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Editorial Policies

1   Instructions to Authors

1.1  What we publish

Manuscripts should be concise and well-written contributions to the study of popular romance fiction and/or the logics, institutions, and social practices of romantic love in global popular culture.

JPRS also publishes reports from the classroom, outlining techniques and tools, syllabus models, and practical pieces on the teaching of popular romance. We also publish book reviews, notes and queries, and special issues.

Authors are advised to familiarize themselves with the current state of popular romance studies before submitting, and those working on popular romance fiction are encouraged to make use of the academic bibliography at the Romance Scholarship Database.

There are no fees payable to submit to or publish in JPRS. Authors of all articles in JPRS retain all copyright and publishing rights without restrictions.

1.2  Formatting submissions

Research articles should be between 5,000 and 10,000 words, including notes and bibliography. Manuscripts longer than 10,000 words will be returned unread. Submissions should be Microsoft Word documents, with citations in MLA 8 format. Do not include your name or the name of any co-authors in the submitted manuscript.

Every submission must be accompanied by a completed Submission Form. Please send completed forms and manuscripts to Amy Burge, Managing Editor, at managing.editor@jprstudies.org Incomplete submissions will not be considered submitted until all required documents are received by the journal.

1.3  Guidelines for authors

JPRS has a number of policies which authors should read before submitting to the journal.

1.4  Submission from editorial board members

Editorial board members (see Editorial Structure and Remit) are encouraged to submit to JPRS but must not be involved in editorial decisions about their own work. They must also declare their role and potential conflict of interest at the point of submission (see Conflict of interest). Submission from editorial board members will not be prioritised ahead of other submissions. For these submissions, the submitting member will have no involvement in the peer review or decision-making process.

2    Special Issues

JPRS welcomes the publication of special issues on a range of topics relating to the study of romantic love and its representations. Special issues can be devised by the Editorial Board (in response to an identified need, for example) or suggested by scholars. If you are interested in creating or editing a special issue, contact the Executive Editor (executive.editor@jprstudies.org). Special issues are usually assigned one or more external editors who works with the dedicated Special Issues Managing Editor.

The External editor(s)

  • Is usually an expert in the field, with knowledge of the special issue topic.
  • Is responsible for:
    • Drafting the Call For Papers (ensuring that the format of articles meets the journal’s requirements)
    • Dealing with queries
    • Accepting author submissions
    • Judging whether submissions fit with the journal and special issue topic
    • Forwarding submitted articles to the internal editor (preferably in a single batch)
    • Forwarding peer review suggestions to the internal editor (at least two per article)
    • Providing regular updates to the internal editor
    • Communicating with authors (acknowledging submissions, passing on peer review reports and proofs, arranging submission deadlines)
    • Writing an introduction for the special issue
    • Sending the completed special issue to the internal editor
    • Informing authors when the special issue is published.

The Internal editor

  • Is a member of the JPRS Editorial Team (usually Special Issues editor).
  • Is responsible for:
    • Contacting peer reviewers for submitted articles
    • Redacting and passing peer review reports to the external editor(s)
    • Providing regular updates to the external editor(s)
    • Sending the completed special issue for copyediting
    • Returning proofs to the external editor(s)
    • Informing the external editor(s) on publication.

 Chain of communication

3    Peer Review

All research articles submitted to a general issue of JPRS undergo peer review. Book reviews, notes and queries articles, interviews, and pieces on the teaching of popular romance are not usually peer reviewed, but undergo internal editorial review. Research articles submitted to special issues will be peer reviewed according to our regular practices.

JPRS has a double blind, pre-publication peer review policy. This means that the identity of the author is not disclosed to the reviewers, and the identity of the reviewer is not disclosed to the author. We aim to complete the peer review process within 3 months of submission.

The editors or a reviewer who is unable to review the work themselves may suggest peer reviewers. Authors may indicate potential reviewers at the point of submission, but JPRS reserves the right to select the reviewers we consider most suitable. JPRS expects that all involved in the peer review process conduct themselves with integrity and in correspondence with the relevant guidelines and policies.

