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Publishing Ethics

As publishers of academic works De Gruyter, our editors and publishing partners subscribe to the principles of academic freedom, editorial independence and the highest levels of research integrity. Our goal is the provision of trusted knowledge to the widest possible audience and to serve academic communities around the world equally.

De Gruyter is committed to compliance with the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Guidelines.

This page details our policies on academic misconduct, plagiarism, duplicate submission and duplicate publications, authorship and contributorship. You can read about our Complaints and Appeals process, and our Editor Code of Conduct, as well as our process for retracting a journal article.

Working closely with our editors, peer reviewers, authors, and society partners we have a proactive approach to the development and practical application of consistent ethical standards and behaviors.

The following policies apply to all De Gruyter journals. Where a journal is owned by and published on behalf of a learned society or association, please refer to any additional requirements outlined by that journal.

Please ensure you read and adhere to these policies before submitting your article.

Handling Allegations of Misconduct


De Gruyter takes seriously any form of misconduct or allegation of academic misconduct. We commit to taking all necessary actions, in accordance with COPE guidelines, to protect the integrity of the scholarly record. We review all serious allegations of misconduct and conduct investigations impartially and confidentially.

We follow the definition of scientific misconduct as defined by the Office of Research Integrity:

“fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research.”

In this context, misconduct does not include honest errors or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

Procedures and processes for handling allegations of academic misconduct


Where concerns about academic misconduct or potential errors in our published content are raised, our actions are guided by the COPE recommendations. Concerns raised anonymously, or by whistleblowers are treated with the same degree of rigour and thoroughness.

If we receive any such correspondence, we would inform the author(s) and editor(s) involved that concerns have been raised. Next, we would support the journal editor in their investigation and, if necessary or appropriate, liaise with relevant institutions and research bodies or third parties. The De Gruyter Ethics Committee provide guidance and review all escalated ethics and integrity cases. If the conclusion of the investigation is that there is evidence of misconduct or inaccuracy of the content published we would consider issuing a correction, retraction, or expression of concern, as relevant, guided by COPE’s Retraction Guidelines. Where any content is retracted, we would do so in a way that still preserves the integrity of the academic record and of other affiliated works. This includes maintaining any associated metadata and, if legally possible, the abstract. Please see the section on Corrections, Retractions and Removals.

If you have concerns or have identified errors in published content or in editorial management of a journal please contact either the Journal Editor via the journal homepage, or contact us at De Gruyter.

Types of misconduct

Plagiarism
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Plagiarism can apply to all types of content and sources of material. If the content you submit, be that words, data, figures, images or other media, is not your own work, it needs to be fully acknowledged and attributed or it could be considered plagiarism. Use of any material from another source must always be cited and in some cases permission for use may be needed.

COPE guidelines define plagiarism as:

“When somebody presents the work of others (data, words or theories) as if they were his/her own and without proper acknowledgment.”

De Gruyter does not tolerate plagiarism in any of our publications. We use the plagiarism detection software iThenticate/ Crossref Similarity Check to compare submissions to our journals against a database of 49 million works from 800 scholarly publishers. We will deal with cases of plagiarism according to COPE guidelines.

Submissions that contain suspected plagiarism- will be rejected. If plagiarism is discovered once an article has been published, we will follow our guidance outlined in Procedures and processes for handling allegations of misconduct and under the section Corrections, Retractions and Removals.

If instances of alleged plagiarism are identified by our readers we would encourage them to contact the relevant journal editor or contact us.

Text recycling or self-plagiarism
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While it is expected that authors build on previously published work, re-using large portions, either verbatim copying or paraphrasing without clear citation, is considered to be a form of plagiarism. If parts of your submission have been previously published, you must cite appropriately, and make this clear to the editor when submitting.

You must also make sure that re-use of this content complies with any copyright policies that the work was published under.

Multiple, redundant or concurrent publication
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Duplicate submissions or duplicate publications refers to the practice of submitting the same study to two journals or publishing the same or similar study in two journals.

You should not publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication.

Redundant publication refers to one study being split into several parts and submitted to two or more journals. It could also mean that the findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper cross-referencing, permission, or justification.

This repackaging, in different words, of data already published by the same authors constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.


Falsification or fabrication of data
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Data fabrication is the intentional misinterpretation of research results, reporting experiments that were never conducted, or the manipulation of accurate data to suit a desired outcome.

