Wednesday, 24th July 2024

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


Integrity & Ethics

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.



- Tim Reeves talks about “Publication Integrity and Ethics” -

- Charles Rosen talks about “Association for Medical Ethics” -




Integrity is a concept that refers to consistent actions which are undertaken according to the ethical values and methods, as well as to the principles and expectations that can be verified by results. In ethics, integrity is assessed through honesty, fairness, and one's accuracy of actions. In conclusion, integrity is the opposite of bad habits such as inconsistency, hypocrisy and falsehood. Hence, the concept of integrity conveys virtues, feelings and personal beliefs laid out without discrepancies between statements and actions.

The origin of the word ‘integrity’ comes from the Latin ‘integer’ (whole, complete). In this context, the term refers to all the qualities of an individual that are expressed through honesty and consistency of character. In order to evaluate the integrity of a person, of an economical/political system or an organisation, a system is needed whereby values and principles are easy to express and, at the same time, correct.

Lack of values and principles can easily deflect into abstract statements which can be misinterpreted by anyone. The system of values and principles generated by the human mind though, is valid only in time, and it has an adjustment process determined by its results.

Why is an ultimate moral behaviour so valuable? What are the main aspects in which we find it useful, and what are its requirements?

According to most of the ethics specialists, a moral behaviour may only be learned through close observation of the individuals or the actions one considers as being morally acceptable. Therefore, it is obvious why ethical conduct and personal integrity are two of the most important qualities for editors, publishers and members of the editorial board, as they are not only managers of their journals but also moral guides for all the authors, peer reviewers and other members of the editorial team who work under their supervision.

Like in any sector, ethics is best observed in the editorial environment through its bonus or penalty system. A consistent, fair and transparent structure of this system helps the process of dissemination of the key values of the organisation, the maturation and development of its members and the achievement of top performances. Thus, people are starting to understand the concept of performance; they learn about the value of promoting this performance based on fair, honest, objective and quantifiable criteria. Performance management helps them to know themselves better, to know their strengths, and to correct their personal errors if it is the case.

Considering that the values of truth and justice differ from one person to another, one must understand that other individuals, their managers or their colleagues are not better or worse just because they have different moral values. The key of understanding and handling conflicts based upon different moral systems lies mainly in one’s capacity to detect from the outset what these moral values are and how they are defined in one organisation or another. In conclusion, one must choose the working environment which best suits one’s own ethical system; or one can thoroughly analyse the organisational culture and ethical values of a company before accepting a job or duty.

Apart from the definition of the term ‘integrity’ which involves honesty and fairness, it would be appropriate to emphasise what may not be considered as integrity. The common confusion is related to the loyalty to the group. Far from this, one’s integrity refers mainly to preserving opinions even if everyone else thinks differently; it is not about doing something for the sole purpose of being against someone else’s values, but because it is the rational result of living up to one’s own principles.

Sometimes, family devotion can be considered as integrity. But when family relationships are confused with professional relationships, (for example, by promoting relatives in official or public duties or using public resources to satisfy family needs) integrity is out of the question. On the contrary, these actions are the actual manifestation of a total lack of integrity and morality, a pure act of corruption.

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