SCL Publication Policy

The Society for Computers and Law (‘SCL’) accepts articles and other written material and images (‘Material’) for publication on its web site at www.scl.org and any other site maintained by it in all media whether now known or hereafter devised (‘SCL Site’) and in its magazine (including any electronic rendition of it in all media whether now known or hereafter devised) (‘Computers & Law’) on the following terms (‘the Publication Policy’).

  1. Unless otherwise indicated, the named author retains copyright in the text and images in the Material. Where more than one author of Material is named, copyright is shared amongst them.
  2. SCL has copyright over the displayed version of the Material both in the form published on the SCL Site and in Computers & Law.
  3. When offering articles or other Material for publication by SCL, the author offers a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual licence for SCL to publish that Material on the SCL Site and in Computers & Law. While the licence is not exclusive as to the substance of the Material, authors agree not to offer the same or substantially the same Material to a rival publication. 
  4. Acceptance of Material for publication may be acceptance for publication on the SCL Site only. Publication in Computers & Law is dependent on additional factors, such as continued topicality and space, and is never guaranteed. Decisions on acceptance are usually taken by the Editor in accordance with the General Guidelines set out below, as amended from time to time.
  5. A licence may be terminated by the author on 21 days’ notice but this does not affect the appearance of the Material in printed copies of Computers & Law (including any edition of Computers & Law that has been sent to the printers for printing), which may continue to be distributed thereafter.
  6. The author agrees to accept editorial changes to the Material, including but not limited to cosmetic and style changes. SCL will endeavour to agree any change of substance in the Material at the Editor’s discretion, but the publication schedule does not always allow notice or agreement of such changes. The author is encouraged to request any appropriate change to Material published on the SCL Site but the Editor’s view as to whether such change is material or necessary is final.

General Guidelines

We welcome articles and ideas for consideration. Please send your completed article or e-mail a proposal for an article to Laurence Eastham at lseastham@aol.com. It is not necessary to have prior approval of an article but where a draft or idea is forwarded the Editor will try to offer constructive suggestions. 

Authors will be notified as soon as possible of the editor’s decision on the acceptability of any article.

Articles are normally published online in the first instance under this Publication Policy. The content for Computers & Law normally consists of a balanced selection of articles published online.

Our readership, especially online, is much wider than the SCL membership. It includes solicitors, barristers, in-house lawyers, senior executives in large corporations, government lawyers, the judiciary, academics and students. You should assume basic legal knowledge and, for more tightly focused pieces especially, you may assume a readership with a good grounding in IT law and some understanding of basic technology concepts. However, SCL is proud of the wide range of articles it publishes – opinion pieces, case reports, practical guides, gadget reviews and more. The tone of an article can be professional, academic, dry, ranting and (at a push) funny – but preferably pick one or two of those.

Articles should be:

- genuinely interesting and useful to a substantial proportion of professionals working in areas of IT law;

- original (and ‘edgy’ is even better) BUT while covering topics on the leading edge is part of our remit sometimes a new spin on a well-established issue is very valuable;

- authoritative, accurate and well-founded;

- written in as clear and accessible a style as the subject-matter allows.

Avoid complicated word processing styles – please do not try to make it look like a magazine piece as such styling is just stripped away and wastes everyone’s time. Try to keep the same margins throughout. Leave one line space between paragraphs and do not indent the beginning of paragraphs.

Authors are asked to supply their photograph in colour for publication in the magazine- an electronic version (TIF or JPEG at 300 dpi) is required. Please supply a photograph in as high a resolution as possible – print requires higher resolution than online. Where only black and white photographs are available because your firm has signed with a PR agency that thinks they are cool, they will be accepted with a sigh. You do not have to supply a photograph as a condition of being published.

The maximum word length is 3,500 words (four pages in Computers & Law). The minimum word length is 600 words. As a guide (but not a restriction), more popular articles appear to be approximately 1,500 words (2 pages) but the author should write what feels right to him or her and not aim for a target.

Wherever possible the article should be topical and relevant to our membership — and should be practitioner-orientated.

Law should be set in context; the article should usually contain analysis and comment. However, straight case reports with little or no comment are often accepted for publication.

Articles are not to be used overtly as ‘show cases’ for products, firms or chambers.

Style guide and grumbles

1. The author should supply a short, punchy title if possible. The Editor is likely to replace overly long titles. The strapline is usually written by SCL (although any suggestions from the author are welcome).

2. Sub-headings should be used at reasonable intervals to break up the text. Try to avoid adding too many and, above all, do not introduce headings that do not actually cover the topic(s) beneath them. Try to stick to two levels of heading. It is permissible to use up to three levels of heading and subheading (for example, 1. caps; 2. bold; 3. bold, italics) but you need a good reason.

3. A closing ‘end shot’ or brief biog should consist of the name of the author and firm/chambers/university and his or her post. It is taken as read that the author is a specialist in the area s/he is writing on and lengthy claims to expertise will be cut. E-mail addresses/websites can be mentioned. 

4. Please try not to use footnotes – many can be incorporated into the text and many are simply unnecessary. Where they are unavoidable, they will appear as endnotes and may well be deleted from the magazine version of the article. Case references should be in the text and are not appropriate footnotes.

5. Use neutral case references. References to statutes should be in this style: Human Rights Act 1998, s 4. But sometimes the flow of text doesn’t allow that. Refer to Acts first by their full name with any unusual abbreviation in brackets. Refer to regulations/rules first by their full name and SI number, with abbreviation in brackets.

6. Avoid initial capitals (eg, in defendant and judge), and full stops in abbreviations, citations and statutory references (eg, write Arnold J, EWCA Crim, s 88, reg 93, etc). Use single quotation marks (') – double quotes for quotes within quotes only.

7. Abbreviations – if the reader is not likely to know what the usual abbreviation is then set it out in brackets (without quotes around it). So it is permissible to spell out, say, European Network Information Security Agency and follow it with (ENISA), provided there are subsequent refs to ENISA. But it is not, for example, necessary to explain EU; readers who don’t know what EU stands for must have mistaken us for the Beano!

8. United States – the Editor is weary of grumbling ‘of what’. There is no such country as ‘the United States’. But USA is fine - even Beano readers know where that is – and ‘US’ is permissible as an adjective (in context). 

Status of author

Articles from pupil barristers/ students/trainee solicitors will not normally be accepted unless co-written with someone suitably qualified, ie legally trained or an academic in the legal field. Doctoral students do not count as students for this purpose. And there are exceptions where a trainee etc has a special insight to share (or offers a book review etc).

Comments

We will sometimes draw your attention to comments made on your article but you are encouraged to monitor these, and respond where appropriate. The comments feature may also be used to advantage by the author to add in later developments or thoughts.

Spread the word

Please promote your articles by linking to them on your website or blog and by sharing links via Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
You’re also welcome to republish and reuse your articles after initial publication in Computers & Law, but please do give due attribution and link to the SCL web site.
Thanks for your contribution.

Feedback

Please send questions, comments and suggestions about your contributions or any other aspect of the SCL web site or Computers & Law to lseastham@aol.com


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