Image manipulation is a specific type of data manipulation and relates to e.g. duplication of parts within an image, or use of identical images to show different things.

Any form of data fabrication or falsification in not acceptable and will be treated as scientific misconduct.

Citation manipulation
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Manipulative citation is characterised by behaviours intended to inflate citation counts for personal gain, such as: excessive self-citation of an authors’ own work, excessive citation to the journal publishing the citing article, and excessive citation between journals in a coordinated manner. [COPE https://publicationethics.org/citation-manipulation-discussion-document].

Peer Review manipulation
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Manipulation of a peer review process is using dishonest or fraudulent practices to prevent or inappropriately influence the independent assessment of a piece of scholarly work by an independent peer [COPE], with the goal of influencing the publication record and/or achieving financial gain.

In cases where there is a suspicion or allegation of peer review manipulation we will follow COPE Guidelines.

Authorship misconduct
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Inappropriate attribution of authorship of a piece of scholarly work. This in particular involves any situations when roles of contributors are questionable, e.g. intentional and unjustified authorship changes (adding or removal of authors), including omitting authors (ghost authorship) or adding non-contributors (gift authorship).

This also involves authorship for sale / papermills.

Any cases of suspected authorship misconduct will be investigated and dealt with according to COPE Guidelines.

If any cases of misconduct are detected after publication, we will be guided by COPE recommendations and investigate as outlined in Handling Allegations of Misconduct.


Authorship and contributorship


Different subjects and publication formats have different norms for who is listed as an author, but across all subjects it is vital to have an agreed understanding of what constitutes authorship.

At De Gruyter, to be listed as an author on an article an individual must meet the following criteria:

  1. have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study

  2. agreed on the journal to which the article will be submitted

  3. have been involved in the revision or necessary amendments to the article as part of the peer review or production process

  4. agreed that the work is ready for final publication

  5. agreed to take responsibility and be accountable for the integrity of the published work and, if necessary, contribute to the resolution of issues relating to the accuracy of content.

It is the collective responsibility of all those who have conducted the work to define who should be listed as a co-authors, the order of the listing and who should be acknowledged in another way.

Other contributors, who participated in certain aspects of the research project, should be named in an acknowledgement section.

Please note that we do not accept papers that are generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning Tools primarily because such tools cannot take responsibility for the submitted work and therefore cannot be considered as authors. Where such tools or technologies are used as part of the design or methodology of a research study, their use should be clearly described in an acknowledgements section.

Please contact the journal editor or contact us with any authorship disputes that arise.

Complaints and appeals


De Gruyter adheres to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Guidelines on how to handle appeals to journal editor decisions or complaints about elements of a journal’s editorial.

Appeals
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De Gruyter supports editorial independence and will not comment independently on a decision made by a journal editor, unless we receive evidence that the article was not handled in accordance with best practice.

We do welcome appeals; however we require compelling evidence or new information to consider an appeal in response to the editor’s or reviewers’ position.

As an author, if you wish to appeal the decision of the journal editor, please take the following steps:

  1. contact the journal editor in writing explaining clearly the reasons you disagree with the decision and specific evidence against comments provided by the editor(s) or reviewer(s), or highlight where you believe errors have been made
  2. provide any new information or data that you would like the journal editor to consider
  3. the editor will consider one appeal per article and the decision following an appeal is final but the mere fact of an appeal being made should not affect the final decision.
Complaints on editorial management
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If you have comments on the journal’s editorial management, please contact the editor of the journal concerned or contact us at De Gruyter.

  1. Editors should respond promptly to all complaints and will endeavour to resolve issues in a timely manner.
  2. In the first instance, De Gruyter will investigate any complaints raised. We may also refer such complaints to the De Gruyter Ethics Committee, COPE, contact other journals or institutions, and seek independent advice.
  3. De Gruyter takes all complaints seriously be they made anonymously or not, and if you do make a complaint, we will treat you with professionalism and courtesy. In return, we would request the same respect for editors and De Gruyter staff. Any abuse or harassment of De Gruyter staff or journal editorial teams will not be tolerated, and if this occurs your complaint may no longer be considered.

Conflicts of interest and competing interests


A “conflict of interest”, or “competing interest” are situations that are, or could be perceived to interfere with the objective presentation, review or publication of a piece of work.

All authors, reviewers and editors must declare any existing or potential competing interests.

