What does “ethics” mean in journal publishing?
Being published in a peer-reviewed journal is an essential part of every researcher’s career. Benefits to you as the author (and to your funder and institution) come from the work that is done to ensure that every article adheres to certain standards. For example, research must be reported accurately so that other people can make use of it and apply it.
We provide guidelines for ethical publishing for authors, reviewers, and journal editors. Every journal explains its publishing and peer-review policy on its Aims & Scope page on Taylor & Francis Online.
We outline below the major ethical issues you should be aware of as an author. Use these, our ethical guidelines for authors, and our infographic to guide you as you submit and publish your research.
Case 1: Authorship
Every author listed on a journal article should have made a significant contribution to the work reported (in terms of research conception or design, or acquisition of data, or the analysis and interpretation of data). As an author or co-author, you share responsibility and accountability for the content of your article.
What to avoid
Gift (guest) authorship: where someone is added to the list of authors who has not been involved in writing the paper.
- Ghost authorship: where someone has been involved in writing the paper but is not included in the list of authors.
Case 2: Plagiarism
“When somebody presents the work of others (data, words or theories) as if they were his/her own and without proper acknowledgment.” Committee of Publications Ethics (COPE)
When citing others’ (or your own) previous work, please ensure you have:
- Clearly marked quoted verbatim text from another source with quotation marks.
- Attributed and referenced the source of the quotation clearly within the text and in the Reference section.
- Obtained permission from the original publisher and rightsholder when using previously published figures or tables.
If you are discussing one particular source at different points in your paper, make sure you correctly cite every instance.
Make sure you avoid self-plagiarism
Self-plagiarism is the redundant reuse of your own work, usually without proper citation. It creates repetition in the academic literature and can skew meta-analyses if the same sets of data are published multiple times as “new” data. If you’re discussing your own previous work, make sure you cite it.
Taylor & Francis uses CrossCheck to screen for unoriginal material. Authors submitting to a Taylor & Francis journal should be aware that their paper may be submitted to CrossCheck at any point during the peer-review or production process.
Any allegations of plagiarism or self-plagiarism made to a journal will be investigated by the editor of the journal and Taylor & Francis. If the allegations appear to be founded, all named authors of the paper will be contacted and an explanation of the overlapping material will be requested. Journal Editorial Board members may be contacted to assist in further evaluation of the paper and allegations. If the explanation is not satisfactory, the submission will be rejected, and no future submissions may be accepted (at our discretion).
Case 3: Data fabrication / falsification
It is essential that all data is accurate, and representative of your research. Data sharing is more and more prevalent, increasing the transparency of raw data. Some journals request that raw data is uploaded as a supplemental file for publication (you can check the instruction for authors to see if this is the case on the journal you are submitting to). Taylor & Francis encourages you to submit your supplemental data with your article. Find out how we host it, and make it more discoverable.
Cases of data fabrication/falsification will be evaluated by the editor of the journal and Taylor & Francis. Authors may be contacted to provide supporting raw data where required. Journal Editorial Board members may be contacted to assist in further evaluation of the paper and allegations. If the explanation is not satisfactory, the submission will be rejected, and no future submissions may be accepted (at our discretion).
Case 4: Conflicts of interest
It is very important to be honest about any conflicts of interest, whether sources of research funding, direct or indirect financial support, supply of equipment or materials, or other support. Read our full guidelines on what a conflict of interest is and how to declare it when you submit your paper.
If a conflict of interest is not declared to the journal upon submission, or during review, and it affects the actual or potential interpretation of the results, the paper may be rejected or retracted.
Ready to submit your paper? Your ethics checklist
Before you submit, make sure:
- You’ve read the journal’s instructions for authors, and checked and followed any instructions regarding data sets, ethics approval, or statements.
- All authors have been named on the paper, and the online submission form.
- All material has been referenced in the text clearly and thoroughly.
- Data has been carefully checked and any supplemental data required by the journal included.
- Any relevant interests have been declared to the journal.
- You’ve obtained (written) permission to reuse any figures, tables, and data sets.
- You’ve only submitted the paper to one journal at a time.
- You’ve notified all the co-authors that the paper has been submitted.
Taylor & Francis refers editors to the COPE Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and recommends all reviewers adhere to the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers.