Publication policy

Open access - diamond

The Journal of Family Research provides immediate open access to all content, free of charge for authors, readers and libraries. Articles finally approved by the editors and the corresponding author of the atricle will be published online. We do not offer printed copies of our journal.


The Journal of Family Research is published under a Creative Commons BY license. Authors of those articles are granted permission to re-publish or re-print the article or parts of it, provided that the initial publication in the Journal of Family Research is properly acknowledged.

Preprint policy

A preprint is a paper that is made available publicly via a community preprint server prior to (or simultaneous with) submission to a journal. Preprint servers such as SocArXiv and OSF are becoming increasingly common in the social sciences and we acknowledge their valuable contribution to open scholarly communication.

Therefore, JFR allows for the submission of manuscripts which have already been made available as preprints. Allowing submission does not, of course, guarantee that an article will be sent out for review; it simply reflects our belief that availability on a preprint server should not be a disqualifier for submission.

Authors may also post the submitted version of a manuscript to a preprint server at any time. Authors are requested to update any pre-publication versions with a link to the final published article on our website and to acknowledge the preprint in the published article in case of acceptance.

Open science policy

The Journal of Family Research aims to increase the transparency of research and agrees with the Open Science Framework that "openness is a core value of scientific practice". Therefore, JFR obliges all authors to give a data availability statement and to share their replication code together with their published article.

Data availability statement

Authors of empirical papers (qualitative and quantitative alike) are required to provide a data availability statement, which describes where and how the data used in their article can be accessed.

Data availability statements must be included in the manuscript as a separate section right before the references and will be included in the final article (see most recent papers in JFR for examples). Manuscripts without a data availability statement will not be sent out for review.

If possible, authors should directly share the data used for their study. If data cannot be shared, for example, for legal or ethical reasons, authors are required to cite the research data used in their manuscript correctly. Most data creators/distributors provide instructions on how to cite their data, often including persistent identifiers (e.g., the German pairfam-study). Complying with these instructions is considered good scientific practice and acknowledges the work of others. Further information on best practices of data citation can be found at DataCite.

Please consult the following pages for some sample data availability statements:

Mandatory (data and) code sharing for quantitative empirical articles

JFR is committed to the ideals of open science and open data and, therefore, requires the authors of accepted quantitative empirical articles to provide all data and code necessary to reproduce the results of their article.

If third-party data providers do not allow to share the data, authors must provide information on how the data can be obtained in their data availability statement (see above). In addition, the authors should explore the possibility of sharing a reduced or simulated version of their data, which data providers sometimes allow.

Irrespective of the author’s possibility of sharing their analysis data, they are required to share the syntax/code/script files required to reproduce the results shown or mentioned in the paper and its appendix. This includes the code files required to construct the analysis dataset(s) from the original data sources.

The code should include comments that explain the steps of the analysis and refer to the respective sections of the paper where applicable (e.g. the following code chunk creates Figure 2). In general, we recommend to make extensive use of comment statements (for an audience of proficient users). Authors should also provide information on the version of the software used to conduct the analyses.

JFR is agnostic about the software used for the analysis but encourages the use of free and open data file formats.

Preparing the replication files for JFR

The replication material should be provided as one single zipped folder that, in any case, contains the code file(s) and a plain-text file named readme.txt. The latter file shall provide the names of all data and code files contained in the zip-archive as well as a brief description of each. The readme.txt should further specify the name and version of the software used to conduct the analysis (e.g. “All analyses in this article were carried out using Stata/SE 17.0 for Windows (64-bit)”; “The R scripts were written and executed using R version 4.1.2 (with RStudio 2021.09.0+351) and may not be compatible with earlier versions.”). Finally, the authors should provide instructions allowing others to reproduce their results based on the material included in the zip-archive. Prior to publication, the editorial office will insert citation information on the corresponding article at the beginning of the readme file.

JFR will host and publish the replication material in tandem with the article. We will assign a separate persistent identifier (doi) to the replication material.

Please contact the Editorial Office in case of questions.

Qualitative Studies

We are aware of the restricted possibilities of data sharing pertinent to many qualitative studies. The quantitative ideal of exact reproduction is hardly applicable in the context of qualitative research. In order to make their research comprehensible, authors are asked to describe their research processes as clearly and detailed as possible, and to elaborate on how they arrived at their findings and conclusions. We encourage authors to provide additional information on top of the mandatory data availability statement, if possible.

We refer to the Qualitative Data Repository for further information on sharing qualitative data.

Peer review policy

Submissions for review are welcome at all times (no submission or processing fees). All manuscripts submitted to the journal will be peer reviewed. The peer review process is double blind. The editors make every effort to complete the review process of a manuscript within three months following its date of submission.

Editors initially assess submitted manuscripts for their suitability for the journal and quality. Manuscripts that are found to be suitable for the journal and meet the quality expectations of the journal are assigned to two reviewers. The reviewers are selected from among the editorial board members of the journal, or external reviewers who have expertise in the topical and/or methodological area of the manuscript.

The reviewers are asked to judge the merits of the manuscript on the following criteria:

  1. Significance of the topic/problem investigated
  2. Clarity of the purpose, research question, and/or theoretical/conceptual framework
  3. Relevance and adequacy of the theoretical/conceptual framework and the literature cited for the topic/problem investigated
  4. Appropriateness of the methods used for the topic/problem investigated and the theoretical/conceptual framework and clarity of the description of methods
  5. Accuracy and adequacy of the analyses and clarity in the presentation of results
  6. Consistency of the conclusions with the analytical results and the theoretical/conceptual framework espoused
  7. Novelty of the empirical findings or theoretical arguments presented in the manuscript
  8. Clarity, coherence, and conciseness of the writing style

The reviewers make one of the following recommendations for the manuscript:

  • Accept the manuscript as it is ("accept")
  • Minor revisions needed, such as revisions in writing style or clarification of concepts or methods ("revisions required")
  • Revise and re-submit the manuscript ("resubmit for review")
  • Reject the manuscript ("decline submission")

If there is a conflict between the recommendations of the two reviewers, particularly if one of them recommends that the manuscript be rejected, the editors ask a third reviewer to judge it independently. Editors-in-charge make the final decision on whether to publish a manuscript.

For authors who are requested by reviewers or editors to revise and resubmit their article it is mandatory to resubmit the article together with a documentation of the changes made according to the recommendations of reviewers or editors and to explain these changes. This statement will be provided to the reviewer together with the resubmitted article. Reviewers will receive all previous reviews in order to re-review resubmitted papers. Reviewers should not accept reviews if anonymity is breached or in case of conflicting interests. Exceptions to this policy may apply in cases where articles are based on conference contributions or previous publications. Review results will be made available to the authors anonymously. Decisions on the acceptance of papers, revision of contributions, additional reviews or re-reviews and copy editing are solely the responsibility of the editor-in-chief in agreement with the whole editorial team, and are final.

Recommended literature concerning peer reviewing: McPeek, M.A., et al. (2009): The golden rule of reviewing. The American Naturalist, 173, 5, E155-E158. doi:10.1086/598847