Policies and guidelines  image
The publication of peer-reviewed articles plays a very important role in the development of knowledge. Therefore, it is fundamental that publishers, editors, authors, and reviewers operate within an acceptable ethical and professional standard in the process of journal publication. Our publication ethics policy is based on the “Code of Conduct and Best-Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors” published by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). ERRCDF also complies with the “Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing” collaboratively made available by the Committee on Publication Ethics, the Directory of Open Access Journals, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association and the World Association of Medical Editors. Based on this, the ethical guidelines for Publishers, editors, reviewers and authors are discussed below following the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)'s Core Practices.

Ethical Guidelines for Publishers
  • The publisher (ERRCDF) dedicates to supporting the editors, reviewers and authors' voluntary endeavours.
  • The publisher (ERRCDF) also ensures that the article publication process and the system are smooth with utmost conformity to ethical guidelines among editors, reviewers, and authors.
Ethical Guidelines for Editors
  • Editors should ensure that submitted articles are assessed and acknowledged within two to three working days of receipt and provide a fair peer-review process, review status and timely review reports.
  • Editors must ensure that manuscripts are dealt with in a confidential manner without disclosing article-related issues to anyone other than the authors, the reviewers, editorial advisers, and the publisher if need be. The members of the editorial board cannot use any unpublished materials disclosed during the submission and revision process for their own research purpose or for any personal advantages.
  • Editors must declare and excuse themselves from the article process if there is a conflicting interest with the author(s), authors’ affiliations, and region.
  • The reviewers' names and detailed identities must not be divulged to the third party without the reviewers’ permission.
  • The final decision on whether or not to accept the article lies in the prerogative right of the editor with a clearly defined reference to the originality, significance and clarity of the article. That is, the editor’s decision must be informed by the importance, quality, validity, relevance and originality of the article to the scope of the journal and the world of knowledge. This decision process must not be influenced by the authors’ sexual orientation, religion, ethnic attachment, institutional affiliation, political philosophy, race, citizenship and gender.
  • The editor should by no reason oblige the authors to cite their journal(s) or their personal articles as a condition for accepting articles for publication.
  • In case of any ethical issues concerning a submitted manuscript or a published paper, the editor should immediately take necessary measures in consultation with the author(s).
Ethical Guidelines for Reviewers
  • Reviewers should ensure optimum objectivity devoid of personal displeasure. Reviewers should objectively express their views with argument within the limited and extended purview of the article and refrain from unfair and/or unsubstantiated comments, including unfounded reproaches of any kind.
  • Reports of the review should be prepared by the reviewers themselves unless the editor grants permission to involve a third party/another person(s). Reviewers are prohibited from requesting authors to cite their work and/or associate work unless there is a justifiable and valid reason. All suggestions must be informed by valid, reliable, technical academic criteria.
  • Reviewers should excuse themselves from any conflicting and competing interest which is not limited to intellectual, professional, political or religious, institutional, or financial, among others. If the article is from the same institutions where the reviewer is currently employed, has a collaborator, and joint grant holders, having mentees or mentors, reviewers are advised to decline the review of such articles.
  • Reviewers are to accept articles they are qualified to review with the assurance that they will deliver within the prompt possible time. Otherwise, the reviewer is responsible for notifying the editor, who will reconsider the article for another reviewer.
  • Confidentiality is sacrosanct in the publication process; therefore, the manuscript routed to any reviewer must be treated with the utmost confidentiality. The reviewer, at all times, should refrain from using information from the review process for personal advantage or discredit or disadvantage others.  
  • In case of any irregularities such as ethical and plagiarism issues, as may be observed or noticed by the reviewers, such plagiarised material or falsified data should be communicated in confidence to the journal editor.
Ethical Guidelines for Authors
  • Redundant, multiple or concurrent publication is prohibited in this journal. That is, an article submitted to this just must not be submitted concurrently to another journal except if the editor rejects the article. Also, a previously published article should not be submitted to this journal for consideration. In general, authors should desist from publishing articles that could be seen as essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication. IJSS consider this unethical and unacceptable.
  • The author should ensure that his or her research data is honestly gathered and interpreted. Hence, reviewers, editors, readers and even the publisher are entitled to request such from the author for his or her research. Therefore, authors should retain such data for any possible use after publication.
  • By submitting an article, the author has guaranteed that the submitted work is original and that the work or words of others used are cited and acknowledged appropriately.
  • Authors should ensure that the submitted article is within the similarity index of 10% or less. Plagiarism in all forms, including self-plagiarism, are unethical and unacceptable.
  • Authors must indicate all sources involved in the research and that the conflict of interest has been disclosed where necessary.
  • Acknowledgement of those who have made one or two contributions to the research must be made, while those who made a significant contribution to the study be made co-authors. The corresponding author should ensure that all co-authors consent and approve the final copy of the article before submission.
  • In the case of any obvious errors in a published article, the author should immediately notify the editor and cooperatively work with the editor to retract or correct the article. In a case where a third party informs the editor that a published paper contains an obvious error, a retraction letter should be written by the author or make the correction within the directives of the author.
  • An article may need to be retracted, removed or replaced to protect the credibility and trustworthiness of academic literature. This may be determined by the Editor-in-Chief and may be initiated by the authors if there is a case of flaws in data and subsequent conclusion. However, a notice of such will be published alongside the title, the authors and the reason for the action.

