Laws — Instructions for Authors
Please first read the section 'Aims & Scope' to have an overview, and to assess if your manuscript is suitable for this journal.
- Manuscript Preparation
- Peer-Review and Editorial Procedure
- Review / Referees
- English Corrections
- MDPI Publication Ethics Statement
- Supplementary Material
- Submission Process: Manuscripts for Laws should be submitted online using the MDPI Submission System (SuSy) at susy.mdpi.com. To submit your manuscript using SuSy, register and log in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form for Laws.
- Accepted File Formats:
- Microsoft Word: Manuscript prepared in MS Word must be converted into a single file before submission. When preparing manuscripts in MS Word, the Laws Microsoft Word template file must be used. Please do not insert any graphics (schemes, figures, etc.) into a movable frame which can superimpose the text and make the layout very difficult.
- LaTeX: Manuscripts prepared in LaTeX must be zipped into one ZIP folder (include all source files and images, so that the Editorial Office can modify the manuscript before peer-review, if needed). Ensure to send a copy of your manuscript as a PDF file also, if you decided to use LaTeX. When preparing manuscripts in LaTeX, please use the Laws LaTeX template files.
- Coverletter: Please provide a short cover letter where you detail the reasons why the editors of Laws should consider your paper for publication in this journal. Check in your cover letter whether you supplied at least 5 possible referees. Check if the English corrections are done before submission.
- Note Regarding Conference Papers: Expanded and high quality conference papers are also considered in Laws if they fulfill the following requirements: (1) The paper should be expanded to the size of a research article. (2) The conference paper should be cited and mentioned as a footnote on the first page of the paper. (3) If the authors do not hold the copyright to the published conference paper, authors should seek the appropriate permission from the copyright holder. (4) Authors are asked to disclose the conference paper in their cover letter including a statement on what has been changed compared to the conference paper.
- Paper Format: A4 paper format, the printing area is 17.5 cm x 26.2 cm. The margins should be 1.75 cm on each side of the paper (top, bottom, left, and right sides).
- Formatting / Style: The paper style of Laws should be followed. You may download a template file from Laws homepage to prepare your paper. It is not necessary to follow the manuscript structure showed in the template file for review papers. The full titles and the cited papers must be given. Reference numbers should be placed in square brackets [ ], and placed before the punctuation; for example  or [1-3], and all the references should be listed separately and as the last section at the end of the manuscript.
- Reference Formatting: All the references mentioned in the text should be listed separately as the last section at the end of the manuscript, and be numbered consecutively throughout the paper. Do not repeat references in the reference list for citations with different pagination (i.e. if you cite Chapter 1 and Chapter 7 of the same book, list the book as one reference in the reference list). Reference numbers should be placed in square brackets [ ], and placed before the punctuation; for example  or [1-3]. For embedded citations in the text with pagination, use both parentheses and brackets to indicate the reference number and page numbers. The page range is preceded by a comma; for example (, p. 10). or (, pp. 101–105). For the bibliography the Chicago style should be used, for more information download our Chicago Reference List and Citations Style Guide.
- Reference Preparation: References should preferably be prepared with a bibliography software package, such as Zotero, EndNote or ReferenceManager. If references are prepared manually they must be checked for integrity and correctness. The Editorial Office reserves the right to charge 10 CHF (Swiss Francs) per reference for which extensive corrections must be made.
- Authors List and Affiliation Format: Authors' full first and last names must be given. Abbreviated middle name can be added. For papers written by various contributors a corresponding author must be designated. The following format is used for affiliations: Department, University, Address, ZIP code, City, Country, and email address should be added. All authors who contributed significantly to the manuscript (including writing a section) should be listed on the first page of the manuscript, below the title of the article. Other parties, who provided only minor contributions, should be listed under Acknowledgments only. A minor contribution might be a discussion with the author, reading through the draft of the manuscript, or performing English corrections.
- Abstract and Keywords: The abstract should be prepared as one paragraph (about 200 words). A list of three to ten keywords must be given, and placed after the Abstract.
- Figures, Schemes and Tables: Authors are encouraged to prepare figures and schemes in color. Full color graphics will be published free of charge. Figure and schemes must be numbered (Figure 1, Scheme I, Figure 2, Scheme II, etc.) and a explanatory title must be added. Tables should be inserted into the main text, and numbers and titles for all tables supplied. All table columns should have an explanatory heading. Please supply legends for all figures, schemes and tables. The legends should be prepared as a separate paragraph of the main text and placed in the main text before a table, a figure or a scheme.
- Abstract/Table of Contents Graphic: Authors are encouraged to provide a graphical representation of the paper (in either JPEG, GIF, PNG or PDF format) to be used as a graphic of the paper, along with the abstract, on the Table of Contents. The graphic should not exceed 500 pixels width/height. As an example, authors may review the abstract graphic of following papers:
- Electronic Supplementary Information (ESI): Conference slides, video sequences, software, etc., can be included with the submission and published as supplementary material. Please read the information about Supplementary Material Deposit beneath.
