Ethics publications and unfair practices

Principles of professional ethics in the work of the editor and publisher

The editor of a peer-reviewed journal is responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published. The validation of the work in question and its importance to researchers and readers must always drive such decisions.

  • An editor should make decisions on which articles to publish based on representational faithfulness and scholarly importance of the proposed work.
  • An editor should evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, social set-up or political philosophy of the authors.
  • Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in an editor's own research without the express written consent of the author.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.
  • The editor should not allow information to be published if there is sufficient reason to believe that it is plagiarized. If the allegation is proven, an investigation request will be made to the reviewer and the institution where he/she works.
  • An editor should take reasonably responsive measures when ethical complaints have been presented concerning a submitted manuscript or published paper, in conjunction with the publisher (or society). Every reported act of unethical publishing behavior must be looked into, even if it is discovered years after publication. 

Publisher should provide reasonable practical support to editors and define the relationship between publishers, editor and other parties in a contract.

  • Publisher should protect intellectual property and copyright.
  • Publisher should foster editorial independence.
  • Publisher 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 and integrity (for example, conflicts of interest research funding, reporting standards), peer review and the role of the editorial team beyond that of the journal editor, appeals and complaints.
  • Publisher should communicate and periodically review journal policies (for example, to authors, readers, peer reviewers).
  • Publisher should assist the parties (for example, institutions, grant funders, governing bodies) responsible for the investigation of suspected research and publication misconduct and, where possible, facilitate in the resolution of these cases.
  • Publisher is responsible for publishing corrections, clarifications and retractions.

Ethical principles in the reviewer work

The reviewer conducts a scientific examination of the author's materials, and as a result, their actions must be impartial in nature, which consists of observing the following principles:

  • Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor.
  • Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.
  • 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.
  • Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself from the review process.

Principles that should guide the author of scientific publications

Authors realize that they are responsible for novelty and faithfulness of research results.

  • Authors of reports of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the paper. A paper should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.
  • An author should ensure that they have written entirely original works, and if the author has used the work and/or words of others, then this has been appropriately cited or quoted. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.
  • Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Author should cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work. Information obtained privately, as in conversation, correspondence, or discussion with third parties, must not be used or reported without explicit, written permission from the source. Information obtained in the course of confidential services, such as refereeing manuscripts or grant applications, must not be used without the explicit written permission of the author of the work involved in these services.
  • An author should not in general publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. In general, an author should not submit for consideration in another journal a previously published paper.
  • All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. Where there are others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the research project, they should be acknowledged or listed as contributors. The corresponding author should ensure that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication.
  • When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in their own published work, it is the author's obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper. If the editor or the publisher learns from a third party that a published work contains a significant error, it is the obligation of the author to promptly retract or correct the paper or provide evidence to the editor of the correctness of the original paper.

If there is a suspicion that the reviewer has appropriated the ideas or data of the author:

The algorithm of actions is based on the COPE scheme "Reviewer suspected to have appropriated an author’s ideas or data"

1. This case can only be considered if documentary evidence from the author and / or other sources is provided, for example, publication, abstract, meeting report, copy of slides, grant application. And after examining the evidence (or contacting a specialist with the appropriate qualifications for this) and deciding whether the claims of the author and/or other sources are valid.

2. If the allegation has been proven, a request for investigation will be submitted to the reviewer and the institution of which he is an employee.

3. Links between the accused and the named reviewer will also be checked, such as the same department, personal relationships, and other conflicts of interest.

4. If the reviewer's guilt is proven, he will be permanently removed from the publisher's database.

5. If the borrowed idea or data has been published in another source, a request will be made to the relevant publication sources asking them to accept the withdrawal policy of the published material.

If there are suspicions of ethical issues with the submitted manuscript:

The algorithm of actions is based on the COPE scheme "Suspected ethical problem in a submitted manuscript"

1. Such suspicion may arise if, for example, there is a lack of ethical approval / concern regarding patient consent or protection / concern regarding animal experiments, etc.

2. A request will be made to the contributing author to provide relevant details (for example, an ethics committee certificate or a copy of informed consent documents).

3. If the relevant documents are not provided:

– the manuscript will be rejected and will not be published in the journal;

– the case will be referred for investigation to the institution of which the author (s) is (are).