Values, Scope, and Aim

Conspectus is the journal of the South African Theological Seminary. Like the Seminary, the values of the journal are encapsulated in the phrase, “Bible-based, Christ-centered and Spirit led.” Operationally, the journal is marked by four distinctives:

  1. With interdisciplinary discourse being a prized research objective at SATS, the journal publishes articles from across the broad spectrum of theological studies (Biblical Studies, Practical Theology, Systematic Theology, Studies in Church and Society), as well as studies that link with extra-theological disciplines.
  2. Conspectus is a Christian journal whose ethos does not divorce academic reflection and engagement from belief in God. Consequently, Conspectus welcomes articles that are soundly Scriptural in perspective, approach, and content. The tone should reflect a commitment to the inspiration, authority, and relevance of Scripture, and to a theology that serves the church and honors God.
  3. Like the Seminary, Conspectus prioritizes representation and input from various nations, ethnicities, and denominations. This is reflected in the Editorial Board, Editorial Team, Board of Referees, and the journal’s content.
  4. As SATS is based on the African continent, its journal is largely representative of the Majority World—reflecting on/from and speaking into this context. Although this emphasis is apparent, this does not preclude contributions and contributors from elsewhere in the world.

Conspectus is an open-source journal, meaning that the journal is made available to readers at no cost. The journal is catalogued under ATLA (American Theological Library Association), Logos Bible Software, Galaxy Software, Sabinet, and is available on the SATS website. To be published in Conspectus, an article must go beyond a summary of secondary sources and present the results of sound theological research into a biblical or practical problem in a way that would be valuable to the church, including scholars, pastors, students, missionaries, or other Christian workers.

Licensing, Copyright, and Open Access Policy

All issues of Conspectus are open access, implying that they are available for download at no cost from https://sats.ac.za/conspectus/. Subscription fees and embargo periods do not apply and readers and authors are allowed to freely share the link and content. Readers can read, print, share, link, or use articles without the permission of the Editorial Team or authors.

Once an article is published in the journal, copyright is transferred to SATS. Conspectus is protected by Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0), as stipulated here.

After publication, authors are entitled to:

  • share their work on any chosen platform (including conferences and educational purposes),
  • expand and edit the article for a thesis or dissertation, and
  • republish the article elsewhere, provided the new publisher is made aware of the former publication. In addition, the republished article must include a citation of the original article in Conspectus.

Publication Fees

All issues of Conspectus are freely available for download from the SATS website. The publication of the journal is fully funded by the South African Theological Seminary and no page fees currently apply.

Review and Editorial Process

Conspectus subscribes to a double-blind peer review process. The Editorial Team commits to ensuring anonymity of both authors and reviewers. Each article is reviewed by three members of the review board and reviewers are appointed on the basis of expertise. The review process takes between 4 and 8 weeks.

The editorial process is divided into twelve phases. Each phase describes the tasks specific to the phase, the person(s) responsible, and signals the phase to follow. The times indicated coincide with the biannual publications of Conspectus in a calendar year.

Phase 1: Article Submission

An article is submitted to the editors of Conspectus via email. The editors acknowledge receipt and file the document in the appropriate folders on Microsoft Teams.

The deadlines for these submissions are as follows:

  • End of April for the October issue.
  • End of October for the April issue.

Phase 2: Preliminary Evaluation

The editors conduct a preliminary assessment of the submissions before they are sent for double-blind peer review. If an article does not adhere to the requirements stated in the Author Guidelines, the editors reserve the right to send it back to the author for revision or to decline the article.

Phase 3: Double-blind Peer Review (4–8 weeks)

The editors send selected articles for double-blind peer review. Prior to sending the documents, the editors ensure the anonymity of authors by removing personal details and clearing author information from the Word document. The editors send referees the following:

  • The article(s).
  • The Conspectus author guidelines (Annexure A).
  • The Conspectus Review Form (Annexure B).

Reviewers are given up to four weeks to return their reviews to the editors. Reviewers are asked to pay special attention to the following: title; abstract; major claim; methodology; argument; trends and sources; style and formatting; contribution; scriptural engagement; suitability.

