African Journal of Agroecology and Livelihoods

Policies address problems that editors need to resolve and provide a clear explanation of how the journal operates.

 

1.1       Journal Focus

The African Journal of Agroecology and Livelihoods focuses on agroecology and livelihoods whose scope of appropriate research will be conceptualized broadly to cover many areas of Agroecology including climate smart practices’ research, complex emergencies, bioethics, education for sustainable development, systems and agroecologies, integrated management systems, agro ecosystem management, resilience, disaster risk reduction studies, etc. Articles within the entire continuum of prevention, preparedness, response, recovery through to development will be welcome. Research articles on gender and gender-responsive Agroecology, inclusive Agriculture, Agroecology in the context of HIV/AIDS, are welcome.

Note:

The Editor-in-Chief in consultation with the Editorial Board may decide to broaden/ condense the Journal focus and can select specific topics related to Agroecology as the focus of special editions. Final language describing the Journal’s focus and mission will be developed by the Editor and incorporate the advice of the Editorial Board.

On a similar note, the editor in chief in consultation with the board will determine Editions & Contents of the Journal and whether publication will be online and at what interval: this concept however, proposes three sections to be focused on by the Journal:

  1. Agroecology research articles; a section which will have solid research methodology/ research design, use an explicit, well-recognized theoretical or conceptual framework, and contribute to the evidence-base and the advancement of agro-ecological knowledge.
  2. Agroecology in Practice; a section whose articles will demonstrate progress and/or challenges in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating Agroecology policies and programs.
  3. Book Reviews; articles in this section, will offer a critical review of recently published or an upcoming book (or substantial studies, evaluations, meta-analyses, documentaries or other media) focusing on Agroecology.

1.2       The quality of the African Journal of Agroecology (AJAL)

The quality of AJAL is assessed following criteria for the quality of publishing practices of Southern journals as well as of other online journals. The assigned Journal Publishing Practices and Standards (JPPS) levels serve a dual purpose. For readers, they provide assurance that the journals meet an internationally recognized set of criteria at a particular level. For journal editors, the detailed feedback from the JPPS assessment helps them identify ways to improve their publishing practices and standards with a view to achieving a higher level at the next assessment.

1.3       The article judgement criteria

The article judgement and review criteria follow the Journal Publishing Practices and Standards (JPPS), which was announced by African Journals Online and INASP in 2017.

1.4       Journal Access:

African Journal of Agroecology is primarily delivered online. The aim is to provide increased visibility, accessibility and quality of peer-reviewed articles so that the research outputs that are produced can easily be found, shared and used more effectively.

The Agroecology association may eventually make the Journal available in hard copy, funding permitting. While full funding is not yet available, the faculty may consider printing and distributing a 2-page summary of the articles featured in the edition, similar to the current cost-saving practice for some open-access Journals and publications.

Log-in is required to access full articles. The aim is to allow AJAL to develop a database of subscribers.

Cost

The cost of the journal shall be decided on by the advisory board and reviewed annually.

Otherwise, AJAL, as a product of a World Bank project, aims at providing open access to all of its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Such access is associated with increased readership and increased citation of an author's work.

1.5       Staffing

The Editor-in-Chief and the Editorial Board, and the work they will do to establish the Journal and to secure quality articles from top-notch researchers that contribute to the field of Agroecology, will impact how the Journal is viewed and perceived in the field.

1.5.1 Editor-in-Chief: will decide whether a submitted manuscript will be published in the Journal, keeping in mind recommendations from the peer reviewers.

1.5.2 Faculty/association’s Coordinator for Minimum Standards & Network Tools: The Coordinator will serve as the Managing Editor and will ensure the smooth process of running the Journal—from putting out the call for articles           through to the release of each edition.

1.5.3 Editorial Board: the Editorial Board will consist of over 10 members, including established researchers and members from Agroecology fraternity and the Academia Editorial Board members should have a Ph.D., or                         M.A/M.Sc. in related fields.

1.5.4 Interns: he/she supports the smooth process and coordination of calls for submissions, submissions, communications with peer reviewers, communications with authors and production (graphic design, printing etc.).                       Responsibilities include crosschecking facts, spelling, and grammar, references, writing style, design pages and photos, and checking citations. The faculty / association coordinator will manage interns.

