Principles of Transparency

Statement on the best processing procedure and prevention of publication violation

COPE regulations is set for the chief editors to ensure the least standards, expecting all members to follow them. The best instructions were much favored and they responded a wide range and different types of ethical issues as requested by the chief editors. Although COPE expects all the members to adhere to the regulations related to the journals' editors (reviewing the complaints against the members who do not adhere), we have realized that editors might not be able to perform the best practice (which are voluntary); however, it is hoped that our recommendations would address those policies and practices which require review and reconsideration.

In this synthetic issue of the documents, compulsory regulations for the standards of the journals' editors are written textually through numbered clauses.

Chief editor's general responsibilities
1.1. The chief editor is responsible for all the contents that are published in the journal, meaning that the chief editor should:
1.2. attempt to meet the needs of the readers and authors;
1.3. try for the development of the journal;
1.4. adopt approaches necessary for ensuring the high quality of the contents published;
1.5. support freedom of speech;
1.6. ensure the validity and uniformity of the academic background;
1.7. meet the position's needs considering the rational and ethical standards;
1.8. welcome the publication of reformed, clarified versions of papers as well as apologies when necessary;

The best practice for the chief editors are:
  • actively trying to improve the authors, readers, editors, and reviewers' perspective to develop the journal's approaches
  • being updated in research to review, published, and analyze the journal's approaches with regards to the new findings in the field
  • attempting to encourage publishers to prepare appropriate resources and ask for the guidelines from experts (such as policy makers and lawyers)
  • supporting innovations to decrease the current problems in research and publication
  • supporting innovations which are in line with teaching publication ethics to researchers
  • analyzing the impact of the journal's policies on the authors and reviewers, and reconsidering the policies when necessary to encourage responsibility and decrease behavioral problems.
  • ensuring that any published content by the journal reflect the paper's message as noted in the research.

2. Contact with readers
2.1. The readers should be aware of the financial supporters or research authorities. They need to know if the supporters have had any role in the research and publication.

The best practice for the chief editors are:
  • ensuring that the published reports and research review are analyzed by reliable reviewers (in particular, the statistical analysis);
  • ensuring that the unanalyzed sections of the journals are identifiable;
  • adopting approaches which improve the validity, uniformity and reliability of the research, like editing and using related checklists;
  • using transparency policy to improve transparency in non-research papers as much as possible;
  • adopting certain systems of authoring or contribution to improve good performance (through, e.g. accurate indexing) and reduce the problems (like ghost or guest authors);
  • ensuring the readers that writings of the journal's staff and review board are analyzed unbiasedly.

3. Contact with authors
3.1. The chief editor should accept or reject a paper based on the originality, significance, clarity and validity and in line with the scope of the journal.
3.2. The chief editor should not change his decision for accepting the papers unless there is a serious problem with the paper.
3.3. The new chief editor should not change the previous chief editor's decisions concerning the published papers unless there is a serious problem with them.
3.4. New review approaches should be openly published and the chief editor should be responsible for any general diversion from the declared approaches.
3.5. The journal should adopt a mechanism through which the authors could refer to in response to the chief editors' decisions.
3.6. The chief editor should publish their expectations through guidelines. These guidelines should be regularly updated and referred/linked to this clause.
3.7. The chief editor should prepare some guidelines concerning the required standards of writing or who should follow these standards when noted as co-author.

The best practice to the chief editors are:
  • regular reviewing the author's comments and suggesting related links for the guidelines;
  • publishing conflicts of interests for all the partners and publishing the corrections if the conflicts of interests are identified after publication;
  • ensuring that the reviewers are correctly selected (e.g. individuals who can review the contents and are not involved in the conflict of interest);
  • respecting author's request, if acceptable, that nobody is legitimate to review their paper if their writing is accepted;
  • referring to the COPE indexing guidelines if there is a suspicious writing;
  • publishing the details of resolving suspicious cases (e.g. through a link to the COPE indexing)
  • publishing the received and accepted dates for each paper.

4. Contact with reviewers
4.1. The chief editor should declare their expectation of the reviewers through guidelines, in particular regarding the provided contents to ascertain trust.
4.2. The chief editors should use reviewers for any potential conflicts of interest before sending the paper to reviewer.
4.3. The chief editor should adopt a system to ensure that the reviewers' findings are confidential unless there is an open review which is known by the authors and reviewers.

