Ethical Standards for IAUN Journals

Ethical Standards for IAUN Journals

Publication of an article in an academic peer-reviewed journal serves several functions, one of which is to validate and preserve the “minutes” of research. It is therefore of immense importance that these “minutes” are accurate and trustworthy. The act of publishing involves many parties, each of which plays an important role in achieving these aims. It therefore follows that the author, the journal editor, the peer-reviewer, the publisher and the owner of Society-owned journals have responsibilities to meet expected ethical standards at all stages in their involvement from submission to publication of an article.  

Below is a summary of our key expectations of editors, peer-reviewers and authors.

Editors’ responsibilities

  • To act in a balanced, objective and fair way while carrying out their expected duties, without discrimination on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, ethnic or geographical origin of the authors.
  • To not publishing details of authors’ interests when these interests have no relevance to the content being published.
  • To demand transparent and complete descriptions of who has contributed to a paper.
  • To employ appropriate systems to inform contributors about authorship criteria and/ or to obtain accurate information about individuals’ contributions.
  • To ensure the accuracy of the material they publish.
  • To adopt and follow reasonable procedures in the event of complaints of an ethical or conflict nature, in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Society where appropriate. To give authors a reasonable opportunity to respond to any complaints. All complaints should be investigated no matter when the original publication was approved. Documentation associated with any such complaints should be retained.
  • To ensure a high standard of objective, unbiased, and timely peer review.
  • To ensuring the peer-review process is fair and should aim to minimize bias.
  • To handle submissions for sponsored supplements or special issues in the same way as other submissions, so that articles are considered and accepted solely on their academic merit and without commercial influence.
  • To never be involved in editorial decisions about their own work.

Reviewers’ responsibilities

  • To contribute to the decision-making process, and to assist in improving the quality of the published paper by reviewing the manuscript objectively, in a timely manner
  • To maintain the confidentiality of any information supplied by the editor or author. To not retain or copy the manuscript.
  • To alert the editor to any published or submitted content that is substantially similar to that under review. 
  • To be aware of any potential conflicts of interest (financial, institutional, collaborative or other relationships between the reviewer and author) and to alert the editor to these, if necessary withdrawing their services for that manuscript.
  • To destroy submitted manuscripts after they have reviewed them.

Authors’ responsibilities

  • To meet the journal’s criteria for authorship.
  • To maintain accurate records of data associated with their submitted manuscript, and to supply or provide access to these data, on reasonable request. Where appropriate and where allowed by employer, funding body and others who might have an interest, to deposit data in a suitable repository or storage location, for sharing and further use by others.
  •  To declare that the submitted work and its essential substance have not previously been published and are not being considered for publication elsewhere. Papers that present new analyses or syntheses of data that have already been published (for example, sub-group analyses, meta- and secondary analyses) should identify the primary data source and full reference to the related primary publications, more than 30 percentage overlap is not acceptable between such publications.
  • To confirm that all the work in the submitted manuscript is original and to acknowledge and cite content reproduced from other sources. To obtain permission to reproduce any content from other sources.
  • To always disclosed Source of funding for research or publication. Authors should routinely include information about research funding in all papers they prepare for publication. Authors should describe the level of relevant funding and from which organizations this has been received, or to describe the amount of relevant stocks and shares that they own (not including stocks and portfolio).
  • To submit a short description of all contributions to their manuscript. Each author’s contribution should be described in brief. Authors of research papers should state whether they had complete access to the study data that support the publication. Contributors who do not qualify as authors should also be listed and their particular contribution described. This information should appear as an acknowledgement.
  • To routinely provide a statement of conflicts of interest (or lack thereof), whether or not a journal requests this statement.
  • To notify promptly the journal editor or publisher if a significant error in their publication is identified. To cooperate with the editor and publisher to publish an erratum, addendum, corrigendum notice, or to retract the paper, where this is deemed necessary.

Publisher responsibilities

  • To discuss general editorial processes and policies with journal editors (for example, whether or not a journal should publish a particular type of article), but they do not get involved in decisions made by the editor about individual articles.
  • To not allow its sales teams to become involved with the editorial decision making process.
  • To not permit funding organizations to make decisions beyond those about which publications they choose to fund and the extent of the funding. Decisions about the selection of authors and about the selection and editing of contents to be presented in funded publications should be made by editor (or co-editors) of the funded publication.

PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH UNETHICAL BEHAVIOUR

  Editors, authors, and peer reviewers have a responsibility to disclose interests that might appear to affect their ability to present or review data objectively. These include relevant financial (for example, patent ownership, stock ownership, consultancies, speaker’s fee), personal, political, intellectual, or religious interests.

Peer-review processes are blinded and multiple reviewers

Journal editors and readers have a right to expect that submitted work is the author’s own, that it has not been plagiarized (i.e. taken from other authors without permission, if permission is required) and that copyright has not been breached (for example, if figures or tables are reproduced).

Journals have a duty to publish corrections when errors could affect the interpretation of data or information, whatever the cause of the error (i.e. arising from author errors or from editorial mishaps).

Corrections should be included in indexing systems and linked to the original article wherever possible.

Editors, journal owners, and publishers establish processes that minimize the risk of editorial decisions being influenced by commercial, academic, personal or political factors.

Identification

·        Misconduct and unethical behavior may be identified and brought to the attention of the editor and publisher at any time, by anyone.

·        Misconduct and unethical behavior may include, but need not be limited to, examples as outlined above. 

·        Whoever informs the editor or publisher of such conduct should provide sufficient information and evidence in order for an investigation to be initiated. All allegations should be taken seriously and treated in the same way, until a successful decision or conclusion is reached.

Investigation

  • An initial decision should be taken by the editor, who should consult with or seek advice from the publisher, if appropriate.
  • Evidence should be gathered, while avoiding spreading any allegations beyond those who need to know.

Breaches

  • Minor misconduct might be dealt with without the need to consult more widely. In any event, the author should be given the opportunity to respond to any allegations.
  • Serious misconduct might require that the employers of the accused be notified. The editor, in consultation with the publisher or Society as appropriate, should make the decision whether or not to involve the employers, either by examining the available evidence themselves or by further consultation with a limited number of experts.  
  • Informing or educating the author or reviewer where there appears to be a misunderstanding or misapplication of acceptable standards.
  • A more strongly worded letter to the author or reviewer covering the misconduct and as a warning to future behavior.
  • Publication of a formal notice detailing the misconduct.
  • Publication of an editorial detailing the misconduct.
  • A formal letter to the head of the author’s or reviewer’s department or funding agency.
  • Formal retraction or withdrawal of a publication from the journal, in conjunction with informing the head of the author or reviewer’s department, Abstracting & Indexing services and the readership of the publication.
  • Imposition of a formal embargo on contributions from an individual for a defined period.
  • Reporting the case and outcome to a professional organization or higher authority for further investigation and action.

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