1.5.5 Guest Editors: Occasionally, the Editor-in-Chief may invite Guest Editors from other established Journals to facilitate the call for proposals and selection of articles on particular thematic issues.

1.5.6 Language Community Facilitators (or external translators): each abstract will include translations in Kiswahili, French, and English.

1.5.7 Term of office: The term of office of editors will be determined on need.

1.5.8 Appointing new officials: Officials in academia are often scarce. So, AJAL will attempt to keep its officials.

1.5.9 Appointing reviewers: Reviewers are appointed based on expertise and experience in the fields related to AJAL coverage.

 

1.6       Production stages

The articles will be sent for copyediting, and then typesetting. Publication of AJAL is continuous. A minimum of 5 articles gets published in an issue. However, articles are added as they become ready up to about 10 articles. Then we start collecting for the next issue. So you do not have to wait long for it to be published once a final decision.

1.7       Management of submissions

The systems for managing submission

1.7.1 Article processing

From submission to first decision

8 weeks

Time for reviewing to editorial decision

12 weeks

Time for author to correct

4 weeks

Time for final decision

4 weeks (if no further review is needed)

1.7.2 Peer Review Process:

All articles are peer-reviewed through a double blind and transparent process. A well-recognized software system facilitates the double-blind peer review process. The peer review process is facilitated by the Editor-in-Chief with an administrative and coordination support from the Agroecology Association as well as the Faculty of Agriculture, UMU. The Research Manuscripts (Section 1) are judged on the criteria determined by the editor in chief.

1.7.3 Procedures – what will happen to the paper after submission (See Figure 1)

  • These steps to be followed by journal after the author submits the paper:
  • Preliminary checking: In this stage paper is judged based on following criteria: research topic suitability, content quality, paper layout, author details and similarity percentage. The manuscript editor assigns any of the following status to research paper:

              Success – Forwarded to journal editor

             Resubmit – Resubmit email sent to author

             Reject – Rejection email sent to author

  • Editorial decision: In this stage journal editor sends research paper to reviewer suggested by author. In case reviewer is not suggested paper will be reviewed by internal editors called editorial review. The journal editor assigns any of the following status to research paper:
  • Accept – Acceptance email with publication & payment details sent to author
  • Modify – Modification email sent to author
  • Reject – Rejection email sent to author
  • In certain situation research paper directly reviewed by editors without sending to reviewer. This is also adopted if reviewer doesn't send review report within time period. In case of editorial review name of the reviewer is not mentioned in published paper.
  • Article publication: After author completes payment transaction the paper is scheduled for publication in current issue or next issue of journal. Finally the paper is published online on publication date and email is sent to corresponding author with link to download paper and author certificates.
  •  
  •  

Comments from reviewers

Comments from reviewers

 

Reject

Editorial decision

Accept

Further review required

Author resubmits

Requires revision—return to author

Reject

Editorial decision

Accept

Comments from reviewers

Reviewers selected/ invited

Editorial Office register submission

First decision

Author submission

Reject

Send for review

 
   


Figure 1: Process of article review

 

1.8       Managing appeals

AJAL may ask you to revise your article in the light of the referees' comments. Additional referees may be invited to review the article together with the handling editor although the final decision is the responsibility of the editor-in-chief.

Authors who have genuine cause to believe that the wrong decision has been reached in not accepting their paper for publication have the right to appeal to the editorial board. Such appeals will be considered on procedural and/ or scientific grounds.

    1. Author policy
      1. “Contributorship-policy”: Authorship credits should only be attributed to someone who has contributed scientifically. Everyone who has contributed substantially to the scientific effort should be listed as an author.
      2. “Guarantorship-policy”: One of the authors should be identified as the person who takes the responsibility to co-ordinate all contacts between the editor of the journal and the authors.
      3. Author Guide

