Misconduct allegations

Allegations of misconduct can be made against the authors during manuscript handling phase and later after its publication. Possible concerns might be:

  • authorship-related issues
  • undisclosed conflict of interest
  • plagiarism
  • multiple publications
  • unethical study design or treatment of study subjects
  • suspected data or results manipultion
  • citation manipulation
  • other unethical behaviour not directly related to a particular manuscript.

Allegations of misconduct are not be be confused with purely scientific disagreements, which are handled by the regular reviewing procedure or post-publication discussions.

If you suspect misconduct performed by the authors:

The first step is to share you concerns with the handling editor of the paper. If the handling editor is not known or not reachable, use the journal principle contact (contact details here).

Within a week, the journal will form an investigation group consisting of at least three Editorial Team members and report back their names and how they can be contacted. Please, do not take any further actions unless we ask you for additional information or advice.

The journal will not reveal your identity during the entire investigation process.

The actual investigation time may vary depending on the complexity of the case. The investigation team will provide fair opportunities to all parties invovled to explain themselves. The purpose of the investigation is to establish whether misconduct took place (as reported or in the light of new circumstances discovered), whether it was performed deliberately or as a genuine mistake, and to estimate the scale of its negative consequences.

Based on the facts collected, the investigation team decides on the corrective actions to be taken (e.g. issuing of an erratum) as well as whether some penalty to be imposed on the person(s) who perfomed the misconduct (e.g. a report sent to the institution to which the person in question is affiliated).

You will be informed about the investigation outcome upon its completion.

In its work, the investigation group relies on the recommendations and guidelines provided by Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). In complex cases, an external ethical advisor might be called for.