About the Journal

Focus, Scope and Ethics

The purpose of the journal is to promote and stimulate research and innovation that empowers individuals, families, groups, organisations and communities to advocate for and advance sustainable development and human well-being. The journal is committed to publishing research that contributes to the creation of socially just, rights-based and humane living contexts, both locally and internationally, with a particular focus on the Southern Africa region.

Authors of SAJSWSD adhere to the highest standards of research ethics, avoiding research or writing that marginalises, stigmatises or harms groups of people. SAJSWSD research incorporates an ethics of care (click here for an introduction), in which the rights, dignity and well-being of participants are protected and advanced in both the conducting and the writing up of the research. All empirical research published by SAJSWSD has gone through a process of ethical review by an independent review body, in accordance with the requirements of the country in which the researcher and/or study are located. (Click here for the Global Social Work Statement of Ethical Principles.)

Manuscripts that may be appropriate for publication in SAJSWSD are:

  1. non-discriminatory, free of biased, offensive or derogatory language (click here for detailed guidelines), and grounded in social inclusion, social justice and ethics,
  2. manuscripts that report empirical work (including qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research, with smaller or larger samples),
  3. systematic or scoping reviews that provide new insights or new research questions (literature reviews are not considered for publication),
  4. conceptual analyses and theoretical presentations.

Topics that will be considered by SAJSWSD are diverse and may include the following: lifespan, populations at risk, poverty, livelihoods, anti-discriminatory practice, welfare systems, development management, social security, social policy, human rights, community-based development, social development, comparative health, mental health, education, urban and rural development, volunteerism, civic service, civil society, social movements, social change, decoloniality, indigenous knowledges, climate justice, disaster management, and sustainable development.

The readers of SAJSWSD are primarily social work practitioners and educators, but also include community development practitioners, development workers, child and youth care workers, and social policy makers. It is thus the intention of this journal to maintain a balance between theory and practice. Contributors are therefore encouraged to specify the practical implications of their work for those involved in social work and social development practice and education in the African context.

The University of Johannesburg charges page fees to cover the university-related administrative costs of hosting the journal. A fee of R175.44 per page, excluding VAT, is charged for articles published in 2020 and 2021. Authors will invoiced once the article is published, based on the number of pages in the article. Articles are, on average, 18 pages (with a range of 14-21 pages). Motivations for fee waivers should be directed in a formal letter request to the Editor.

Please note that due to the large number of potential authors for this journal and the limited number of papers published per annum (24), we cannot consider more than one paper from an author at any given time.

Ethics Statement (Unisa Press Journals)

As part of fulfilling the University of South Africa's vision of being "the African university shaping futures in the service of humanity" the vision of Unisa Press Journals is to "publish with integrity" and, as such, Unisa Press Journals would like all parties involved in the publication process to adhere to the expected ethical behaviour set out in this ethics statement.

1.    Responsibilities of the Publisher and the Institutions and/or Societies on Behalf of Which It Publishes

Unisa Press Journals and the institutions and/or societies on behalf of which it publishes shall ensure that:

1.1.  Good practice is maintained to the standards set out in this statement.

1.2.  Collaborations with other publishers and industry associations adhere to standards for best practices on ethical matters, errors and retractions.

1.3.  The publisher's address and contact details are published in all journals and on these journals' websites.

1.4.  Guidelines on how the review process works are published on all journals' websites.

1.5.  Journals publish guidance on what is expected from reviewers.

1.6.  Journals publish guidance on what is expected from authors.

1.7.  Journals have properly functioning editorial boards and international advisory boards.

2.    Responsibilities of Editorial Boards

A properly functioning editorial board of a journal is of vital importance to ensure that the journals are governed efficiently. The board is responsible to ensure that the requirements for journals to be accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) are adhered to.

Editorial boards need to:

2.1.  Meet regularly and be actively involved in the editorial management of the journal.

2.2.  Have terms of reference.

2.3.  Keep minutes of their meetings.

2.4.  Be comprised of members from beyond a single institution, and with more than two-thirds of the editorial board members beyond a single institution.

2.5.  Be reflective of expertise in the relevant subject area.

2.6.  Ensure that the names, titles and affiliation of board members are published in the journal and on the journals' website.

2.7.  Ensure that all board members serve for a clearly defined term, after which they may be re-elected in order to remain on the board.