Editors mediate all communication with reviewers and authors. Peer reviews are not published and the reviewer retains ownership over their own review. When adopting suggestions from reviewers, an acknowledgement should be added to the revised manuscript indicating the attribution (e.g., “I am grateful to the anonymous peer review for this suggestion”).

3.1  Accepting an invitation to review

Potential peer reviewers should undertake the following when deciding whether to agree to review for JPRS:

  • Look over the evaluation criteria and review form to ensure that you understand and accept the policy.
  • Consult the JPRS policy on Conflict of Interest and consider whether there is any potential conflict in this case. JPRS does not share the author’s name with peer reviewers, but if you have a good idea of who the author is, this must be declared to the editor. If the title and abstract indicate any conflict of interest, this should also be indicated (e.g., if you have recently submitted a manuscript on a very similar topic to JPRS or another journal).
  • Consider if you have the necessary time and expertise to fairly evaluate the manuscript. JPRS usually asks for peer review to be undertaken within 6 weeks.

You may wish to consult the COPE flowchart ‘What to consider when asked to peer review a manuscript’, https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.2.17, accessed 3 September 2021.

3.2  Reviewing a manuscript

When reviewing a manuscript, please follow the JPRS guidelines and evaluation form and report any concerns relating to plagiarism and research ethics (see JPRS policies on ‘Plagiarism and Text-Recycling’ and ‘Research Ethics’). We welcome constructive peer review that provides feedback to help the authors improve the manuscript. Referring to specific line numbers or sections can be helpful. While suggestions for improving clarity are welcome, comments on language and style are less important than an assessment of argument, analysis, and originality. Reviews should not contain biased, hostile, or inflammatory language.

The manuscript and all correspondence relating to the peer review process should be considered confidential. The manuscript must not be shared with any other party and reviewers must not use information gained during the review process to advantage or disadvantage themselves or any other individual or group. The review must be undertaken by the agreed reviewer only. Following publication, the reviewer may choose to identify themselves to the author (e.g., via social media). We ask that permission is also sought from the author before any information relating to the peer review process is disclosed. Where editors provide additional peer review, this will be attributed to a named individual and will not be anonymous.

3.3  Resubmission and revision

We regularly ask reviewers to look at revisions or re-submissions of manuscripts that they have previously peer reviewed. We are grateful to reviewers who are able to accommodate such requests. Any new conflict of interest which has emerged in the time since the original assessment should be declared at this point.

4    Peer Review Appeals and Complaints from Authors

You are welcome to appeal editorial decisions. You will need to submit evidence and/or new information that responds to the editor’s and reviewer’s comments. Appeals should be submitted to the Managing Editor (for general submissions) or the Special Issues editor (for special issues), clearly setting out:

  • The nature of the complaint;
  • Why you disagree with the decision and providing new information that you would like us to take into account;
  • How you would address any shortcomings highlighted during the peer review process;
  • Any evidence of bias or technical error on the part of the peer reviewer or editor;
  • Any evidence of conflict of interest on the part of the peer reviewers or editor.

All appeals will be carefully considered and will usually be led by a member of the editorial board who was not involved in the original decision, where possible. The editors may confirm the decision to reject the manuscript, may invite a revised submission, or may seek additional peer review.

We will consider one appeal per submitted manuscript. All appeal decisions are final.

5    Retractions[1]

Retraction (the withdrawal of an article from publication) will be considered in the following cases:

  • There is evidence to indicate unreliable findings, fabricated or falsified data
  • There is evidence of plagiarism or text-recycling
  • The article has previously been published elsewhere
  • Copyright infringement
  • The article contains material for which permission has not been obtained to use
  • Appropriate ethical clearance has not been obtained
  • There is evidence that the peer review process was manipulated or compromised
  • The author did not disclose a conflict of interest that significantly impacted the peer review process.

If an article that might require retraction is identified to the editors, we will investigate the issue and write to the author. The author response will be evaluated along with any other evidence and the decision of whether to retract the article communicated to the author.

Notices of retraction will be linked to the relevant article and will state the reason for the retraction.

