Peer Review Process
All submissions are initially assessed by an Editor, who decides whether or not the article is suitable for peer review. Submissions considered suitable for peer review are assigned to a member of the Editorial Board to complete a review task.
The journal operates a double-blind peer review process, meaning that authors and reviewers remain anonymous for the review process. The review period is expected to take around six to eight weeks, although this can vary depending on reviewer availability. Reviewers are asked to provide formative feedback, even if an article is not deemed suitable for publication in the journal.
Based on the reviewer reports the journal’s Editor-in-Chief will decide to accept, reject, or to recommend minor or major revisions. The Editor-in-Chief is supported by an expert throughout this process, depending on the expert’s availability.
Members of the editorial team/board are permitted to submit their own papers to the journal. In cases where an author is associated with the journal, they will be removed from all editorial tasks for that paper and another member of the team will be assigned responsibility for overseeing peer review. A competing interest must also be declared within the submission and any resulting publication.
Reviewers are asked to provide comment on the below topics and guidelines:
- Content: Does the article fit within the scope of the journal? Is the submission original, relevant and rigorous? Is the author’s depth of understanding of the issues researched adequate? Are the sources and references adequate? Has the existing knowledge base been explored and built upon? Are the chosen methodologies appropriate and have they and the evidential base been appropriately used? Does the conclusion reflect the argument in the main body text and bring something new to the debate?
- Structure and argument: Does the abstract summarise the arguments in a succinct and accurate way? Is the manuscript logically structured and do the arguments flow coherently? Is there enough reference to methodology in the introduction and are the arguments fully evidenced and substantiated? Does the introduction signpost the arguments in the logical way and does the conclusion adequately summarise them?
- Figures/tables: Does the author’s use of tables, charts, figures or maps illustrate the arguments and support the evidential base? Is the quality of the formatting and presentation adequate?
- Formatting: Does the submitted file adhere to the general author guidelines listed for the journal? Are the citations and references formatted to house-style?
- Language: Is the text jargon free? Please comment on the quality of English and need for grammatical improvement.
The journal is happy to accept submissions of papers that have been loaded onto preprint servers or personal websites, have been presented at conferences, or other informal communication channels. These formats will not be deemed prior publication. The journal accepts papers that have been published within formal conference proceedings, provided that the paper provides substantially more data, analysis and/or discussion than the original conference paper. Authors must retain copyright to such postings. Authors are encouraged to link any prior posting of their paper to the final published version within the journal if it is editorially accepted.
All listed authors must qualify as such, as defined in our authorship guidelines, which have been developed from the ICMJE definitions. All authors must have given permission to be listed on the submitted paper.
Competing Interests, Funding and Ethics
To ensure transparency, all authors, reviewers and editors are required to declare any interests that could compromise, conflict or influence the validity of the publication. Competing interests guidelines can be viewed here.
In addition, authors are required to specify funding sources and detail requirements for ethical research in the submitted manuscript, ensuring that ethical approval and consent statements are detailed within the manuscript (see Author Guidelines).
Corrections and Retractions
In accordance with guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (where applicable), the Press handles different kinds of error. All articles have their proofs checked prior to publication by the author/editor, which should ensure that content errors are not present. Please contact your editorial manager if an article needs correcting.
Post-publication changes are not permitted to the publication, unless in exceptional circumstances. If an error is discovered in a published article then the publisher will assess whether a Correction paper or Retraction is required. Visit our Correction Policy page for more information.
Take Down Policy
Houghton St Press adheres to UK copyright law and respects intellectual property rights. If you are an author, rights holder or are authorised to act on behalf of an author/rights holder, and you are concerned at you have found material published in Rationale for which you have not given permission that infringes your copyright, you have the right to request its removal. For more information to help you understand whether an infringement has occurred and guidance on how to gather evidence to back up your request, see this Factsheet from the UK Copyright Service.
If you wish to request the removal of material, please contact us stating the following:
- Your contact details: this should include your full name, title if acting on behalf of an organisation, telephone number, email and postal address.
- The full bibliographic details of the material.
- The exact and full URL where you found the material.
- Proof that you are the rights holder and a statement that, under penalty of perjury, you are the rights holder or are an authorised representative.
Upon receipt of a request, the Rationale team will remove any alleged infringing content while an investigation is carried out. If it is concluded that the material is in breach of intellectual property rights, the material will be permanently withdrawn from the Rationale website.
Misconduct and Complaints
Allegations of misconduct will be taken with utmost seriousness, regardless of whether those involved are internal or external to the journal, or whether the submission in question is pre- or post-publication. If an allegation of misconduct is made to the journal, it must be immediately passed on to the publisher, who will follow guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) on how to address the nature of the problem. Should the matter involve allegations against a member of the journal or publishing team, an independent and objective individual(s) may be sought to lead the investigation. Where misconduct is proven or strongly suspected, the journal has an obligation to report the issue to the author's institution, who may conduct their own investigation. This applies to both research misconduct (e.g. completing research without ethical approval and consent, fabricating or falsifying data etc) and publication misconduct (e.g. manipulating the peer review process, plagiarism etc). Should an investigation conclude that misconduct or misinformation has occurred then the author, along with their institution will be notified. Should the publication record need to be corrected, the journal's correction policy will be followed.
Should an author wish to lodge a complaint against an editorial decision or the editorial process in general they should first approach the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, explaining their complaint and ask for a reasoned response. Should this not be forthcoming or adequate, the author should raise the matter with the publisher, who will investigate the nature of the complaint and act as arbiter on whether the complaint should be upheld and investigated further. This will follow guidelines set out by COPE.
The journal does not tolerate abusive behaviour or correspondence towards its staff, academic editors, authors or reviewers. Any person engaged with the journal resorting to abusive behaviour or correspondence will have their contribution immediately withdrawn and future engagement with the journal will be at the discretion of the Editor and/or publisher.
- Open Submissions
- Peer Reviewed