COPE membership number: JM13652
STATEMENT ON PUBLICATION ETHICS
- Research is “the systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions about the presumed relations among natural phenomena.” Thus, it is necessary to ensure the integrity of the data and analyses presented as scientific research. This integrity, not only includes issues such as research design, implementation, and analysis but also extends to its recording and publication. This statement shows the commitment of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad at the highest level of administration to publication ethics. In composing this document, guidelines from COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics), have been used.
- Ethical approval is a mandatory part of any research involving people, records, or live animals, as explained by the Declaration of Helsinki and other recognized statements. Such ethical approval should be issued by appropriate research ethics committees. In the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, the Vice‐Chancellor for Research & Technology is the core body responsible for this approval.
- It is of utmost importance to note that the ultimate liability of any publication, its correctness and the validity of all its statements, including those related to research ethics, is on the author(s). Thus careful and unbiased recognition of all illegible authors, based solely on their intellectual contribution to research output, is vital. A number of internationally‐accepted standards and guidelines are available from ICMJE and WAME. All in all, the authors should have participated enough to be able to accept responsibility for the integrity of (at least part of) the manuscript. They should be ready to explain the contribution of each person in the final publication. The order of authors, although usually determined by agreement, roughly reflects the role of each person involved, with the corresponding author being the one who accepts the responsibility of research team and the integrity of the whole manuscript. The order of names must be agreed upon based on individuals contribution to the current publication, and not on their status, previous works, etc. Guest authorship (naming individuals not involved in the intellectual aspects of the research) or ghost authorship (dropping the names of those with a considerable amount of intellectual contribution) should be avoided. Where possible, it is recommended to draft an authorship proposal when starting a research project. The University administration commits itself to take appropriate steps whenever it receives a provable report of misconduct in authorship.
- Any personal, commercial, academic and particularly financial relationship which can potentially influence the conduct and publication of research constitutes a conflict of interests. In such cases, the authors must report such relationships in the manuscript.
- “Published studies do not need to be repeated unless further confirmation is required.” Thus re‐publication and re‐submission of all or substantial part of a previously‐published (or submitted) article are not acceptable. Exceptions include the publication of abstracts as part of research presented in seminars and congresses and publication in another language. In these cases, international standards allow some freedom provided full disclosure is observed.
- By publishing an article under their name, author(s) of a manuscript claim the scientific contents and text as being their own brainchild. The use of other people’s ideas or sentences in the name of original research output is against scientific integrity and is serious misconduct called plagiarism. Apart from full‐referencing and appreciation of the source, the text should not suggest the possibility of having been copied from other published or unpublished material. Exceptions include common knowledge and the use of quotes. The Ferdowsi University of Mashhad emphatically tries to prevent any form of plagiarism, and depending on the seriousness, the degree of plagiarism and the context will decide on its consequences.
- Journal editors must be fully aware of their crucial role in the promotion and implementation of ethical conduct. Apart from ethical codes of conduct and guidelines, Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) has a series of algorithms and flowcharts for editors. Even if editors find these materials not exactly fulfilling their goals, it is essential that every journal should have a clear statement regarding their approach to possible cases of publication misconduct and publish their stance in this regard. They should also seek copyright transfer, declarations of originality, conflicts of interest, and clear statements indicating that the manuscript is neither duplicate nor plagiarized. Such practice both will increase awareness and can be used if further action on a case is necessary. Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, not only demands its affiliated journals to take up such stances, but also encourages actions taken to prevent or correct unethical publication, including rejection of papers, warnings, sanctions against people with proven records of misconduct, publishing corrections or “statements of concern”, and reporting such instances to University authorities. In doing so, caring for individuals’ interests and personal tolerance should not interfere with matters that can endanger scientific integrity and trust in a scientific publication. The University has always been happy to work with other journals too in this regard and will take necessary steps to investigate and making decisions in such cases.
- Any experiments involving animals must be demonstrated to be ethically acceptable and where relevant conform to international guidelines for animal usage in research. Papers may be refused if based on research associated with the killing or damaging species regarded as threatened or listed in Red Data Books.
- In taxonomic papers, type specimens and type depositories must be clearly designated and indicated. Authors are recommended to deposit the name-bearing type material in internationally recognized institutions.
- When the research is carried out in areas for which research permits are required (e.g. nature reserves), or when it deals with organisms for which collection or import/export permits are required (e.g. protected species), the authors must clearly detail obtaining these permits in the Acknowledgments section.
Kerlinger, F.N., Foundations of Behavioral Research, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc ., 1964. p . 13.
Committee on Publication Ethics. Guidelines on Good Publication Practice. URL:
http://www.publicationethics.org.uk/guidelines/reports/2003/2003pdf15.pdf [accessed 23 July 2007].