Excerpt from the P.I.E. Guidelines for Authors – Conflicts of interest

1   Authors’ relationship with the editors and publishers must always be founded on the principle of editorial independence and freedom. They must signal any problem related to their independence or publisher involvement in the editorial decision, whether it is a personal, political, or a commercial request.

2   If intentionally misleading information is proffered when writing an advertising article, it must be refused from the outset. If the information is found to be manipulated at any point whilst working on the job, walking away at the point of discovery is the correct course of action.

3   Authors, as well as the other individuals involved in the publishing sector, must take action without delay when they detect conflicts of interests, whether political, financial, or otherwise. This is regardless of whether the complaint is about peer-reviewers, publishers, or editors.

3   All decisions regarding the chosen subject area to be of interest to the reader must be based on the quality and informative nature of the topic, and not on political or financial gains.

4    Authors must respect the privacy of individuals involved in their journalistic investigations, protect their sources of information and the dignity of each person involved.

5    Agreements whereby sponsors and funding agents can prohibit unappealing truths and/or unfavourable aspects relating to their own agenda should not be entered, unless the information is deemed to have security issues and is therefore classified by a governmental body.

6    All financial backing to a given project should be disclosed, along with accreditation to relevant writers, researchers, and contributors.

Excerpt from the P.I.E. Guidelines for Authors – Standards of consistency

1   Authors must certify that all reports and articles are informative, fair, accurate, and well balanced before submission. Any incongruities should be thoroughly checked and certified, and specialist advice sought should it be deemed necessary.

2   Inconvenient or conflicting data must not be omitted for the expedience of the author’s proposition or discourse.

3   Authors must not deliberately try to misinform their readers by falsified documents or manipulated data; any such instance will be considered an act of calculated deception.

4   If they are aware of editorial misconduct, errors and/or inaccuracies in the published materials, authors must promptly endeavour to correct them. This stipulation should be followed regardless of whether complaints have been filed against them or not.

5    Any shortfall in evidence should be fully addressed in the publication. Dialogue between editor and author, regarding limitations, should be consistent throughout the publishing process and every effort made to ensure they are visible.

6    If a peer-review will be conducted prior to the publishing of an article, authors must take into consideration the reviewer’s advice and recommendations, making the agreed and required corrections to the text prior to publication.

7    All research carried out by the author must be ethical and legal, corresponding with all recognised conventions and institutional bodies to ensure the welfare of human and animal life. Evidence, including licences and consent forms, should be available to the editor and publisher at any point throughout the duration of the project as well as after publication.

8    Any clinical trials performed should meet all appropriate and legal requirements.

Excerpt from the P.I.E. Guidelines for Authors 2

The effects of bad practice impinge not only on the integrity of the publishing industry, they can have unforeseen consequences on future researchers, authors, and even on society itself. PIE guidelines aim to succinctly characterise, define, and promote the ethical responsibility of those operating in the publishing sector. The following measures are to assist individuals involved in the creation of published materials, and prevent conflicts of interest arising amongst authors and editors.     PIE will not be successful in achieving its goals if authors and other publishing personnel are merely aware of the ethical rules in their job; they must be willing to fully comply with the guidelines. We encourage all authors therefore to register with the PIE organisation, and ask for guidance or help should they become aware of any circumstances deemed problematic or conflicting. These issues can be connected with their own work or otherwise, and includes all publishing professionals under its remit.

Like all those working in the publishing sector, authors are obliged to assume the role of guardians of the editorial ethical code of conduct. Swift action must be taken against any other party that is found to be in breach of the guidelines.
PIE endeavours to uphold an international benchmark for ethical authorship, and to help ensure that published material is scrutinised under all current legislation. PIE trusts these guidelines will be useful, fair, and necessary and, furthermore, hopes they will be adopted by all professional authors and editors.

Excerpt from the P.I.E. Guidelines for Authors 1

•    All published material must be scrutinised under strict quality guidelines by the author, ensuring the integrity and standard of the work is consistent throughout.

•    Information included in the final, published version should be free from bias, data manipulation, and deliberate misinformation, having been sourced in an ethical and legal manner by the author.

•    The author should be free and independent from outside influence including financial, political, or ideological agents.

•    No author should falsely claim ownership of another’s written or intellectual property; detailed citations for any referenced or quoted work should be provided.

•    Financial contributions, as well as written contributions from other authors, should be freely and transparently disclosed and referenced.

•    Authors should take responsibility for their published work and therefore ensure that everything contained within it is, to the best of their knowledge, correct.

•    Any promotional activities should be an accurate representation of the content that is being published.

•    Arguments about contribution criteria and issues of misconduct are the most common; the PIE is able to act in arbitration role for a successful outcome should such a disagreement take place.

