We at ACEEE aspire to select research paper, through highest quality peer review. To achieve this, the entire peer review and publication process must be thorough, objective, and fair. Almost every aspect of this process involves important ethical principles and decisions, which are seldom explicitly stated and even less often shared with the readership. Journals' reputations depend on the trust of readers, authors, researchers, reviewers, editors, research subjects, funding agencies, and administrators of public health policy. This trust is enhanced by describing as explicitly as possible the journal's policies to ensure the ethical treatment of all participants in the publication process.
The purpose of a policy on ethical principles
A comprehensive policy on publication ethics is summarized in this article, which addresses all the major areas of ethics including publication conference proceeding and International Journals in Engineering and Technology. Our aim is to encourage editors of journals to use these to develop such policies for their journals & proceedings and make them accessible to their constituents by publishing them in print or on the web. The document outlines on what ACEEE consider being the best solutions to address these publication policies and ethical problems, but we expect individual editors to customize the policies to best fit their own situations.
Research Policies and Ethics
Good research should be well justified, well planned, and appropriately designed, so that it can properly address the research question. Statistical issues should be considered early in the system study, to avoid futile studies that produce subject risk. Research should be conducted with high standards of quality and data analysis; output should be specified at the start of the study. Data and records must be retained and produced for review upon request. Fabrication, falsification, concealment, deceptive reporting, or misrepresentation of data constitute scientific misconduct should be strictly avoided.
Documented review and approval from a formally constituted review board would be appreciated.
The recommendations for preferred presentation and analysis of data should be described in the Information for Contributors or Authors. Wherever possible, recommendations should be based on evidence about methods of data presentation that are readable and most likely to be interpreted correctly by readers. Editors should keep themselves informed of this research and adapt their recommendations as it evolves.
Paper should publish based on the copyright that constitutes authorship. While there is no universally agreed definition of authorship. Generally, authorship implies a significant intellectual contribution to the work, some role in writing the manuscript and reviewing the final draft of the manuscript, but authorship roles can vary; and it directly related with copyright. Copyright ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights of authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity.
For all manuscripts, the corresponding author should be required to provide information on the specific contributions each author has made to the article. All authors are responsible for the quality, accuracy, and ethics of the work, but one author must be identified who will reply if questions arise or more information is needed, and who will take responsibility for the work as a whole. This description of author contributions should be printed with the article. The authors are responsible for creating all components of the manuscript. If writers are provided by the sponsoring or funding institution or corporation to draft or revise the article, the name of the writer and their sponsoring organization must be provided. Their names and contributions will be provided with the acknowledgments. Papers should discourage "honorary" authorship (when authorship is granted as a favor to someone powerful or prestigious who would not have qualified for it otherwise) and should also try to ensure that all those who qualify as authors are listed.
All authors must take responsibility in writing for the accuracy of the manuscript, and one author must be the guarantor and take responsibility for the work as a whole. A growing trend among publication is to also require that for reports containing original data, at least one author (eg, the principal investigator) should indicate that she or he had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. This helps assure that authors, and not funding sources, have final say over the analysis and reporting of their results.
Peer review is fundamental to the scientific publication process and the dissemination of knowledge and information. Peer reviewers are experts chosen by editors to provide written assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of written research, with the aim of improving the reporting of research and identifying the most appropriate and highest quality material for the publication. Regular reviewers should be required to meet minimum standards (as determined and promulgated) regarding their background in original research, publication of articles, formal training, and previous critical appraisal of manuscripts.
Peer reviewers should be experts in the specific topic addressed in the articles they review, and should be selected for their objectivity and scientific knowledge. Individuals who do not have such expertise should not be reviewers, and there is no role for review of articles by individuals who have a major competing interest in the subject of the article.
Reviews will be expected to be professional, honest, courteous, prompt, and constructive. The desired major elements of a high-quality review should be as follows:
- The reviewer should have identified and commented on major strengths and weaknesses of study design and methodology
- The reviewer should comment accurately and constructively upon the quality of the author's interpretation of the data, including acknowledgment of its limitations.
- The reviewer should comment on major strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript as a written communication, independent of the design, methodology, results, and interpretation of the study.
- The reviewer should comment on any ethical concerns raised by the study, or any possible evidence of low standards of scientific conduct.
- The reviewer should provide the author with useful suggestions for improvement of the manuscript.
