All involved parties in the process of publishing follow the standards of ethical duties and responsibilities determined by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
Duties of Publishers
This section is based on the COPE’s “Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers”
- Define the relationship between publisher, editor and other parties in a contract
- Respect privacy for authors and peer reviewers
- Protect intellectual property and copyright
- Foster editorial independence
Publishers should work with journal editors to:
- Set journal policies appropriately and aim to meet those policies, particularly with respect to editorial independence, research ethics, authorship, transparency, integrity, and peer review.
- Communicate journal policies (for example, to authors, readers, peer reviewers)
- Review journal policies periodically, particularly with respect to new recommendations from the COPE
- Publish corrections, clarifications, and retractions
- Publish content on a timely basis
Duties of Editors
This section is based on the following report published on the official COPE website: “Kleinert S. & Wager E. (2011). Responsible Research Publication: International Standards for Editors. A Position Statement Developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, Singapore, July 22-24, 2010. Chapter 51 in: Mayer T. & Steneck N. (eds). Promoting Research Integrity in a Global Environment. Imperial College Press / World Scientific Publishing, Singapore (pp 317-28). (ISBN 978-981-4340-97-7)”
Responsibility for Journal Content
Editors should take responsibility for the content they publish and should have procedures and policies to ensure the quality of the material they publish and maintain the integrity of the published record.
- Editors should make fair and unbiased decisions independent from commercial consideration and ensure a fair peer review process. They should make decisions on academic merit alone.
- Editors should not attempt to inappropriately influence their journal’s ranking by artificially increasing any journal metric. For example, it is inappropriate to demand that references to that journal’s articles are included except for genuine scholarly reasons. In general, editors should ensure that papers are reviewed on purely scholarly grounds and that authors are not pressured to cite specific publications for non-scholarly reasons.
- Editors should protect the confidentiality of authors’ material and remind reviewers to do so as well. Editors should not share submitted papers with editors of other journals, unless with the authors’ agreement or in cases of alleged misconduct. In the case of a misconduct investigation, it may be necessary to disclose material to third parties (e.g., an institutional investigation committee or other editors).
- Editors should protect reviewers’ identities unless operating an open peer review system.
Transparency and Honesty
- The editors have an obligation to provide transparent policies for peer review. In order to assign appropriate reviewers, editors must match reviewers with the scope of the content in a manuscript to get the best reviews possible.
- When there are undisputed changes in authorship for appropriate reasons, editors should require that all authors (including any whose names are being removed from an author list) agree these in writing. Authorship disputes (i.e., disagreements on who should or should not be an author before or after publication) cannot be adjudicated by editors and should be resolved at institutional level or through other appropriate independent bodies for both published and unpublished papers. Editors should then act on the findings, for example by correcting authorship in published papers.
- Editors should work to ensure that all published papers make a substantial new contribution to their field.
Responding to criticisms and concerns
- When genuine errors in published work are pointed out by readers, authors, or editors, which do not render the work invalid, a correction (or erratum) should be published as soon as possible. The online version of the paper may be corrected with a date of correction and a link to the printed erratum. If the error renders the work or substantial parts of it invalid, the paper should be retracted with an explanation as to the reason for retraction.
- If serious concerns are raised by readers, reviewers, or others, about the conduct, validity, or reporting of academic work, editors should initially contact the authors (ideally all authors) and allow them to respond to the concerns. If that response is unsatisfactory, editors should take this to the institutional level.
Fair and Appropriate Editorial Processes
- Editors should explain their peer review processes in the information for authors and also indicate which parts of the journal are peer reviewed.
- Editors may reject a paper without peer review when it is deemed unsuitable for the journal’s readers or is of poor quality. This decision should be made in a fair and unbiased way. The criteria used to make this decision should be made explicit. The decision not to send a paper for peer review should only be based on the academic content of the paper, and should not be influenced by the nature of the authors or the host institution.
- Editors should use appropriate peer reviewers for papers that are considered for publication by selecting people with sufficient expertise and avoiding those with conflicts of interest. Editors should ensure that reviews are received in a timely manner.
- Peer reviewers should be told what is expected of them and should be informed about any changes in editorial policies. In particular, peer reviewers should be asked to assess research and publication ethics issues (i.e., whether they think the research was done and reported ethically, or if they have any suspicions of plagiarism, fabrication, falsification, or redundant publication).
- Editors should make it clear to authors what the role of the peer reviewer is.
- Editors should not be involved in decisions about papers in which they have a conflict of interest, for example if they work or have worked in the same institution and collaborated with the authors, if they own stock in a particular company, or if they have a personal relationship with the authors.
Duties of Authors
This section is based on the following report published on the official COPE website: “Wager E & Kleinert S. (2011). Responsible Research Publication: International Standards for Authors. A position statement developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, Singapore, July 22-24, 2010. Chapter 50 in: Mayer T & Steneck N. (eds). Promoting Research Integrity in a Global Environment. Imperial College Press / World Scientific Publishing, Singapore (pp 309-16). (ISBN 978-981-4340-97-7)”
Originality and Plagiarism
- Authors should adhere to publication requirements that submitted work is original, is not plagiarised, and has not been published elsewhere in any language.
