Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

There are many excellent journals that deal with legal doctrine and practice, policy and institutions, and with themes relevant to rural people and the rural context. However there is a relative lack of concentrated attention upon the unique issues and features of rural law and policy. We believe that rural issues are sufficiently distinctive and important to justify a specialist focus.

Rural people encounter many of the same law and policy issues that challenge their urban counterparts: crime, the struggle for social justice, property and commercial transactions, and the pursuit of sustainability. However, more than urban dwellers, rural people face these challenges from within environments that affect the character of the challenges themselves as well as the feasible responses to them. Out of such features arise many law and policy issues that are vital to rural people but which may be of marginal interest to the majority population clustered in cities or close to cities. Natural resources law and policy, indigenous social justice, and equity of access to services and transport are illustrative of such issues. There are also many issues that may not be uniquely rural preoccupations but which take on a particular character in a rural setting, including sexual freedom, personal reputation or professional ethics in a small community, and the challenges of creating viable enterprise networks when distant from urban centres where most consumers reside.

These special considerations for rural law and policy are relevant around the world. There is an opportunity to learn how to design better governance systems, innovative laws, and improved policies from each other. We offer the medium of this journal as a platform to explore and share the learning.

We have adopted an open access policy for this journal, with the intention of replicating some of the features of the modern community to benefit both readers and authors. We are taking advantage of the flexibility that modern technology provides, by publishing:

  • Editions, which comprise papers on a theme. The theme in the first Special Edition is on the topic of ‘Water Law: Through the Lens of Conflict’. Papers in the edition are based on a colloquium held in January 2011 at the University of New England, Australia.
  • Regular publications of unsolicited, relevant papers on an ad hoc basis. Scholars and practitioners are invited to submit papers for peer review and inclusion.
  • Commentary. We invite comment (see the comment link to each paper) upon all papers published in the journal. On a periodic basis, the comments will be reviewed and a ‘commentary' published.

We hope that by these means the International Journal of Rural Law and Policy will generate a lively community of scholars of rural law and policy, as well as contributing innovative and useful ideas to the field.


Section Policies


Articles submitted to the journal must be less than 8,000 words, contain an abstract of no more than 300 words, a list of key words and follow the style guide for authors. All articles will be reviewed by at least two peers. Authors will receive reviewers' comments and be giving an opportunity to adjust their articles.

  • Jonathan Liljeblad
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed


This part of the journal is written by the chief editor for that issue of the juournal and provides an overview and discussion of each of the articles published in the issue.

  • Amanda Kennedy
  • Jonathan Liljeblad
  • Paul Martin
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed


  • Jonathan Liljeblad
Unchecked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Peer Review Process

Each article is peer reviewed by at least two reviewers (generally blind review) before publication.

Each submitted manuscript is evaluated on the following basis:

  • the originality of its contribution to the field of scholarly publishing
  • the soundness of its theory and methodology given the topic
  • the coherence of its analysis
  • its ability to communicate to readers (grammar and style)

Normal turn-around time for evaluation of manuscripts if four to six months from the date of receipt.

For further information on best practice peer review processes, please see the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors and Publishers and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Responsibilities in the Submission and Peer Review Process.

Conflicts of Interest

Our editors are required to declare any potential competing interests in undertaking their editorial duties. In cases where a manuscript is submitted by a colleague at their own institution or from their resesarch networks, editors will remove themselves from the decision-making process. A co-editor, or an external trusted expert, with no such connections, is then asked to act as the editor for that particular article. Additionally, an editor will have no input or influence on the peer review process or publication decision for an article they have authored and submitted to the journal. Should a member of a journal's editorial team submit a manuscript to the journal, a co-editor, or external trusted expert, will be assigned to manage the entire review process and act as editor for that particular article. If the article proceeds to publication, it will be explicitly stated on the article that the editor who submitted the paper has had no involvement with the journal's handling of this particular article, along with the reasons for this, and the name of the assigned editor.


Publication Frequency

The International Journal of Rural Law and Policy comprises special editions and articles published as submitted.

The special editions are based around a theme with articles generally provided by invited authors.

Articles submitted by authors on an unsolicited basis are assessed for suitability by the editor, then sent to two reviewers (generally blind) for comment. Authors will then be notified whether the intention is to publish the article and conditions for publication. Once accepted, articles are published as soon as the editorial process is complete.


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.



The CLOCKSS system and the PORTICO system have permission to ingest, preserve, and serve this Archival Unit.



The views expressed in this journal are those of the authors and do not, and should not, be considered representative of International Journal of Rural Law and Policy or UTS ePRESS or the University of Technology, Sydney.

Editorial decisions are not affected by the origins of manuscripts, including nationality, ethnicity, race, nor religion of the authors. In addition, editorial decisions are not determined by the policies of governments or other agencies outside of the journal itself.


Author Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the author/s to ensure:

  • Any conflicting or competing interest is disclosed on submission of their work and all sources of funding are declared.
  • They contact the Journal Manager jonathan.liljeblad@une.edu.au to identify and correct any material errors upon discovery, whether prior or subsequent to publication of their work.
  • The work is original, and all sources are accurately cited, according to the Journal’s style guide.
  • The authorship of the work is accurately reflected. This means all individuals credited as authors legitimately participated in the authorship of the work, and all those who participated are credited and have given consent for publication. Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution or interpretation of the work. Other contributors should be mentioned in the acknowledgement section of the paper and their contribution described. Please refer to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship guidelines for more information on authorship


Complaints Handling

Complaints related to International Journal of Rural Law and Policy should be directed in the first instance to the Journal Manager, jonathan.liljeblad@une.edu.au. Complaints will be investigated according to recommendations by the Committee on Publication Ethics (see COPE Flowcharts). If complainants are unsatisfied with the response they may contact the Publisher, utsepress@uts.edu.au. Authors with complaints related to the peer review or editorial process should refer to the Author Guidelines.


Handling of Suspected Misconduct

Issues of suspected misconduct will be handled in accordance with the guidelines set out by the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors.


Corrections and Retractions

Corrections and retractions will be treated in accordance with the guidelines set out by the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors.