Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement

The European Journal of Taxonomy (EJT) is an academic journal published by natural history institutions; one of the priorities of the editorial team is to publish quality papers. The integrity of the content published is an essential point and should be ensured during the review and the edition processes and when publishing papers. To that purpose, all the actors of an EJT publication, authors, reviewers, members of the editorial team and of EJT consortium, are expected to fully adhere to our policy regarding publication ethics and malpractice, and respect the following statements:

Authors

-Content-

EJT-papers must be original and adhere to a high scientific (content) and technical (language, artwork, etc.) standard.

The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (living and fossil animals) and the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants should be followed rigorously.

-Material studied-

When new material has been collected for the purposes of the study, the authors must ensure that all necessary permits have been obtained prior to collecting. The authors are required to deposit all type materials in a public natural history collection.

To prevent taxon extinction and to respect biodiversity resources of the country where specimens are collected, it is strongly recommended that authors comply with the IUCN Policy Statement on Research Involving Species at Risk of Extinction and the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Additionally, when data collection involves the killing of an organism, the number of specimens collected should be limited to the minimum necessary to conduct the research; and techniques used to capture or handle animals should conform to the highest standards of animal welfare.

-Copyright-

EJT is a free open access journal licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Authors who publish with this journal accept the following conditions:

  • Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of its authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  • Authors are free to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially, with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in EJT (CC BY 3.0).
  • Authors should not post their submitted work online (e.g. in institutional repositories or on personal websites) prior to or during the submission process, as this may cause nomenclatural problems.

-Authorship-

To ensure that papers are original contributions, and to avoid copyright issues, authors must follow some rules:

  • When a paper is submitted in EJT, the title page should include the disclaimer “The present paper has not been submitted to another journal, nor will it be in the 6 months after initial submission to EJT. All co-authors are aware of the present submission.”
  • All co-authors must be aware of and agree to the contents of the submission.
  • All co-authors agree with the copyright policy and the Open Access policy of the journal.
  • The corresponding author declares that the manuscript and the illustrations within are original, or that he/she has taken all the necessary steps to avoid breach of copyright.

-Peer review-

EJT applies single-blind peer review. Authors can draw our attention to potential conflicts of interest by indicating the name of “opposed reviewers” during submission. Authors are required to explain (in detail) why they do not want this person to be invited. However, EJT editors should decide for themselves who they want to invite, and cannot guarantee that “opposed reviewers” will not be invited.

To help ensure that publishing scientists also act as reviewers, EJT considers it a gentlemen’s agreement that its authors, whose papers were accepted, also act as potential reviewers for other manuscripts submitted to the journal.

-Plagiarism, text recycling and smallest publishable units-

Authors are expected to contribute to their research field by publishing original and relevant results and data. The following elements are considered essential for an ethical publication: data integrity; sound presentation of methodologies, sources and techniques used; reproducibility of results; acknowledgement of contributors to data collection and research; acknowledgements of funding agencies and/or previous institutions where (part of) the work was carried out.

As a consequence, authors must cite appropriate and relevant literature in support of the results presented in their manuscript. Authors who already published papers on the same topic are expected to include citation of these papers when relevant, but at the same time to avoid excessive and inappropriate self-citation.

Plagiarism is unacceptable; any suspicion of plagiarism will be investigated by the editorial team.

Self-plagiarism (also known as text recycling) should be avoided as much as possible; however, when text duplication from previous works is necessary, it is then reported transparently and these previous works are fully cited in the publication itself.

Whenever possible, data and results gathered in the same framework (e.g. a single research project) should not be broken up into smaller publishable units. This behaviour must be strictly avoided when the data and results share common hypotheses, methods and material. “Salami slicing” not only distorts the way a reader sees the paper (considered as a single original unit when it is only a subset of a more substantial study), it also causes cross-referencing issues. EJTencourages authors to publish their data and results obtained in a single framework as a unique and original publication. As long as a manuscript is concise, there is no page limitation in EJT; substantial taxonomic revisions, monographs and checklists are fully within the journal’s scope, and preferred to numerous smaller publication units resulting from the same framework.

-Research misconduct-

Invention of data and malicious manipulation of data (or of data images) are clearly unacceptable. Authors are expected to keep accurate records of the data and to have a proactive and ethical attitude on data management (data availability, quality checks). Data omission or intentional manipulation of parts of the dataset to fit the desired study’s hypotheses will be considered as fraud.

