2024 Call for Contributions

Posted by Florenz Volkaert on 2024-04-29

2024 Call for Contributions


The Journal for Digital Legal History (DLH) is a diamond Open-Access, peer-reviewed international journal hosted by the Open UGent platform. For our second issue, which will be published in November 2024, we are pleased to invite contributions from researchers working on legal history with digital, empirical and computational approaches. The journal welcomes all research questions and outputs at the intersection of legal history, digital humanities and empirical legal studies, broadly defined.


In the field of legal history, digital methods are hardly ever the centrepiece of a publication itself, if not downplayed. In 1997, Richard Evans claimed that: 'How we know about the past, what historical causation is, how we define a historical fact, whether there is such a thing as historical truth or objectivity - these are questions that most historians have happily left to one side as unnecessary distractions from their essential work in the archives' (R. Evans, In Defence of History, 1997, p. 9). Nevertheless, in the 21st century, the work of a historian or legal scholar does not stop in the archives. Often, digital or computational techniques are applied in seemingly pedestrian ways, such as "searching" full texts, or they are applied in more elaborate methods to transform the historical facts embedded in our precious archival material or legal documents to answer novel research questions or to explore well-trodden paths from an innovative perspective. 


The application of digital techniques to legal history research is often overlooked or omitted from discussions on methodology. We encourage you to highlight the technical tools or methods that proved effective in your research projects without neglecting all the trials and errors that helped structure your final choice of any particular technique. You are welcome to illustrate your work with all forms of outputs, from notebooks to graphs, networks, maps, diagrams, etc.. If you have developed software, a database or a dataset that others could reuse, feel welcome to publish it with us. 

2024 Call for Contributions: continuous call for submissions


Submissions that address legal sources from any historical period and any part of the world are welcome. We actively encourage collaborative and multi-authored pieces by authors from different countries working across disciplines. 

We accept publications in English; we can also support German, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, but do contact the editorial board in advance. If you wish to publish in another language than mentioned here, please consult us beforehand.

Beyond the following suggestions, feel free to contact us through the DLH website if you have any original ideas that you want to discuss.


Topic suggestions 

  • Original research articles (up to 10,000 words). 

  • Reproduction pieces: Can the results of classic studies be replicated through DLH techniques?

  • A dedicated section for your Digital Legal History events: If you are organising a panel, conference, or webinar series that prominently features Digital Humanities performed on legal sources, contact us for a dedicated focus section that will allow you to publish the papers or conclusions of your meeting.

  • Shorter focus pieces or provocations (around 5,000 words with fewer footnotes).

    • Conference and seminar reports.

    • Spotlight articles: inspiration from other social sciences fields on the promising benefits of specific Digital Humanities techniques that could be successfully applied to Digital Legal History.

  • Presentations or Reviews of software, databases, datasets, websites, and platforms.

    • Tutorials: general presentation, application through a specific study angle (legal linguistics, marginalia analysis).

  • Trials & errors: reflections on the productive role of wandering and errors in abandoned, rejected or substantially modified past projects that could help improve the current methodology (inspired by the Journal of Trial & Error). 


We are open to submissions in traditional and non-traditional formats: from traditional articles to blog posts, from plain text to linked data or hyperlinked texts, from posters to Notebooks, etc.. Illustrations could be included in the form of notebooks, graphs, diagrams, maps, networks, and images.



Upon receiving your contribution, we aim to publish it within 2-4 months, depending on a positive peer-review. Please send us a short abstract of 150 words, including a provisional title, suggested format and up to five keywords. You can find the detailed guidelines for authors on the journal's website. Please include a short biographical statement for the proposed contributor(s), including the area of expertise, interests, affiliation (if applicable), and any other relevant information. We will respond to all abstract submissions within 14 days (in July and August, this may take a bit longer).

More info: https://openjournals.ugent.be/dlh/


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