The ethical principles of scholarly journals
- Types of articles and their distinctions
- Article originality
- Data reliability
- Conflict of interests
- Citation and self-citation
An original scientific article is the main type of paper published in an academic journal. Scientific reviews (containing systematized scientific data on a specific topic, obtained as a result of analyzing original materials, and discuss the present state of a scientific problem and its future prospects), editorials, conference reports, brief communications, biographies of prominent scientists, book reviews, etc., may also be published in academic journals. The percentage of these materials is determined by the editorial policy of the journal.
Types of articles must be clearly defined, either by simple indication, by placing different types of materials into different sections, or by choosing a different design for each type. It is particularly important to distinguish between the reviewed and the non-reviewed materials.
Originality is crucial for a scientific article. Examples of actions violating the originality principle include:
• plagiarism, which means knowingly appropriating the authorship of someone else’s works or using someone else’s work in one’s own without any attribution to the actual author; plagiaristic works may contain verbatim copying as well as paraphrasing;
• simultaneous submission to multiple journals;
• redundant publication – repeatedly publishing the same article, or its larger part, including a translation from another language. Papers based on conference proceedings are exempt from this.
It is the author’s responsibility to ensure the reliability of the paper. Falsification and fabrication of data are especially gross violations of scientific ethics. Monitoring and detection of such cases are an important part of the editorial process.
The editorial staff makes every effort to avoid a conflict of interests when handling the submissions. The author, in particular, has the right to request to exclude certain reviewers due to a conflict of interest.
Sources of research financing and related potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed in each article.
Editors and members of the editorial board may publish in their own journals but should not abuse their position, meaning that such papers should typically be submitted to an external reviewer who is not a member of the editorial board.
All previously published data, results or conclusions (both by the authors themselves and by others) must be cited. The original source should be cited whenever possible, not the derivative works.
However, the editorial staff should not encourage using citations for other purposes, such as self-citing, citing the co-authors or members of the authors’ research team, etc.
The authorship stated in the article must reflect the actual contribution to the research and writing. It is necessary to avoid “guest authorship” (i.e. listing an author who didn’t take part in the research and writing) and “ghost authorship” (i.e. omitting to list an author who made a significant contribution to the research and writing).
The peer-review process
Peer-reviewing is the key principle of academic publishing that implies an independent preliminary assessment of the quality of a scientific article. All scientific articles without exception must be submitted for independent review (the reviewer is assigned by the editorial staff).
- The following types of review may be recommended for use: • single-blind review when the reviewer’s identity is concealed from the author, and the author's identity is revealed to the reviewer;
- The editorial office must conform to the following review principles: • reviewing is based on the mutual respect of the author and the reviewer who are equal participants in the scientific process;
- The editorial staff must use the following criteria when selecting a reviewer: • the reviewer must have publications in peer-reviewed journals in the recent 5 years that fall within the same subject area as the article;
- The authors should be able to contest the decision of the reviewer or the editor by appealing to the editorial board. The procedures of submitting and considering an appeal are regulated by the editorial policy of the journal.
• double-blind review when both the reviewer's and the author's identities are concealed from each other.
The type of review should be chosen by the editorial board and explicitly specified on the journal’s website. The editors must make an effort to protect the identities of the reviewer and the author (for a double-blind review).
• the main goal of a review is assessing the scientific value of an article and whether it meets the general requirements for a scientific work;
• the point of review comments is to improve the quality of an article; • the reviewer is obliged to keep the contents of the reviewed article confidential before it is published, and must not disclose or transfer it to third parties unless expressly permitted by the editorial office.
• the reviewer must have a scientific degree, such as a candidate of sciences, a doctor of sciences or a PhD;
• the reviewer must not have published jointly with the author of the paper, must not be the author’s immediate superior or subordinate, or work in the same research team or laboratory;
• the reviewer must be aware of the principles of peer review and the ethical standards.