Peer review standards

CRCL advocates a specific format of peer-reviewed cross-disciplinary research: after an article has been accepted following double blind peer review (6-8k words, excluding references) it will be replied to by a scholar or scientist of another discipline (1k words), followed by a brief response by the original author (500 words).

The idea for the reply is not necessarily to refute the argument of the main text, but to explain to what extent it makes sense from the perspective of the other discipline, potentially contributing to a new research agenda between law and computer science and/or other disciplines.

To promote editorial transparency and emphasise the types and quality of paper we are looking for, we are publishing our reviewing standards for the benefit of both authors and (potential) reviewers. Peer reviews are structured according to the following sections, which are provided, as appropriate, to the author.

1. Overall evaluation

A succinct summary of the key strengths and weaknesses of the paper.

2. Relevance

An explanation of whether and why the paper is or is not relevant for cross-disciplinary research into computational law. 

We may accept papers that do not target legal tech but are nevertheless highly relevant for:

  1. key issues of legal technologies, for instance because they discuss software verification, machine learning techniques or assessment of algorithmic decision-making, or
  2. key issues of rule of law and its technological underpinnings, notably including the nature of legal protection in text-driven law.

3. Originality

The extent to which the paper contains novel ideas or new contributions to existing legal or technical frameworks that are relevant to the focus of the journal.

4. State of the art

Whether the paper cites the relevant literature, demonstrating a mature understanding of the relevant domain.

5. Added value

Papers can contribute by means of new ideas capable of transforming the scientific disciplines that are at stake (law, computer science, STS, philosophy, political economy).

The added value may also consist in contributions to well-written and well-argued insights in the primary discipline that are highly relevant and not obvious for scholars of the other relevant disciplines. This will clearly require excellence on the side of the state of the art.

6. Structure and substantiation

Whether the paper exhibits a clear argumentative structure, making sure that conclusions follow from the points made. Depending on the claims made, and the discipline involved, have these claims been properly substantiated?

7. Language

Whether the paper is written in a style that is appropriate for the arguments made, and is comprehensible across disciplinary borders, taking note that one may expect readers to make an effort.