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NUJS Regulatory Studies journal releases very topical Covid-19 special issue [UPDATE-1: Editor responses]

NUJS journal covers range of Covid-related issues
NUJS journal covers range of Covid-related issues

NUJS Kolkata’s Journal of Regulatory Studies has released a special issue with 18 articles about the pandemic and related legal and policy issues, in possibly the first such publication by an Indian law school’s journal.

The journal’s editor-in-chief is Dr Shambhu Prasad Chakrabarty, who is research fellow at NUJS and coordinator of its Centre for Regulatory Studies, Governance and Public Policy, which publishes the journal.

Chakrabarty told us today: “The main objective to put up this special issue on COVID 19 is to put the facts together based on evidence bereft of bias before the readers and uplift the rule of law.”

The journal includes articles on areas such as intellectual property (IP), employment, contracts, property laws, discrimination and police powers, domestic violence, economics and corporate laws.

Furthermore, at least nine articles are about hot-topic of the effect of the Covid-19 shutdown on the environment.

You can read and download the full issue below.

Update 10 May 2020 16:53: We have asked Chakrabarty several follow-up questions and for responses to some of the comments to the article, summarised below.

He said that the journal was not and has not claimed to be a peer reviewed journal. That said, all papers had been reviewed and run through anti-plagiarism checks, none of which scored more than a 20% similarity score, according to Chakrabarty.

He noted that the journal’s aim was “to give opportunity to legal academia, research scholars, legal practitioners and students”.

The journal was not political, he added. “We do not encourage political affiliations and that is well reflected in articles criticising police high handedness and the editorial on rule of law of the journal even when the centre is funded by Judicial department of the Government of West Bengal.”

Due to it being a a “research centre that works on areas that are at the intersection of law and public policy”, it had lately also been “working on areas like climate change, human trafficking, traditional knowledge and reviewing welfare scheme in West Bengal”, he explained. “While working on climate change we came across Dr Abhijit Mitra who is the Research Head of Techno India University West Bengal. He worked with University of Massachusetts for around four years and [has] more than 65 Scopus-indexed publication and 10 books from Springer.”

NUJS had co-organised an international conference with Mitra, and “later decided to carry forward with a publication, which is in press from Taylor and Francis”, however the Coronavirus impact “stood as an impediment in the run and we decided to develop a publication on COVID 19”, he said, explaining why there Mitra had co-authored several articles in the journal.

Further plans of the centre would include developing “waste management systems in the campus and also convert it into a green campus”, and “a policy paper is under way to be submitted to the government regarding environmental impact of COVID 19 and what should be done soon”.

He argued that covering environmental policy and science was important for a regulatory studies journal. “Without proof we cannot focus on what the policy should be. Hence we underwent a few empirical evidence based research on environmental issues and got them published along with other papers from varied areas of social science.”

So far as “grey areas” that may have caused confusion, Chakrabarty said:

1. Our centre was closed due to the previous VC episode and after the new VC was appointed, the centre was reopened with my appointment on August 2019.

2. We faced with the challenge of our website being suspended for reasons unknown to us.

3. Every thing was coordinated and unprecedented work was done by 10 best people of the centre.

4. New newsletters were made, journal revamped with a brilliant international advisory and editorial board started to function.

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