2.8.  Ensure that their journal has a mechanism for authors to appeal against editorial decisions. This should be managed by the editorial board and not the editor. Appeals should be directed to the Chair of the Board at swjournal@uj.ac.za and shahanar@uj.ac.za

2.9.  Appoint the academic editor of the journal

3.    International Advisory Boards

The international advisory board, advises the editorial board and the editor on the academic standard of the journal. This is a critical part of our editorial component as it helps the journal to foster excellence in scholarship. 

4.    Responsibilities of Academic Editors

Academic Editors should:

4.1.  Execute their duties in an objective and fair way without discriminating on the basis of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious or political affiliation or sexual orientation of authors or reviewers.

4.2.  Ensure that articles include English abstracts if their language of publication is not English.

4.3.  Ensure that their journal uses the double blind peer review method, where the identities of authors and reviewers are not known to each other.

4.4.  Pursue suspected cases of misconduct and not just simply reject articles that raise suspicion.

4.5.  Give authors an opportunity to respond to any complaints and, if they are not satisfied, ask the authors' employers to investigate. Editors should persist until they obtain a resolution to the problem in question.

4.6.  Follow reasonable procedures when complaints of conflict of interest or of an ethical nature arise, and follow the procedures of the society or institution which owns the journal, where appropriate, to resolve the complaint. Journals owned by Unisa need to follow the guidelines set out in the relevant Unisa policies.

4.7.  Keep all documentation relating to the investigation of a complaint.

4.8.  Correct any inaccuracy or misleading statement that has been published in order to maintain the integrity of the academic record. They have to publish errata, corrigenda or even retract articles if need be.

4.9.  Make sure their journals comply with all the requirements of the Department: Higher Education and Training's Research Outputs Policy (2015)

5.    Responsibilities of Peer Reviewers

 Reviewers should:

5.1.  Maintain the confidentiality of all information supplied by the editor.

5.2.  Review each manuscript objectively, in a timely manner, contribute to the decision-making process regarding publication of articles, and assist in improving the quality of the manuscript.

5.3.  Alert the editor to any suspected plagiarism or substantially similar content.

5.4.  Keep the integrity of the double blind peer review intact by ensuring they stay anonymous in their review reports.

5.5.  Be aware of any potential conflict of interest, and decline the review on those grounds.

6.    Authors' responsibilities

 Authors should:

6.1.  Declare any real or potential conflict of interest regarding the research and the publication process.

6.2.  Confirm that each submission has not been previously published and that it is not under consideration by another journal.

6.3.  Confirm that the work in submission is original, and acknowledge and cite content from other sources.

6.4.  Confirm that they have obtained permission to reproduce any content that is not theirs.

6.5.  Notify the journal editor or publisher immediately if a significant error in their publication comes to light, and should cooperate with the editor and publisher if it is necessary to retract the article or to publish an erratum, addendum or corrigendum notice.

6.6.  Maintain accurate records of data associated with their submission, and should grant access to these data if reasonably requested. Where allowed and where appropriate, authors should deposit this data in a suitable repository or storage for sharing and further use.

6.7.  Ensure that any studies involving human or animal subjects conform to local, national and international laws and requirements. Authors should obtain express permission from human subjects and respect their privacy.

6.8.  Be aware that online originality checking will be conducted to protect the integrity of the journal.

7.    Misconduct

Misconduct and unethical behaviour may be identified and brought to the attention of the editor and publisher at any time, by anyone. Sufficient evidence should be provided in writing by any complainant when informing the editor or publisher for an investigation to be initiated. All allegations should be taken seriously and must be treated appropriately. Those who report such behaviour in good faith must be protected in accordance with relevant Unisa policies and procedures. When misconduct or unethical behaviour is confirmed appropriate actions should be taken timeously, including correcting the research record (Singapore Statement, 2010).


Peer Review Process

The manuscript is sent to the Editor or Assistant Editor for approval. If it is judged suitable for this journal, it is sent to two or more reviewers for blind peer-review. Based on their recommendations, the editorial committee decides whether the manuscript should be accepted as is, revised or rejected. 

Self-archiving Policy

Author's Pre-print:

 author can archive pre-print (ie pre-refereeing)

Author's Post-print:

 author can archive post-print (ie final accepted version post-refereeing)

Publisher's Version/PDF:

 author cannot archive publisher's version/PDF

General Conditions:

  • On Institutional Repositories, social media repositories (Research Gate) and subject repositories, 18 months embargo (from date of acceptance).
  • Must link to publisher version
  • Published source must be acknowledged with DOI