Our top 10 tips for navigating ethical challenges in scholarly publishing

March 12, 2014 Jackie Jones


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Today, Wiley presents a comprehensive update to the Wiley publication ethics guidelines first published in 2006, with the release of the Best Practice Guidelines on Publishing Ethics: A Publisher's Perspective. Second Edition. Our aim for these guidelines remains to support all those involved in scholarly publishing with a summary of best practice guidance from leading organizations around the world.

Below are our top 10 tips:

1. Adopt journal policy and practice that supports ethical best practice – Be well-informed of good practice for ethical standards for research, editorial policy and publication ethics. Support a robust appeals/right-to-reply mechanism.

2. Support efficient, effective, ethical peer review – Provide a timely and quality review; give a fair, unbiased, objective review; respect the confidentiality of peer review; do not use insulting or defamatory language, nor make libellous, unfounded accusations.

3. Be mindful of breaches of publication ethics – Be watchful of issues of plagiarism, dual submission and publication and image manipulation; report any irregularities and inform journals where errors in research are found post-publication.

4. Disclose conflict of interest – Be conversant with COI journal policy; EIC, editorial team, authors and reviewers to declare conflicts of interest; include appropriate funding statements in manuscripts.

5. Accurately list those who contributed to the work and how – Check that co-authors meet the criteria for authorship and ensure that appropriate acknowledgements are made in the manuscript; authors should agree the order in which their names will be listed and use tools that remove potential ambiguity around author names.

6. Comply with discipline guidelines for reporting standards – Check reporting is thorough and provides readers with information needed to fully appraise research, replicate it, and use it; be alert to bias and follow guidelines for accurate and complete reporting of research.

7. Ensure that ethical and responsible research is published – explain how research has been conducted responsibly; provide assurances that participants’ rights have been protected; register clinical trials; report ethical concerns including animal/human studies; exercise cultural sensitivity.

8. Take action and alert journals to suspected malpractice – Speak to the Publisher on cases of ethical concern; seek advice from the relevant institutional, employer and funder policies regarding the reporting and investigation of suspected misconduct; consult COPE guidelines.

9. Correct errors where found – Notify journals when errors are found; collaborate to publish corrections when important errors surface, and retract articles when errors are so fundamental that they invalidate the work.

10. Protect intellectual property – Ensure there is explicit authority to publish any article and that authors are aware of their rights with regard to their articles; comply with funder mandates around accessibility.

What do you feel are the biggest ethical challenges in scholarly publishing? Let us know by leaving a comment below or tweeting with hashtag #PubEthics.

About the Author

Jackie Jones

Publisher, Wiley // Jackie Jones is a Publisher at Wiley, having joined in 2002. Jackie manages a portfolio of Life Science journals and commissions new titles where there are gaps in the market. Her particular interests are ethics and peer review systems.

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