The best practices for the chief editors are:
  • encouraging reviewers to challenge the ethical issues, potential research, and possible problems in the writings about publication (e.g. unethical research design, inadequate data to achieve research consent or support for research (in particular animals), inappropriate use of data);
  • encouraging reviewers to challenge the originality of writing and informing them for lengthy writings and plagiarism;
  • equipping reviewers to identify related publication (e.g. providing the link for the referred resources and searching in the reference list)
  • transferring the reviewers' comments to the authors completely unless they are offensive;
  • ensuring the reviewers' collaboration with the journal;
  • encouraging academic institutes to accept review as a research practice;
  • analyzing the reviewers' performance and improving their standards of practice;
  • developing the reviewers' database and updating it based on reviewers' performance;
  • abandoning reviewers that commonly do fast, unqualified, and delayed reviews;
  • ensuring that the reviewers' databased reflect their community in the journal, and adding more reviewers if needed;
  • using a wide range of resources (not just particular individuals) for accepting new potential reviewers (e.g. through author's suggestion, reference list data base)
  • following COPE indexing when the reviewer's performance is problematic.

5. Contact with review board
5.1. The chief editor should select a new review board and give them the expectations through guidelines. Also, they should keep updated in line with the policies and new developments.

The best practices for the chief editors are:
  • adopting the best policies to manage the review board's writings for ensuring fairness;
  • identifying qualified review board that actively contribute for the development and good management of the journal;
  • constantly observing the review board;
  • providing clear guidelines to the review board about their roles and expected responsibilities which possible involve:
    • contributing as an executive member of the journal
    • supporting and improving the journal
    • searching the best authors and their works (e.g. from the abstracts) and actively improving the papers
    • editing the writings for the journal
    • accepting editing, review, and analysis of the papers in their field of research
    • joining and contributing in the review board sessions
    • consulting with other members of the review board (e.g. annually) to investigate comments about the management of journal, and informing them of any changes in the journals policies and identifying the potential challenges

6. Contact with the owners and publishers of the journal
6.1. The chief editor's contact with the publisher and owner of the journal is rather complicated, but it should basically be managed on chief editor's freedom of practice.
6.2. The chief editor should make decision about the papers based on the quality and relevance of the papers to the scope of the journal and without the owner or publisher's interference.
6.3. The chief editor should have a written contract to clarify the relationship with the owner or publisher of the journal.
6.4. The clauses of the contract should be in line with the COPE regulations for journal's chief editors.

The best practices for the chief editor are:
  • establishing a mechanism to resolve conflicts between the editor and owner or publisher of the journal with legal procedures;
  • constantly contacting the owner or publisher of the journal.

7. Editing and reviewing policies
7.1. The chief editor should ensure that the review is fairly, unbiasedly, and timely done in the journal.
7.2. The chief editor should adopt a system in which the contents uploaded in the journal are kept confidential.

The best practices for the chief editor are:
  • ensuring that the individuals involved in editing (including the chief editor) are qualified and aware of the latest guidelines, suggestions, and evidence regarding the review and management of the journal;
  • being informed of the research conducted in editing and technological development;
  • adopting the most appropriate method of review for the journal and its research community;
  • analyzing review performances regularly for possible improvement;
  • referring problems to COPE, especially questions which are not answered in COPE indexing;
  • holding sessions to examine complaints which were not resolvable.

8. Quality control
8.1. The chief editor must take logical measures to ensure the quality of publications, considering the fact that the journal has specific scope and standards.

The best practices for the chief editor are:
  • adopting a system to identify misinformation (e.g. figures which are not properly placed or plagiarized) if suspicious arises;
  • making decisions for the paging of the journal according to the factors that can improve the quality of the reports rather than aesthetic or personal preferences.

9. Privacy protection
9.1. The chief editor should consider confidentiality when making decision. Putting aside the domestic laws, they should keep all the information which are acquired during the research or professional communication (e.g. between a doctor and a patient). Therefore, it should be mandatory to obtain written consent form for publication from those whose identity might be revealed or known by others (e.g. through the type of report or photos).

The best practices for the chief editor are:
  • publishing policies with regards to individual information (e.g. personal photos or information) and explaining that thoroughly for the author.
  • It should be noted that the consent form to participate in a research or related issues is different from the consent form for publishing information, photors or personal communications.

