It is vital for editorial staff to concentrate on engendering scholarly debate through quality publication; new and refreshing work draws attention and raises the integrity of the publishing industry at large. This will of course entail comments, constructive criticism, and complaints (which should be encouraged as much as possible) that need to be dealt with in a courteous and professional manner.
1 When dealing with complaints from third parties, other editors, peer reviewers, publishers, or authors, editorial board members must follow the set PIE channels of communication.
2 When a complaint is formulated by an individual through PIE, editorial board members must provide all the information needed for the investigation and guarantee prompt responses to the complainants by taking action and correcting the signalled errors.
3 Editors must take action if they suspect misconduct or ethical problems. Every effort must be made to ensure thorough investigations are conducted and addressed directly in order to get an immediate resolution.
4 Upon receiving a report pointing out an error in the published work, corrections must be made as soon as is viable. If the error seriously undermines the work as a whole, then it must be withdrawn from publication immediately with a full statement issued. Upon receiving a complaint or criticism, the information should be passed on to the author/authors for a direct, and prompt, response.
5 When PIE’s Council Sub-Committee recommends retractions to be published by editors, the corrections must be clearly formulated and easily identifiable to all the readers. Even in cases when complaints were not formulated, retractions and corrections must be published as soon as inaccuracies, errors, or misleading information is recognised by the editor.
6 When complaints are referred to PIE’s Council Sub-Committee, official representatives of the organisation will analyse the matter and verify whether further investigations are required or not. If the Sub-Committee decides to pursue the case, both parties will be informed and asked to provide all evidence of correspondence pertaining to when the matter was dealt with directly and without PIE’s mediation.
There are two possible outcomes when PIE’s Council Sub-Committee mediates a complaint:
(1) The Sub-Committee decides that the complaint was satisfactorily dealt with according to official recommendations and the PIE Guidelines for good practice.
(2) The Sub-Committee decides that further investigations are required, and advises the editorial board members and the complainant accordingly with the relevant steps.