All submitted manuscripts are received by the Editorial Office. The in-house Managing Editor will perform a preliminary check of the manuscript to assess if: it suits the scope of the journal, whether it is properly prepared, and whether the manuscript follows the ethical policies of the journal. In case of doubt, the Managing Editor may consult with the journals’ Editor-in-Chief or an Editorial Board member. Manuscripts that do not fit the journal or are not in line with our ethical policy may be rejected before peer-review. Manuscripts that are not properly prepared will be returned to the authors for revision and resubmission.
Once a manuscript passes the initial check, it will be assigned to several independent experts for peer-review. Experts may include past and present Editorial Board members and Guest Editors of the journal. However, we also actively seek other experts, which are identified during literature searches. Potential referees suggested by the authors are also carefully considered. As a general rule, referees should not have published with one or more of the co-authors during the past five years and should not currently work or collaborate with one of the institutes of the co-authors of the manuscript under consideration. At least two expert opinions will be collected for each manuscript.
Revisions and Editorial Decision
Based on the comments from the outside referees, the Editorial Office will usually ask the authors for minor or major revisions. If the comments are either very positive or very negative, the Editorial Office may directly ask the academic editor (usually the Editor-in-Chief or a Guest Editor) for a decision. Otherwise, the manuscript will be sent back to the authors for minor or major revisions. In case of minor revisions, the Editorial Office will ask the academic editor for a final decision on the revised version of the manuscript. In case of major revisions, the manuscript will usually be sent back to one or more of the outside referees before sending the paper to the academic editor for a decision. We allow a maximum of two rounds of major revisions.
Authors may appeal editorial decisions by sending an e-mail to the Editorial Office of the journal. The Managing Editor of the journal will forward the manuscript and relating information (including the identities of the referees) to an appropriate Editorial Board member of the journal. If no appropriate Editorial Board member is available, the editor will identify a suitable external scientist. The Editorial Board member may judge the paper by himself or request additional expert opinions to judge the manuscript. The Editorial Board member will be asked to give an advisory recommendation on the manuscript. If the manuscript is rejected based on the Editorial Board member review, the decision will be final and cannot be revoked.
Production and Publication
Once accepted, a manuscript will undergo our standard production procedure. This entails professional copy-editing of the paper, English editing, proofreading by the authors, final corrections, pagination and publication on the www.mdpi.com website.
During the submission process, authors are asked to suggest five potential referees with the appropriate expertise to review the manuscript. The editors will not necessarily approach these referees. Please provide as detailed contact information as possible (address, homepage, phone, e-mail address). The proposed referees should be experts in the field who can provide an objective report—they should not be current collaborators of the co-authors nor have published with any of the co-authors of the manuscript within the last 5 years. Proposed referees should be from different institutions to the authors. You may identify appropriate Editorial Board members of the journal as potential referees. Another possibility is to select referees from among the authors that you frequently cite in your paper.
This journal is published in English, so it is essential that for proper refereeing and quick publication all manuscripts are submitted in grammatically correct English. If you are not a native English speaker, we strongly recommend that you have your manuscript professionally edited before submission. Professional editing will mean that reviewers are better able to read and assess your manuscript. Additional fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be paid by authors if extensive English corrections must be done by the Editorial Office.
English-language editing will: improve grammar, spelling, and punctuation; improve clarity and resolve ambiguity; and ensure that the tone of the language is appropriate for an academic journal. We suggest that for this purpose your manuscript be revised by an English speaking colleague before submission. Authors can also use one of the English editing services for this purpose. Use of any editing supplier is not compulsory, and will not guarantee acceptance or preference for publication in Laws.
Additional information: see the English Editing Guidelines for Authors.
Laws is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). MDPI takes the responsibility to enforce a rigorous peer-review together with strict ethical policies and standards to ensure to add high quality scientific works to the field of scholarly publication. Unfortunately, cases of plagiarism, data falsification, image manipulation, inappropriate authorship credit, and the like, do arise. MDPI takes such publishing ethics issues very seriously and our editors are trained to proceed in such cases with a zero tolerance policy.
In order to maintain the integrity of research records, we encourage authors to send supplementary data and files in electronic format, so that important scientific data and information is retained in full. Supplementary data and files can be uploaded as "Supplementary Files" during the manuscript submission process. The supplementary files will be offered to the referees as part of the peer-review process, although referees are not specifically asked to review supplementary files. Accepted file formats include (but are not limited to):
- data tables and spreadsheets (text files, MS Excel, OpenOffice, CSV, XML, etc.)
- text documents (text files, PDF, MS Word, OpenOffice, etc.)
- images (JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, etc.)
- videos (AVI, MPG, QuickTime, etc.)
- executables (EXE, Java, etc.)
- software source code
Authors of papers in the fields of social sciences are encouraged to send the final, published version of their papers to the Social Science Research Network (SSRN, http://www.ssrn.com/).