Thursday, 22nd February 2024

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




PIE Highlights
You are invited to join the Publication Integrity and Ethics as one of its founding members. PIE offers free membership to all interested individuals. Read more.
As an Editor-in-Chief Member you will play a central role in shaping the organisation; you will benefit from the many and varied facilities the P.I.E. Read more.
The Publication Integrity and Ethics intends to publish a special peer-reviewed periodical that will publish short debate articles in science. Read more.



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- News and updates - Debate Issues - Guidelines -




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.

Editors and editors-in-chief are able to formulate complaints through PIE that will be analysed and mediated by the PIE Council Sub-Committee, if necessary. Complaints may be related to any issue that may appear in the publishing sector regarding news reports, editorial problems, and published materials.

The council sub-committee will analyse the editor’s complaints regarding the articles and materials, whether they are printed or in digital form. If issues about the editorial methods are raised, they will also be mediated by the Council Sub-Committee, as well as any problem related to the ethical or unethical editorial conduct or breaches of PIE guidelines. In general, any editor is able to formulate complaints through the website, as long as they are registered with PIE and they are using the complaint form provided by our site.

However, if the complainant editor is not directly affected by the error or misconduct he or she formulates the complaint about, the Council Sub-Committee will most likely consult with the people who are directly affected before deciding on whether to proceed further with the investigation or not. Editors should complain to PIE after they have previously complained directly to the publication or the editorial staff, or at the same time. The Sub-Committee will analyse complaints only if direct approach is unlikely to be successful. In conclusion, if editors identify ethical issues regarding other publications, or there is a breach in the ethical editorial code, they may complain through PIE and ask for resolution in cases such as the following:

Author writing mistakes: usually, editors are required to correct any author error that may appear before sending the accepted manuscripts to the production team or before publishing the materials. However, if some issues regarding publications other than the ones they work for arise, editors may address it through PIE and ask for resolution.

Authorship of the materials: complaints formulated by editors regarding the authorship of a published material are rare. However, if they are aware of such problems, they are able to ask for changes to be made in the authorship (names or the order of names) of the selected article.

There are however, other similar issues regarding the authorship, when an author is not properly listed as an author or an author is listed without contributing to the material being published.

Lack of consent for publication: there are some cases when authors may need to obtain the full consent of an individual or the editorial staff in order to publish an article or a study that divulges personal details. If they fail to obtain the consent but still publish the article, complaints may be formulated through PIE. However, if the Council Sub-Committee finds that the complainant editor is not directly affected by the error signalled, the issue will be investigated only if those affected will be willing to proceed further and formulate their own complaints.

Copyrights infringements: editors may complain about other journals or magazines that are publishing copyrighted materials without permission, whether the materials belong to their publication or not. If not, the case will be investigated if the prejudiced party will take action too.

False or manipulated data: making up data, research findings, statistical facts, manipulation of text and images intended to give false impression, false representation or otherwise are all issues regarding the ethical editorial conduct that may be raised, analysed and clarified on the PIE website if editors or other individuals formulate complaints.

Published material ownership: editors and other individuals may formulate complaints about the ownership of the data being published in a journal. Such issues will be investigated by the Council Sub-Committee and if they are considered to be reasonable, the mediation process will begin. However, if the editor decides to take legal action against another editor or another publication, the Council Sub-Committee must be informed.

Editorial independence: when the journal owner exerts inappropriate influence on the editorial staff and their decisions or when he or she tries to impose unethical behaviour or ideas, editors may complain about the problem and ask for a quick investigation and resolution. However, it is best if the issue is addressed to the publisher or owner of the journal first and not to the Council Sub-Committee.

Misconduct: there are cases when the editor complains about ethical misconduct of another editor, publication or journal that contravenes the PIE guidelines and recommendations.

Minor editorial mistakes: If editorial problems were signalled to the publisher but no action was taken in order to resolve them, editors and other individuals may formulate complaints through PIE and ask for a correction (errata). These problems are usually of little significance such as incorrectly labelled figures, typo errors and misplaced text, grammatical errors…and others.

Multiple submissions of the same manuscript: sometimes, authors submit the same manuscript to multiple journals in order to be published. However, there are cases when two editors decide to publish the article at the same time. One or both the editors may ask an investigation in this case, complaining about the editorial misconduct of the other as well as the author’s misconduct.

Same information, different publications: these cases are more common when research papers are published by different publications but with the same data and methodology. Editors may complain about another publication that decided to publish materials they consider as being copied or plagiarised as well as the author’s misconduct. The Council Sub-Committee will investigate the case and recommend the proper action for each editor. However, there may be cases when the similarities do appear by coincidence and no party is responsible of breaching the PIE guidelines and the ethical editorial code of conduct.

Complaints about the peer-reviewers: when editors have concerns that the peer-review process might be inappropriate, the peers are mal-intended, biased, unethical or they may have conflicts of interest. There are cases when reviewers fail to respect the confidentiality of the materials and data received and decide to use them as their own or publish them for another journal. Before taking any actions against the peer-reviewers, editors may try to solve the problem through the help of the PIE Council Sub-Committee.

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