Copyright and Licensing
ERRCDF is an open-access publisher that provides immediate access to its published contents. Authors retain unrestricted copyright and publishing rights for all articles published from August 2023 onwards. The authors also grant the publisher permission to publish the articles and be recognised as the original and the first publisher. Articles published are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0) which permits commercial re-use (download, copy, redistribute, translate, remix, adapt, and build upon materials published, etc.) of open access articles, as long as the original author and source are properly attributed. The authors grant the publisher permission to apply a DOI to their articles and to archive them in databases and indexes such as DOAJ, SABINET, J-Gate, Scopus, EBSCO, ERIC, among others. Authors also grant other third-party users the right to use the article freely as long as its original authors and citation details are acknowledged without prior permission from the publisher or the author.

Note: All articles published prior to August 2023 are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives.

Open Access and Author Self-Archiving Policy
ERRCDF adopted OPEN ACCESS which provides immediate open access to readers and other users, to all published articles by the Journal/publisher on our website. This means that the readers and other users pay nothing. In accordance with the BOAI definition of open access, users are freely allowed to download, copy, read, print, distribute, link to the texts or use them for other lawful purposes. However, the authors, their instructions or funders pay Article Processing Charge for life maintenance of the articles.

ERRCDF permits and encourages authors to post items submitted to the journal on personal websites, institutional repositories, social-networking sites, ResearchGate, Academia.edu, among others, both prior to and after publication while providing bibliographic details that credit, if applicable, its publication in this journal.

Deposit Policy/Archiving Policy
For preservation and restoration, our journals use SA ePublications (SABINET), University of the Free State Library and Information Services, PKP Preservation Network, and LOCKSS system to ensure a secure and permanent archive among participating libraries. It permits those libraries to create permanent journal archives. Both pre-published and post-published or publisher's version/PDF can be archived without restrictions.

Submission Policy
Submission of an article is an indication that:
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in the comments to the editor).
  • The submission file is in Open Office, Microsoft Word, or RTF document file format.
  • Where applicable, URLs or DOIs for the references have been provided.
  • The text is 1.15 spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.
  • By making a submission, the authors have agreed to pay the Article Processing Charge (APC) as indicated in the author guidelines if the article is accepted. This is subject to review from time to time.
  • Authors are responsible for updating the archived preprint with the journal reference (including DOI) and a link to the published articles upon publication.
  • The authors had complied with the plagiarism policy mentioned in the author guidelines. ERRCDF do not tolerate plagiarism of all kinds, including self-plagiarism. Authors are responsible for ensuring that the similarity index of their articles is less than ten per cent. Otherwise, articles are rejected on this basis.

  • Authors, under any circumstances, are privileged to challenge editorial decisions by appealing for reconsideration if they perceive unfair elements in the editorial decisions. To do this, an appeal letter must be submitted with a detailed explanation of the issues, nature of the appeal and argument on why the editorial decision is considered unfair.
  • Such appeal will be submitted to the editor-in-chief, which shall be reviewed alongside the section editor and the concerned reviewers. New reviewers may be invited to re-evaluate the study, and the editor-in-chief will make the final decision.

  • In case of any complaints, which may be related to journal policies, procedures, the publication process, or the conduct of editorial staff, among others, the detailed complaints should be sent to the editor-in-chief or the publisher (ERRCDF) via email. All complaints via the stipulated channel will be acknowledged within 48 hours upon which the resolution process will be initiated. After that, the resolution shall be made known to the complainants via email.

Privacy Statement
All documents, names, physical and email addresses submitted to this journal platform will be protected and only used for the purposes of this publication and will never under any circumstances be made available to any third party.