10. Encouraging ethical issues (e.g. studies which involve human or animal)
10.1. The chief editor should ensure that the published paper is in line with the international ethical guidelines (e.g. Declaration of Helsinki for clinical studies or AERA and BERA for educational research).
10.2. The chief editor should make sure that all the studies are confirmed by a responsible board (e.g. committee of ethical studies). However, the chief editor should know that such a confirmation does not guarantee ethicality of the research.

The best practices for the chief editor are:
  • Sending request to authors to confirm the ethicality of the research and asking them to respond to ethical issues (e.g. consent form from participants or the method of engaging animals) if concerns arise or transparency was needed;
  • ensuring that the report for clinical experiments are based on Declaration of Helsinki and Good Clinical Practice and other guidelines for security of the participants;
  • ensuring that the report of the experiment and studies on animals is in line with the guidelines of World Health Organization and Human Service for the protection of animals in clinical experiments;
  • assigning advisors or a board of ethical issues to consult with regarding particular issues or when the policies of the journal needed a review.

11. Responding to violations
11.1. The chief editor is responsible to react if any violations or signs of conflict arise. This include all the published and unpublished papers.
11.2. The chief editor should not simply reject those papers which are suspicious to violation. They should ethically follow up such issues.
11.3. The chief editor should follow the COPE procedure when possible.
11.4. The chief editor should find an answer to any suspicious case of violation. If no convincing response was found, they should follow up through the staff or any other authority.
11.5. the chief editor should do the best to ensure that the violations are followed up properly, otherwise, the chief editor should do the best to find a resolution. This is a difficult but important task.

12. Ensuring the validity of academic background
12.1. Any mistake in the writings must be immediately corrected.
12.2. The chief editor should follow COPE guidelines to correct mistakes.

The best practices for the chief editor are:
  • reducing the amount of hidden misleading content in the papers (e.g. all the clinical cases should be reported);
  • ensuring that the published contents are safely archived (e.g. in a permanent source like PubMed Central);
  • adopting a system in which the authors can freely submit their research.

13. Intellectual property
13.1. The chief editor should be aware of the issues in intellectual property and contact the publisher to manage the regulations and commitment to intellectual property.

The best practices for the chief editor are:
  • adopting a system to identify plagiarism (e.g. a software for similarity check) in the submitted papers (routinely or when suspicious cases arise);
  • supporting authors for whom the copy right law is not adhered or they are victims of plagiarism;
  • collaborating with the publisher to support author's right and suing violators (e.g. through a request to withdraw or delete the paper from websites) without considering if the journal follows copy right laws.

14. Encouraging dialogue
14.1. The chief editor should encourage constructive criticism of the papers published in the journal.
14.2. The criticized author should have the chance to respond to the criticisms.
14.3. Negative conclusions should be reported as well.

The best practices for the chief editor is:
  • Freedom of research on published papers which challenge the journal.

15. Complaints
15.1. The chief editor should respond to the complaints immediately, and they should know that unresolved complaints will bring about more complaints. The mechanism for referring the unresolved complaints to COPE should be clearly stated.
15.2. The chief editor should follow the procedure for responding to complaints as stated in the COPE indexing.

16. Financial considerations
16.1. The journal should have a policy and system which ensures that the economic considerations are not interfering the chief editor's decisions (e.g. the advertising department should be independent of the editing department).
16.2. The chief editor should set up a clear advertising policy on the journal's content and the required sponsoring approach.

The best practices for the chief editor are:
  • publishing a clear statement on journal's income (e.g. income from advertisement, sale, sponsoring requirements, etc.);
  • ensuring that the sponsoring review procedure is same as the journal sponsoring;
  • ensuring that the contents in the sponsoring are merely based on academic qualification and attraction for readers, and decisions in these requirements are not interfering with commercial considerations.

17. Conflict of interests
17.1. The chief editor should adopt a system to manage conflict of interests for staff, authors, reviewers, and review board.
17.2. The journal should have a clear procedure to resolve issues about the writings posted by the chief editors, staff, and review board to ensure unbiased review.

The best practices for the chief editor are:
  • publishing the list of common interest (financial, academic, or others) of editing staff or review board members (which should be updated annually).