The First Round consists of double-blind, three-member panels of editors who pass or fail articles on simple majority after submission of their individual reviews.
Manuscripts in this round go through a two-step elimination process whereby they are: first, checked for plagiarism; and second, reviewed on the basis of a five-point system. The threshold for acceptable similarity is 15%. After the plagiarism check, the editors prepare a thorough review of the manuscript and it is judged on the basis of a five-point criteria. They are:
- Originality and Relevance
- Grammar and Language
- Clarity and Logical Argument
- Level of Research
The entire manuscript is judged on an overall 100 mark maximum, where each criterion is scored out of 20. Furthermore, editors are also required to write a detailed review, explaining their reasoning.
The Second Round is an elimination process based on the relative merit of each of the submissions that make it past the First Round. The Board of Editors is divided into two groups, each of which receives a definite number of articles. Each editor is required to review the submissions in detail, scoring each submission out of 10. A stricter level of scrutiny is applied to the same criteria used in Round 1. The submissions remaining after this process of elimination are presumptively accepted for publication.
The Third Round involves a collaborative editing process between the author and a three-person panel of editors. These editors will work on the article until publication. This process involves four steps: source pulling, citation checks, style review, and a final draft.
At this stage, the panel procures and reviews all authorities and materials relied upon by the author, and verifies that the material adequately supports (or, as the introductory signal of the citation may indicate, contradict) the relevant assertion. This verification is both procedural and substantive. At the procedural level, the panel verifies the authenticity and the accessibility of the relevant authority. If an open-access source is available, it will be preferred. At the substantive level of source review, the panel verifies, in collaboration with the author, whether the argument advanced is best supported by the authority, or if another stronger authority may take its place. The panel may also recommend that the argument be refined during this process.
At this stage, the panel shall verify that citations comply strictly with the Bluebook (20th Edition). The Journal recognises that the Bluebook is not freely accessible, and in such cases, for reference, the Indigo Book may be relied upon. The panel will also, in collaboration with the author on substantial matters, correct each citation to reflect the rules of the Bluebook.
Style Review consists of the following steps: a spelling/grammar/usage check, both automated and by hand. This section of the review checks for consistency of style with the Bluebook as well as accepted standards of modern English usage. The Journal believes that style is not a consideration merely for the body text of an Article. Citations too must be considered part of the editing and revision process. The panel, at this point, deals with both the formal compliance with the Bluebook, and with the readability of the citation, attempting to ensure that readers may clearly comprehend the relevance of the citation to the assertion.
After the preceding steps, the team of assigned editors will again review the accepted article, checking if various requirements have been complied with, fixing formatting, and editing for grammar and spelling. Citations will also go through a final substantive and procedural review: first, checking for any citations that do not adequately support (or as the introductory signal may indicate, contradict) the assertion; and second, checking for accuracy with the Bluebook (20th Edition).
Finally, an editor designated by the Editor-in-Chief, considering experience, constraints, and other factors, will compile all the articles into a final draft.
For an example of the current design of the Journal, please refer to the PDF copy of the 2019 edition. This final draft is then reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief and submitted to the entire Board for comments and approval. After suggested edits are made and errors corrected, the Journal is uploaded to the Website, and a sample print copy is archived at the NUALS Library.