For the building and development of the respected and coherent network in the field of knowledge, publication of an article in a peer review journal plays an important role. It actually reflects the knowledge, research, understanding, grip, and quality of work of an author on the respected topic. This publication has some requirements that must be met; these requirements are generally termed as PUBLICATION ETHICS. It is highly important that parties like the author, peer reviewer, the journal editor, publisher and the sponsored journal must agree and fulfill the publication ethics.
If someone fails to meet these requirements or don’t follow them properly it will ultimately lead towards misconduct and is regarded as unethical behavior. The US Office of Research Integrity defines misconduct quite narrowly as:
This is a very simple and brief concept of publication rules that are meant to be followed. There are too many discussions regarding this topic and we have a broader definition of publication ethics by Nylenna & Simonsen which states that:
It is quite clear from the above definition that following publication ethics is a high responsibility that must be followed by us at all levels. These standards are actually meant for ensuring the existence of high-quality scientific research, publications and especially maintaining believe of people in scientific findings along with crediting them for their work.
The base of publication ethics lies upon avoiding the following things in the publishing of an article:
- Data fabrication and falsification
- Multiple submissions
- Redundant publications
- Improper author contribution or attribution
All of these points play important role in the fulfillment of publication ethics and can be described individually.
Data Fabrication and Falsification
This involves two concepts fabrication and falsification of data, the former states that the researcher didn’t actually perform the experiment and didn’t conduct any kind of experiment but provides the data by any means. The later one is that researcher although conduct the study and performs the experiments but then changed the data according to the requirements and didn’t provide the original findings. Both these means of misconduct reduces the support and trust of people on scientific findings.
This is something that is known to every student today. We all as students make assignments by just one click of copy and paste and then put them on turn in it and finally present them with full courage. This is actually a crime that we are taking advantage of someone else’s work without their permission and any kind of acknowledgement to them. We must always study and review other’s work for the sake of improving and upgrading our knowledge but we must not use that work as such for our personal benefits.
It means we are publishing one work, research or article in more than one journal at the same time. It benefits nothing but the waste of time and damage to the repute of publisher, author, peer review and editor.
It means that we are publishing many related articles on one conducted research and it actually reduces the reader’s attention to our work and ultimately we lost a good number of readers at the end.
Improper Author Contribution or Attribution
From every author mentioned in the research paper to publish there must come significant contribution. The other side of this is that the names of everyone who contributed in work must be mentioned even if he is a student or a lab technician.
Now the things required for publication ethics, here is a list of best practices for publication ethics:
- English Editing
- Review (Post-submission) Editing
- Journal Selection
- Cover Letter Development
- Reviewer Recommendation
- Expert Scientific Review
- Abstract Development
- Response Letter Check
All these requirements are ethically compliance. It involves the improvement in flow, presentation, and structure of data, the words are modified for better understanding, and however, it has no link with the change, removes or addition of data. The findings remain intact. The manuscript is then reviewed again for further betterment. After that, the selection of the journal plays an important role; you can opt for the good ones by having a look at their impact factor.
Publication ethics can be developed by developing a policy for a journal. Such policy will help people to understand the rules and regulations for publication. A simple set of publication ethics can be as follows:
- Clear guidelines on submission of the work
- What type of content is or is not acceptable for publication
- Guidelines on what constitutes authorship and how proposed changes to authorship are handled
- Description of the peer review process
- The inclusion of the necessary ethical statements if required
This can be stated as:
Now the question is that how to overpower if we have still misconduct in publication ethics, then we need to follow these steps:
- Be neutral and address the misconduct confidentially
- Must have all records of the written communication containing the evidence and allegations
- Take action at the right time while discussing with the author
- Properly find the main reason behind the misconduct
- Decisions should be transparent and final
- Seek attention from media where required
Publication Ethics are meant for the authenticity and credibility of the scientific work. These are the parts and parcel of any publication and are supposed to be fulfilled. If we take a deep look in understanding these ethics we will have a clear picture of the fact that they are actually helping us along with maintaining the confidentially and privacy of our work, so that it should not be copied or used by someone else.
We wish that you all have got a clear idea about the importance and role of publication ethics. The purpose of this article is not to afraid you that too aware you. Our team of Science Range Publications aims to provide you with the right information as much as we can. We are here to help you and will be pleased with your overwhelming response.