A detailed author guide line and policy can be found under the Submissions Menu

    1. Ethical considerations
      1. Ethical commitments of the Editorial Board of the Journal
  • Editorial Board (hereafter Council) is responsible for everything published in the Journal. All manuscripts submitted for publication are carefully selected and reviewed. Council reserves the right to reject an article or return it for revision. The author, in turn, is obliged to rewrite the article according to the comments of reviewers and Council.
  • Council without prejudice considers all manuscripts offered for publication, judging each appropriately in spite of  race, religion, nationality affiliation and as well as the status or workplace of the author(s).
  • Council makes fair and impartial decisions, independent of commercial or other interests and ensures a fair review process;
  • Council may reject a manuscript without review if it considers that the article does not fail to the Journals’ specialization.
  • Council states that falsification, plagiarism and self-plagiarism, submitting the articles of the same content in more than one Journal, multi-copying of similar information in different articles, false attribution of authorship and deception of the public regarding toward the real contribution of the author(s) to publication should be excluded.
  • Council has a right to remove even already published article in case of finding out the violation of someone’s rights or accepted norms of scientific ethics. Council informs the author about the fact of removing the article, who provided the article and the organization where the work was performed.
  • Council members should not give any information about the content of the manuscript under consideration to other persons, except persons who are involved into the professional review of this manuscript. After a positive decision the article is published in the Journal and is posted to the corresponding electronic resources.
  • It is acceptable to spread any articles from the Journal publication or extracts from them over the Internet, in such case the source reference is required. Publication and/or distribution of materials of the Journal to third parties or organizations in print and electronic media are prohibited.
  • According to the international legislation in the Part of authors rights compliance about electronic informational resources, information from website of the Journal can not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form (electronic or printed) without the prior written consent of the author(s) and Council of the Journal. When using the published materials in the context of other documents source reference is necessary.
  • Council members, author(s) and reviewers should inform about their interests that would affect to their objectivity while editing and reviewing manuscripts of the articles (in case of conflict of interest). These may be financial, personal, political, religious and intellectual interests.
      1. Ethical commitments of author(s):
  • Author(s) of article manuscript is personally responsible for the content of article and for the fact of their publication. The main responsibility of the author(s) is to provide an accurate report of the research, as well as an objective discussion of its significance.
  • The research result conducted by the author(s) and submitted for publication in Journal should be outlined in accordance with the current legislation and ethical standards.
  • Author(s) should presents its research results clearly and unambiguously, so that its findings can be confirmed by other scientists, without forgery of obtained data or manipulation of them.
  • Author(s) should cite those publications that have an influential impact on the essence of the reported work, and as well as those that may guide the reader quickly to the earlier works that are important for understanding of this research. Citation of articles which are not directly related to considered report should be minimized with the exception of reviews. It is essential the proper reference to the sources of fundamentally important materials that are used in the manuscript.
  • Author(s) must follow the requirements of Council to articles. It is not acceptable to represent plagiarism as original work and submission of previously published article for publication. In the cases of plagiarism detection the responsibility is carried to the author(s) of submitted materials.
  • An experimental or theoretical study may sometimes serve as a basis for criticism of the work of another researcher. In appropriate cases published articles may contain such criticism. However, in any case personal criticism can not be considered appropriate.
  • The co-authors of the article should be those persons who have made significant scientific contribution to the reported article and who share the responsibility for the obtained results. Other contributions should be indicated in a footnote or an «Acknowledgments» section. The author who submits a manuscript for publication corresponds for that to the list of co-authors should be included all those and only those persons who correspond to the criteria of authorship. In the article written by several authors, that of the author who gives contact information, documents to the Council and correspondences with Council, assumes responsibility for other authors’ agreement for its publication in the Journal.
  • The authors should inform the Council about any potential conflict of interest, such as consulting or financial interests that might be affected by publication of the results contained in the authors’ manuscript. Author should guarantee the absence of contractual relationship or ownership considerations that could influence on publication of information.
  • Granting license: Author provides journal a non-exclusive license of paper to publish in open access mode.
  • Manuscript originality: The manuscript is original creation of authors and not published anywhere earlier.
  • First submission: The research paper is not under consideration for review or publication in any other journal.
  • Lawful content: The research paper is free from any unlawful and libelous material that could cause harm to any individual or society.
  • Academic integrity: Author ensures integrity of manuscript and follows ethical principles of scientific publishing.
  • Co-author confirmation: Author ensures confirmation from co-authors before mentioning their name in research paper and all authors have approved final manuscript.
  • Plagiarism free: Author ensures all references are properly cited and credit given to the original authors.
  • Information authenticity: Author ensures scientific knowledge, historical data, figures and all other statements conform to true facts.
  • Author contribution: Author ensures all co-authors participated in a substantive way in research work and are prepared to take public responsibility for the work.
  • Free distribution: Author permits adaptation, preparation of derivative works, oral presentation or distribution, and commercial application of their published paper.