6    Authorship

All submissions should clearly indicate all contributing authors and confirm that they have met the requirements for authorship. We display author names in alphabetical order at JPRS, so please indicate in a footnote any unequal authorship or lead authorship, if required. We follow COPE guidelines on the minimum requirements for authorship:

  • substantial contribution to the work
  • accountability for the work that was done and its presentation.

(COPE Council, ‘COPE Discussion Document: Authorship’, September 2019 https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.3.3)

Individuals who do not meet the requirements for authorship but who have contributed in some way can be included in the acknowledgements, with their consent.

6.1  Name changes

If any author wishes to change their displayed name post-publication, they may contact the editors who will arrange for the name to be updated on the published article and in any associated metadata. We recognise that name changes can be sensitive matters, so we will not inform any co-authors of name changes and will not publish a correction to the article.

6.2  Authorship by editorial board members

Editorial board members are encouraged to submit to JPRS, but must not be involved in editorial decisions about their own work. They must also declare their conflict of interest at the point of submission (see Conflict of interest). See the Peer Review policy for how JPRS handles submission from Editorial Board members.

7    Conflict of Interest

Authors, peer reviewers and members of the editorial board should disclose all interests which may present a potential conflict and affect their ability to submit or review work in an objective way. These may be professional or personal reasons (e.g. a close personal or professional relationship).

Potential editorial board members should disclose a list of all commitments and roles relating to publication of research (e.g. being on the editorial board for another journal). All editorial staff must declare conflicts relating to any submitted work where that conflict might prevent the objective assessment of such work. Such staff should withdraw from discussion or decision-making about the relevant submission.

For authors, if there is no conflict of interest to declare, this should be stated at the end of the submitted manuscript. Members of the JPRS editorial board should declare their role when submitting a manuscript to the journal. If there is no conflict to declare, the following statement should be included at the end of the manuscript: ‘The Author(s) declare(s) no conflict of interest’. A statement relating to conflict of interest or a lack thereof will be included with all published articles.

All those invited to peer review will be asked to declare any potential conflicts of interest and to recuse themselves if the conflict is relevant. If a peer reviewer identifies an author’s undisclosed conflict of interest this will be investigated by the relevant editor, following COPE guidelines (see: COPE Council, ‘COPE Flowcharts and infographics — Undisclosed conflict of interest in a submitted manuscript — English’, https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.2.6).

8    Research Ethics

8.1  Research involving humans

Research involving humans includes, but is not limited to:

  • Social media research
  • Observational studies (covert or open)
  • Survey research
  • Retrospective studies (using existing datasets)
  • Interviews and focus groups

For all articles reporting research involving humans, authors must submit a statement with their manuscript confirming the following:

  • That ethical approval was obtained before the study commenced for all parts of the research from the relevant institutional review board (IRB) or other appropriate ethics committee.
  • That the study meets national and international guidelines for research involving humans.
  • The name of the ethics committee or IRB.
  • Any reference or permit numbers where these are available.

For any study where ethical approval is not required or where an exemption has been granted by an ethics committee, this should be indicated in the submitted manuscript and fully explained. The name of the ethics committee granting exemption (if applicable) should be included. Authors may be asked to provide further information to the journal editors upon request.

8.2  Bias-free language

Authors should ensure to use non-stigmatizing and non-discriminatory language when describing group characteristics e.g. race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender. Where such groupings are made, authors should include an explanation of any definitions and categories. We recommend that authors consult the MLA Style Guide on bias-free language.

On some occasions, reported data (such as quotes from interviews or creative works) may include stigmatizing or discriminatory language. Authors should try to avoid reproducing such language where possible. If reproducing such language is essential to the research it should be presented as a direct quote and cited appropriately.

9    Research Funding

All funding sources must be listed in the acknowledgements section of a submitted manuscript.

10   Plagiarism and Text-recycling

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) define plagiarism as:

When somebody presents the work of others (data, words or theories) as if they were [their] own and without proper acknowledgment.

