Fakulta prírodných vied, Univerzita Mateja Bela

Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement

Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement

The ACTA UNIVERSITATIS MATTHIAE BELII series Environmental Management (ActaUMBsEM) is an academic journal published by Department of Environmental Management, Faculty of Nature Sciences, Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica. The one of the priorities of the editorial team is to publish quality articles. The integrity of the content published is an essential point and should be ensured during the review and the edition processes and when publishing articles. To that purpose, all the actors of ActaUMBsEM publication, authors, reviewers, members of the editorial team, are expected to fully adhere to our policy regarding publication ethics and malpractice, and respect the following statements:

Duties of Authors:

Content: ActaUMBsEM -articles must be original and adhere to a high scientific (content) and technical (language, artwork, etc.) standard.

Reporting standards: Authors of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed and the results, followed by an objective discussion of the significance of the work. The manuscript should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Review articles should be accurate, objective and comprehensive, while editorial 'opinion' or perspective pieces should be clearly identified as such. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behaviour and are unacceptable.

Data access and retention: Authors may be asked to provide the raw data of their study together with the manuscript for editorial review and should be prepared to make the data publicly available if practicable. In any event, authors should ensure accessibility of such data to other competent professionals for at least 10 years after publication (preferably via an institutional or subject-based data repository or other data centre), provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected and legal rights concerning proprietary data do not preclude their release.

Originality and plagiarism: Authors should ensure that they have written and submit only entirely original works, and if they have used the work and/or words of others, that this has been appropriately cited. Publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the work reported in the manuscript should also be cited. Plagiarism takes many forms, from "passing off" another's article as the author's own, to copying or paraphrasing substantial parts of another's article (without attribution), to claiming results from research conducted by others. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behaviour and is unacceptable.

As a consequence, authors must cite appropriate and relevant literature in support of the results presented in their manuscript. Authors who already published articles on the same topic are expected to include citation of these articles when relevant, but at the same time to avoid excessive and inappropriate self-citation.

Self-plagiarism (also known as text recycling) should be avoided as much as possible; however, when text duplication from previous works is necessary, it is then reported transparently and these previous works are fully cited in the publication itself.

Whenever possible, data and results gathered in the same framework (e.g. a single research project) should not be broken up into smaller publishable units. This behaviour must be strictly avoided when the data and results share common hypotheses, methods and material. “Salami slicing” not only distorts the way a reader sees the article (considered as a single original unit when it is only a subset of a more substantial study), it also causes cross-referencing issues.

Multiple, duplicate, redundant or concurrent submission/publication: The articles describing essentially the same research should not be published in more than one journal or primary publication. Hence, authors should not submit for consideration a manuscript that has already been published in another journal. Submission of a manuscript concurrently to more than one journal is unethical publishing behaviour and unacceptable. The publication of some kinds of articles (such as clinical guidelines, translations) in more than one journal is sometimes justifiable, provided that certain conditions are met. The authors and editors of the journals concerned must agree to the secondary publication, which must reflect the same data and interpretation of the primary document. The primary reference must be cited in the secondary publication.

Authorship of the manuscript: Only persons who meet these authorship criteria should be listed as authors in the manuscript as they must be able to take public responsibility for the content: (i) made significant contributions to the conception, design, execution, data acquisition, or analysis/interpretation of the study; and (ii) drafted the manuscript or revised it critically for important intellectual content; and (iii) have seen and approved the final version of the article and agreed to its submission for publication. All persons who made substantial contributions to the work reported in the manuscript (such as technical help, writing and editing assistance, general support) but who do not meet the criteria for authorship must not be listed as an author, but should be acknowledged in the "Acknowledgements" section after their written permission to be named as been obtained. The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate coauthors (according to the above definition) and no inappropriate coauthors are included in the author list and verify that all coauthors have seen and approved the final version of the manuscript and agreed to its submission for publication.

Copyright: ActaUMBsEM is a free open access journal licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0). Authors who publish with this journal accept the conditions of Open Acces.

Authorship: To ensure that articles are original contributions, and to avoid copyright issues, authors must follow some rules:

  • All co-authors must be aware of and agree to the contents of the submission.
  • All co-authors agree with the Copyright Policy and the Open Access Policy of the journal.
  • The corresponding author declares that the manuscript and the illustrations within are original, or that he/she has taken all the necessary steps to avoid breach of copyright.

Research misconduct: Invention of data and malicious manipulation of data (or of data images) are clearly unacceptable. Authors are expected to keep accurate records of the data and to have a proactive and ethical attitude on data management (data availability, quality checks). Data omission or intentional manipulation of parts of the dataset to fit the desired study’s hypotheses will be considered as fraud. Illustrations used to present data should not be manipulated, except for clarity purposes (e.g. adjustment of the contrast, colours…). When doing so, the author must ensure that the manipulation does not lead to loss or misinterpretation of data. Methods or techniques used to enhance images must be described in the Material and Methods section of the article, or at least in the caption accompanying the illustration.

