Publication Ethics and Malpractice Guidelines
The statement for publication ethics reminds a researcher to adopt basic rules to write and submit a research paper. A researcher should avoid malpractices in a research such as plagiarism, research fraud, duplicate submission and the order for an authorship.
A researcher should always follow the good practices of writing and try his/her level best to avoid malpractices in research. The brief description of the ethical rules is as follows.
Authorship: The order for naming authors in a research paper is of utmost importance and it shows the relative contribution of each individual in a team work. The intentional misrepresentation of scientific contribution of authors is considered as misconduct. The authorship is assigned to the persons who have made significant contribution to the research study. The following four criteria should be completed to be recognized as an author.
- Technical contribution such as data collection, design and conception, analysis and implementation in a research work.
- Scientific reporting and presentation of the outcomes of the study.
- Proofreading and enhancing the visibility of the content.
- Approval of the final version.
- Willing to be accountable for the integrity and accuracy of the submitted content.
There should be mutual understanding of all the coauthors for the order of the authorship.
- The persons who provide support services for a study should be duly acknowledged but shouldn’t be listed as authors. Examples such as providing research space and assisting in financial support fall in the category of acknowledgement.
Conflict of Interest: An author or a coauthor may have the conflict of interest if he can affect or influence the outcome for the acceptance of the presented scientific contribution. It can also be called as competing interests of authors or reviewers.. If competing interests are not declared, the reputation and credibility of the scientific work can be badly hurt. The conflict of interest exists when a relation of the author is in the panel to judge the work. There will also be competing interests if the topic of research is against the belief of a researcher.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the most frequent type of publication malpractice when the work of other researcher is included in one’s own study without the researcher’s prior approval. Even if the contributor does not duly cite the researcher and does not acknowledge him or her in the work, a type of plagiarism exists. In the Oxford Dictionary, the plagiarism is defined as copying and using the ideas and work of another’s person as one’s own scientific contribution. Plagiarism can be in the form of data, phrases and paragraphs and basic ideas and hypothesis. The levels of plagiarism depend on the contents and varies accordingly, such as
- How much quantitative work has been copied, either a few lines or paragraphs or a complete section.
- How much in quality is copied, either the main concept or results or mathematical modeling of the published work.
Self-Plagiarism: In self plagiarism, an already published work of an author has been reused by himself as a new research work. The degree of self-plagiarism varies by the quantity of reused work as taking a few paragraphs for writing or using the previous experimental setup and results. The reader is mis-leaded by the author by presenting his old work as a new research and readers should be informed that the existing work is an extension of the previous work and it is not a reuse of the already published study.
A few types of self-plagiarism that happen frequently include
- A previous dataset and experiments are used without informing the reader
- In the new submitted work, previous work is included but it is not cited.
Duplicate Submission: Submitting the same title and work to multiple journals at the same time is a common type of malpractice. Simultaneous submissions to a number of journals should be avoided as the manuscript can be accepted in more than one journals. At the time of submission, the author should declare the work as the only submission and should disclose any related work and papers (even in different languages) so that there should not be any similar work at the time of publication.
Research fraud: Manipulation of the data to generate new results without experiments is the most common type of research fraud. The two common types of research fraud are as follows
- The research results and data are made up without proper experimental setup and observations.
- In falsification, results and data is changed to present exaggerated content that is not accurately generated by the experiments. The impact and significance of the study is wrongly enhanced with false or exaggerated results.
The research fraud can be detected by observing the data samples and types of experiments that are conducted. It can be determined whether the results are in line with the basic principles of research ethics or are fabricated on the worksheets.
Multiple Slicing: In contrast to duplicate publication, multiple slicing contains dividing or breaking up a publication into two or multiple submissions. If the slices or segmented publications share the same results and hypothesis, they should not be allowed for two or more submissions either in a single journal or multiple journals. Only a single and complete work that validates the presented hypothesis should be submitted as a single submission that validate a hypothesis and address a research problem.
Authenticity of data: Authors must declare the source or sources of data and its integrity. The data should be real and obtained from the approval of its sources. There should not be any tampering in the data in any form. The repository of the data should be mentioned in the research paper. If needed, the data may be submitted to the journal for review and authenticity.
Errors and Corrections: It is the responsibility of the authors to make corrections of errors and retract the mistakes at any point of time. The errors, eithers identified by reviewer or by themselves, should be removed and the provided manuscript should be free from mistakes. After publication of the manuscript, errata or corrigendum is separately published for the correction of errors. Whether it is error in the author names or error in the contents of the manuscript, it is rectified prior or after the publication and it is the responsibility of authors to provide error free manuscript.
Research on Human Subjects: To perform research on human subjects, the approval must be granted from the institutional review board of the university or an organization. It should be declared as no harm will be provided to any human in conducting the experiments and validating the results.
The proper guidelines should be followed in dealing humans or animals and utmost care should be taken in preventing any harm to human subjects.
Retraction Process: The chief editor and associate editors can retract any submission if they come to know that the findings of the manuscript are unreliable. If it is found in any stage that the manuscript contains experimental errors or there is fabrication or falsification in the data, it may be retracted from the publication. In post publication cases, if any of the following observation is noticed, the manuscript can be retracted and the corresponding author and coauthors may be banned from future submissions in the journal.
- Unethical research
- Copyright violation
- Conflict of interest
- Redundant publication
- Data used without authorization