Publication Ethics and Policies

Journal Mission

This journal encourages rigorous scholarship about disability systems and highlights research and evaluation that demonstrates the value and impact of the Developmental Disabilities network and related disability advocacy and support programs.

Publication Frequency

Our journal is published by Utah State University Libraries two times a year: Spring and Fall.

Accessibility Policy

Our journal strives to be readily accessible to all potential audiences, and thus provides an accessible format. All articles in the journal include a “plain language” summary; figures in the journal are accompanied by written descriptions; the journal is published in a screen-readable format; the language and content of the journal is intended for a general audience; and the journal editor will make the journal available in additional alternative formats upon request.

Open Access Policy

Journals published by Utah State University Libraries provide immediate open access to their content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. In order to lower barriers to publication for authors, our journals do not charge submission or any other form of author fees. You don't need an account to read articles. We publish under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Click here for more information about this type of open-access license.

Ethical Standards

All papers that report on data gathered from human participants must have documented approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the author’s institution, or another institution with appropriate authority to review and approve the reported research. Each paper submitted must include a statement identifying the IRB that approved the study, and that the study conforms to recognized human subjects research standards.

Journal Management Statement

The Developmental Disabilities Network Journal (DDNJ) is committed to promoting open access to scholarly research and maintaining the highest standards of publication ethics. As an open-access journal, we allow researchers from around the globe to access and contribute to the body of knowledge in the field without any financial barriers. We never charge our authors to publish. We are funded by Utah State University Institute for Disability Research, Policy & Practice, and receive additional support from the Utah State University Libraries. We publish using the Digital Commons platform. The Digital Commons platform is a robust and scalable system, enabling us to efficiently manage submissions, peer-review processes, and publication. This platform also offers tools for maintaining an open lines of communication between authors, editors, and reviewers, ensuring transparency and integrity in our operations. Our business model is centered around sustaining an editorially independent journal. Editorial decisions are made independently by our team of editors ensuring that all articles published in the journal are of high quality and contribute significantly to the field. Because the journal is supported independently by the USU IDRPP, this reduces any undue influence that might come from advertisers or other entities that might have a financial stake in the journal’s output. To maintain an efficient editorial process, the DDNJ invests in outreach and training for our editorial board and staff. The editors are selected based on their expertise and proven experience in the field. Regular meetings and workshops are conducted to update the team with the latest developments in the field and changes in publication ethics and standards. We also place great emphasis on training our staff in the use of our journal management software, ensuring that the submission and review process is smooth and efficient. We receive publication training, support, and technical assistance from the USU Libraries and the technical personnel at Digital Commons. The editorial policies of the DDNJ are transparent and available to the public on our website. These policies cover authorship, conflicts of interest, the peer-review process, handling of corrections, retractions, and appeals. They are regularly updated to reflect the current best practices in the field of scholarly publishing. The DDNJ is committed to data protection and confidentiality. Our secure software system ensures that all submitted manuscripts, reviews, and author information are kept confidential and only accessed by relevant personnel during the review process. The DDNJ believes in the power of scholarly community collaboration and values the input of its readership. We continuously strive to enhance our policies, infrastructure, and management practices to better serve our authors, reviewers, and readers, and to maintain our position as a trusted platform for research in the field of developmental disabilities.

Peer Review Process

At the DDNJ, we value the peer review process as it enhances the quality and credibility of the work we publish. Our rigorous peer review process is guided by the principles of promptness, objectivity, and professional respect for authors. We used a double anonymous peer-review process. Each manuscript is deidentified and is reviewed by two anonymous expert reviewers, an internal reviewer to ensure manuscripts meet journal formatting requirements, and the managing editor. This same process is followed for Special Issues.

1.Invitation to Reviewers: Our editorial team selects reviewers who have the requisite expertise and knowledge in the subject area of the manuscript. Reviewers are invited via email and are provided with the abstract and keywords of the manuscript to decide whether they can undertake the review.

2.Promptness: We expect our reviewers to be diligent and responsive. If an invited reviewer feels they are not qualified to review the submitted work or knows that they cannot complete the review promptly, we ask them to notify the editor as soon as possible and recuse themselves from the review process. This is to ensure that the review process is not unduly delayed, and authors receive timely feedback on their submissions.

3.Standards of Objectivity: Our reviews are conducted objectively, strictly based on the quality of the work and in alignment with the DDNJ Guidelines for Manuscript Review. Reviewers are expected to provide clear, constructive, and substantiated feedback. They should evaluate the manuscript for its scientific merit, originality, clarity of presentation, and relevance to the field. Inappropriate personal criticism or bias against the authors is strictly unacceptable.

