About the Journal

Focus and Scope

The Journal of Civic Information is an open-access, interdisciplinary journal that publishes double-blind peer-reviewed research related to the field of accessibility of public information. We welcome submissions from both scholars and practitioners from all disciplines that involve managing information for public use. 

Proposals may encompass any research methodological approach (legal, survey, experimental, content analysis, etc.), and should provide insights of practical value for those who work day-to-day in access to government information. Topics may include issues regarding access to public records and meetings, court transparency, access to public employees and elected officials, open data and technology, and other related matters.

Proposals should focus on civic information at the state/local levels, but topics regarding U.S. FOIA and international access also will be considered if they have broader relevancy or application (e.g., the spreading of the “Glomar response” from federal agencies to state/local agencies, or the effects of technology or policies on agency transparency in a federal agency or other country that can be applied to any government agency). Because the primary purpose of the Journal is to furnish actionable information to professionals, an article’s usefulness to a lay audience will weigh in the publication decision; we encourage authors to consider audience accessibility in decisions of presentation style and depth of treatment.

About the Journal of Civic Information

The Journal is a project of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida.  

Journal History

The Journal was founded in Fall 2019 as a project of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information. 

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. There are no publication charges, and all content is freely available without charge to the user or their institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author for non-commercial purposes. Nonetheless, reproduction, posting, transmission or other distribution or use of the article or any material therein requires credit to the original publication source with a link to both the article and the license. This open access policy is in accordance with the Budapest Open Access Initiative's (BOAI) definition of open access.

Peer Review Process

All scholarly submissions to the Journal of Civic Information undergo an initial screening by the journal editor as to fitness for publication. Submissions that pass this initial screening are then subject to double-blind peer review by two or three reviewers. The editor of the Journal of Civic Information then takes into consideration recommendations by the reviewers in deciding whether to publish the article. Our goal is to provide reviewer feedback within one month of submission. However, contingencies may arrive that necessitate the extension of this period.

Publication Frequency

The Journal of Civic Information is published four times per year, and may occasionally publish special issues.

Copyright to Your Publication

As described in the author agreement, authors retain copyright to their publications. As an open access journal, we disseminate all content under a CC BY-NC 4.0 (Attribution-Non-Commercial) license. More information about this specific type of license agreement can be found here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

Self-Archiving Policy

The Journal of Civic Information permits and encourages authors to post items submitted to the journal on personal websites or institutional repositories both prior to and after publication, while providing bibliographic details that credit, if applicable, its publication in this journal.

Preservation Policy

Content published in the Journal of Civic Information will be preserved by the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida. The Libraries are committed to long-term digital preservation of all materials in UF-supported collaborative projects. Redundant digital archives, adherence to proven standards, and rigorous quality control methods protect digital objects. The UF Digital Collections provide a comprehensive approach to digital preservation, including technical supports, reference services for both online and offline archived files, and support services by providing training and consultation for digitization standards for long-term digital preservation.

Content will be preserved indefinitely, unless a specific request for removal of a specific item is directed to the journal managers. If you believe that your copyrighted material has been deposited into this journal without consent, please contact the administrators at the Journal of Civic Information.

Plagiarism Statement

The Journal of Civic Information does not accept articles containing material plagiarized from other publications or authors.

For the purposes of this policy, plagiarism is defined as copying of or reliance on work — including text, images and data — by others or yourself without proper attribution. Please be aware that you can plagiarize yourself; you must provide proper attribution in all cases where your previously published material or previously used data or images are included in your manuscript.

Plagiarism detected prior to publication will cause rejection of your manuscript. Plagiarism detected after publication will cause the published article to be amended to state that it contains plagiarized material; in extreme cases of plagiarism, the publication will be removed at the Editors’ discretion, and the reason for removal stated on the journal’s website.

The Journal of Civic Information does not consider the following situations to be plagiarism when proper attribution is made:

  • Translations into English of a previously published paper not in English;
  • Publication of all or part of a revised thesis or dissertation;
  • Publication of a paper previously made public as a conference presentation, white paper, technical report, or preprint

The Journal of Civic Information follows workflows developed by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) to deal with cases of plagiarism.

Use of Third-Party Copyrighted Materials

When submitting your manuscript, please be mindful of copyright laws in the United States and (if outside the U.S.) your home country. The Journal of Civic Information respects the intellectual property of scholars, students, and publishers, and we ask that you secure appropriate permissions or evaluate whether your incorporation of images, figures, charts, quotations, and other materials falls within the scope of fair use/fair dealing.

