Saturday, 29th April 2017

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

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Confidentiality

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Confidentiality refers to a set of rules or an agreement that put restrictions on certain types of information that is considered to be of sensitive or personal nature. Confidentiality agreements may also be signed between individuals and organisations in order to protect data that is not yet to be released to the public.

Most of the countries around the world have imposed common laws that protect the right of an individual to keep their personal information confidential. For example, information given to doctors, lawyers or social workers must be kept confidential. Journalists, authors and editors also have the duty to respect and protect sensitive information regarding their sources or the participants to a clinical or scientific trial/study.

There are a few exceptions from the duty of confidence. Usually, public interest comes first and it can override the principles of confidentiality, duties that may be also overridden by court orders.

Confidentiality agreements (also called non-disclosure-agreements) are legal contracts signed by two parties in which both sides agree that information passed from one party to the other or information created by one party will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed to a third party or to the public. Therefore, if the agreement is infringed and the information revealed to another individual or organisation, the injured party can seek monetary or injunctive damages.

There are unlimited types of information that can be protected under confidentiality agreements. Journals and editors may comply with such agreements as well, protecting the manuscripts they receive from authors and their right to privacy and authorship. Usually, the editors do not discuss manuscripts with third parties and they will not reveal sensitive information about the interactions and correspondence with the author.

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