Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

SPiL Plus originated as a supplement to Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics (SPiL). The SPiL Plus series has two main aims. Firstly, it serves as a vehicle for the distribution of new and relatively inaccessible information in the field of modern linguistics. Secondly, it aims to stimulate critical discussion in Southern African linguistics.

SPiL Plus is an annual/biannual open access, peer-reviewed international journal, published by the Department of General Linguistics, Stellenbosch University. The papers published in SPiL Plus are primarily intended for scholars with an interest in linguistics and related disciplines in Southern Africa. SPiL Plus provides a platform for scholars to share knowledge in the form of high quality empirical and theoretical research papers, case studies, literature reviews and book reviews.


Section Policies


Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Research notes

Unchecked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Review Articles

Unchecked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Akkers ("Acorns")

Akkers ("Acorns") are brief, self-contained and explicit notes which call attention to a theoretically unexpected observation about language without the need for a developed analysis or solution. They are none-the-less subject to peer review.

Such short notes are also known as "squibs", a term coined by Prof Háj Ross, one of the first editors of Linguistic Inquiry, who defines them as follows:

            Squibs are short notes about kinky facts of language. They may occasionally be welcome, in that they provide evidence for someone’s pet theory. Most frequently, however, they are rambunctious, insolent, nose-thumbing bazookas, taunting theoreticians of every stripe, daring them to stretch their minds enough to wrap around the damned facts the squibs call to our attention. In Athenian Greece, poets were not allowed to be citizens – they were too unpredictable, irreverent. Squibs are the poets sneering outside the walls of Theoretopolis, mocking us. But with luck, squibs become seeds. (http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/haj/Squibnet/)

Manuscripts accepted as Akkers will not be required to propose a solution to problems they address as long as their relevance to theoretical issues is made clear. 

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Part III: Text-linguistics

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Peer Review Process

Peer review is an essential part of formal scholarly communication, and lies at the heart of the scientific method. Peer review assists the editors in making editorial decisions and through the editorial communications with the author may also assist the author in improving the paper. Reviewers need to recognize the importance of their role and commit to contributing high quality work to the process of publishing scholarly research.

Two reviewers are approached for each manuscript, at least one of whom is from outside Stellenbosch University. If there is a significant discrepancy between the two reviewers' judgments of an article, a third reviewer is approached.

Reviewers are requested to evaluate the manuscript on the basis of, amongst other things:

  • whether the title is appropriate;
  • who the likely target reader is, and what the importance of the topic is for the target reader;
  • the likelihood that the article will be read and cited by others;
  • the (original) contribution the manuscript makes to existing knowledge on the subject;
  • whether the reference system and reference list are complete, adequate and appropriate;
  • whether the paper is clearly written and logically presented; and
  • whether the manuscript deserves to be published in SPiL Plus.



Publication Frequency

SPiL Plus publishes two issues per year, one in the first half and one in the second half of the year. Where more than one special issue is scheduled for a particular year, the publication frequency may increase.

Traditionally SPiL Plus has published journal items collectively as part of an issue at a single point in time, however, with the flexibility offered by the online platform, the practice is now to publish individual items as soon as they are ready, adding them to the current issue throughout the year.  

Special issues will still be published as a complete issue on completion.


Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.



SPILPlus. This journal is in the process of migrating from the Stellenbosch University preservation platform to the PKP PN (Preservation Network) platform.


Publication Ethics & Publication Malpractice Statement

The editors of SPiL and SPiL Plus are committed to following best practices on ethical matters, as monitoring publishing ethics and preventing publication malpractice are important aspects of the editorial and peer-review process.

Editors, authors and reviewers are expected to conform to the standards of ethical behaviour and plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated.

The following duties outlined for editors, authors, and reviewers are based on COPE's Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers and ASSAf’s National Code of Best Practice in Editorial Discretion and Peer Review for South African Scholarly Journals.


The editors of SPiL are responsible for final publication decisions.

It is the editors’ responsibility to ensure the quality of material published, champion freedom of expression, maintain academic integrity, be willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies when needed and constantly improve the journal in order to meet the needs of readers and authors.

It is the editors’ responsibility to ensure that confidentiality is maintained in the review process, both in terms of the material under review and the identity of reviewers and authors.


Authors should adhere to a basic set of principles which include: reported findings and/or conceptual insights must be original; reports must contain, or permit reference to, sufficient detail of the methods and materials used in the study to permit replication in the hands of other scholars; reports must maintain integrity in that no inconsistent data are omitted or fabricated data presented; the (statistical) treatment of data must be thorough and the conclusions reasonable; the existing relevant literature must be appropriately and fairly cited; authorship must conform to the notions of responsibility and credit; speculative deductions and postulations must be clearly specified and kept to a minimum; acknowledgement of funding sources and possible conflict of interest must be complete, and author affiliations provided which reflect both the period of the study and the present situation.

Peer reviewers

Peer reviewers contribute to the editorial decision.

It is a reviewer’s responsibility to be objective, to be prompt, to treat material under review in confidence, and to avoid conflicts of interest.

In particular, reviewers should scrutinise the methods and results of papers under review in terms of consistency, interpretability and likely reproducibility; identify gaps that could or should be filled to enhance the interpretability and strength of the findings and/or insights; suggest how the paper can be improved in terms of style, length and focus; assess the proper citation and referencing of previously published studies, including the critical issue of the originality of the work; contest conclusions not justified by the results or arguments presented; and ‘place’ the work in the existing matrix of knowledge in the relevant area or field.


Article processing charge/Page fees

In order to cover some of the costs of publication, SPiL will be instituting an article processing charge (page fees) for authors affiliated with South African Higher Education institutions as from February 2015. Authors who do not receive subsidies from their institutions or do not have access to publication funding will be eligible to apply to the publisher for a full waiver. The charge will be levied once the article has been accepted for publication and sent for copyediting. The fee structure is as follows:

  • Articles 10 pages or less: R1500
  • Articles between 11 and 20 pages: R2000
  • Articles more than 20 pages: R2750


Digital Preservation

SPILPlus. This journal is in the process of migrating from the Stellenbosch University preservation platform to the PKP PN (Preservation Network) platform.



This journal programme cannot read the ORCID iD.  Please do not add it when you Register or when submitting a paper.

After Registration, can you Edit your Profile and then insert the ORCID iD, or please send your ORCiD ID, along with the name of the journal to, scholar@sun.ac.za to add to your Profile.

Stellenbosch University researchers/authors can create an ORCID iD here.

ORCID iD is a persistent, unique, numeric identifier for individual researchers and creators. It distinguishes you from researchers and creators with the same or similar names.  ORCID iD is similar to ResearcherID, Scopus Author ID, ISNI and other systems for identifying and distinguishing researchers and creators.