- The reviewer's comments to the author should be constructive and professional
- The review should provide the editor the proper context and perspective to make a decision on acceptance (and/or revision) of the manuscript.
All reviewers should be informed of the publication’s expectations and editors should make an effort to educate them and suggest educational materials (such as articles on how to peer review):
The editors should routinely assess all reviews for quality; they may also edit reviews before sending them to authors, or simply not send them if they feel they are not constructive or appropriate. Ratings of review quality and other performance characteristics of reviewers should be periodically assessed to assure optimal performance, and must contribute to decisions on reappointment or ongoing review requests. Individual performance data may be introduced for reviewers and it must be kept confidential.
The submitted manuscript is a privileged communication; reviewers must treat it as confidential. It should not be retained or copied. Also, reviewers must not share the manuscript with any colleagues without the explicit permission of the editor. Reviewers and editors must not make any personal or professional use of the data, arguments, or interpretations (other than those directly involved in its peer review) prior to publication unless they have the authors' specific permission or are writing an editorial or commentary to accompany the article.
If reviewers suspect misconduct, they should notify the editor in confidence, and should not share their concerns with other parties unless officially notified to do so.
High-quality review is important, but equally important is that readers be able to readily determine which contents of the journal are peer reviewed. The journal should describe which types of articles are peer reviewed, and by whom (ie, only by editorial board members, by outside expert reviewers, or both). Editors should strongly consider having a statistician review reports of original research that are being considered for publication, if this feasible, since studies have shown.
Editors should publish annual/proceedings audits of acceptance rates, publication intervals, percentage of submissions sent out for external peer review, and other performance data.
Decisions about a manuscript should be based only on its importance, originality, clarity, and relevance to the publication scope and content. Studies with negative results despite adequate power, or those challenging previously published work, should receive equal consideration.
There should be an explicit written policy on the procedure that will be followed if an author appeals a decision. If a published paper is subsequently found to have errors or major flaws, the Editor should take responsibility for promptly correcting the written record in the publication. The specific content of the correction may address whether the errors originated with the author or the publication. The correction should be listed in the table of contents to ensure that it is linked to the article to which it pertains in public databases.
Ratings of review quality and other performance characteristics of editors should be periodically assessed to assure optimal publication performance, and must contribute to decisions on reappointment. Individual performance data must be confidential. These performance measures should also be used to assess changes in process that might improve the performance.
Originality, Prior Publication, and Media Relations
Publication should strictly seek original work that has not been previously published or currently not under review at another journal/conference. Web and other electronic publication should be considered the same as print publication for this purpose. Redundant publication occurs when multiple papers, without full cross reference in the text, share the same data, or results. Republication of a paper in another language, or simultaneously in multiple journals with different audiences, may be acceptable, provided that there is full and prominent disclosure of its original source at the time of submission of the manuscript. At the time of submission, authors should disclose details of related papers they have authored, even if in a different language, or similar papers in press, and any closely related papers previously published or currently under review at another journal/conference.
Plagiarism is the use of others' published and unpublished ideas or words (or other intellectual property) without attribution or permission, and presenting them as new and original rather than derived from an existing source. The intent and effect of plagiarism is to mislead the reader as to the contributions of the plagiarizer. This applies whether the ideas or words are taken from abstracts, research grant applications, Institutional Review Board applications, or unpublished or published manuscripts in any publication format (print or electronic).
Plagiarism is scientific misconduct and should be addressed as such. At ACEEE, we strongly discourage and against this ruthless act. If found guilty, to any extent ACEEE will fight for the same.
Self-plagiarism refers to the practice of an author using portions of their previous writings on the same topic in another of their publications, without specifically citing it formally in quotes. This practice is widespread and sometimes unintentional, as there are only so many ways to say the same thing on many occasions, particularly when writing the methods section of an article. Although this usually violates the copyright that has been assigned to the publisher, there is no consensus as to whether this is a form of scientific misconduct, or how many of one's own words one can use before it is truly “plagiarism.” Probably for this reason self-plagiarism is not regarded in the same light as plagiarism of the ideas and words of other individuals.
Many scientific journals/conferences derive a substantial income from advertising or reprints, creating a potential conflict of interest. Editorial decisions should not be influenced by advertising revenue or reprint potential. Editorial and advertising functions at the journal/conference should be independent. Advertisers and donors should have no control over editorial material under any circumstances.