Authors should include a statement and should list all potential interests or, if appropriate, should clearly state that there are none. If you are unsure if something is a competing interest, check with the editor or De Gruyter before you submit your work.

Competing interests could include:

  1. personal connections between the any of the authors and the editors or reviewers

  2. contractual or professional commitments

  3. financial or personal interests that would be affected by the publication of the research

  4. patents held, or pending

  5. grants received by the authors or institutions.


Make sure you include in the acknowledgments section any funding sources for the project or other relationships that are relevant.

The editors may decide not to publish an article when it is believed the competing interests are such that they may have compromised the work, the analyses or interpretations presented.

On occasion editors may have conflicts of interests that could influence their impartiality on review decisions or oversight of the editorial direction of the journal. These should be declared as soon as possible.

If there is a conflict of interest with an editor or reviewer in relation to a work submitted, they will not be involved your manuscript.

Editors must also declare any conflict of interest in the occasional instances where Editors publish in the journal for which they are responsible.

Data and reproducibility


When research data is made widely available to the research community it demonstrates the robustness of the published research and encourages replication of the results. De Gruyter supports a number of open data policies to drive transparency and openness around data, code, and other content connected with your research. Sharing research data can also drive the discoverability and impact of research.

Details of the data sharing policies are available on individual journal homepages.

Where it is appropriate to do so, you are permitted by your employer or funding body, we encourage the sharing of data.

As best practice we suggest that you:

  1. create a data management plan to map out how data will be generated, curated and stored

  2. maintain accurate records of processes to ensure transparency and allow others to understand, verify, and replicate findings

  3. deposit relevant data in a suitable repository relevant to your subject

  4. provide a Data Availability Statement as part of your publication to explain how others can access the relevant data.

Sharing versions of your article


When you publish in a De Gruyter journal there are many ways you can share the different versions of your article to drive visibility, engagement, and impact of your research.

Your article can through many versions on its journey from the manuscript you submit to a journal, through the peer review process and any recommended revisions, to the final article that is published online or in print.

Read our guide to sharing your work for more information.

Alternatively, you may publish your article in a gold open access journal or make your article gold open access in a subscription journal that offers open access options. In such cases the article processing charges / publication fees will apply. Please view the publication charges here.

Re-use of third party material


As the author, you are responsible for making sure you have the correct permissions to reuse any third-party material in your article. Material covers all content formats.

If you would like to re-use material from De Gruyter publications, please do so through our partner, the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC).

Research ethics


All research published by De Gruyter must have been conducted in adherence with the highest international and local standards of rigor and integrity.

Research involving humans
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If your work involves human subjects, tissue, or data, you need to ensure it complies with the principles laid down in the Declaration of Helsinki.

In addition, before you start the study, you must obtain approval by the Ethical Committee or Institutional Review Board (IRB) of your institution to confirm that the proposed study meets national and international guidelines for research on humans.

A statement to confirm this must be included within the manuscript, which must provide details of the name of the ethics committee, the approval number and the types of consent obtained, where available.

In circumstances where the need for formal ethics committee approval was waived, the name of the ethics committee that granted the waiver should be included in the manuscript.

Consent to participate
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Before starting, all studies involving human participants, you need to obtain written consent to take part in the research, and/or for their tissues, or data to be used. Informed consent must be voluntarily obtained from the participant. They should be fully informed of the study, including any of the benefits or potential risks involved.

For participants who are not adults (under 18 years), or are considered to be vulnerable or unable to provide informed consent, this must then be obtained from their legal guardians.

You must include a statement in the manuscript to confirm the detail of consent to participate.

Consent to publish
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Where your manuscript reports information, data, images, or videos that might potentially identify an individual we require a written statement of informed consent to publish those details.

Where consent for participation was not obtained (for example, in cases where the participants were not capable of providing consent), the editor may ask to see evidence that the need for consent was waived by an ethics committee.

Research involving animals
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You must obtain approval from the relevant institutional ethics committee or the institutional animal use and care committee before conducting research involving vertebrates or regulated invertebrates.

Authors must include a statement within the manuscript to provide details of the name of the ethics committee(s) which approved the study, that it followed all relevant guidelines and regulations, and include the permit or animal license numbers where they are available.

Editor Code of Conduct/Editorial policy


An editor, or editorial team, leads every journal. The editors have responsibility for the quality and ethical standards of every research article the journal publishes. Section editors, guest editors, and editorial board members “supporting editors” share responsibility for ensuring the articles that they approve for publication are of the utmost quality.