Excerpt from the General P.I.E. Guidelines – Complaints referred to PIE

1.    Whereby an individual carries concerns about breaching of the ethical editorial guidelines, a complaint may be formulated by submission of PIE’s complaint forms. A complaint may be raised by editors, authors, publishers, readers or peer-reviewers.

2.    Before asking the sub-committee of the PIE council for a proper investigation and resolution, the problem must, in the first instance, be presented to the author, publisher or the editor in written form.

3.    Whereupon the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome, he or she may pass the complaint to the overseeing body of the individual to whom they have initially sent the form.

4.    If an overseeing body does not exist, complaints must be sent to PIE along with all the relevant correspondence that was exchanged during the first step of the process

5.    When the complaint is referred to PIE’s council sub-committee, an administrator will verify whether it is formulated against a member of the organisation.

6.    It must be authenticated that the complaint has passed through the proper initial steps before being addressed to the council and its sub-committee that will deal directly with it.

7.    Furthermore, it will be ascertained if the problem is within the remit of the guidelines provided by PIE.

8.    The complainant must provide all the documents and evidence related to the problem, including the correspondence exchanged with the publisher or the editor of the journal.

9.    PIE will immediately inform the author/reviewer/editor/publisher that there is a complaint against him or her.

10.    There are two possible outcomes when disputing a complaint: 1) the council sub-committee decides that the editor or publisher has dealt with the complaint and the complainant was satisfied. In this case both the complainant and the editor will be notified there is a resolution to the problem. 2) the council sub-committee may decide that there is a need for further investigation, in which case they will advise the complainant and the publisher or editor accordingly.

Excerpt from the General P.I.E. Guidelines – Journal owners and publishers

1.    Editors’ relationship with their publishers or journal owners must be always based on the principles of editorial independence.

2.    The decision on what subjects are of interest for the readers and which articles should be published has to be based on quality, accuracy and informative character and not on political, financial or other immediate gains that are in contradiction to the professional ethics.

3.    Misleading advertisements must be refused and the policies regarding advertising in relation to the content of the publication must also be declared public.

4.    Editors and publishers must take prompt action when they detect conflicts of interest. These conflicts have to be managed professionally whether they are by the authors, editors, publishers, the editorial team or the peer-reviewers.

Excerpt from the General P.I.E. Guidelines – Dealing with complaints

1.    When dealing with complaints from third parties, editors must follow the  proper channels of communication as certified by PIE;  reasonable expediency in response to complainants should be ensured and immediate action taken to rectify the highlighted errors.

2.    Editors have a duty of responsibility to take swift action if they suspect misconduct or ethical uncertainties relating to the publishing sector; this applies whether they appear on published or unpublished papers. Editors must endeavour to ensure proper investigations are conducted in such cases and, if possible, to obtain immediate resolutions to the problems.

3.    Whereby editors are required to publish retractions, they must be clearly formulated and easily identifiable to readers. Retractions and corrections should be published as soon as an inaccuracy, error or misleading information is recognised.

Excerpt from the General P.I.E. Guidelines – Authors, editors and peer-reviewers

1.    Editors are required to guide the staff serving under them in the methodology for best practice. They should also advise the individual reviewers too, by constantly updating them about the desired level of expectation of their work and ethics.

2.    Unless the publication has an open review system, the identity of the reviewers must be protected. While under review, all the materials submitted to peer-reviewers must remain confidential. The guides for peer-reviewers must also be linked to the code of conduct presented in the PIE guidelines.

Excerpt from the General P.I.E. Guidelines – Editors and authors

1.    As direct managers of the editorial team, editors must guarantee quality of the materials accepted for publishing is informative in nature.

2.    They should evaluate the texts with emphasis on originality, transparency and relevance and not by personal means.

3.    Objectivity is one of the required qualities of an editor. Therefore, if peer-reviews were conducted and editors decide there must be deviations from their recommendations, the changes have to be balanced and justified.

4.    Editors should consistently guide the authors and offer them regular training for the purpose of improving the quality of the publication. However, the guidance offered to the authors must be regularly and consistently updated; it should be in accordance with the accepted PIE code of conduct. Authors must also be advised of the correct and acceptable ways in which they can appeal against the editorial decisions.

Excerpt from the General P.I.E. Guidelines – Responsibilities and duties of the editors

1.    According to the ethical principles and the PIE Guidelines for the publishing sector, all editors are responsible for all material published in their journals or other types of media with which they work.

2.    The primary duty of an editor is to constantly seek to improve their publication, to ensure that all the published materials are of optimum quality, balanced and grammatically and politically correct.

3.    An editor should seek to meet the needs of the readers and of the contributing authors and other individuals directly involved in the production of the journal.

4.    Editors must comply with the designated ethical standards and be willing to take action when errors are signalled by publishing corrections, retractions or even apologies if needed. These must be done in an expedient manner to achieve an accepted level of satisfaction to all injured or potentially injured parties.