4.Reviewer's Report: Reviewers are asked to submit a detailed report that includes their comments on the manuscript, their recommendation (accept, minor revisions, major revisions, or reject), and a confidential note to the editor, if necessary. The report should be constructive, helping authors improve the quality of their manuscript, even if it is recommended for rejection.

5.Reviewer Anonymity: To ensure objectivity and fairness, we adhere to a double-anonymous review process, in which both the reviewers and authors are anonymous to each other. Reviewers are advised not to disclose their identities in the report.

6.Reviewer Confidentiality: Reviewers are expected to treat the manuscript and its details with confidentiality. They are not allowed to use the unpublished work for personal gain or disclose it to others.

Our peer review process is crucial to maintaining the high standards of the research we publish. We greatly appreciate the commitment and dedication of our reviewers, who contribute significantly to the scholarly rigor and credibility of the DDNJ.

Special Issues

We follow the same double-anonymous external peer review process for all special issues. In addition to being reviewed by the peer reviewers, all anonymized manuscripts are reviewed by the Editor in Chief, Managing Editor, and the selected Guest Editors. Guest editors are selected based on their subject matter expertise and professional experience. Guest editors submit an editorial, but do not publish more than one article or review their own work or work of known colleagues. All special issues are titled and labeled clearly on the journal website and manuscript.

Allegations of Misconduct

The Developmental Disabilities Network Journal (DDNJ) will meticulously respond to any allegations or confirmed cases of research misconduct, fraudulent publication, or plagiarism. The editors will work closely with the publisher to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to resolve the situation and, if necessary, rectify the article in question. This may include the publication of an erratum, a clarification, or, in severe cases, the retraction of the implicated work. The publisher, in conjunction with the editors, will take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred and will not, under any circumstances, condone or knowingly allow such misconduct to transpire.

Authorship and Contributors

Authorship in the DDNJ is extended only to those who have significantly contributed to the submitted work. All individuals who have made such notable contributions should be identified as co-authors upon submission. The corresponding author during the review process will ensure that all contributing co-authors are identified and that they approve of the initial submission and final version of the manuscript. Contributors who do not qualify as authors should be acknowledged separately. The DDNJ welcomes and encourages authorship by research team members with disabilities. In these cases, the guidelines for author contributions should be viewed in the context of necessary and reasonable adjustments.

Complaints and Appeals-Authors wishing to appeal the decision on their submitted paper can do so by emailing the Managing Editor at and providing a detailed explanation for the reasons behind their appeal.

Conflicts of Interest / Competing Interests

The editor or editorial team will not use unpublished work disclosed in submissions for their own research purposes without the author's explicit written consent. If a reviewer perceives a potential conflict of interest with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected with the submission, they should notify the editor and, if suitable, recuse themselves from reviewing that particular submission. Any privileged information or ideas obtained through the peer review process must not be used for personal advantage and must remain confidential. Authors are required to include a statement disclosing any conflicts of interest. Additionally, authors should disclose any financial support received for the manuscript.

Data and Reproducibility

The DDNJ encourages authors to share data and, if applicable, codes utilized in their research. A statement regarding data availability should be included in the supplementary material of the manuscript as appropriate.

Ethical Oversight

Confidentiality- The editors and editorial team are committed to maintaining confidentiality and will not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the individuals directly involved in the publication process. This includes the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisors, as necessary and/or appropriate. All submissions received for review are treated as confidential documents.

Reporting standards - Authors of original research must provide an accurate and objective account of their work and its relevance to the field. All presented data must be accurate, with sufficient detail and appropriate references provided to enable others to verify sources of information and, if suitable, replicate the findings.

Originality, Plagiarism and Acknowledgement of Sources - All submissions to the DDNJ should be original work. Any work of others incorporated in the manuscript, but not credited as author(s), must be appropriately cited and/or quoted. Influential works should also be cited accordingly.

Intellectual Property

Multiple, Redundant, or Concurrent Publication - Multiple, redundant or concurrent publication - Each submission should be making a unique contribution. This generally means that a submission that is in essence an account of the same research should not be published in more than one journal. Submitting the same work to multiple journals constitutes unacceptable and unethical practice.

Copyright- Author(s) retain the rights to published material under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, which permits sharing and adapting the work for any purpose, provided authors acknowledge appropriate credit, and by providing a link to the license, and indicating if changes were made. What this means for readers and authors is:

  • Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
  • ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.