1.10.3  Ethical commitments of a reviewer:

  • All members of the Council are reviewers.
  • Reviewer should deal with a manuscript as with the confidential document, represented by the author(s) for publication in the Journal.
  • Reviewer should not use or disclose unpublished information, arguments or interpretations contained in the submitted manuscript, except if it is no consent of the author(s). However, if this information indicates that some of the reviewer’s personal researches may be ineffectual, the termination of such study by the reviewer does not contradict ethical standards.
  • Reviewer must objectively evaluate the quality of the manuscript, his experimental and theoretical sections, interpretation and presentation, and also consider whether the work meets high scientific and literary standards. The reviewer must respect the intellectual independence of the author(s).
  • Reviewer should explain adequately and argue his judgments so that members of Council and author(s) could understand the basis of his comments. Any statement that the review, conclusion or argument had been previously published should be accompanied with relevant references.
  • Reviewer should mark any cases of incomplete citation by the author(s) of other scientists’ articles that have direct relevant to the reviewed article. Reviewer should pay attention of the Council members to essential similarity between submitted manuscript and any of published articles or any manuscript submitted to another Journal at the same time.
  • Reviewer should not evaluate a manuscript if he has personal or professional connections with the author(s) and if such relationship may influence to the unbiased judgment about the manuscript.
  • If the Council has no agreement of opinion of submitted article publication, it reserves the right to appoint an independent reviewer.
  • Reviewer should submit a report in time.

1.10.4  Journal ethics

  • Making publishing decisions impartially, based on the soundness of the research and the value of the manuscript
  • Not accepting bribes to publish an author’s work
  • Avoiding conflicts of interest – for example not publishing only the work of friends or colleagues
  • Avoiding bias – ensuring that decisions are made without bias such as to the location or the gender or race of the author
  • Ensuring good practice in the processing of manuscripts – not behaving unfairly to authors (e.g. delaying decisions unnecessarily)
  • Ensuring that international standards of behaviour are complied with – for example regarding respecting the privacy of authors’ submissions prior to publication
  • Be willing to revise decisions, issue erratum, etc., when a publication has been shown to be incorrect.

1.11     Policy on plagiarism

The plagiarism policy ensures authors give due credit to other authors while referencing and it protects academic integrity of research community.

  1. All submitted papers are checked with plagiarism detection software to verify originality and find similarity percentage. The papers failing to satisfy criteria are sent back to author for modification.
    1. Authors republishing their earlier published work (self-plagiarism) will also be dealt in same procedure as mentioned above.
    2. If plagiarism is suspected/detected in paper after publication, the paper will be removed from website till verification is over. In case few paragraphs are plagiarized the author will be given a chance to modify published paper and final paper will be restored in website after editor’s approval. However, if the editor decides plagiarism is major issue in published paper and seriously violates copyright of others then paper will remain removed from publication and author will be notified. It will be mentioned in website about removal from publication as well as indexing services will be notified about removal.
    3. If plagiarism is detected in paper just before publication, the author will be given a chance to resubmit paper after necessary modification as suggested by editor. However, if the editor decides plagiarism is major issue in paper, it will not be considered further for publication.
    4. Technical complexities are involved in plagiarism detection by any software. In some cases even if plagiarism isn't detected in initial stage it may be found in later stage of research publication.

 

1.12     Academic misconduct

Academic misconduct in research publication means fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or other practices that deviates from commonly accepted practices within the scientific community for publication of academic research. The followings cases are few example of academic misconduct.

  • Redundant or duplicate publication
  • Multiple submission
  • Image manipulation
  • Data fabrication
  • Misrepresentation of personal details
  • Plagiarism
  • Failure to abide by journal's policy
  • Submitting unethical or erroneous research paper

In case academic misconduct is found in the research paper before publication, the author will be given a chance to make necessary correction as suggested by editor. However, if the editor decides it as a serious matter then the paper will not be considered further for publication.

In case academic misconduct is reported after publication of research paper it will be removed from publication and also mentioned in website about the removal of paper from publication.

1.13     Dealing with conflicts of interest

What are conflicts of interest?

1.14     Advertising in the journal

1.15     Copyright policy

1.16     Journal funding

ACALISE through the World Bank project for Centres of Excellence

1.17     Distribution mode

1.18     Archiving

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.

1.19     Technical Support

Technical support for AJAL is provided by:

Email: