VTU Review: Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Code of Ethics


V(eliko)T(arnovo)U(niversity) Review: Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences is a double-blind, peer-reviewed academic journal, which is published by St. Cyril and St. Methodius University Press. The journal is published both in print form and electronically as an open access publication.

This CODE OF ETHICS describes VTU Review’s policies for ensuring ethical treatment of all participants in the peer review and publication process. It also details the rights of the journal’s users.




♦ VTU Review’s Editors have full responsibility for the journal. They coordinate the publication of each issue and negotiate all details of the process of publication with the Publisher.

♦ The Editors must be tenured faculty members, employed by the University of Veliko Tarnovo. The Editors are appointed by the University Senate following a process of selection. Candidates for the position are expected to have a record of high-quality publications in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals and/or to have authored and edited important books in their respective areas of expertise. The Editors cannot be in the same academic department or faculty.

♦ The Editors should invite highly competent scholars from the University of Veliko Tarnovo and other Bulgarian and foreign academic institutions to form an Editorial Advisory BoardThe Editorial Advisory Board should help the Editors to maintain high academic standards in their selection of materials and choice of special topics. The Editorial Advisory Board should also make sure that they adhere to this Code of Ethics in everything they do.

♦ The Editors should respect all parties connected with the journal (readers, authors, reviewers, Editorial Advisory Board, editorial assistants and publisher), and work to ensure freedom of expression and the maintenance of high academic standards.

♦ The Editors and the Editorial Advisory Board must maintain their editorial independence and ensure that all authors get equal treatment. Responsibility for acceptance or rejection of manuscripts rests with the Editors. They accept or reject manuscripts on the advice of Reviewers and the Editorial Advisory Board.

♦ The Editors and the Editorial Advisory Board should judge all manuscripts only on their scholarly merits. They should operate without personal or ideological bias.

♦ VTU Review follows a double-blind peer review process, whereby Authors do not know Reviewers and vice versa. All articles are subjected to this process of reviewing. Book reviews and review articles are commissioned by the Editors and/or the Editorial Advisory Board, and are not subject to reviewing.

♦ Two Reviewers are usually invited to comment on an article that has been submitted for publication. The Editors should assess all reviews for quality prior to sending them to the Author/s. In rare circumstances, an Editor may edit a review before sending it to the Author/s (for example, to remove a phrase that would identify the Reviewer) or not send the review to the Author/s if it is not constructive or appropriate (for example, if it expresses flagrant prejudice to opinions stated in the text).

♦ The Editors and the Editorial Advisory Board can invite Guest Editors who are scholars based at the University of Veliko Tarnovo or other Bulgarian or foreign academic institutions and possess expertise in specialized areas of the humanities and social sciences. The Guest Editors should have publications in peer-reviewed journals, including VTU Review, and/or should have authored or edited important books in their respective areas of expertise.

♦ The Editors and the Editorial Advisory Board should avoid any practice that gives rise to a conflict of interest.  

● Responsibility for any article authored by an Editor or a member of the Editorial Advisory Board should be delegated to another qualified person, such as another member of the Editorial Advisory Board or an external expert. Editorial consideration of the article in any way or form by the Author-Editor is not acceptable. This does not refer to the publication of editorials or introductions to special issues.

● The Editors and all members of the Editorial Advisory Board should refrain from considering any manuscript in which they have a real or potential conflict of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, financial or other relationships or relations with any of the authors, companies or institutions connected to the manuscript.

● Examples of connections that represent possible Editor-Author conflicts of interest include: (1) the Editor and the Author are related; (2) the Author and the Editor are currently Co-Authors of another manuscript or have been Co-Authors of a manuscript within the past two years.

♦ The Editors and their editorial staff, including editorial assistants, shall not disclose information about a manuscript to anyone other than the Reviewers and the manuscript’s Author(s). The Editors should make sure that the confidentiality of the review process is maintained in all circumstances. No information is to be divulged that might identify Authors to Reviewers or vice versa. The anonymity of Reviewers can only be lifted if the Editors receive permission from them to reveal their identities.

♦ Unpublished materials from a submitted manuscript should not be used in an Editor’s own research without the express written consent of the Author(s). Any information or ideas obtained through peer review should be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage.

♦ The Editors should take steps to ensure the timely review of all manuscripts and should respond promptly to inquiries from the Author/s about the status of a review.

♦ The Editors have a responsibility to provide the Author/s with an explanation of the editorial decision on a manuscript.




♦ The journal’s Reviewers are highly competent scholars based at, or connected with, the University of Veliko Tarnovo and/or other Bulgarian and foreign academic institutions. They are expected to evaluate manuscripts objectively, fairly and professionally. Reviewers should avoid personal or ideological bias in their comments and judgements.

