Ethics in publishing

The publication of an article in a peer-reviewed journal is an essential building block in the development of a coherent and respected network of knowledge. It is a direct reflection of the quality of work of the author and the institutions that support them. Peer-reviewed articles support and embody the scientific method. It is therefore important to agree upon standards of expected ethical behavior.

Ethics topics to consider when publishing:

  • Authorship of the paper: Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study.
  • Originality and plagiarism: The authors should ensure that they have written entirely original works, and if the authors have used the work and/or words of others, that this has been appropriately cited or quoted.
  • Data access and retention: Authors may be asked to provide the raw data in connection with a paper for editorial review, and should be prepared to provide public access to such data.
  • Multiple, redundant or concurrent publication: An author should not in general publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication. Elsevier does not view the following uses of a work as prior publication: publication in the form of an abstract; publication as an academic thesis; publication as an electronic preprint. Note: some society-owned titles and journals that operate double-blind review have different policies on prior publication.
  • Acknowledgement of sources: Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given.
  • Disclosure and conflicts of interest: All submissions must include disclosure of all relationships that could be viewed as presenting a potential conflict of interest.
  • Fundamental errors in published works: When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her own published work, it is the author's obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper.
  • Reporting standards: Authors of reports of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance.
  • Use of patient images or case details: Studies on patients or volunteers require ethics committee approval and informed consent, which should be documented in the paper.