Procedures for Dealing with Allegations of Unethical Conduct
Any ethical misconduct or unethical behavior may be identified and brought to the attention of the editor or the publisher at any time, by anyone.
If an individual informs ethical misconduct or unethical behavior, they should provide sufficient information and evidence in order for an investigation to be initiated.
The identity of the complainant will be kept confidential, unless requested otherwise.
Every effort will be made to ensure that the investigation process is fair and just for the accused and the complainant.
The complaint will be acknowledged and the investigation started promptly. The rights of the accused and of the individual(s) making the allegation will be respected.
An initial decision whether alleged ethical misconduct or unethical behavior requires investigation will be taken by the Editor in consultation with the publisher.
All evidence related to ethical misconduct or unethical behavior will be collected. It is paramount to involve only those persons who can contribute to the investigation or resolution of the misconduct. All communication must be on a need-to-know basis.
Strict confidentiality will be maintained during the investigation and even after the investigation is complete. Information regarding the investigation and its findings may be released in cases in which misconduct has been determined to have occurred or when the existence of an investigation has become generally known.
In all cases the author or other involved parties will be given an opportunity to respond to any allegations. Authors or other relevant parties are expected to cooperate fully with the investigation.
Serious misconduct may require involvement of the one or more individual's supervisor, institute or employer. The Editor, in consultation with the publisher should to decide whether or not to involve supervisor, institute or employer. This is based on the available evidence, expected outcome and advice of the experts.
Informing the individual(s) that a misconduct or unethical behavior occurred and educating them about how to avoid it in future.
A warning letter covering the misconduct and future expectations.
Publication of a formal notice in the journal detailing the misconduct.
A formal letter to the individual's supervisor, institute or employer detailing the misconduct.
A formal retraction or withdrawal of the paper from the journal.
An embargo on the individual for future contributions, for a pre-specified time.