(https://publicationethics.org/category/keywords/plagiarism#:~:text=When%20somebody%20presents%20the%20work,own%20and%20without%20proper%20acknowledgment, accessed 3 September 2021)

The Committee on Publication Ethics defines text-recycling as follows:

Text recycling, also known as self-plagiarism, occurs when sections of the same text appear (usually un-attributed) in more than one of an author’s own publications. The term ‘text recycling’ has been chosen to differentiate from ‘true’ plagiarism (i.e. when another author’s words or ideas have been used, usually without attribution).

(https://publicationethics.org/files/Web_A29298_COPE_Text_Recycling.pdf, accessed 3 September 2021)

All work submitted to JPRS must be original and should not have been published elsewhere in any format or language, in part or in full. If the submitted manuscript is an expansion of previous work, please indicate in your cover letter which material has been re-used. All use of other works, including your own, must be fully referenced and cited.

All submissions to JPRS are checked for plagiarism at the peer review stage. If a reviewer identifies suspected plagiarism, the Managing Editor/s and Executive Editor will investigate. If plagiarism is detected after the article has been published, the matter will be investigated in the same manner.

If text-recycling is detected in an article submitted to JPRS, the relevant Managing Editor and Executive Editor will investigate to establish the significance and extent of the overlap.

If plagiarism or text-recycling are detected, we will write to the author and request an explanation. Depending on the initial findings and the response from the author, we may:

  • Ask the author to correct the issue through revisions to include appropriate citation (this is most likely if the paper is at the peer review stage)
  • Reject the paper (if the similarities to other works are substantial)
  • Issue a correction (for small errors, such as missing citations, in an article which has already been published)
  • Retract the article.

11  Preprints Policy

JPRS will accept for consideration articles which have previously been made available as preprints (for example in an institutional repository or on a personal website). The existence of the preprint should be disclosed at the point of submission to JPRS along with any copyright implications (for example, if the author has not retained copyright of the preprint work). Once the article is published in JPRS, a link to the article on the journal’s website should be added to the preprint. Authors may publish a manuscript submitted to JPRS as a preprint at any time. As JPRS is an open access journal, authors may post the final published version to a preprint server immediately after publication.

12   Use of copyrighted materials

It is the responsibility of the author to secure written permission from copyright holders to reproduce images, tables, figures, or any material that is held under copyright. The author is also responsible for covering any associated costs. Relevant permissions must have been requested before the article is submitted to JPRS. Please indicate in your covering letter/email that permissions have been requested. It would also be beneficial to indicate in the covering letter/email your plan if reproduction were to be refused (e.g., including a link to an online image or reducing the length of a text quotation).

Some reproduction of copyrighted material is permitted for academic publications under ‘fair use’ (called ‘fair dealing’ in the UK). The general principles of fair use are to reproduce only that which is necessary. Interpretations of fair use differ globally, and we advise you to contact the copyright holder and seek permission for the use of copyright content under fair use.

Useful links:

13   Editorial Structure and Remit[2]

JPRS has a two-part editorial structure:

  • A small team of editors with day-to-day oversight of the journal’s activities;
  • A larger editorial board whose roles are predominantly advisory.

Individuals are appointed to all roles for a three-year term that can be renewed once, providing that the role has been adequately fulfilled. Roles can be resigned before the term has expired. After two terms, the role will be externally advertised and applications invited – the incumbent appointee is welcome to re-apply. Job-sharing between two people is permitted for all roles.

Appointees can be removed from office in the case of non-engagement, or acting in a manner that is detrimental to the journal and its reputation. Examples of behaviours which might lead to removal from office (without mitigating circumstances) include non-attendance at two consecutive meetings, not responding to emails, or a breach of any journal policy. Any decision to remove a member of the editorial team or board from office will be based on an investigation led by the executive editor or an appointed proxy.

JPRS holds editorial team meetings on a quarterly basis to manage ongoing journal tasks. Larger editorial board meetings are held twice a year; all editorial team and board members are expected to attend one of these two board meetings.

Potential editorial board members are required to submit a list of all potential conflicts of interest (see Conflict of interest). Participation in multiple editorial boards does not automatically prevent an individual from joining the JPRS Editorial Team or Board. Each case will be determined individually and new Editorial Board members will be approved at quarterly Editorial Team meetings.

