Log in Register

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Captcha *

Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement

The American Publishing House (TAPH) ensures high standards and quality by following strict ethical policies and by meticulous peer review. TAPH follows the COPE Flowcharts, according to the Code of Conduct of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), for resolving the suspected malpractice cases. Malpractices include practicing plagiarism, data usage frauds, or bogus claims of authorship. TAPH, henceforth, expects its editors, reviewers, and authors to follow the best guidelines on ethical practices. The detailed guidelines as prescribed by COPE are stated below in the further pages:

COPE Code of Conduct

1. Duties of an Editor

An editor of any publication has certain duties to be followed and certain responsibilities to be fulfilled. An editor should carry out the following duties and responsibilities:

a) General duties and responsibilities of Editors :

  • Editors should be responsible for everything published in their journals;
  • Strive to meet the needs of readers and authors;
  • Constantly improve the journal;
  • Ensure the quality of the material they publish;
  • Champion freedom of expression;
  • Maintain the integrity of the academic record;
  • Preclude business needs from compromising intellectual standards;
  • Always be willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies when needed.

b) Unbiased Decisions and Editorial Independence :

Editors should evaluate the submitted manuscripts strictly on the basis of its merits (for example, originality, clarity, importance, validity, etc) and relevance, without considering any bias or prejudice towards the author’s race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, political philosophy, institutional affiliation, etc. Editors should also be aware that the decisions to edit and publish any content are not determined by government policies or other agencies. Editor-in-Chief is the final authority who has all the authority over all the content of the journal and the entire process of publication.

c) Protection of Confidential Data:

An editor should always take care about the data shared by the users. He/she should protect the data and keep it safe. Also an editor should not disclose the data to anyone and should keep it confidential. An editor can only reveal the data to the corresponding author, reviewers, publisher, or editorial advisers. Also, an editor must take a written consent regarding disclosing of information if in certain cases, it is necessary to do so.

d) Conflicts of Interest:

An editor or editorial board member should not use any confidential information for their own use, without receiving a written permission from the corresponding author. This confidential information can be of an author, who has submitted it while submitting a manuscript, or of other users, who have submitted the information during registration. At times, an editor faces conflict of interest with an author or manuscript due to some competitive or collaborative connections with the authors, companies or institutions having connection with the submitted manuscript. In such cases, an editor can recuse himself/herself from reviewing the manuscript and ask some other member of the editorial board to review it.

e) Investigating Malpractice Complaints:

An editor has a duty to identify malpractices and investigate the reported act regarding suspected malpractices. This duty extends to both published and unpublished papers. If a complaint is found to be true, then he/she should take the necessary steps against the person who has done malpractice. An editor should properly investigate each and every unethical practice reported, even though discovered years after getting published. An editor should not just reject any manuscript suspected of malpractice, but also pursue the alleged case against the same.

While investigating, first of all, an editor should ask for a response from the accused. If the response is not satisfactory, the editor can go for further investigation with the help of the regulatory body. Editor should follow the COPE Flowcharts for handling the cases. An editor should make all the efforts to effectively resolve the case.

If, on investigation, the suspected unethical practice is found to be true, a correction, expression of concern, apology, or other relevant note would be published by the journal. If, on investigation, the suspected unethical practice is not found to be true, an editor should try to obtain a possible resolution to the case.

f) Peer Review Process:

An editor should take care about the peer review process of the submitted manuscripts. He/she must ensure that all submitted articles undergo a peer review process by at least two expert reviewers, and that the peer review process occurs ethically, regularly, and appropriately.

g) Decisions over Publication:

The Editor-in-Chief has the responsibility to make the decision regarding which of the submitted manuscripts will get published. The decision should be based on the validity, importance to researchers, reviewers’ comments, and legal requirements regarding plagiarism, copyright infringement, etc. If found necessary, the Editor-in-Chief may seek assistance of the reviewers or other editors, in making the decision.

h) Ensuring Academic Record Integrity:

It is an editor’s duty, to correct a misleading statement, a significant error or distorted report published by him, immediately after it is recognized. In case of discovering an unethical practice, the editor should immediately retract the content in a way that can be identified both by the readers as well as the indexing systems.

i) Commercial Considerations:

Another important duty of an editor is regarding advertising in journals. An editor should have a well drafted policy for advertising and he/she should declare it for the reference of the advertisers. These policies should be concerned with the content of the journal and the process of advertising. Moreover if an editor finds certain advertisement misleading, he has all the rights to refuse it.