Reprinted articles must be published as they originally appeared; that is, there is no alteration or revision of articles for a supplement or reprint other than corrections. The content of special supplementary issues (if any) should be determined only by the usual editorial process and not be influenced in any way by the funding source or advertisers.
Publication should have a formal advertising policy and this should be made available to all constituents. Briefly, it should require all advertisements to clearly identify the advertiser and the product or service being offered. Commercial advertisements should not be placed adjacent to any editorial matter that discusses the product being advertised, nor adjacent to any article reporting research on the advertised product, nor should they refer to an article in the same issue in which they appear. Ads should have a different appearance from editorial material so there is no confusion between the two.
Publishers must have the right to refuse any advertisement for any reason. The decision as to acceptance (and any questions about eligibility raised by readers or others) should be made in consultation with the journal's editorial content team and the editorial team should be regularly informed about the evaluation of advertising, especially those that are refused due to non-compliance with the journal's guidelines.
Responding to Allegations of Possible Misconduct
ACEEE has a clear policy on handling concerns or allegations about misconduct, which can arise regarding authors, reviewers, editors, and others. Publications do not have the resources or authority to conduct a formal judicial inquiry or arrive at a formal conclusion regarding misconduct. That process is the role of the individual's employer, university, granting agency, or regulatory body. However, journals/conference proceedings published/sponsored/organized by ACEEE, do have a responsibility to help protect the integrity of the public scientific record by sharing reasonable concerns with authorities who can conduct such an investigation.
Deception may be deliberate, by reckless disregard of possible consequences, or by ignorance. Since the underlying goal of misconduct is to deliberately deceive others as to the truth, the journal's preliminary investigation of potential misconduct must take into account not only the particular act or omission, but also the apparent intention (as best it can be determined) of the person involved. Misconduct does not include unintentional error.
- Falsification of data: ranges from fabrication to deceptive selective reporting of findings and omission of conflicting data, or willful suppression and/or distortion of data.
- Plagiarism: The appropriation of the language, ideas, or thoughts of another without crediting their true source, and representation of them as one's own original work.
- Improprieties of authorship: Improper assignment of credit, such as excluding others, misrepresentation of the same material as original in more than one publication, inclusion of individuals as authors who have not made a definite contribution to the work published; or submission of multi-authored publications without the concurrence of all authors.
- Misappropriation of the ideas of others: an important aspect of scholarly activity is the exchange of ideas among colleagues. Scholars can acquire novel ideas from others during the process of reviewing grant applications and manuscripts. However, improper use of such information can constitute fraud. Wholesale appropriation of such material constitutes misconduct.
- Violation of generally accepted research practices: Serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing or carrying out research, improper manipulation of experiments to obtain biased results, deceptive statistical or analytical manipulations, or improper reporting of results.
- Material failure to comply with legislative and regulatory requirements affecting research: Including but not limited to serious or substantial, repeated, willful violations of applicable local regulations and law involving the use of funds, care of animals, human subjects, investigational drugs, recombinant products, new devices, or radioactive, biologic, or chemical materials.
- Inappropriate behavior in relation to misconduct: this includes unfounded or knowingly false accusations of misconduct, failure to report known or suspected misconduct, withholding or destruction of information relevant to a claim of misconduct and retaliation against persons involved in the allegation or investigation.
Responses to possible misconduct
ACEEE has an explicit policy describing the process by which they will respond to allegations of misconduct.
All allegations of misconduct will be referred to the Editor-In-Chief, who will review the circumstances in consultation with the Sib-editors. Initial fact-finding will usually include a request to all the involved parties to state their case, and explain the circumstances, in writing. In questions of research misconduct centering on methods or technical issues, the Editor-In-Chief may confidentially consult experts who are blinded to the identity of the individuals, or if the allegation is against an editor, an outside editor expert. The Editor-In-Chief and Sub-editors will arrive at a conclusion as to whether there is enough evidence to lead a reasonable person to believe there is a possibility of misconduct for any legal action of that land.
All such allegations should be kept confidential; the number of inquiries and those involved should be kept to the minimum necessary to achieve this end. Whenever possible, references to the case in writing should be kept anonymous.
Also find ACEEE’s TEN commandments to read the precise version of this document.