Laws — Instructions for Authors
1) read the Aims & Scope to gain an overview and assess if your manuscript is suitable for this journal;
4) ensure that all authors have approved the content of the submitted manuscript.
Types of Publications
Laws has no restrictions on the length of manuscripts, provided that the text is concise and comprehensive. Full experimental details must be provided so that the results can be reproduced by other groups. Laws encourages authors to publish all experimental controls and full datasets as supplementary files (please read the guidelines about Supplementary Materials carefully and references to unpublished data).
The different types of articles published in Laws are indicated in the first section of the Aims & Scope. The main types are:
- Articles: research manuscripts report new evidence or new conclusions which have neither been published before nor are under consideration for publication in another journal. MDPI considers all original research manuscripts provided that the work reports scientifically sound experiments and provides a substantial amount of new information. We strongly recommend authors not to unnecessarily divide their work into several related manuscripts.
- Short communications of preliminary, but significant, results will also be considered.
- Reviews: review manuscripts provide concise and precise updates on the latest progress made in a given area of research.
- 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 noted 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 that it is conference paper in their cover letter and include a statement on what has been changed compared to the original conference paper.
Manuscripts for Laws should be submitted online at susy.mdpi.com. The submitting author, who is generally the corresponding author, is responsible for the manuscript during the submission and peer-review process. The submitting authors must ensure that all co-authors have been included in the author list (read the criteria to qualify for authorship) and that they all have read and approved the submitted version of the manuscript. To submit your manuscript, register and log in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form for Laws. All co-authors can see the manuscript details in the submission system, if they register and log in using the e-mail address provided during manuscript submission.
Accepted File Formats
Authors must use the Microsoft Word template or LaTeX template to prepare their manuscript. Using the template file will substantially shorten the time to complete copy-editing and publication of accepted manuscripts. Accepted file formats are:
- Microsoft Word: Manuscripts prepared in Microsoft Word must be converted into a single file before submission. When preparing manuscripts in Microsoft Word, the Laws Microsoft Word template file must be used. Please insert your graphics (schemes, figures, etc.) in the main text after the paragraph of its first citation.
- LaTeX: Manuscripts prepared in LaTeX must be collated into one ZIP folder (include all source files and images, so that the Editorial Office can recompile the submitted PDF). When preparing manuscripts in LaTeX, please use the Laws LaTeX template files. You can now also use the online application writeLaTeX to submit articles directly to Laws. The MDPI LaTeX template file should be selected from the writeLaTeX template gallery.
A cover letter must be included with each manuscript submission. It should be concise and explain why the content of your paper is significant, placing your findings in the context of existing work and why it fits the scope of the journal. Please confirm that neither the manuscript nor any parts of its content are currently under consideration or published in another journal. Any prior submissions of the manuscript to MDPI journals must be acknowledged. The names of proposed and excluded reviewers should be provided in the submission system, not in the cover letter.
- 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). There is no page limit.
- 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.
Authorship must include and be strictly limited to researchers who have substantially contributed to the reported work. To qualify for authorship, a researcher should have made a substantial contribution to the design of the study, or to the production, analysis or interpretation of the results. Authors should also have been involved in the preparation and have approved the submitted manuscript. Those who contributed to the work but do not qualify for authorship should be listed in the acknowledgments. According to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) standard, to which this journal adheres, "all authors should agree to be listed and should approve the submitted and accepted versions of the publication. Any change to the author list should be approved by all authors including any who have been removed from the list. The corresponding author should act as a point of contact between the editor and the other authors and should keep co-authors informed and involve them in major decisions about the publication (e.g. answering reviewers’ comments)." 
- Wager, E.; Kleinert, S. Responsible research publication: international standards for authors. A position statement developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, Singapore, July 22-24, 2010. In Promoting Research Integrity in a Global Environment; Mayer, T., Steneck, N., eds.; Imperial College Press / World Scientific Publishing: Singapore; Chapter 50, pp. 309-16.
All submitted manuscripts received by the Editorial Office will be checked by a professional in-house Managing Editor to determine whether it is properly prepared and whether the manuscript follows the ethical policies of the journal. 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. The Managing Editor will consult the journals’ Editor-in-Chief, the Guest Editor or an Editorial Board member to determine whether the manuscript fits the scope of the journal and whether it is scientifically sound. No judgment on the significance or potential impact of the work will be made at this stage.
Once a manuscript passes the initial checks, it will be assigned to at least two independent experts for peer-review. A single-blind peer-review process is applied, where authors' names are revealed to reviewers. In-house assistant editors generally invite experts recommended by the Editor-in-Chief or identified by literature searches. These experts may also include Editorial Board members and Guest Editors of the journal. Potential reviewers suggested by the authors may also be considered. Reviewers should not have published with any 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 submitted manuscript.
Editorial Decision and Revision
Based on the comments and advices of the peer-reviewers, an external editor – usually the Editor-in-Chief or a Guest Editor – will make a decision to accept, reject, or to ask authors to revise the manuscript.
For Minor Revisions the authors will have one week to resubmit their revised manuscript. For Major Revisions the authors will have two weeks to resubmit their revised manuscript. However, authors should contact the editorial office if extended revision time is anticipated.