Moreover, editor should also make sure that the reprints are published as appearing in the journal. Some later modification to done to the content can be counted as exception. An editor should also willingly publish the criticism of the content published in the journal, following the same criteria as for publishing the content.

j) Encourage Healthy Debate:

An editor should be sympathetic to the studies that challenge the previous work published in the journal. Also, studies that report negative results regarding the content of the journal should not be avoided or excluded from consideration.

Again an editor should have convincing reasons for not publishing criticisms of the content of the journal. Otherwise, the criticisms should be published. Also, the author of the criticized content should be given an opportunity to give his/her response.

Apart from all these duties the editor also has a duty to maintain healthy relations with the people he/she works with, like the authors, reviewers, publishers, and also the readers.

i. Relations with the Publishers:

The relation between the editor of the journal and the publisher of the journal is often complex, but it should be firm on the basis of Editorial Independence. Editors should make decisions on publishing of articles based on the quality of the content, and should not take into considerations the political or economical beliefs or connections of the publication house or the publisher.

ii. Relations with the Reviewers:

Editors should publish detailed guidelines for the reviewers regarding the duties of the reviewers and other work expected from them. These guidelines should be regularly revised, and updated by the editor. Also, the guidelines should link with the COPE Code of Conduct.

Moreover, the editors’ should also have systems to ensure the security of the identities of the reviewers, unless and until they follow an open review system.

iii. Relations with the Authors:

The Editor should accept or reject an article strictly on the basis of its quality, originality, importance and relevance to the subject or aim of the journal. The editor should not reverse his decision of accepting an article, unless and until some serious problems are found regarding that article. Editors should publish detailed guidelines for the authors, stating their duties and other things expected from them. These guidelines should be regularly revised and updated, keeping it linked with the COPE Code of Conduct. Editor should ensure the quality of the content of the journal, and should take appropriate measures to maintain them. Editor should also publish the description of peer review procedures conducted. Also, he/she should be ready to accept any deviation found in the described process. Also, a new editor should not reverse the decisions taken by the previous editor, regarding the publication of the articles, unless and until some serious issues are found with the article.

Apart from these, the journal should have a mechanism for the authors to appeal against the editor, and that mechanism should be declared for the benefit of the author.

iv. Relations with the Readers:

Editor should inform the readers regarding the funding of the research, who has granted the funds, and the role of the funders in the research process.

2. Duties of Reviewers:

Not only do editors have to abide by the rules of COPE, but even the peer reviewers have to follow them. The reviewers also have some duties which should be performed by them. The reviewers must perform these duties while reviewing any content. The duties of the reviewers are as follows:

a) Providing Assistance to Editorial Decisions:

At times, when it is necessary, the Editor-in-chief may seek assistance of reviewers or other editors, in making the decision. At that time the reviewers should provide their assistance to him/her. Also, through editorial communication, the reviewers can help the authors improve their content.

b) Prompt Response:

A reviewer must be prompt in giving responses. Once the review process of a manuscript is over, the reviewers should immediately correspond with the editor and report him the outcome of their review. However, if any invited reviewer feels unqualified for reviewing a submitted manuscript, or feels that giving a prompt response of the reviewing process won’t be possible, should immediately notify the editor regarding the same and decline the reviewing invitation, so that an alternative substitution can be done.

c) Protection of Confidential Data:

The reviewers should understand the fact that any manuscript submitted for reviewing is a confidential document and should treat it that way. They should not show or discuss the manuscript with any other person, except if the Editor-in-Chief has authorized the reviewers to do so. This would be done only in certain exceptional and specific circumstances. These rules apply to even those reviewers who decline the review invitation.