Phase 4: Internal Content Review

During the double-blind peer review process the copy editor checks the submitted article and makes recommendations. These recommendations, combined with the comments from the review panel, are converted into one master feedback document per article. These documents are passed on to authors by the editors. The outcome can be one of the following: accepted; accepted with minor corrections; accepted with major corrections; resubmit; decline. 

Should an author wish to appeal the outcome of a review, they are to contact the journal editor who will consider the case alongside the Editorial Team. Once the appeal has been processed, the decision made by the Editorial Team is final.

Phase 5: Feedback to Authors and Amendments

Upon receiving the documents, authors are given 3–5 weeks to make all the necessary amendments. Authors are expected to send a report outlining changes made and motivating those not adhered to upon submitting their revised articles. The revised articles are then sent to the editors for another round of review. If the outcome was a resubmission, authors will be given at least 8 weeks to revise their articles, which will then be considered for the next volume. Once such an article has been revised, it will be sent for review to the original three reviewers and the process will repeat itself.

Phase 6: Second Round of Internal Edits (2 weeks)

The editorial team collates the revised articles and produce the first master copy, which is edited internally before being sent to the external copy editor.

Phase 7: External Copy Editing (3 weeks)

The external copy editor attends to matters of grammar and formatting according to the Author Guidelines and the SBL Handbook of Style (2014) for each article. He forwards his work to the editors for another round of internal edits. Upon completion of phase 7, he is required to submit an invoice to the editor for payment to be processed. Upon receiving the mother document, the associate editor runs it through Unicheck plagiarism software.

Phase 8: Third Round of Internal Edits (2 weeks)

The editors, internal copy editor, and proofreader work together to edit the master copy to its final form before it goes to the external typesetter. The mater copy is also sent to authors to check.

Phase 9: Submission for External Typesetting and Layout (3 weeks)

The editors send the parent document to the external layout artist and typesetter. During this phase, the layout artist will transfer the edited Word document onto the dedicated template for the issue, making necessary changes where appropriate. Once complete the new document is sent to the editors for review.

Phase 10: Final Checks (1 week)

Upon receiving the typeset articles, the editors read through each article one last time and also forward the PDFs to the authors for a final check. The Editorial Team evaluates the work done by the layout artist and typesetter, noting mandatory changes and adjustments. The required changes from the authors and Editorial Team are compiled into a single sheet before they are sent to the layout artist and typesetter.

Phase 11: Final Corrections and Approval (3 weeks)

The layout artist/typesetter incorporates the required changes into the document and sends the revised document back to the editors for approval. Once this phase is completed, the layout artist/typesetter generates an invoice for the editor to process with the finance manager.

Phase 12: Publication and Announcement (May/November)

Once the editor approves of the document, the media manager liaises with the content manager and webmaster concerning the publication of the issue on SATS’s platforms. The editors also communicate with the following parties:

Contributors – the editors congratulate authors on their publications. The editors attach the final articles and the complete issue to the congratulatory messages.

The editors communicate to SATS’s Senior Management Team about the publication of the issue.

The editors communicate to the Editorial Team, with thanks, about the publication of the issue.

The editors communicate to Editorial Board about the publication of the issue.

The editors communicate to SATS academics and friends of SATS about the successful publication of the issue.

Plagiarism

The Conspectus Editorial Team considers plagiarism (whether intentional or unintentional) a serious offense. All articles are run through Unicheck before publication. If an author should be found guilty of plagiarism, the article will be immediately rejected or retrospectively removed if plagiarism is discovered at a later stage.

Archiving 

Conspectus is currently catalogued under ATLA (EBSCOhost), Logos Bible Software, Sabinet, and available on the Seminary’s website (available here). All published content is uploaded to Portico for electronic archiving. Since January 2022, all articles and book reviews have been allocated a DOI issues by Crossref.

Corrections and Retractions

Once an article is published in the journal, copyright is transferred to SATS. Typological errors cannot be amended after publication, but major errors with ethical implications, such as plagiarism, will be reviewed upon request. If an article is retracted, a retraction note will be added to the published PDF.