Publishing ethics and ethics misconduct are something that journal editors certainly hear a lot about, whether through direct experience in dealing with misconduct on their journals, or through reading about them more and more in the media. At their core, publishing ethics are guidelines that should be followed by authors, editors, and reviewers to maintain the integrity of the peer review and publication process.
Why are ethics important?
Following ethical guidelines when handling papers for peer review as a journal editor helps ensure that:
- All papers are treated fairly and without bias during the review process;
- Investigations into any allegations made about articles, whether under peer review or already published, are conducted in line with industry standards.
Following ethical guidelines also means that when an article is published in a journal, readers can trust that the paper was evaluated thoroughly by editors and independent peer reviewers. They should also have enough information on any conflicts of interest and ethical approval to draw their own conclusions about the results presented in the paper.
Recently, it has seemed that ethics misconduct cases are on the rise. Whether or not this is due to an actual rise in misconduct, or because we are just getting better at uncovering it, editors will almost certainly need to handle an ethics case at some point during their time working on the journal.
Some of the most common issues you are likely to face as a journal editor are authorship disputes, allegations of plagiarism and dual submission, allegations of data mishandling/fabrication, and author and reviewer conflicts of interest.
What is the role of the editor in ethics?
All journal editors play a vital role in safe-guarding the integrity of the peer review process and ensuring that all submitted papers get the same treatment during review and publication by following ethical guidelines.
Editors are the first point of contact for a journal and are likely to be alerted first to allegations of misconduct that might have occurred on the journal. If you do receive an allegation of misconduct as an editor, you should contact your Taylor & Francis Managing Editor who will be able to support you through the process of investigating the allegation and contacting any parties involved.
Over the coming weeks we'll be posting articles with guidance and support in dealing with common ethical problems. Check back with Editor Resources for the next article on plagiarism and dual submission.