d) Maintaining the Standards of Objectivity:

The reviewers should maintain objectivity while reviewing. The reviewing process and the formulations of the observations should be conducted objectively. The observations made should be stated clearly supported by relevant arguments so that it can help the authors to restructure or improve their manuscripts. Personal criticism of an author by any reviewer, under any circumstance, is considered inappropriate and hence, the reviewers should avoid doing so.

e) Acknowledging Non-cited Sources:

While reviewing a manuscript, a reviewer should identify the published work relevant to the content of the manuscript, which the author has not cited in his references. Also, they should take care of the fact that any statement, observation, comment, argument, or derivation made by an author from other published work, should be accompanied by relevant and proper citations made by the author. Further, if a reviewer fins a significant similarity, or overlap of content between the manuscript being reviewed and any other published or unpublished work that he/she has the knowledge of, he/she should immediately report this to the editor.

f) Conflicts of Interest and Disclosing Personal Information:

If an invited reviewer has certain conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies or institutions connected to the manuscript that he/she has to review or work described within that manuscript, should immediately notify the editor and declare their conflicts of interest. Also, they can decline the invitation so that an alternative substitution can be made in time.

The reviewers should also take into notice that any unpublished material disclosed by an author while submitting his/her manuscript is confidential and personal. Hence, the reviewer should not use it for his/her own research or other purposes, without seeking a written consent from the related author. Also, the ideas or information obtained as a result of the peer review of a manuscript must be kept confidential and a reviewer should not use it for any personal reason. These rules apply to even those reviewers who are invited, but decline the invitation.

3. Duties of An Author:

The authors, who submit their manuscripts for the publication process or the authors whose articles do get publish, also have certain rules to follow and certain duties to be performed, as prescribed by the COPE. These duties are as follows:

a) Documentation:

An author submitting an original research should submit an accurate account of the research undertaken and the results obtained through that research. This should be followed by the discussion regarding the significance of the research for other people. The manuscripts should contain sufficient references with all the details to help others to refer those works. Authors reviewing some other article should take care that their reviews are accurate, objective, and comprehensive. On the other hand, the editorial notes or articles must be properly identified by the related author. Any sort of plagiarism, fraudulent or inappropriate statements is considered unethical behavior, unacceptable, and the authors should not practice any of them.

b) Resource Availability:

When an author submits his manuscript for publication, he/she may be asked to support it with the raw material used for the research. Hence, the author should be ready to make that publically available, if possible. Also, the authors should ensure that they make their resources openly available to other researchers for at least a time span of 10years, unless the confidentiality of the researchers cannot be maintained or there is an issue regarding the legal rights concerning the resources.

c) Practicing Plagiarism:

While submitting their manuscripts, the authors should ensure the originality of the content. They should also ensure that they have given appropriate citations for using others’ works or words. Further, the authors should also cite the works that have been the resources for their research. There are many kinds of plagiarism, but all its types are considered unethical practices and are unacceptable under any circumstances. The plagiarism can range from passing off another’s research as one’s own, to copy or paraphrase a significant amount of information from others’ work, to claiming that the results of some others’ research to be of one’s own.

d) Multiple Publications:

The authors should ensure that the same research undertaken by them should not be published in more than one journal or primary publication. Submitting a manuscript that has been published earlier is considered unethical and is unacceptable. Hence, authors should avoid doing so.

In certain cases like, clinical guidelines or translations, the multiple publications of certain articles is justifiable, if it meets certain conditions. The authors and editors of the respective journals must mutually agree upon the secondary publication of the article, in which the data and the interpretation of that should remain the same as in the original publication. Again, the primary reference must be cited while re-publishing.

e) Authorship Criteria:

Authors submitting a manuscript should ensure that, only the people who meet the criteria for the authorship, should be mentioned as authors in the manuscript, as they would be able to take the responsibility for the content. The authorship criteria are

  • The person should have made a significant contribution in the conception, designing, execution, analysis or interpretation, or data collection for the research undertaken.
  • The person should have himself drafted the manuscript or revised it critically for identifying important intellectual content.
  • The person should have gone through the final version of the manuscript, approved it, and agreed upon submitting it for publication.

