Ethical Principles and Publication Policy

*Our publication ethics is mainly based on the Code of Conduct and Best-Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors (Committee on Publication Ethics, 2011).

According to this:

Editor, author and referee responsibilities:

1-General duties and responsibilities of editors

- Editors should be accountable for everything published in their journals

This means the editors should

- Strive to meet the needs of readers and authors;

- Strive to constantly improve their journal;

- Have processes in place to assure the quality of the material they publish;

- Champion freedom of expression;

- Maintain the integrity of the academic record;

- Preclude business needs from compromising intellectual and ethical standards;

- Always be willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies when needed

2-Relations with readers

Readers should be informed about who has funded research or other scholarly work and whether the funders had any role in the research and its publication and, if so, what this was. Best practice for editors would include:

- Ensuring that all published reports and reviews of research have been reviewed by suitably qualified reviewers (including statistical review where appropriate)

-Ensuring that non-peer-reviewed sections of their journal are clearly identified

-Adopting processes that encourage accuracy, completeness and clarity of research reporting including technical

-Editing and the use of appropriate guidelines and checklists (e.g. MIAME,1 CONSORT2 )

-Considering developing a transparency policy to encourage maximum disclosure about the provenance of non-research articles3

-Adopting authorship or contributorship systems that promote good practice (i.e. so that listings accurately reflect who did the work)4 and discourage misconduct (e.g. ghost and guest authors)

-Informing readers about steps taken to ensure that submissions from members of the journal’s staff or editorial board receive an objective and unbiased evaluation

3. Relations with authors

- Editors’ decisions to accept or reject a paper for publication should be based on the paper’s importance, originality and clarity, and the study’s validity and its relevance to the remit of the journal.

-Editors should not reverse decisions to accept submissions unless serious problems are identified with the submission.

-New editors should not overturn decisions to publish submissions made by the previous editor unless serious problems are identified.

- A description of peer review processes should be published, and editors should be ready to justify any important deviation from the described processes.

- Journals should have a declared mechanism for authors to appeal against editorial decisions.

-Editors should publish guidance to authors on everything that is expected of them. This guidance should be regularly updated and should refer or link to this code.

-Editors should provide guidance about criteria for authorship and/or who should be listed as a contributor following the standards within the relevant field. Best practice for editors would include:

* Reviewing author instructions regularly and providing links to relevant guidelines (e.g. ICMJE5 , Responsible research publication: international standards for authors6 )

* Publishing relevant competing interests for all contributors and publishing corrections if competing interests are revealed after publication

* Ensuring that appropriate reviewers are selected for submissions (i.e. individuals who are able to judge the work and are free from disqualifying competing interests)

* Respecting requests from authors that an individual should not review their submission, if these are wellreasoned and practicable

* Being guided by the COPE flowcharts ( in cases of suspected misconduct or disputed authorship

* Publishing details of how they handle cases of suspected misconduct (e.g. with links to the COPE flowcharts)

* Publishing submission and acceptance dates for articles

4. Relations with editors

-Editors should provide guidance to reviewers on everything that is expected of them including the need to handle submitted material in confidence. This guidance should be regularly updated and should refer or link to this code.

- Editors should require reviewers to disclose any potential competing interests before agreeing to review a submission.

-Editors should have systems to ensure that peer reviewers’ identities are protected unless they use an open review system that is declared to authors and reviewers.

5-Relations with editorial board members

Best practice for editors would include:

* Having policies in place for handling submissions from editorial board members to ensure unbiased reviewidentifying suitably qualified editorial board members who can actively contribute to the development and good management of the journal

* Regularly reviewing the composition of the editorial board

*Providing clear guidance to editorial board members about their expected functions and duties, which might include: – acting as ambassadors for the journal – supporting and promoting the journal – seeking out the best authors and best work (e.g. from meeting abstracts) and actively encouraging submissions – reviewing submissions to the journal – accepting commissions to write editorials, reviews and commentaries on papers in their specialist area – attending and contributing to editorial board meetings

*Consulting editorial board members periodically (e.g. once a year) to gauge their opinions about the running of the journal, informing them of any changes to journal policies and identifying future challenges.

6. Relations with journal owners and publishers

-The relationship of editors to publishers and owners is often complex but should be based firmly on the

principle of editorial independence.

-Editors should make decisions on which articles to publish based on quality and suitability for the journal and without interference from the journal owner/ the journal owner/publisher.

-Editors should have a written contract(s) setting out their relationship with the journal’s owner and/or publisher.

7. Editorial and peer review processes

-Editors should strive to ensure that peer review at their journal is fair, unbiased and timely.

-Editors should have systems to ensure that material submitted to their journal remains confidential while under review. Best practice for editors would include:

* Ensuring that people involved with the editorial process (including themselves) receive adequate training and keep abreast of the latest guidelines, recommendations and evidence about peer review and journal management

* Keeping informed about research into peer review and technological advances

* Adopting peer review methods best suited for their journal and the research community it serves

* Reviewing peer review practices periodically to see if improvement is possible

* Referring troubling cases to COPE, especially when questions arise that are not addressed by the COPE flow charts, or new types of publication misconduct are suspected


Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). (2011, March 7). Code of Conduct and Best-Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors.