Ethics

ETHICAL STANDARDS AND PUBLISHING RESPONSIBILITIES

 

All books and journals published by River Publishers are committed to upholding the highest standards of publication ethics, and as a publisher we take all possible measures against publication malpractice. Authors who submit articles to any of River Publishers journals, or who submit a proposal to one of our book series, attest that their work is original and unpublished, and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. In addition, authors confirm that their journal article and/or book proposal is their own, that it has not been copied or plagiarized, in whole or in part, from other works, and that they have disclosed actual or potential conflicts of interest with their work or partial benefits associated with it.

For the River Publishers policy on Open Access book publications, please see the section "Open Access Book Statement"

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • It is the responsibility of the Author to:
    • Confirm that the submitted manuscript is not under consideration or accepted for publication elsewhere.
    • Maintain accurate records of data associated with their manuscript, and to supply or provide access to these data should this be requested. If appropriate and allowed by an employer or funding body, to deposit data in a suitable storage location for sharing and further use by others.
    • Where portions of the content overlap with published or submitted content, to acknowledge and cite the original source.
    • Confirm that all work in the submitted manuscript is original, and to acknowledge and cite content reproduced from other sources.
    • Obtain permission to reproduce any content from other sources.
    • Declare any potential conflicts of interest (i.e. where the author has a competing interest that could be viewed as exerting an undue influence on his / her duties at any stage during the publication process).
    • Notify the Editor or publisher if a significant error in their publication is identified, and then to cooperate with the publisher to publish an erratum, or addendum, or to retract the paper, where this is thought necessary.
  • It is the responsibility of the Editor to:
    • Act in an objective and fair way while carrying out their duties, and not discriminate on grounds of the gender, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, ethnic or geographical origin of the authors;
    • Follow clear and defined procedures in the event of complaints of an ethical or conflict nature, in accordance with policies and procedures of the community where appropriate. Authors should be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to complaints. All complaints should be investigated and documentation related to any such complaints must be retained.
    • 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.
  • It is the responsibility of the Reviewer to:
    • Assist in the decision-making process.
    • Assist in improving the quality of the published paper by reviewing the manuscript objectively, and in a timely manner.
    • Act in a confidential manner to information supplied by an Editor or Author.
    • Inform the Editor to any content that is substantially similar to that under review.
    • Be aware of potential conflicts of interest (financial, institutional, or collaborative between the reviewer and author), and to alert the Editor to these.

 

PEER REVIEW PROCESS

  • Ensuring a fair and appropriate peer review process
    • One of the most important responsibilities of editors is organizing and using peer review fairly and wisely. We opt for Closed form peer review – where the reviewers are aware of the authors’ identities but the authors do not know who reviewed their manuscript. Editors should explain their peer review processes in the information for authors and also indicate which parts of the journal are peer reviewed.
    • Editors should consider seriously for publication any carefully done study of an important question, relevant to their readers, whether the results for the primary or any additional outcome are statistically significant. Failure to submit or publish findings because of lack of statistical significance is an important cause of publication bias.
  • Decision whether to review
    • Editors may reject a paper without peer review when it is deemed unsuitable for the journal’s readers or is of poor quality. This decision should be made in a fair and unbiased way. The criteria used to make this decision should be made explicit. The decision not to send a paper for peer review should only be based on the academic content of the paper, and should not be influenced by the nature of the authors or the host institution.
    • Interaction with peer reviewers Editors should use appropriate peer reviewers for papers that are considered for publication by selecting people with sufficient expertise and avoiding those with conflicts of interest. Editors should ensure that reviews are received in a timely manner. Peer reviewers should be told what is expected of them and should be informed about any changes in editorial policies. In particular, peer reviewers should be asked to assess research and publication ethics issues (i.e., whether they think the research was done and reported ethically, or if they have any suspicions of plagiarism, fabrication, falsification, or redundant publication). Editors should have a policy to request a formal conflict of interest declaration from peer reviewers and should ask peer reviewers to inform them about any such conflict of interest at the earliest opportunity so that they can make a decision on whether an unbiased review is possible. Certain conflicts of interest may disqualify a peer reviewer. Editors should stress confidentiality of the material to peer reviewers and should require peer reviewers to inform them when they ask a colleague for help with a review or if they mentor a more junior colleague in conducting peer review. Editors should ideally have a mechanism to monitor the quality and timeliness of peer review and to provide feedback to reviewers.
  • Reviewer misconduct
    • Editors must take reviewer misconduct seriously and pursue any allegation of breach of confidentiality, non-declaration of conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial), inappropriate use of confidential material, or delay of peer review for competitive advantage. Allegations of serious reviewer misconduct, such as plagiarism, should be taken to the institutional level (for further guidance see: http://publicationethics.org/files/u2/07_Reviewer_misconduct.pdf).
  • Interaction with authors
    • Editors should make it clear to authors what the role of the peer reviewer is because this may vary from journal to journal. Some editors regard peer reviewers as advisors and may not necessarily follow (or even ask for) reviewers’ recommendations on acceptance or rejection. Correspondence from editors is usually with the corresponding author, who should guarantee to involve co-authors at all stages. Communicating with all authors at first submission and at final acceptance stage can be helpful to ensure all authors are aware of the submission and have approved the publication. Normally, editors should pass on all peer reviewers’ comments in their entirety. However, in exceptional cases, it may be necessary to exclude parts of a review, if it, for example, contains libellous or offensive remarks. It is important, however, that such editorial discretion is not inappropriately used to suppress inconvenient comments. There should always be good reasons, which are clearly communicated to authors, if additional reviewers are sought at a late stage in the process.
    • The final editorial decision and reasons for this should be clearly communicated to authors and reviewers. If a paper is rejected, editors should ideally have an appeals process. Editors, however, are not obliged to overturn their decision.

