As an editor of a journal, it’s an unfortunate fact of life that at some point you will likely have to deal with a case of suspected ethical misconduct. These tips will help guide you through the process of handling those cases.
1. Keep the case confidential
Don’t copy in additional people who don’t need to be involved in looking into the concern raised. This means that no information is circulated before the facts of the case have been established and action has been taken as needed.
2. Contact your Taylor & Francis Managing Editor for guidance and support
Chances are they’ve dealt with this or something similar before. Your Managing Editor will be able to help support you as you investigate the case, and can provide useful email templates and guidance documents.
3. Use the COPE flowcharts
Stuck for the next step in the process? The ethics flowcharts developed by COPE will help assist you in the steps involved in investigating a case of potential misconduct. The flowcharts can be found on the COPE website here.
4. Request a Crossref Similarity Check report
Where there is a question about the originality of an article, you can contact your Managing Editor to request a Crossref Similarity Check report for the paper. This will flag any text matches to papers held in the Crossref Similarity Check database.
5. Draw on your editorial board for subject specific expertise
They will have subject specific knowledge that may help the investigation, and can provide an expert review of the concerns raised. Think about appointing an editorial board member who has a permanent role in investigating ethical issues.
6. Take advantage of peer-review systems features
You can make use of peer-review systems features such as manuscript flags to identify manuscripts that have been place on hold while any concerns raised are looked into. Your peer-review system will also contain any information on funding or conflicts of interest declared when the author submitted the manuscript.
7. Use it as an education opportunity
Use this to reflect on the journal’s policies and guidelines. You may want to write an editorial, or take this chance to evaluate and update instructions and guidance for authors, especially if clearer guidelines may have helped in preventing the problem. Each journals Aims & Scope page on Taylor & Francis Online has a peer review statement and the Instructions for Authors page should clearly state the information an author needs to submit their manuscript to the journal.
8. Keep up-to-date with Editor Resources