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About Verbum et Ecclesia

This page includes information on the focus and scope of Verbum et Ecclesia as well as the policies and publication procedures. For details on how to prepare and submit a manuscript via the online manuscript submission system, please see the instructions for authors.

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Focus and scope 

Verbum et Ecclesia is an international, South African open-access, peer reviewed and accredited, online journal. Only original research is considered for publication. This periodical is juridically connected to the Centre for Ministerial Development (Excelsus), located at the Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria. English, Afrikaans and Sepedi are the languages of publication which makes the journal unique. In addition, articles are also published in German, Dutch and Flemish. Occasionally articles will be published in an indigenous South African language.   

The journal seeks to create an intra- and interdisciplinary space for the conversation between theology and the sciences from a contextual perspective. It encourages research that challenges traditional discourses within and between the fields of biblical, religious, social and human sciences as well as the constructive engagement with the natural sciences. Verbum et Ecclesia is thus an instrument of engagement between theological disciplines, on the one hand, and theology and other disciplines, on the other.

The journal intends to publish research from an annual interdisciplinary congress at the Faculty of Theology with a special focussed theme.

The Editorial Board of Verbum et Ecclesia strongly encourages contributions from Africa, from women and young academics and from minority groups. Nascent global religious developments and especially reflection on these developments in the global South will be given preference. It impacts the methodology and thus the possibility that “texts” from these contexts can be engaged with.

Special editions or Festschrifts will appear occasionally. These editions will reflect an independent theological theme or own character of a specific theological discipline. 

Only publications of the best academic quality will be considered for publication.

Submissions which do not comply with the abovementioned criteria will not be considered for publication. Criteria must be reflected in the abstracts of a submission to be considered for publication.

Historic overview of Verbum et Ecclesia 

Verbum et Ecclesia was founded in 1980 and at the time was called Skrif en Kerk. The journal is owned, since 2000, by ‘the structures of ministerial education and development’ of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) and is situated in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria (UP). During the early period of the journal’s existence, Prof. Dr W.S. (Riempies) Prinsloo was its first Editor (1980–1995) and played a major role in building the journal’s national and international academic stature; his successor was Prof. Dr Cas J.A. Vos (1998–2001). In 2002, Prof. Dr Dirk J. Human took over as the Editor-in-Chief of Verbum et Ecclesia. The journal has operated under the auspices of two centres at the faculty, namely the Centre for Theology and Community (CTC) and the Institute for Ecumenical Research (IMER) from 2000–2007. Since 2008 the journal functioned under the newly founded Centre for Ministerial Development (CMD) at UP. The Lecturers’ Council at UP consists of professors linked to the Dutch Reformed Church who represent the Centre for Ministerial Development in cooperation with an international Advisory Editorial Board as managing body of the journal.

In view of the University of Pretoria’s policy of internationalisation and due to broader accessibility of the journal, its name was changed in 2001 from Skrif en Kerk to Verbum et Ecclesia. As a result, the journal grew in international stature and publishes one (and sometimes two) print editions annually, but individual articles are published on the website as soon as they are available. 

Open Access 

Open Access refers to free and unrestricted access via the Internet to articles published in Verbum et Ecclesia. This free access has usage limitations as stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license. The license allows redistribution and reuse of all articles on the condition that Verbum et Ecclesia is appropriately credited.

Peer review policy 

Verbum et Ecclesia has a double-blinded peer review process. Manuscripts are initially examined by editorial staff and are sent by the Editor-in-Chief to two expert independent reviewers, either directly or by a Section Editor. The editors do not inform the reviewers of the identity of the author(s). The reviewers’ identities are not disclosed to the authors either. The reviewers’ comments as well as recommendations regarding an article’s form may be passed on to the corresponding author and may also include suggested revisions. Manuscripts that are not approved for publication will not be returned to the submitting author in any format. Please note that AOSIS do not retain copies of rejected articles.

The peer review process aims to ensure that all published articles:

  • present the results of primary scientific research
  • report results that have not been published elsewhere
  • are scientifically sound
  • provide new scientific knowledge where experiments, statistics and other analyses are performed to a high technical standard and are described in sufficient detail so that another researcher will be able to reproduce the experiments described
  • provide conclusions that are presented in an appropriate manner and are supported by the data
  • are presented in an intelligible and logic manner and are written in clear and unambiguous English, Afrikaans, German, Dutch and Sipedi.
  • meet all applicable research standards with regard to the ethics of experimentation and research integrity
  • adhere to appropriate reporting guidelines and community standards for data availability.

The journal publisher, AOSIS, is a member of the CrossCheck plagiarism detection initiative. In the event of suspected plagiarism in submitted works CrossCheck is available to the editors of Verbum et Ecclesia to detect instances of overlapping and similar text. AOSIS endorses and applies the standards of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), which promotes integrity in peer-reviewed research publications.

Publication frequency 

Verbum et Ecclesia publishes one issue per year. Individual articles are published as soon as they are ready for publication by adding them to the table of contents of the 'current' volume and issue. In this way, Verbum et Ecclesia aims to speed up the process of manuscript publication from submission to becoming available on the website. 

Special issues may be added on an ad hoc basis to the journal throughout a particular year and will form part of consecutive issues thereafter.

Authors will be able to check the progress of their manuscript via the submission system at any time by logging into the journal website’s personalised section.

Monographs and special issues that formed part of Verbum et Ecclesia through the years:

Indexing & Archiving

After publication in Verbum et Ecclesia, the complete text of each article is deposited immediately and permanently archived in major bibliographic databases:

Additionally, Verbum et Ecclesia uses the LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) system to create a distributed archiving system amongst participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration.

The journal is always seeking to establish a LOCKSS-compliant archive with university libraries. The URL to the LOCKSS Publisher Manifest for Verbum et Ecclesia is: 

Please inform us if you are using our manifest as we would like to add your name to the list above.

AOSIS archives our journals in Portico, which provides permanent archiving for electronic scholarly journals.

DoHET accreditation - Old Policy

The following lists are regarded as accredited journals by the South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DoHET):

Journals appearing on the IBSS:

Journals appearing on the three indices of Thomson Reuters products:

List of approved South African journals: Journals that do not appear in the abovementioned international indices but are published in South Africa and meet specific criteria may be included in this list.

In conclusion: Verbum et Ecclesia meets the criteria of the DoHET (see List of approved South African journals as maintained by the DoHET). It is therefore accredited and approved by the DoHET for its inclusion in the subsidy system for being a research publication for South Africa.

DoHET accreditation - New Policy

The following lists are regarded as accredited journals by the South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), with the revised policy in 2016:

  • ISI
  • IBSS
  • SA List
  • Scopus [Verbum et Ecclesia is on this list]
  • Scielo SA [Verbum et Ecclesia is on this list]
  • Norwegian List

In conclusion: Verbum et Ecclesia meets the criteria of the Research Output Policy. It is therefore accredited and approved by the DHET for its inclusion in the subsidy system for being a research publication for South Africa.

ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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All articles published in this journal are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

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