 

EDITORIAL DECISION

Editors are in a powerful position by making decisions on publications, which makes it very important that this process is as fair and unbiased as possible, and is in accordance with the academic vision of the particular journal. 

  • Editorial and journal processes
    • All editorial processes should be made clear in the information for authors. In particular, it should be stated what is expected of authors, which types of papers are published, and how papers are handled by the journal. All editors should be fully familiar with the journal policies, vision, and scope. The final responsibility for all decisions rests with the editor-in-chief.
  • Editorial conflicts of interest
    • Editors should not be involved in decisions about papers in which they have a conflict of interest, for example if they work or have worked in the same institution and collaborated with the authors, if they own stock in a particular company, or if they have a personal relationship with the authors. Journals should have a defined process for handling such papers. Journals should also have a process in place to handle papers submitted by editors or editorial board members to ensure unbiased and independent handling of such papers. This process should be stated in the information for authors. Editorial conflicts of interests should be declared, ideally publicly.
  • Copyright
    • The journal will ask authors to transfer copyright to the journal. Editors should make their position on copyright transfer clear to authors and to others who might be interested in using editorial content from their journals. The copyright status of articles in a given journal can vary: Some content cannot be copyrighted (for example, articles written by employees of the U.S. and some other governments in the course of their work); editors may agree to waive copyright on others; and still others may be protected under serial rights (that is, use in publications other than journals, including electronic publications, is permitted).

 

UNETHICAL BEHAVIOUR

 

  • Identification of unethical behaviour
    • Misconduct and unethical behaviour may be identified and brought to the attention of the Editor and publisher at any time, by anyone.
    • Whoever informs the Editor or publisher of such misconduct should provide sufficient information 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 if appropriate should consult with or seek advice from the publisher.
    • Evidence should be attained, while avoiding spreading any allegations beyond those who need to know.
  • Minor cases
    • Minor misconduct is 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 cases
    • Serious misconduct requires that the employers of the accused be notified. The Editor, in consultation with the publisher, 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.
  • Action on outcome
    • Inform and educate the author or reviewer in case there appears to be a misunderstanding or misapplication of normal standards.
    • Send a letter to the author or reviewer covering the misconduct, which should act as a warning on future behaviour.
    • Publish a notice detailing the misconduct.
    • Send a 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, or book series, together with informing the head of the author or reviewer's department, the relevant Abstracting & Indexing agencies and the readers of the publication.
    • Impose an embargo on contributions from an individual for a defined period.
    • Report the case and outcome to a relevant organisation or higher authority for further investigation and action.

 

INFORMED CONSENT FOR HUMAN AND ANIMAL RIGHTS

  • Statement on Human and Animal Rights
    • When reporting experiments on human subjects, authors should indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach, and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. When reporting experiments on animals, authors should be asked to indicate whether the institutional and national guide for the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.
    • * International Committee of Medical Journal Editors ("Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals") -- February 2006
  • Research involving animals
    • Experimental research on vertebrates or any regulated invertebrates must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing compliance with guidelines and/or ethical approval must be included in the manuscript. For studies involving client-owned animals, authors must document informed client consent and adherence to a high standard (best practice) of veterinary care. Authors are encouraged to conform to the Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments (ARRIVE) guidelines (https://www.nc3rs.org.uk/arrive-guidelines) for reporting animal studies.
    • Field studies should be conducted in accordance with local legislation, and the manuscript should include a statement specifying the appropriate permissions and/or licences. We recommend that authors comply with the Convention on Biological Diversity (https://www.cbd.int/convention/) and the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (https://www.cites.org).
      • Statement on Informed Consent
        • Consent: For all research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study should be obtained from participants (or their parent or guardian in the case of children under 18 and a statement to this effect should appear in the work.
        • Consent for publication of individual patient data: For all works that include details, images, or videos relating to individual participants, written informed consent for the publication of these must be obtained from the participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 18) and a statement to this effect should appear in the work. A consent form must be made available to the Editor(s) on request and will be treated confidentially. In cases where images are entirely unidentifiable and there are no details on individuals reported within the manuscript, consent for publication of images may not be required. The final decision on whether consent to publish is required lies with the Editor(s).

     

    Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information, including patients' names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, or pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should identify individuals who provide writing assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance. Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, however, an informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, author(s) should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning and the author(s) are responsible to notify the editor(s) in such instances and editor(s) should so note accordingly. The requirement for informed consent should be included in the journal's instructions for authors. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the published work.