of their institution. Research including humans, vulnerable populations, confidential information or non-human animals implies a higher duty of ethical concern and conduct. Ethics approvals and consent must be obtained when appropriate. Some leading policies supported by the DLJ include the Tri-Council Policy Statement and the First Nations Ethics Guide on Research and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge.
  • Establish open and transparent research processes where possible.
  • Maintain accurate and verifiable records of research and data that allow others to replicate findings. At a minimum, authors should keep records of research and datasets on file, particularly in cases of extrapolations from large bodies of case law, literature or interviews. The DLJ encourages authors to deposit their work into open access databases such as Dalhousie University Dataverse @ Scholars Portal. Information for accessing Dalhousie’s data repository can be found here.
  • Contribute significantly to the work submitted. "Gift", "guest" and "ghost" authorship is prohibited, and all contributors should be appropriately acknowledged.
  • Engage in the peer review and editorial process.
  • Disclose any possible or existing conflicts of interest.
  • Respond to allegations of misconduct and participate in any investigations.
  • Cite all sources using the most current version of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation.
  • Abide by copyright laws and practices set out by the Official Copyright Board of Canada for all third-party text, images and supplementary material.
  • Alert the Journal to any errors, inaccuracies or misrepresentations and provide retractions or corrections when necessary.
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    Peer Reviewers will:

  • Review manuscript in a professional, timely and impartial manner.
  • Disclose any possible or existing conflicts of interest.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the review process and recuse themselves if they become aware of the identity of the author.
  • Advise the editor or member of the editorial board of an ethics breach or misconduct by the author or editorial team.
  • Not distribute the draft outside the purpose of fulfilling their review.
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    The discovery of unethical behaviour should be brought to the attention of the editor (or member of the editorial board if necessary). Such behaviours include failure to follow the expectations above, copyright disputes and academic misconduct (e.g. plagiarism, falsification, fabrication, conflicts of interest and other standard forms of academic misconduct, etc.). Other forms of ethical concerns may also be brought forward.

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    The editor (or board member) will determine the scope of the investigation while maintaining confidentiality and reducing possibilities for defamation. Affected parties will be contacted for a fact finding and explanatory process. Records of communications will be kept on file. If broader oversight due to a conflict of interest is necessary, the editor or board member will seek the appropriate person or organization for a timely and impartial investigation.

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    An assessment of the investigation will determine whether a breach of ethics has occurred. Depending on the severity, the editor (or board) will determine the appropriate consequence. The editor (or board) may advise sanctions that:

  • Communicate to the individual the unethical behaviour and the appropriate ethical standards that apply
  • Inform that any future breaches of the same or similar manner may result in more severe consequences
  • Publish a statement or editorial outlining the breach
  • Reject, retract or withdraw of work from the journal and communicate the misconduct to relevant publishing partners
  • Bring the misconduct forward to appropriate academic institutions, professional boards, funders and other regulatory authorities. Misconduct that requires external support may require the involvement of external organizations before an investigation is complete.
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    The DLJ endeavours to follow the Committee on Publication Ethics’ Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. Where appropriate, we may rely on their processes to inform our work.

    Complaints and appeals may be brought before the board.