- Applicable copyright laws and conventions should be followed. Copyright material (e.g. tables, figures or extensive quotations) should be reproduced only with appropriate permission and acknowledgement.
- Relevant previous work and publications, both by other researchers and the authors’ own, should be properly acknowledged and referenced. The primary literature should be cited where possible.
- Data, text, figures or ideas originated by other researchers should be properly acknowledged and should not be presented as if they were the authors’ own. Original wording taken directly from publications by other researchers should appear in quotation marks with the appropriate citations.
Soundness and reliability
- The research being reported should be sound and carefully executed.
- Researchers should use appropriate methods of data analysis and display.
- Authors should take collective responsibility for their work and for the content of their publications. Researchers should check their publications carefully at all stages to ensure methods and findings are reported accurately. Authors should carefully check calculations, data presentations, typescripts/submissions and proofs.
- Researchers should present their results honestly and without fabrication, falsification or inappropriate data manipulation.
- Researchers should strive to describe their methods and to present their findings clearly and unambiguously. Researchers should follow applicable reporting guidelines. Publications should provide sufficient detail to permit experiments to be repeated by other researchers.
- Reports of research should be complete. They should not omit inconvenient, inconsistent or inexplicable findings or results that do not support the authors’ or sponsors’ hypothesis or interpretation.
- Authors should alert the editor promptly if they discover an error in any submitted, accepted or published work. Authors should cooperate with editors in issuing corrections or retractions when required.
- Authors should represent the work of others accurately in citations and quotations.
- Authors should not copy references from other publications if they have not read the cited work.
- All sources of research funding, including direct and indirect financial support, supply of equipment or materials, and other support should be disclosed.
- Authors should disclose the role of the research funder(s) or sponsor (if any) in the research design, execution, analysis, interpretation and reporting.
- Authors should disclose relevant financial and non-financial interests and relationships that might be considered likely to affect the interpretation of their findings or which editors, reviewers or readers might reasonably wish to know. This includes any relationship to the journal, for example if editors publish their own research in their own journal. In addition, authors should follow journal and institutional requirements for disclosing competing interests.
Appropriate authorship and acknowledgement
- The authorship of research publications should accurately reflect individuals’ contributions to the work and its reporting.
- Researchers should ensure that only those individuals who meet authorship criteria (i.e. made a substantial contribution to the work) are rewarded with authorship and that deserving authors are not omitted.
- All authors should agree to be listed and should approve the submitted and accepted versions of the publication. Any change to the author list should be approved by all authors including any who have been removed from the list. The corresponding author should act as a point of contact between the editor and the other authors and should keep co-authors informed and involve them in major decisions about the publication.
Accountability and responsibility
- All authors should have read and be familiar with the reported work and should ensure that publications follow the principles set out in these guidelines. In most cases, authors will be expected to take joint responsibility for the integrity of the research and its reporting. However, if authors take responsibility only for certain aspects of the research and its reporting, this should be specified in the publication.
- Authors should work with the editor or publisher to correct their work promptly if errors or omissions are discovered after publication.
Adherence to peer review and publication conventions
- Authors should follow publishers’ requirements that work is not submitted to more than one publication for consideration at the same time.
- Authors should inform the editor if they withdraw their work from review or choose not to respond to reviewer comments after receiving a conditional acceptance.
- Authors should respond to reviewers’ comments in a professional and timely manner.
Responsible reporting of research involving humans or animals
- Appropriate approval, licensing or registration should be obtained before the research begins and details should be provided in the report (e.g. Institutional Review Board, Research Ethics Committee approval, national licensing authorities for the use of animals).
- If requested by editors, authors should supply evidence that reported research received the appropriate approval and was carried out ethically.
- Researchers should not generally publish or share identifiable individual data collected in the course of research without specific consent from the individual (or their representative).
- Researchers should publish all meaningful research results that might contribute to understanding.
Duties of Peer Reviewers
This section is based on the COPE’s “Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers”
Peer reviewers must agree to review only if they have the necessary expertise to assess the manuscript and can be unbiased in their assessment. They have an obligation to conduct reviews in an ethical and accountable manner.
Peer reviewers must declare all potential conflicting interests. If they are unsure about a potential conflicting interest that may prevent from reviewing, they must raise this. Conflicting interests may be personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious.
If peer reviewers accept to evaluate a manuscript, they should agree to review only if they are able to return it within the proposed or mutually agreed time-frame.
Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. Reviewers must not share the review or information about the paper with anyone or contact the authors directly without permission from the editor. Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer’s own research without the express written consent of the author. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage.
Peer reviewers must remain unbiased by considerations related to the nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender or other characteristics of the authors or origins of a manuscript.