Reproducibility of results: We strongly encourage authors to submit the datasets used in the study, alongside the manuscript. Datasets can be published in EJT as supplementary data files, referenced along with the article and made available for download. To facilitate data reuse, datasets can also be hosted on the authors’ personal/institutional website(s), ingested in relevant databases and repositories (e.g. GBIF, Dryad…).

Conflicts of interest: There is a conflict of interest when someone is influenced in his/her choices or actions by a personal or financial interest. In the context of a publication, several elements could seem questionable if the objectivity of the different actors of a publication is uncertain:
- interpretation of a result by an author
- recommendation of a reviewer
- decision of an editor

This is why every suspicion of a conflict of interest should be reported to the ActaUMBsEM editorial team.

Duties of Reviewers

Peer review is an essential component of formal scholarly communication and lies at the heart of scientific endeavour.
ActaUMBsEM applies single-blind peer review, which means that reviewers remain anonymous by default. However, if reviewers want their names to be communicated to the author, ActaUMBsEM will allow this.

Confidentiality: Any manuscripts received for review are confidential documents and must be treated as such; they must not be shown to or discussed with others except if authorized by the Main Handling Editor (who would only do so under exceptional and specific circumstances). This applies also to invited reviewers who decline the review invitation.

Responsibilities of reviewers: Reviewers are expected to objectively evaluate articles and inform ActaUMBsEM editors of any potential conflict of interest.
Unpublished material disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer’s own research without the express written consent of the authors. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for the reviewer’s personal advantage. This applies also to invited reviewers who decline the review invitation.

Duties of Editors

At the end of the review process, the Main Handling Editor makes the final decision of acceptance or rejection, based on the reviewers’ reports and the recommendation of the topical editor in charge of the review process.
If there is any conflict of interest between an editor and an author, the editor in question will not be involved in the review and the decision processes.

Distribution of ActaUMBsEM publications: The publications are freely available at no charge on our website, at http://www.fpv.umb.sk/acta-umb-em/list-of-issues/

Authors are encouraged to disseminate their work: they can directly download the pdf files of their articles from the website and distribute electronic or printed copies to their colleagues, or distribute the URL from which PDF and PDF/A files can be downloaded.

Privacy statement: The names, affiliations and email addresses entered in our journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.

Duties of the Publisher

Handling of unethical publishing behaviour: In cases of alleged or proven scientific misconduct, fraudulent publication or plagiarism, the publisher, in close collaboration with the editors, will take all appropriate measures to clarify the situation and to amend the article in question. This includes the prompt publication of an erratum, clarification or, in the most severe case, the retraction of the affected work.  The publisher, together with the editors, shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of articles where research misconduct has occurred, and under no circumstances encourage such misconduct or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place.

Access to journal content: The publisher is committed to the permanent availability and preservation of scholarly research and ensures accessibility by partnering with organizations and maintaining our own digital archive (http://dx.doi.org/10.24040/actaem).

 

Ethical issues: Action of the Editorial Team

Potential issues: We do our best to avoid ethical issues before publication, but anyone who suspects an ethical issue is encouraged to contact us. Every suspicion of ethical issues, misconduct or conflict of interest will be investigated by the journal. The editorial team of ActaUMBsEM can be contacted at actaUMB1338-4430@umb.sk

Investigation: The Main Handling Editor will conduct the investigation. All members of the EJT editorial team, as well as reviewers and authors, are encouraged to provide their feedback and suggestions to improve communication during the treatment of ethical issues. The Main Handling Editor will contact both parties in any conflict and study their responses. No repressive action will be decided without sufficient evidence of misconduct. If the case involves another journal, its Main Handling Editor will be contacted and both editorial teams will investigate and, if possible, make a common decision.

Resolution of ethical problems: If the article incriminated has not yet been published, publication will be delayed until the problem is resolved. The manuscript may be rejected if there is any evidence that the author(s) has (have) not respected the present code of conduct. If the article incriminated has already been published, the decision of the Main Handling Editor will depend on the nature and severity of the problem:
- If it is proven that the dispute is only due to a difference of scientific point of view between the author and the complainant, the journal must encourage debate. The complainant can publish a article in ActaUMBsEM and the author of the first article has a right to reply. These articles, as all the others submitted to ActaUMBsEM, will follow our evaluation process and will be reviewed before any editorial decision.
- For minor issues, all the persons involved in the decision and publication process of the article are informed. If all parties agree, the publication of a corrigendum or addendum in ActaUMBsEM will be the solution to solve minor problems.
- In very serious cases (plagiarism for example), the retraction of a publication can be decided. The readers and all persons involved in the decision and publication process of the article will be informed. The head of the department where the incriminated author (or reviewer) works will be informed.

The solution to a problem can vary considerably depending on the case. The ActaUMBsEM editorial team will always try to find the most appropriate solution and will involve every person or institution concerned by the problem in the investigation. Additionally, the editorial board fully adheres to the code of conduct and the best practice guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Main Handling Editor with Editorial Team

 


Fakulta prírodných vied, Univerzita Mateja Bela