Breaches of ethical standards and other irregularities can be reported to the Editorial Board by any individual or institution. The report must be corroborated by appropriate evidence.
Procedures for the verification of claims and evidence
- In cooperation with the Editorial Board the Editor-in-Chief will reach a decision concerning the procedures that might be required for the verification of claims and evidence.
- During this process all submitted evidence will be considered confidential and will be disclosed only to those persons who are directly involved in the process.
- Persons who are suspected of breaching ethical standards will be given the opportunity to respond to the charges against them.
- If it is established that a breach of ethical standards has indeed occurred, the Editorial Board will determine whether it should be considered a minor violation or a serious breach of ethical standards.
Situations deemed as minor violations of ethical standards will be resolved in direct communication with the persons responsible, without the involvement of third parties, e.g.:
- by informing the author/reviewer that a minor violation has occurred through misunderstanding or a misapplication of academic standards;
- in a letter of warning addressed to the author/reviewer that has committed the minor violation.
Serious breach of ethical standards
Decisions regarding a serious breach of ethical standards are made by the Editor-in-Chief and the Editorial Board and if necessary, with the involvement of a group of outside experts. The following measures will ensue from a serious violation of standards:
- the publication of an official statement or editorial which describes the case;
- the sending of an official statement to the superiors or employers of the author/reviewer;
- a retraction of the published article (in the electronic version of the journal, the HTML link is removed); the retraction will be publicized; the retracted article will be kept extant but the PDF version will receive a watermark on every page confirming the article’s retraction;
- the authors will be prohibited from submitting articles to the journal for a set period of time;
- the relevant academic institutions and bodies will be informed of the case in order to be able to undertake adequate measures.
During the process of dealing with unethical behavior the Editorial Board will follow the guidelines and recommendations given by the Committee on Publication Ethics – COPE (http://publicationethics.org/resources/).