LUMEN Publishing House, as a member of COPE, intends to comply with the rules of conduct and guidelines on best practices in editorial activity, and to keep our users informed about the guidelines that COPE expresses, and in order to support and to develop good practices in the editorial process, we present below a takeover of the principles established by COPE in the Core Practices, as well as some principles extracted from some COPE regulations and decisions, which in time have become basic guidelines in the editorial activity (due to the Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors, an integral part of COPE Core Practices, and due to COPE caselaw).
The notifications regarding the deviation from the ethical norms
Journals should have a clearly defined process for dealing with allegations of deviation from research ethics, no matter how they are brought to the notice of the journal or publisher. The journals must take seriously the accusations of deviation from the rules of ethics made pre-publication and post-publication. Journal regulations should include how to handle claims made by whistleblowers.
Publishers have a duty to take action if they suspect a breach of the ethics rules of the research or if such deviation is brought to their notice. This obligation extends to both published and unpublished works. Publishers should not simply reject works that raise suspicions about possible breaches of ethical rules. They are ethically obliged to evaluate the alleged cases. The publishers should adhere to the schemes recommended by COPE in order to carry out these evaluations, where appropriate. Publishers should first seek clarification from those suspected of having committed misconduct. If they are not satisfied with the answer, they should ask employers or the research institution, or an institution with responsibilities in the field (which may be a regulatory body or ethics committee) to investigate the situation. The editors should make every reasonable effort to ensure that a proper investigation of the alleged misconduct is carried out; if this does not happen, publishers should make every reasonable attempt to persist in resolving the issue.
Notifications of deviations from the ethics of scientific research or from the ethics of publication will be addressed to the Research and Editorial Ethics Committee of LUMEN Publishing House, to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org, and will be solved according to the Code of Editorial Ethics of LUMEN Publishing House.
Authorship and contributions to the work
Publishers should have clear rules that allow transparent identification of those who contributed to the work, in what quality, as well as the procedure for managing any disputes.
Notifications and reassessment of decisions
Journals must have clear procedures for resolving complaints against the journal, its staff, editorial staff or publisher. Publishers should respond promptly to complaints and should ensure that there is a way for dissatisfied claimants to request re-evaluation of decisions. This mechanism should be clarified in the journal and should include information on how unresolved situations can be forwarded to COPE. Publishers should follow the procedure set out in the COPE Complaints Scheme.
Conflicts of interests / Contrary interests
In the publishers’ regulations there must be clear definitions of conflicts of interest and the procedures for managing conflicts of interest of authors, reviewers, editors, journals, depending on their specificity, before or after publication. Publishers should develop systems for managing their own conflicts of interest, as well as those of staff, authors, reviewers and editorial board members. Journals should have a transparent procedure for resolving requests from editors, employees or editorial staff to ensure an impartial analysis of them. Best practices for editors would include: publishing lists of relevant interests (financial, academic, and other) of all editorial staff and editorial board members (which should be updated at least once a year).
Data and their reproduction
The journals should include policies on data availability and encourage the use of reporting and recording guides for clinical trials and other research methods, according to the standard practice in their discipline. Publishers should take all necessary steps to ensure the quality of the material they publish, taking into account that journals and sections of journals will have different goals and standards. Best practices for publishers would include: existence of falsified data detection systems (for example, improperly manipulated photographic images or plagiarized text), either for use as a constant editorial practice or when suspicion arises; to base the decisions regarding the journalistic style on the relevant evidence of the factors that increase the quality of the reports (for example, the adoption of structured abstracts), rather than simply for aesthetic reasons or personal preferences.
Ensuring the integrity of the academic data implies that any errors, inaccurate or misleading statements must be corrected promptly and regularly. Publishers must follow COPE’s recommendations regarding the retraction of published data. Best practices for publishers would include: taking measures to reduce repeated masked publication (for example, by requesting the registration of all clinical trials); ensuring that published materials are securely archived (for example, through permanent online archives, such as PubMed Central); the existence of systems that provide authors with the opportunity to make free original research articles available.
Ethical supervision should include, but is not limited to, policies regarding publication consent, publication of data on vulnerable populations, ethical behavior of animal research, ethical behavior of human subjects research, handling of confidential data, and commercial / marketing practices.
Publishers should endeavor to ensure that the research they publish has been conducted in accordance with relevant internationally accepted guidelines for human or animal research (eg, the Helsinki Declaration for Clinical Research, the AERA and BERA Guidelines for educational research). Publishers should request proof that all research has been approved by an authorized body (eg, the ethics committee for research, the institutional evaluation board), where it exists. However, publishers should recognize that such approval does not guarantee the research is ethical. Best practices for publishers would include: being prepared to request evidence of approval from research ethics committees and asking authors questions about ethical issues (such as how the research participant’s consent was obtained or what methods have been used to minimize animal suffering); ensuring that clinical trial reports were made in compliance with the Helsinki Declaration, good clinical practice and other relevant principles to protect participants; ensuring that reports on animal experiments or studies must be in accordance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals prepared by the US Department of Health and Human Services or other relevant guides; appointing an advisor or a journal ethics committee to advise on specific cases and periodically review the journal’s policies.
