About the Journal

The European Journal for Empirical Legal Studies (EJELS) is a peer-reviewed open access journal devoted to the empirical study of law and legal systems. The Journal is established, owned, and run by the European Society for Empirical Legal Studies (ESELS).

The Journal aims to (i) scientifically advance the field of empirical legal studies, (ii) bridge the substantive domain of law and the empirical approaches broadly conceived, and (iii) promote the use of different empirical methods when researching legal and public policy questions. In particular, it promotes methodological pluralism and strives to foster a discussion between the different fields.

In line with this vision, the EJELS’s intended readership consequently includes researchers in various disciplines, such as legal scholars, psychologists, economists, political scientists, criminologists, etc. Besides the academic community, the Journal targets readers from legal practice, policy makers, and other professionals interested in the field. Editorial decisions are based on the high quality of the research. The Journal is not restricted to any particular field of law nor any particular legal system, but submissions need to be of relevance to a European audience.

In light of its methodological and disciplinary pluralism, the EJELS is open to quantitative as well as qualitative scholars, acknowledging the richness in approaching different issues from various angles and using complementary or mixed methods approaches. The Journal aims to benefit from the domain expertise of legal scholars, as well as from their empirical methodologies, and from the methodologies of scholars from other sciences, such as social and computer sciences. The Journal is also meant to cover different types of research questions, such as explanatory as well as descriptive and explorative research.

The EJELS is strongly committed to high quality and ethical research. We therefore require that all submitted work adheres to high ethical standards, and we may require documenting that the work has gone through ethical review when appropriate. In addition, the Journal adheres to the principles of Open Science: inclusion, fairness, equity, and sharing. This is reflected in the Journal’s own publishing practices, and also means that authors are required to make studies reproducible, including sharing necessary data and code.

Types of articles

The Journal publishes the following types of articles:

Research articles: should offer a significant scholarly contribution to a timely and relevant legal topic. This category includes review articles. The articles should typically be 8,000-12,000 words long.

New datasets: with the aim of advancing the sharing and reuse of scientific data, creating new avenues for research based on shared data, the Journal also publishes papers that present and describe new datasets.

Methodological developments/teaching notes: to foster learning and development of methods the Journal also welcomes papers that describe newly developed, expanded, or especially adjusted methods to the field of empirical legal studies. Such papers will typically be up to 12,000 words.

Short articles: articles that even though they advance the scholarly field are briefer than a research article, for example contributions that deal with a niche topic. Such papers are typically between 5,000-7,000 words.

The EJELS also welcomes proposals for Special Issues on innovative and focused topics.

Editorial Policy

The review process proceeds as follows:

  1. All submitted manuscripts are first assessed by the Managing Editor, who decides whether the manuscript is suitable to be sent for peer review or, if not, should be rejected (“Desk Reject”).

  2. Manuscripts deemed suitable for further review are assigned to a Co-Editor with area expertise who will send it to at least two expert peer reviewers who are tasked with highlighting the manuscript's general and specific merits and shortcomings.

    The Journal uses a double-blind review procedure before acceptance/rejection of manuscripts, which means that authors and reviewers are anonymous throughout the review process.

  3. Based on the reviews, as well as on the Co-Editor’s own assessment, the Co-Editor makes a recommendation to a) accept the manuscript for publication, b) accept with conditions, c) ask the author for revisions, or d) reject the manuscript.

  4. Based on this recommendation, the Editor-in-Chief and the Co-Editors make the decision. This review process is expected to take between 6 and 8 weeks.

In cases where a manuscript’s author is in some way associated with the editorial team, they will be removed from all editorial tasks for that article. An independent editor will be tasked with organizing the peer-review process. The author's affiliation with the Journal will also be indicated in the final publication of the article.

The Journal follows an exclusive submission process. This means that articles which are under consideration in other journals or have been published elsewhere cannot be considered for publication in this journal. The Journal does accept manuscripts that have previously been uploaded for review as preliminary versions, on personal websites, presented at conferences, or made available through other informal communication channels. However, authors must hold copyright for the text in question. Authors are also encouraged, when available, to include links to previous versions of the article in the final version of the article published in the Journal. Learn more about the Journal's policies.

Publication Fees

The Journal does not charge any publication fees.