All people who have made significant contributions to the research work mentioned in manuscript, but don’t fulfill the authorship criteria, should not be listed as an author, but should be acknowledged in the “Acknowledgement” section, only after receiving a written permission from that person.

Further, the author should confirm that all names mentioned in the list of authors are appropriate, and none is inappropriately mentioned. Also the author should verify that all the people listed as authors have seen the final draft of the manuscript and have agreed upon its publication.

f) Conflicts of Interest:

While submitting the disclosure form itself, the author should disclose any conflicts of rights that might occur, affecting the results or interpretations of the publication of his/her research paper. The conflicts of interests that should be ideally disclosed can be of two types:

  1. Non-financial conflicts – this includes personal or professional relation, affiliation, knowledge or beliefs in the subject matter of the research.
  2. Financial conflicts – this includes employment, membership, consultancy, educational grants, other funding, honoraria, stock ownership, etc.

The author should disclose all the sources of financial support, including the grant number or any reference number, for conducting his research work.

g) Acknowledgement of Sources:

Authors should ensure that the works of other authors have been appropriately acknowledged, and that the author has also acknowledged the publications that have served as resources for his/her research.

The author should not mention the information obtained privately, through conversations, discussions, etc., unless the author has obtained a written permission from the resource person.

Authors should also ensure not mentioning the information obtained in the course of rendering confidential services, like, reviewing manuscripts, unless they have procured a written permission from the concerned author(s).

h) Participation in Peer Review Process:

Authors should actively participate in the peer review process of their manuscript and cooperate fully to the reviewers, by giving immediate responses to the requests to procure the raw material, clarifications, copyright permissions, proofs of ethical practice, written consents, etc. if the editor and reviewers take a decision that some revisions are necessary to the manuscript, the author should give a timely, systematic, and to-the-point response to the decision, by revising and then re-submitting the manuscript on or before the deadline.

i) Involvement of Health Hazards or Living Subjects:

If a research work involves the use of harmful chemicals, equipment, or machinery which can cause unusual hazards, the author should distinctively mention this in his research article.

If a research work involves participation of any living subjects, humans or animals, the author should ensure that the research is carried out abiding by the laws and institutional guidelines. The author should also ensure that the research has been approved by a recognized institutional committee. Moreover, the manuscript should contain the statement regarding this approval.

Further, the author should always ensure that while using human subjects, their privacy rights are maintained, and should also take a written consent from the human subjects before the research, and state this consent in his/her manuscript.

j) Retracting Errors in Published Works:

When an author discovers a significant error in the content of his published article, it is his/her duty to immediately inform the editor or publisher and collectively work with them to either rectify the paper, or to retract it. In case if the editor or the publisher comes to know about a significant error in a published work, through a third party, it is the duty of the author to immediately rectify or retract the article, or else provide evidence to prove the correctness of his/her content.

4. Duties of the Publisher

A publication house is run by a publisher. Though he/she has a team of members like editors, reviewers, etc, doing their respective duties, the publisher too has certain duties to be performed by him/her. By performing theses duties he/she is able to manage all the proceedings of the publication house. These duties are

a) Handling Unethical Publication Practices:

A publisher should ensure that no unethical practices are found regarding the content published in his/her journal. In case of alleged or proven malpractice, plagiarism, or, fraudulent publication, the publisher should work in collaboration with the editors to resolve the problem by taking appropriate measures, and should amend the alleged article accordingly. This can be done by publishing an erratum, a clarification, or in severe cases, by retracting the article. These actions should take place immediately after the malpractice is discovered. The publisher should work collaboratively with the editor to prevent the publication of researches, where some kind of malpractice is conducted, and, the publisher should not encourage such malpractices to take place, under any circumstances.

b) Granting Access to the Content:

The publisher has a commitment for the preservation of the scholarly research data, its permanent availability, and easy accessibility by partnering with other organizations and maintaining one’s own digital archive.