Vital Statistics

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For several years now we have regularly monitored and published statistics for manuscripts received at EJIL at the three different stages of the submission process: total submissions, accepted manuscripts and published articles. We think it is useful, indeed vital, to understand who makes up our ‘pool’ of authors and how it evolves over the years.

Generating these statistics is not a purely computer-based exercise. Each year, we pose new questions and reconsider our categories. This year, we wanted to assess how we are doing on our aim of publishing voices that are new to EJIL. We also decided to be more granular in assessing where the submissions originate.

To assess whether we publish the same authors over and over again or give plenty of space to new voices, we traced first time vs repeat authors of articles accepted for publication in EJIL over the nine years since we began to use an online submission database in 2011. We found that 86 per cent of authors published one article in EJIL over that time, whilst 14 per cent published two or more articles. This figure is very much in line with our aim to promote a diversity of scholars.

Of course, diversity also has a geographic component.

In 2010, when we first began keeping figures on EJIL submissions, it seemed reasonable to divide the world for statistical purposes into four areas: the European Union; Council of Europe countries not in the EU; USA and Canada, and the rest of the world. In these past 10 years we have seen changes in the geographical distribution of submissions received. To reflect this evolution and provide more information on who submits to EJIL we have changed the categories to Europe minus the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom, Asia, Oceania, Africa, North America and South America. We have separated the UK from Europe because of the relatively high percentage of submissions from the UK. For a similar reason we have decided to separate Oceania from other parts of the world and to subdivide that category further per continent.

Table 1 shows that just over half of all manuscripts received, accepted and published come from Europe -UK and the United Kingdom. We are receiving a larger number of submissions from Asian countries, though this is not yet reflected in the number of accepted or published articles. While we saw a higher percentage of articles accepted and published from North America this past year, the countries of Oceania, Africa and South America still constitute a relatively small percentage of submissions, acceptances and published articles.

Table 1: Geographical provenance of submissions, accepted manuscripts and published articles


All Submissions
% of total

Accepted manuscripts
% of total

Published articles

% of total

Europe -UK




United Kingdom
















North America




South America




Table 2 provides information on the language of authors of submissions, accepted manuscripts and published articles. Recall that we use authors’ affiliation as the indicator of language. Thus, we may find a Spanish author affiliated with a UK university or an Australian author working at a European university. Nonetheless, we think the numbers pan out to give a reasonable indication of the linguistic origins of our authors. As in previous years, the percentage of accepted and published articles by authors from non-English speaking countries is lower than the percentage of submissions received from those countries. This may be accounted for by an increase in the number of submissions we receive from non-English speaking countries – a growth of just on 10 per cent over the past eight years – whilst the percentages of accepted and published articles by authors from non-English speaking countries have remained relatively stable over the years.

Table 2: Linguistic origin of submissions, accepted manuscripts and published articles


All Submissions
% of total

Accepted manuscripts
% of total

Published articles
% of total

English-speaking countries




Non-English-speaking countries




As may be seen in Table 3, we receive a lower number of submissions by female authors, though this gap has slightly narrowed over the years. The average over the past eight years for submissions by female authors was 33 per cent. The good news is that the percentages of accepted and published articles by women are higher. While we are not there yet, it is better than how the journal started: in the first three years of EJIL not one article by a female author was published!

Table 3: Gender of authors of submissions, accepted manuscripts and published articles


All Submissions
% of total

Accepted articles
% of total

Published articles
% of total










So, what do we actually publish in our pages? We obviously receive many more manuscripts than we can possibly publish. By the same token, part of our mandate is to innovate and provoke discussion by organizing symposia and encouraging debate articles on topics that we believe important for the international law community. For our 2019 volume, approximately 37 per cent of published articles were initiated by the editors. This figure is just a little higher than in recent years – the average for the previous eight years was 35 per cent and our ideal ratio is 2:1 in favour of unsolicited manuscripts. The slight increase may be due to the incubation time required for symposia, which meant that a number of symposia came to fruition this past year. Symposium articles go through as rigorous a review process as unsolicited articles. Finally, as part of our custom of fostering discussion and debate in the journal, we commissioned nine Reply articles in 2019 for the EJIL: Debate! and Afterword sections. The interesting and stimulating discussions provoked by these reaction pieces are often continued on our EJIL: Talk! blog. It is a good sign that we are receiving more and more unsolicited Reply articles. Let the debate continue!

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