If you are incorporating published materials that you have previously authored, be aware that in many cases your publisher may now own the copyright and you may need to seek permission to reprint your own work.

The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries provides resources on copyright and fair use, with an emphasis on U.S. Copyright Law: https://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/copyright

Correction, Retraction, and Removal of Articles

Correction. Despite the best of efforts, errors occur and their timely and effective remedy are considered the mark of responsible authors and editors the Journal of Civic Information will publish a correction if the scholarly record is seriously affected (e.g., if accuracy/intended meaning, scientific reproducibility, author reputation, or journal reputation is judged to be compromised). Corrections that do not affect the contribution in a material way or significantly alter the reader’s understanding of the contribution, such as misspellings or grammatical errors, will not be published. When a correction is published, it will link to and from the work. The correction will be added to the original work so that readers will receive the original work and the correction. All corrections will be as concise as possible.

Retraction. The Journal of Civic Information reserves the right to retract items, with a retraction defined as a public disavowal, not an erasure or removal. Retractions will occur if the editors and editorial board finds that the main conclusion of the work is undermined or if subsequent information about the work comes to light of which the authors or the editors were not aware at the time of publication. Infringements of professional ethical codes, such as multiple submission, inaccurate claims of authorship, plagiarism, fraudulent use of data will also result in retraction of the work.

Removal. Some circumstances may necessitate removal of a work from the Journal of Civic Information. This will occur when the article is judged by the editors and editorial board to be defamatory, if it infringes on legal rights, or if there is a reasonable expectation that it will be subject to a court order. The bibliographic information about the work will be retained online, but the work will no longer be available through the Journal of Civic InformationA note will be added to indicate that the item was removed for legal reasons.

Data-Sharing Policy

Authors of research papers submitted for publication in the Journal of Civic Information are encouraged to make the data underlying their articles available online whenever possible. For the purposes of this policy, the term “data” is understood broadly and refers to both quantitative and qualitative research outputs, spanning observations and analysis of social settings (producing numbers, texts, images, multimedia or other content) to numbers attained through instrumental and other raw data gathering efforts, quantitative analysis, text mining, or citation analysis, as well as protocols, methods, and code used to generate any specific finding reported in the paper. The Journal of Civic Information editorial board prefers that the data be submitted as supplemental files accompanying the article, or be archived in a secure repository that provides a persistent identifier, assures long-term access, and provides sufficient documentation and metadata to support re-use by other investigators. Acceptable solutions include institutional repositories; repositories specifically focused on data curation, or domain specific repositories. If there is no relevant public repository available, and the data cannot easily be included in a supplement, authors should describe how the data are being curated and made available or, in the case where they cannot be made available (e.g., IRB restrictions), why that is so. In any case, a citation to the dataset should be made in the article itself in accordance with the data citation principles of the FORCE11 “Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles“, including an ORCID for the researcher(s) associated with the data. Finally, we recommend that whenever possible authors explicitly define the terms of re-use by assigning a license to their data, choosing, for instance, among Creative Commons or Open Data Commons licenses.

The Journal of Civic Information data policy does not require data publication and citation at this time due to still-emergent standards for data peer review; the lack of sufficiently robust and distributed infrastructure to support the variety of disciplinary research occurring in our field; uncertainty whether the Journal of Civic Information should provide a third mode of data publication in the form of “data papers” or “data descriptors”; and insufficient preparation and notification to the Journal of Civic Information contributors to ensure datasets are properly curated with the aim of publication. Authors unable to share their data must provide written explanation of this circumstance in their cover letter at the time of submission.

Diversity and Inclusion Statement

The University of Florida is committed to creating a community that reflects the rich racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity of the state and nation. The Journal of Civic Information contributes to this mission by promoting inclusivity through supporting open access; actively encouraging greater representation across cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints; and fostering transparency and openness throughout the publishing cycle.

To further our goals of diversity and inclusivity, it is recommended that authors, reviewers, and editors consider the following:

  • Encourage participation of people from underrepresented groups as authors, reviewers, and editors.
  • Include content from multidisciplinary scholars that fits publication scope.
  • Create an editorial board that reflects the diversity of a global academic community.
  • Maintain a clear and open process for article review and contribution.