Information For Authors

Aims of the journal

The IJRF aims to provide a platform for scholarly discourse on religious freedom in general and the persecution of Christians in particular. The term persecution is understood broadly and inclusively by the editors. The IJRF is an interdisciplinary, international, peer reviewed journal, serving the dissemination of new research on religious freedom and is envisaged to become a premier publishing location for research articles, documentation, book reviews, academic news and other relevant items on the issue.

Editorial policy

The editors welcome the submission of any contribution to the journal. All manuscripts submitted for publication are assessed by a panel of referees and the decision to publish is dependent on their reports. The IJRF subscribes to the Code of Best Practice in Scholarly Journal Publishing, Editing and Peer Review of 2018 ( as well as the National Code of Best Practice in Editorial Discretion and Peer Review for South African Scholarly Journals ( and the supplementary Guidelines for Best Practice of the Forum of Editors of Academic Law Journals in South Africa. As IJRF is listed on the South Africa Department of Higher Education and Training (DoHET) “Approved list of South African journals”, authors linked to South African universities can claim subsidies and are therefore charged page fees.

Publication Fees

There are no fees for submitting or processing articles. Authors are exempt from article processing charges (APC). Once papers are accepted and processed they will be published online in pdf format.


Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this journal.

Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal’s published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository, in a journal or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgment of its initial publication in this journal.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is not acceptable in IJRF submissions. Plagiarized content will not be considered for publication. If plagiarism is identified, we will follow COPE guidelines

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

  • Directly copying text from other sources without attribution
  • Copying ideas, images, or data from other sources without attribution
  • Reusing text from your own previous publications without attribution or agreement of the editor (see the COPE guidelines on text recycling and the text recycling guidance released by the Text Recycling Research Project). Exception: Reusing text from the Methods section in the author’s previous publications, with attribution to the source, is acceptable
  • Using an idea from another source with slightly modified language without attribution

If plagiarism is detected during the peer review process, the manuscript may be rejected. If plagiarism is detected after publication, we may issue a correction or retract the paper, as appropriate. We reserve the right to inform authors’ institutions about plagiarism detected either before or after publication.

We expect that editors and reviewers will be vigilant in their evaluation of IJRF submissions and will notify the journal about any plagiarism identified.

Submission adresses

  • Book reviews or suggestion of books for review:
  • Noteworthy items and academic news:
  • All other contributions: research or review articles, opinion pieces, documentation, event reports, letters, reader’s response, etc.:

Selection criteria

All research articles are expected to conform to the following requirements, which authors should use as a checklist before submission:

  • Focus: Does the article have a clear focus on religious freedom / religious persecution / suffering because of religious persecution? These terms are understood broadly and inclusively by the editors of IJRF, but these terms clearly do not include everything.
  • Scholarly standard: Is the scholarly standard of a research article acceptable? Does it contribute something substantially new to the debate?
  • Clarity of argument: Is it well structured, including subheadings where appropriate?
  • Language usage: Does it have the international reader, specialists and non-specialists in mind and avoid bias and parochialism?
  • Substantiation/Literature consulted: Does the author consult sufficient and most current literature? Are claims thoroughly substantiated throughout and reference to sources and documentation made?

Submission procedure

  1. Submissions must be complete (see no.6), conform to the formal criteria (see no. 8-10) and must be accompanied by a cover letter (see no. 3–4).
  2. The standard deadlines for the submission of academic articles are 1 February and 1 August respectively for the next issue and a month later for smaller items such as book reviews, noteworthy items, event reports, etc.
  3. A statement whether an item is being submitted elsewhere or has been previously published must accompany the article.
  4. Research articles will be sent to up to three independent referees. Authors are encouraged to submit the contact details of 4 potential referees with whom they have not recently co-published. The choice of referees is at the discretion of the editors. The referee process is a double blind process. This means that you should not consult with or inform your referees at any point in the process. Your paper will be anonymized so that the referee does not know that you are the author. Upon receiving the reports from the referees, authors will be notified of the decision of the editorial committee, which may include a statement indicating changes or improvements that are required before publication. You will not be informed which referees were consulted and any feedback from them will be anonymized.
  5. Should the article be accepted for publication, the author will be expected to submit a finalized electronic version of the article.
  6. Include the following:
    • An abstract of no more than 100 words.
    • Between 3 and 10 keywords that express the key concepts used in the article.
    • Brief biographical details of the author in the first footnote, linked to the name of the author, indicating, among others, year of birth, the institutional affiliation, special connection to the topic, choice of UK or American spelling, date of submission, full contact details including e-mail address.
  7. Authors are encouraged to also engage with prior relevant articles in IJRF, the Religious Freedom Series, and IIRF Reports ( to an appropriate degree. So check for relevant articles.
  8. Articles should be spell-checked before submission, by using the spellchecker on the computer. Authors may choose either ‘UK English‘ or ‘American English’ but must be consistent. Indicate your choice in the first footnote.
  9. Number your headings (including introduction) and give them a hierarchical structure. Delete all double spaces and blank lines. Use as little formatting as possible and definitely no “hard formatting” such as extra spaces, tabs. Please do not use a template. All entries in the references and all footnotes end with a full stop. No blank spaces before a line break.
  10. Research articles should have an ideal length of 4 000 words and a maximum of 6 000 words. Articles longer than that are not normally accepted, but may be published if, in the views of the referees, it makes an exceptionally important contribution to religious freedom.
  11. Research articles are honoured with two complimentary printed copies.
  12. For research articles by members of the editorial team or their relatives, the full editorial discretion is delegated to a non-partisan editor and they are submitted to the same peer review process as all other articles.
  13. The review and publication process is estimated to take approximately 12–15 weeks.

Style requirements

  1. IJRF prefers the widely accepted ‘name-date’ method (or Harvard system) for citations in the text. Other reference methods are permissible if they are fully consistent.
  2. A publication is cited or referred to in the text by inserting the author’s last name, year and page number(s) in parentheses, for example (Mbiti 1986:67–83). More detailed examples can be found on: > journal > instructions for contributors.
  3. Graphics and Tables: These must be attached as separate files. Indicate in red where they should go in the text. Every effort will be made to place them in that spot.

Image Quality: minimum width must be 10.5 cm at 220dpi or simply 1000 pixels. The width of the image always goes over the entire width of the type area (10.5cm), but is flexible in hight.

Please send the image in its own file (e.g. JPG, TIF, EPS ...), not in a Word document.

Tables and “simple” diagrams: These will likely be redesigned by our layout expert. Please attach them in a separate file.

  1. Footnotes should be reserved for content notes only. Bibliographical information is cited in the text according to the Harvard method (see 2 above). Full citations should appear in the References at the end of the article (see below).
  2. References should be listed in alphabetical order of authors under the heading “References” at the end of the text. Do not include a complete bibliography of all works consulted, only a list of references actually used in the text.
  3. Always give full first names of authors in the list of references, as this simplifies the retrieval of entries in databases. Keep publisher names short.