13.1  Editorial Team

The editorial team are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the journal. The team comprises the following roles.

Executive Editor

Responsible for:

  • Strategic oversight of journal operations;
  • Managing new Editorial Board proposals;
  • Advising on peer review decisions;
  • Offering additional feedback to authors;
  • Dealing with complaints and queries;
  • Attending editorial team meetings (quarterly);
  • Chairing twice-yearly Editorial Board meeting;
  • Supporting the work of the Managing Editors.
Managing Editor for General Issues

Responsible for:

  • Overseeing all general submissions;
  • Arranging peer review for all general submissions;
  • Sending articles for copyediting and proofing;
  • Managing the general issues email account;
  • Liaising with the editorial board;
  • Chairing editorial board meetings (quarterly);
  • Attending the twice-yearly Editorial Board meeting.
Managing Editor for Special Issues and Forums

Responsible for:

  • Overseeing all special issue and forum submissions and activity;
  • Managing the special issues email account;
  • Liaising with external editors and agreeing on procedures for each special issue;
  • Contacting peer reviewers for submitted articles to special issues;
  • Redacting and passing peer review reports to external editor(s) of special issues;
  • Providing regular updates to the external editor(s) and editorial board;
  • Sending the completed special issue for copyediting;
  • Returning proofs to the external editor(s);
  • Informing the external editor(s) on publication;
  • Attending editorial team meetings (quarterly) and the twice-yearly Editorial Board meeting.
Section Editors

Responsible for:

  • Seeking submissions for the relevant sections;
  • Peer reviewing submissions in the relevant area;
  • Attending editorial team meetings (quarterly) and the twice-yearly Editorial Board meeting;
  • Supporting the work of the Managing Editors.
Book Review Editor

Responsible for:

  • Managing the book review section, including the email account;
  • Soliciting reviews of relevant books in the area;
  • Communicating with publishers to arrange for books to be sent to reviewers;
  • Attending editorial team meetings (quarterly) and the twice-yearly Editorial Board meeting;
  • Sending completed book reviews for copyediting and proofing.
Notes and Queries Editor

Responsible for:

  • Managing the Notes and Queries section;
  • Attending editorial team meetings (quarterly) and the twice-yearly Editorial Board meeting;
  • Sending completed notes and queries for copyediting and proofing.
Web editor

Responsible for:

  • Managing and maintaining the journal website;
  • Formatting all articles before publication;
  • Liaising with the Managing Editor(s) during the proofing and publication process;
  • Publishing articles on the website and updating them as necessary;
  • Facilitating the appearance of JPRS material in online bibliographies and databases.
  • Attending editorial team meetings (quarterly) and the twice-yearly Editorial Board meeting.
Assistant Editor, Early Career Researcher Team

Responsible for:

  • Assisting the editorial team where required;
  • Championing and representing the Early Career research community to the editorial team;
  • Attending editorial team meetings (quarterly) and the twice-yearly Editorial Board meeting.

13.2  Editorial Board

The Editorial Board provides strategic oversight for the journal, including changes and updates to journal policies. Expected duties of editorial board members are:

  • Peer reviewing submissions (the expectation is 2-3 pieces per year);
  • Promoting the journal to colleagues and peers;
  • Attracting submissions to JPRS;
  • Advising on the journal’s policy, scope, and strategic plan;
  • Supporting the Executive Editor’s work in appeals decisions, complaints, and cases of plagiarism;
  • Attending one Editorial Board meeting each year.

13.3  The relationship between JPRS and the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

JPRS is published in partnership with the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR) but retains editorial independence. Editorial Board members are independently appointed by the JPRS editors. All Editorial team and Board members must declare any conflict of interest, including membership of IASPR.

IASPR provides financial support to JPRS to cover copyediting of journal articles and web hosting. The Association also publicises the journal on their website.

13.4  Code of Conduct

JPRS is committed to creating and maintaining a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for all. JPRS does not tolerate harassment in any form and requires all members of the editorial team and editorial board to follow this Code of Conduct.

