Your journal should have policies in place for ensuring that ethical research practices are followed, including practices to prevent and deal with allegations of misconduct such as plagiarism, data falsification, conflicts of interest, and other ethical breaches. It is a good idea to include a public ethics policy on the journal site to inform authors of the expectations around ethical practices. Some indexing services (such as SCOPUS and Web of Science) also require that journals indicate that they have a clear ethics policy as part of their indexing application.
The Committee on Publication Ethics provides resources for journals in developing policies and guidelines for ethical practices, including the General approach to publication ethics for the editorial office.
Some journals create separate code of ethics statements for the editorial team, authors, and peer reviewers. Others have a single ethics policy broken up thematically (plagiarism, confidentially, etc).
In general, a journal ethics statement may include the following:
Authors may be asked to confirm that their submission is original work that has not been previously published and is not under review by another publication, and that authors have obtained written permission to use any third-party materials such as images.
Authorship policies are the criteria used to determine who can be considered an author. This policy often includes the degree to which an author has contributed to the submitted work. See an example of an authorship policy from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).
Plagiarism policies define what the journal considers plagiarism, how plagiarism is detected during submission, review, and after publication, and the steps the journal will take to address allegations. For guidance on addressing plagiarism and examples of plagiarism statements, see the examples below:
A conflict of interest (COI), also known as a ‘competing interests’ is “anything that interferes with, or could reasonably be perceived as interfering with, the full and objective presentation, peer review, editorial decision-making, or publication of research or non-research articles submitted” to your journal (PLOS, n.d.). COI policies outline the processes by which journals handle conflicts of interest of authors, editors, and reviewers identified before or after publication has occurred. See the following resources for COI examples and guidelines:
These procedures should include details about the resolution process for potential disputes or breaches in ethics, and the steps for reporting concerns and declaring conflicts of interest.
Ethics policies can be added to About the Journal or Author Guidelines.