Authors may appeal a rejection by sending an e-mail to the Editorial Office of the journal. The appeal must provide a detailed justification, including point-by-point responses to the reviewers' and/or Editor's comments. The Managing Editor of the journal will forward the manuscript and relating information (including the identities of the referees) to an Editorial Board member who was not involved in the initial decision-making process. If no appropriate Editorial Board member is available, the editor will identify a suitable external scientist. The Editorial Board member will be asked to give an advisory recommendation on the manuscript and may recommend acceptance, further peer-review, or uphold the original rejection decision. A reject decision at this stage will be final and cannot be revoked.
Production and Publication
Once accepted, the manuscript will undergo professional copy-editing, English editing, proofreading by the authors, final corrections, pagination, and, publication on the www.mdpi.com website.
During the submission process, authors have the possibility to suggest potential reviewers with the appropriate expertise to review the manuscript. The editors will not necessarily approach these referees. Please provide detailed contact information (address, homepage, phone, e-mail address). The proposed referees should neither be current collaborators of the co-authors nor have published with any of the co-authors of the manuscript within the last five years. Proposed reviewers should be from different institutions to the authors. You may identify appropriate Editorial Board members of the journal as potential reviewers. You may also suggest reviewers from among the authors that you frequently cite in your paper.
This journal is published in English. To facilitate proper peer-reviewing of your manuscript, it is essential that it is 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 or read by a native English-speaking colleague. Professional editing will mean that reviewers and future readers are better able to read and assess the content of your manuscript. An additional fee of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged to authors if extensive English corrections must be done by the Editorial Office. For additional information see the English Editing Guidelines for Authors.
The editors of this journal take the responsibility to enforce a rigorous peer-review process 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. The editors of Laws take such publishing ethics issues very seriously and are trained to proceed in such cases with a zero tolerance policy.
Authors wishing to publish their papers in Laws are asked to abide to the following rules:
- Any facts that might be perceived as a possible conflict of interest of the author(s) must be disclosed in the paper prior to submission.
- Authors should accurately present their research findings and include an objective discussion of the significance of their findings.
- Data and methods used in the research need to be presented in sufficient detail in the paper, so that other researchers can replicate the work.
- Raw data should preferably be publicly deposited by the authors before submission of their manuscript. Authors need to at least have the raw data readily available for presentation to the referees and the editors of the journal, if requested. Authors need to ensure appropriate measures are taken so that raw data is retained in full for a reasonable time after publication.
- Simultaneous submission of manuscripts to more than one journal is not tolerated.
- Republishing content that is not novel is not tolerated (for example, an English translation of a paper that is already published in another language will not be accepted).
- If errors and inaccuracies are found by the authors after publication of their paper, they need to be promptly communicated to the editors of this journal so that appropriate actions can be taken. Please refer to our policy regarding publication of publishing addenda and corrections.
- Your manuscript should not contain any information that has already been published. If you include already published figures or images, please obtain the necessary permission from the copyright holder to publish under the CC-BY license.
- Plagiarism, data fabrication and image manipulation are not tolerated.
- Plagiarism is not acceptable in Laws submissions.
Plagiarism includes copying text, ideas, images, or data from another source, even from your own publications, without giving any credit to the original source.
Reuse of text that is copied from another source must be between quotes and the original source must be cited. If a study's design or the manuscript's structure or language has been inspired by previous works, these works must be explicitly cited.
If plagiarism is detected during the peer review process, the manuscript may be rejected. If plagiarism is detected after publication, we may publish a correction or retract the paper.
- Image files must not be manipulated or adjusted in any way that could lead to misinterpretation of the information provided by the original image.
Irregular manipulation includes: 1) introduction, enhancement, moving, or removing features from the original image; 2) grouping of images that should obviously be presented separately (e.g., from different parts of the same gel, or from different gels); or 3) modifying the contrast, brightness or color balance to obscure, eliminate or enhance some information.
If irregular image manipulation is identified and confirmed during the peer review process, we may reject the manuscript. If irregular image manipulation is identified and confirmed after publication, we may correct or retract the paper.
Our in-house editors will investigate any allegations of publication misconduct and may contact the authors' institutions or funders if necessary. If evidence of misconduct is found, appropriate action will be taken to correct or retract the publication. Authors are expected to comply with the best ethical publication practices when publishing with MDPI.
In order to maintain the integrity, transparency and reproducibility of research records, authors are strongly encouraged to make their experimental and research data openly available either by depositing into data repositories or by publishing the data and files as supplementary information in this journal. Additional data and files can be uploaded as "Supplementary Files" during the manuscript submission process. The supplementary files will also be available to the referees as part of the peer-review process, although referees are not specifically asked to review these 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.; text documents will usually be converted to PDF files for publication)
- images (JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, etc.)
- videos (AVI, MPG, QuickTime, etc.)
- executables (EXE, Java, etc.)
- software source code
Citations and References in Supplementary files are permitted provided that they also appear in the main text and in the reference list.
Large data sets and files should be deposited to specialized service providers (such as Figshare) or institutional/subject repositories, preferably those that use the DataCite mechanism. For a list of specialized repositories for the deposit of scientific and experimental data, please consult databib.org or re3data.org. The data repository name, link to the data set (URL) and accession number, doi or handle number of the data set must be provided in the paper. The journal Data (ISSN 2306-5729) also accepts submissions of data set papers, and the publication of small data sets along with the paper, and/or software source codes is encouraged.
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/).