Tuesday, 28th March 2017

Publication Integrity & Ethics (PIE) was developed over a decade ago to address several areas of concern and promote real editorial freedom.Read more.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Complaints

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PIE Highlights
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Any individual or representative of an organisation is able to formulate complaints against publishers, editors, authors, peer-reviewers and other members of the editorial staff of journals if they are aware of editorial misconduct or any other breach in the PIE guidelines.

Authors may also formulate complaints to PIE when they are aware of editorial misconduct, breach of ethical values or other problems related to the editorial and publishing sector. Complaints may be related to articles, editorials, images, news reports and other publishing materials as well as to peer-review ethical breaches.

However, the PIE Council Sub-Committee will not consider complaints about advertising materials except from the cases in which the texts are not identifiable as such. Furthermore, PIE encourages all members, especially authors who are making complaints to try and resolve the matter directly with the publisher, peer reviewer or other individuals they are complaining about and only if they cannot reach a proper conclusion of the case, to submit it to PIE for further investigation.

PIE will investigate complaints about publishers and individuals whether they are adherents or members of the organisation or not, respectively. The Council will analyse the editorial decisions, the methods used by publisher or the texts authors are complaining about and mediate the conflict. PIE will not investigate the conflicts if the party directly affected by the misconduct or other editorial problems is not willing to formulate a complaint as well on the matter.

Any author can complain to PIE after they have previously complained to the editorial team and publisher at the same time, in case there was no resolution or the problem must be mediated by a third party. Whereby the author complains directly to PIE, we will decide on whether to investigate further or ask the author to raise the complaint directly with the editorial team and come back only if the matter was not resolved. We do not require the parties involved in a dispute to commence legal proceedings related to the materials or editorial misconducts they are complaining about but, in case they intend to do so, they must inform the PIE Council Sub-Committee beforehand.

All complaints should be made by authors and other individuals only by completing the official complaint forms available on the PIE website. The form must be submitted through the site or by email. However, if the author finds it impossible for him/her to send a written complaint, the PIE Council Sub-Committee must be contacted and asked for further advice on the matter.

The PIE representatives must be informed when complainants wish to keep some of the information confidential and if they don’t want the details of the investigation to be published online on the official website.

The most common occurring problems when authors are required to formulate complaints against editors, publishers and peer-reviewers are:

Issues regarding copyright breaches: when authors find out that copyrighted material is reproduced without permission, whether it is their material or not. However, if the material does not belong to the complainant author or the publishing organisations, the PIE Council Sub-Committee will investigate the matter only if the directly affected author or publisher asks for further investigations to take place.

Data manipulation, falsification or fabrication: when authors are aware of publishers or editors that are making up false data or aware that they are fabricating or manipulating data with the purpose of giving a false impression on a subject or another. These cases may include complaints about altering the truth, changing the data point, manipulated images and other types of such unethical editorial conduct.

Article ownership: authors may formulate complaints against editors or publishers when ownership of the articles or other editorial data published within the pages of the journals are disputed.

Issues with authorship of the data: usually these types of complaints are raised when authors who collaborated for a research project or an article dispute their involvement on the project, which should be listed as an author or how and in what order the authors should be credited for their work.

Editors/publishers misconduct: when authors complain about editors or publishers who are acting in ways that contravene the PIE Guidelines and the ethical principles of the publishing sector.

Ghost or gift authorship: when the author notices that somebody else’s name is credited as his or her text author (or, if this is a collaborative work, somebody with little or no contribution to the work is listed as an author). The author must ask the editor-in-chief or publisher to make the proper correction first. If the editor-in-chief or publisher fails to comply, the PIE Council Sub-Committee must be informed and an official complaint may be formulated.

Copied data or research findings: when the author finds out that articles or reports containing the same data or the same research findings are being published on two different publications. They may formulate complaints whether the data belongs to them or not. However, there is the possibility of a mere coincidence and no misconduct regarding any of the parties involved.

Issues regarding the peer-reviewers and the peer-review process: authors may manifest concerns about the integrity of the peer-reviewer or that the review process may be inappropriate for one reason or another.

Plagiarism issues: when authors find out that texts or parts of texts published within the pages of a journal do not belong to the publication but are presented as their own without proper acknowledgment of the real author or copyrights owner of the piece. Before taking legal action, authors may try to find resolution through the help of the PIE Council Sub-Committee.

 

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