♦ Reviewers should respect the confidentiality of the review process. They should not discuss the manuscript with anyone other than the Editors, nor should they discuss any information from the manuscript without permission. If Reviewers suspect any misconduct on the part of the Author/s, they should notify the Editors in confidence, and should not share their concerns with any other parties unless officially notified by the journal that they may do so.

♦ In evaluating the manuscript and writing comments to the Author/s, Reviewers should always keep in mind that their review reflects their scholarly judgement and academic integrity.  Reviewers should be honest with the Author/s and should explain and support their scholarly judgements adequately; that is, they should provide sufficient detail to the Author/s to justify their recommendation to the Editors.

♦ Reviewers should be prompt with their reviews. If a Reviewer cannot meet the deadline that has been set by the Editors, s/he should contact them as soon as possible to determine whether a longer time period could be arranged or whether a new Reviewer should be chosen

♦  Reviewing for VTU Review is regarded as a professional activity that provides value for the international academic community and should therefore be encouraged. Scholars who submit manuscripts to VTU Review are invited by the Editors to reciprocate by accepting to review for the journal.

♦ Refusals to review a manuscript may occur. For example, a Reviewer who feels inadequately qualified to judge a manuscript should refuse to review it. A Reviewer may also refuse to review a manuscript if there is a potential conflict of interest. For example, a Reviewer should refuse to review a manuscript if the identity of the Author/s is known to him/her or if s/he was presented with an earlier version of the text and provided advice and guidance to the Author/s.




♦ A manuscript submitted to VTU Review must be the Author’s/Authors’ own original work, and must not duplicate any other previously published work, including previously published work by the same Author/s.

♦ Authors must ensure that the manuscript has been submitted only to VTU Review and is not under consideration, or accepted for publication, or in press, or published elsewhere.

♦ Authors’ manuscripts must not contain anything that is abusive, defamatory, obscene, fraudulent or illegal.                                                 

♦ Authors’ manuscripts should be free of plagiarism. Authors are expected to cite other people’s work and ideas explicitly, even if the work or ideas are not quoted verbatim but are paraphrased. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical behaviour and is unacceptable. To ensure that all submissions are free of plagiarism, the Editors may make use of plagiarism-checking software.  

♦ Authors should minimize their use of their own previous writings. If this is unavoidable, they should duly reference the previous writings in the manuscript. Such self-referencing should be worded carefully so as to avoid compromising the double-blind review process.

♦ If exact sentences or paragraphs that appear in another work by the Author/s are included in the manuscript, the material must be put in quotation marks and appropriately cited.

 ♦ Authors should avoid conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest may influence the judgement of Reviewers and Editors and compromise the double-blind review process. Examples of possible conflicts of interest include: (1) the Editor and the Author are related; (2) the Author and the Editor are currently Co-Authors of another manuscript or have been Co-Authors of a manuscript within the past two years.

♦ VTU Review follows a double-blind review process, whereby Authors do not know Reviewers and vice versa. Authors should respect the confidentiality of the review process and should not reveal themselves to Reviewers, and vice versa. For example, the manuscript should not include any self-revealing information that would identify the Author/s to a ReviewerAuthors should not post their submitted manuscripts (including working papers and earlier drafts) on websites where they could be easily discovered by potential Reviewers. 

♦ VTU Review does not have any article processing or submission charges for Authors.

♦ Authors have full responsibility for all materials included in the manuscripts that they have submitted to VTU Review. If an Author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her own work, it is the Author’s obligation to notify the Editors promptly and cooperate with them to retract or correct the article. If the Editors and/or the Publisher learn from a third party that a published work contains a significant error, it is the obligation of the Author/s to retract or correct the manuscript or provide evidence to the Editors of the correctness of the original article..

♦ Authors should check their manuscripts for possible breaches of copyright law (e.g., where permissions are needed for quotations, artwork or tables taken from other publications) and secure the necessary permissions before submission.

♦ Authors should avoid anything in the text of the manuscript that might lead to legal action, such as defamation. Authors should avoid using any kind of biased language that could be interpreted as denigrating to ethnic or other groups.

♦ Authors should be prompt with their manuscript revisions. If an Author cannot meet the deadline given, s/he should contact the Editors as soon as possible to determine whether a longer time period or withdrawal from the review process should be chosen.

♦ The University of Veliko Tarnovo holds the copyright to all published materials. Published Authors must ask for permission to re-publish their work (or a selection from it) elsewhere (for instance, if an article is to be included in an edited volume as a book chapter or if a translation of an article into another language is to be published).



♦ In accordance of the definition of open access, Users of VTU Review are permitted to read, download, copy, distribute, print or search the full texts of the articles, reviews and other materials in the journal’s electronic version, without asking prior permission from the University of Veliko Tarnovo or the Author/s. They can also use the electronically published articles, reviews and other materials for any other lawful purpose under the same conditions.