The journal is committed to ensuring ethics in publication, while closely following the standards of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and Vilnius University Press Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement (see here).

This journal uses double-blind review, which means that both the reviewer’s and the author’s identities are concealed from the reviewers, and vice versa, throughout the review process. To facilitate the editorial workflow, authors are required to ensure that their manuscripts are prepared in a way that does not either directly or indirectly reveal or refer to their identity.

Based on the assessment criteria presented in section ‘Section Title’, the reviewers assess whether the paper may be accepted without revisions, with minor or major revisions, or if it should be rejected. The core of any review process is an objective assessment of both the technical rigour and the theoretical contribution of the presented work.

As a publisher of scholarly journals and books, Vilnius University Press is committed to meeting high standards of ethical behaviour throughout all stages of the publication process. These guidelines outline the publishing ethics responsibilities of Vilnius University Press, authors, peer reviewers, and editors.

Standards of Ethical Behaviour

The Publisher and all the participating parties are expected to conform to standards of ethical behaviour, the key principles of which are summarised below. For more detailed journal policy, please refer to the section Journal Policy.

- aim at meeting the needs of readers and authors with ensuring the quality of the published material, by precisely following high standards in all procedures performed in regard to every submitted manuscript;
- perform evaluation, acceptance and rejection of manuscripts exclusively on the basis of their academic merit (importance, originality, clarity and the study’s relevance to the mission of the journal);
- ensure that research material conforms to internationally accepted ethical guidelines;
- ensure that all the unpublished information of submitted manuscripts remains confidential and cannot be used for the advantage of the editor or any other parties;
- take the appropriate measures if ethical complaints concerning a submitted manuscript or a published article are presented.

- follow the best practices of academic publishing, while ensuring the highest possible quality level of analysis and discussion, as it is generally accepted by the research community; the corresponding author ensures full consensus of all co-authors in approving the final version of the paper and its submission for publication;
- present an objective study and provide sufficient details and references to permit others to understand the achieved results and compare them to the findings of other researchers; ensure that the literature review of the article(s) is objective, comprehensive and accurate; warrant that the text does not include any knowingly inaccurate statements;
- ensure that their work is original, and all the references to other sources have been appropriately acknowledged, financial support to research (if applicable) is indicated; plagiarism of any form is not present in the submitted material;
- confirm/assert that the manuscript as submitted is not under consideration or accepted for publication elsewhere. Where portions of the content overlap with published or submitted content, acknowledge and cite those sources. Upon request, provide the editor with a copy of any other submitted manuscript that might contain overlapping or closely related content;
- promptly notify the journal editor or publisher if a significant error in the publication has been identified; cooperate with the editor and publisher to publish an erratum, addendum, corrigendum notice, or to retract the paper, whenever deemed necessary.

- aim to contribute to the decision-making process and to assist in improving the quality of the submitted paper by reviewing the manuscript objectively and rigorously, while following high professional standards and thus providing constructive assistance to advance a research paper;
- only agree to review manuscripts for which they have the subject expertise required to carry out the proper assessment and which they can assess in a timely manner;
- declare all potential conflicting interests (financial, institutional, collaborative or other relationships between the reviewer and the author), by seeking advice from the journal if unsure whether something constitutes a relevant interest;
- respect the confidentiality of peer review and do not reveal any details of a manuscript or its review, during or after the peer-review process, beyond those that are released by the journal;
- do not use any information obtained during the peer-review process for their own or any other parties’ advantage, or to disadvantage of others;
- alert the editor to any published or submitted content that is substantially similar to that under review;
- do not allow their reviews to be influenced by the origin of a manuscript, by the nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender or other characteristics of the authors, or by commercial considerations;
- are objective and constructive in their reviews, formulate observations politely and clearly by backing them with adequate supporting arguments.

Instructions to reviewers

In the journal, we aim to provide authors with clear feedback that will help to guide them as they improve their work. To help us do this, we ask (but do not require) that reviewers prepare their reviews by using the template, or, when justified, in a free form. The idea is to anchor specific criticisms and suggestions to the specific points in the paper. In our experience, reviews prepared this way are clearer, and they help us understand the reviewers’ concerns better so that we can make decisions that are as specific and helpful as possible.

Reviews may be and should be critical, but we ask reviewers to keep in mind that dismissive language and personalised criticisms may be viewed as reflecting bias or ulterior motives on the part of the referee.

The journal’s Editorial Office handles the administrative aspects of the peer-review process for the submitted papers. All peer-reviews must be submitted through the journal’s online submission system.

Basic review criteria:

- clarity of thesis statement and declaration of purpose.
- relevance of the theoretical discussion and description of the empirical investigation.
- rigorous and reproducible methods of the research and its results.
- well-founded discussion/analysis.
- well-structured and logically coherent composition.
- unambiguous and properly analysed data.
- conclusions supported by data.
- originality of the work. Awareness of relevant research. 

Peer-reviewer responsibilities to authors

- provide written, unbiased feedback on the scholarly merits and scientific value of the work, together with the rationale for your opinion.
- provide your peer-review as soon as possible within a 21-day period. If you cannot do so, please contact the journal office immediately through the journal’s online platform.
- indicate whether the writing is clear, concise, and relevant and rate the work’s composition, scientific accuracy, originality, and interest to readers.
- avoid comments or criticism of the author`s personality.
- maintain the confidentiality of the peer-review process by not sharing, discussing with any third parties, or disclosing information from the reviewed paper without permission from the editorial office.

Peer-reviewer responsibilities to editors

- alert the editor to any potential personal or financial conflict of interest (see Ethics policy, Conflicts of interest) you may have; decline to review whenever a possibility of a conflict exists.
- determine the scientific merit, originality, and scope of the work and suggest ways to improve it.
- note any ethical concerns, such as substantial similarity between the reviewed manuscript and any other published paper or any other manuscript concurrently submitted elsewhere.

Peer-reviewer responsibilities to readers

- ensure that positively reviewed papers meet the journal’s standards.
- protect readers from incorrect or flawed research or studies that cannot be validated by others.
- be alert to any failure to cite the relevant work by other scientists.