Expected behaviour

All JPRS staff should:

  • Treat each other with respect, recognising and valuing diverse views and perspectives, and critiquing ideas rather than individuals.
  • Be considerate and collaborative, communicating openly with others and avoiding personal attacks.
  • Follow any venue-specific rules that might apply (e.g. for an in-person editorial meeting).
Unacceptable behaviour

JPRS will not tolerate harassment, bullying, or discrimination in any form. Examples of unacceptable behaviour might include:

  • Inappropriate or unnecessary physical contact, including invasion of personal space and inappropriate touching.
  • Inappropriate comments about a person’s appearance, intrusive questions, comments or remarks about a person’s private life and malicious gossip.
  • Screaming or shouting at an individual.
  • Physical or verbal assault or a threat of physical assault.
  • Insults, name-calling and offensive language and gestures (including racist and homophobic language).
  • Ridiculing and undermining behaviour, or unwarranted criticism.
  • Intimidating, coercive or threatening actions and behaviour.
  • Isolation, non-cooperation or deliberate exclusion of editorial team or board members.
  • Disclosing confidential information (e.g. the identity of peer reviewers or authors) or otherwise sharing confidential or protected material without permission.
Reporting unacceptable behaviour

If anyone feels that a member of the editorial board or editorial team has displayed unacceptable behaviour, they should notify the Executive Editor by email at executive.editor@jprstudies.org

The Executive Editor will investigate all reports of unacceptable behaviour in a confidential and timely manner. They may appoint members of the Editorial Board to assist them. If the investigation finds that a member of the Editorial Board or Editorial Team has behaved unacceptably and that their actions raise questions about their suitability for holding office at JPRS, they may be removed from their role.

13.5  Editorial Conflict Resolution

We recognise that editorial team and board members may at times disagree, for example about manuscript decisions, journal strategy, or decision-making. We hold regular editorial team meetings in which we encourage members to share their views in a professional and respectful manner. Minutes are taken for all editorial team meetings and are circulated to the entire editorial team afterwards to increase transparency and participation.

In the case of a conflict arising, the conflicting parties should, as a first step, arrange to meet (either online or in person) to discuss the conflict. Conflicting parties should listen to each person’s view, and try to ensure they understand each person’s perspective. The parties should try to come to an agreed solution. If the problem persists, one of the parties should contact the Executive Editor, who will mediate the conflict, ensuring that all perspectives are heard. If the Executive Editor decides, based on the evidence submitted, that one or more parties have violated the Code of Conduct the matter should be investigated as a breach of that Code.

If, after mediation, the parties are still not able to reach agreement, the Executive Editor will make a decision about what should happen, which will be communicated in writing to all parties. The Executive Editor’s decision is final.

14  Resources

COPE Council, ‘COPE Guidelines: A Short Guide to Ethical Editing for New Editors’ (May 2019), https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.1.8, accessed 3 September 2021.

COPE General Approach to Publication Ethics for the Editorial Office : https://publicationethics.org/files/General_Approach_To_Publication_Ethics_For_Editorial_Office.pdf

COPE Code of Conduct for Editors: https://publicationethics.org/files/2008%20Code%20of%20Conduct.pdf

Taylor and Francis Ethics Code of Conduct: https://editorresources-taylorandfrancis-com.ezproxyd.bham.ac.uk/welcome-to-tf/policies-guidelines/editor-code-of-conduct/

List of things we need to consider: https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines-new/principles-transparency-and-best-practice-scholarly-publishing

Checklist for journal policies: https://resource-cms.springernature.com/springer-cms/rest/v1/content/4182/data/v3


[1] See COPE Council, ‘COPE Retraction guidelines — English’, https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.1.4 Version 2: November 2019 https://publicationethics.org/files/cope-retraction-guidelines-v2.pdf

[2] For guidelines on recruiting to the editorial board see COPE Council, ‘COPE Guidelines: Editorial board participation — English’ https://doi.org/10.24318/F3lRGybw (direct link: https://publicationethics.org/files/editorial-board-participation-cope-guideline.pdf)