In all respects, it is a requirement for editors and supporting editors to follow COPE Guidelines, share responsibility, and take decisions (independently of De Gruyter) about which papers to accept and publish.

In parallel, De Gruyter staff continually work to ensure the best guidance, processes, and guidelines are available to all journal editorial stakeholders.

Peer review processes


Peer review is central to all De Gruyter research publications ensuring qualified experts validate the submitted research and assess the suitability for publication against the individual journal’s aims and scope.

The peer review process is performed in compliance with each journal’s peer review policy (e.g., open, single-blind, or double-blind peer review). Details of an individual journal’s peer review process is available in the Instructions for Authors and Editorial Policy documents on each journal website.

If you believe there have been any errors in the peer review process, please contact the Editor of the specific journal or contact us.

Corrections, retractions and removals


If there are concerns raised about a published De Gruyter article, we will follow the processes outlined under “Allegations of Misconduct”.

Editors, with the support of De Gruyter will consider retractions, corrections, and amendments in accordance with COPE’s Retraction Guidelines. Where a published article is found to include an error, we will issue an erratum or corrigendum.

Retractions are reserved for articles that are so seriously flawed that their findings or conclusions should not be relied upon, or for articles that are found to include substantial duplication of other research content (suspected plagiarism) or life-endangering content.

Other potential reasons for retractions include:

  • the inclusion of materials without authorisation for use

  • copyright infringementunethical research practices manipulation of the peer-review process

  • an undisclosed conflict of interest.

In cases where complaints are made, but cannot be substantiated unequivocally, editors can consider allowing complainants to submit a letter to the editor(s) for potential publication (following review) and inclusion in the academic record.

In exceptional cases, De Gruyter may remove an article from online publication where we believe it is necessary to comply with our legal obligations. This includes, without limitation, where we have concerns that the article:

  • is defamatory

  • violates personal privacy or confidentiality laws

  • is the subject of a court order

  • might pose a serious health risk to the public.

In these circumstances, we may decide to remove an article and publish a notice that clearly states why the full article was removed.

Journals are a forum for discourse and readers are free to submit comments, questions or criticism about any article published in De Gruyter journals. De Gruyter reserves the right not to post comments deemed to be discourteous, irrelevant, inaccurate or libelous and the right to remove comments already posted. Authors of all comments are requested to reveal all competing interests they might have with respect to the article.

POST-PUBLICATION CRITIQUES


De Gruyter journals allow for post-publication critiques and discussion through the publication of letters to the editor, commentaries, and comments. Readers may submit such critiques to the relevant journal. These may be peer reviewed and, if they are found to be constructive and useful, may be accepted and published. The Editors may also provide the authors of the original work under critique with the opportunity to respond to the criticism of their work.

Copyright


Authors are required to sign a copyright agreement prior to publication.

Manuscripts are accepted on condition of transfer of copyright (for U.S. government employees: to the extent transferable) to the publisher. Once the manuscript has been accepted, it may not be published elsewhere without the consent of the copyright holders.

Additionally, please view Rights and Permissions.

For Open Access publications, all authors retain copyright, unless – due to their local circumstances – their work is not copyrighted. The copyrights are governed by the Creative-Commons Attribution Only license (CC-BY) . The corresponding author grants the journal the license to use of the article, by signing the License To Publish.

Harassment


De Gruyter does not tolerate any kind of harassment. Be that aimed at our authors, editors, reviewers, publishing partners or staff. We are committed to working with professionalism and mutual respect. Any cases of harassment will be dealt with by the De Gruyter ethics committee and our legal team.

Libel and defamation


Freedom of expression is a core principle for De Gruyter, but we do not support the publication of any statement that is inaccurate or could harm individuals or organisations.

Before you submit your work, you are required to obtain written proof of consent for studies about a named organisation or people. For case studies particularly, we recommend the subject is informed and consent is sought.

If the editors, reviewers or De Gruyter believe a study is potentially libelous, or contains sensitive information, we will require written proof of consent before the article is published.

If statements made in work published by De Gruyter are found to be defamatory, a retraction notice will be published. In some cases, and when it is legally necessary, the article will be removed from the online version of the journal and details of its removal supplied.

Our legal team will address allegations of libel in any of our publications.

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