All intellectual property policies, including copyright and publishing licenses, should be clearly described. In addition, any costs associated with publishing should be clearly stated for authors and readers. Policies should be clear on what is considered to be material in the pre-publication phase, on which the editorial rules of pre-publication apply. What constitutes plagiarism and redundant / double publication must be specified.
Editors should pay attention to intellectual property issues and collaborate with the publisher to address potential violations of intellectual property laws and conventions. Best practices for publishers would include: adopting plagiarism detection systems (eg software) anti-plagiarism, the search for similar titles) in the articles sent (either usually or when suspicions arise), supporting authors whose copyright has been infringed or who have been victims of plagiarism, willingness to cooperate with the publisher to defend the rights of authors and prosecute those who violate intellectual property rights (for example, by requesting the withdrawal or removal of materials from websites), whether or not their journal owns the copyright.
A well described and implemented infrastructure is essential, including the business model, policies, processes and software are essential for the efficient operation of an independent journal, as well as the efficient management and training of editorial and publishing staff.
See the organization and functioning of LUMEN Publishing House, in the section Who we are, the management of journals in the Journals section, the management of book series in the Book series section, the team of researchers in the section of LUMEN Research Center in Social and Humanistic Sciences, the list of scientific reviewers in the section Peer review process, the activity of the Editorial Consulting Department, registration and fiscal data of LUMEN Publishing House in the Contact section.
The peer-review process
The entire peer-review process must be described in a transparent and well-managed manner. Journals should provide training courses for editors and reviewers and have policies on various aspects of the peer-review process, in particular regarding the adoption of appropriate review models and conflict resolution, dispute and dispute resolution processes which may occur in the peer-review process.
Publishers should strive to ensure that the peer review for their journal is accurate, impartial and timely. Publishers should have systems in place to ensure that materials sent to their journal remain confidential during peer review. Best practices for publishers would include: ensuring that the people involved in the editorial process (including the publishers themselves) are adequately trained and are up to date with the latest guidelines and recommendations on peer review and journal management; information on peer-review research and technological advances; adopting methods of peer evaluation best suited to the journal and the research community it serves; periodic review of peer-review practices to see if improvement is possible; refer the controversial cases to COPE, especially when questions arise that are not addressed by the COPE schemes for solving ethical problems or new types of deviations from publication are suspected; considering the appointment of a third-party ethics reviewer to rule on complaints that cannot be resolved internally.
Post-publication decisions and corrections
Journals should allow the publication of posts that are for debate either on their website, through letters to the publisher, or on an external website moderated by a third party, such as PubPeer. The journals must have mechanisms for editing, revising or withdrawing articles after publication. Editors should encourage and be willing to consider the criticisms of the materials published in their journal. The authors of the material criticized should be given the opportunity to respond to criticism. Studies with negative results should not be excluded. Best practices for publishers would include the openness to publish research that contradicts those previously published in the journal.
Protection of personal data
Publishers must comply with the laws regarding data confidentiality. However, regardless of the legal provisions, they should always protect the confidentiality of personal information obtained during research or professional interactions (for example, between doctors and patients). Therefore, it is almost always necessary to obtain written informed consent for publication from persons who may be recognized or identified by others (for example, from case reports or photographs). It is possible to publish personal information without explicit consent if the considerations of public interest outweigh the possible harm to the subjects, it is impossible to obtain the consent and it is unlikely that a reasonable person will oppose the publication. Best practices for publishers would include: publishing their policy on publishing individual data (for example, personally identifiable details or images) and explicitly explaining them to authors. The agreement to participate in the research or to undergo treatment is not the same as the consent to publish personal details, images or quotes.
Journals should have policies and organizational systems in place to ensure that commercial issues do not affect editorial decisions (for example, advertising departments should operate independently of editorial departments). Publishers should have made public the advertising policies related to the content of the journal and the processes of publishing sponsored supplements. Reissues should be published as they appear in the journal, unless a correction is to be included, in which case it should be clearly identified. Best practices for publishers would include: publishing a general description of the journal’s sources of revenue (for example, the proportions received from graphic advertising, reprint sales, sponsored supplements, text formatting fees, etc.); ensuring that the peer-review process of sponsored supplements is the same as that used for the main journal; ensuring that articles from sponsored supplements are accepted solely on the basis of academic merits and interest for readers, and decisions regarding these supplements are not influenced by commercial considerations.
The above editorial ethics rules are retrieved from the official website of COPE (Committee for Publication Ethics), available at https://publicationethics.org/core-practices and https://publicationethics.org/resources/code-conduct