Illustrations used to present data should not be manipulated, except for clarity purposes (e.g. adjustment of the contrast, colours…). When doing so, the author must ensure that the manipulation does not lead to loss or misinterpretation of data. Methods or techniques used to enhance images must be described in the Material and Methods section of the paper, or at least in the caption accompanying the illustration.

-Reproducibility of results-

We strongly encourage authors to submit the datasets used in the study, alongside the manuscript. Datasets can be published in EJT as supplementary data files, referenced along with the paper and made available for download. To facilitate data reuse, datasets can also be hosted on the authors’ personal/institutional website(s), ingested in relevant databases and repositories (e.g. GBIF, Dryad…).

-Conflicts of interest-

There is a conflict of interest when someone is influenced in his/her choices or actions by a personal or financial interest.

In the context of a publication, several elements could seem questionable if the objectivity of the different actors of a publication is uncertain:

  • interpretation of a result by an author
  • recommendation of a reviewer
  • decision of an editor

This is why every suspicion of a conflict of interest should be reported to the EJT editorial team.

Reviewers

-The EJT review process-

Papers which conform to journal scope and style will be sent to at least two reviewers by a member of the editorial team, who will then act as the coordinating editor.

EJT applies single-blind peer review, which means that reviewers remain anonymous by default. However, if reviewers want their names to be communicated to the author, EJT will allow this.

-Responsibilities of reviewers-

Reviewers are expected to objectively evaluate papers and inform EJT editors of any potential conflict of interest.

Confidentiality of the manuscripts they are reviewing should be maintained.

Potential reviewers who decline to review a paper are encouraged to state the reason why.

Editors

-Publishing policy-

The natural history institutions that publish EJT share the following principles:

  • Descriptive taxonomic research is essential to safeguard our planet’s biodiversity and remains one of the core missions of natural history institutions and their staff.
  • Dissemination of original research, as well as the ability to use and reuse data as freely as possible, is the key to innovation and further advancement of science.
  • Publishing is part of the research process, and natural history institutions should be able to preserve their in-house publishing expertise.
  • Scholarly publications should be made accessible to all, at no charge (diamond open access).

-Editorial decision-

At the end of the review process, the editor-in-chief makes the final decision of acceptance or rejection, based on the reviewers’ reports and the recommendation of the topical editor in charge of the review process.

If there is any conflict of interest between an editor and an author, the editor in question will not be involved in the review and the decision processes.

-Respect of reviewer anonymity-

The “Editorial Manager” system, which is used for manuscript submission in EJT, will automatically anonymize the reviewers’ comments to authors. Reviewers can also send attached files (review report, commented manuscript) that can be communicated to the author; in this case the version sent to the author is also automatically anonymized (the author of the comments cannot be identified). However, reviewers should not enter their names or initials in the file name or inside the document, if they wish to remain anonymous.

-Distribution of EJT publications-

EJT publications are freely available at no charge on our website, at www.europeanjournaloftaxonomy.eu.

Printed versions of EJT papers are stored in the natural history institutions that are part of the EJT Consortium.

Authors are encouraged to disseminate their work: they can directly download the pdf files of their articles from the website and distribute electronic or printed copies to their colleagues, or distribute the URL from which PDF and PDF/A files can be downloaded.

-Compliance with Nomenclatural Codes-

The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (living and fossil animals) and the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants are rigorously followed by our editors.

To be compliant with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, our zoology papers are recorded in Zoobank before publication and an LSID (Life Science Identifier) is assigned to them and inserted on the first page of each publication. A PDF/A version of each article is also available on our website.

To be compliant with the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants, a PDF/A version of our botany papers is available on our website.

We also follow other recommendations of these codes: printed copies are available in the libraries of the Institutions publishing EJT and the articles published are deposited in a trusted digital repository (LOCKSS).

-Privacy statement-

The names, affiliations and email addresses entered in our journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.

Ethical issues: Action of the Editorial Team

-Potential issues-

We do our best to avoid ethical issues before publication, but anyone who suspects an ethical issue is encouraged to contact us. The editorial team of EJT can be contacted at ejteditorialoffice@gmail.com. Every suspicion of ethical issues, misconduct or conflict of interest will be investigated by the journal.

-Investigation-

The editor-in-chief will conduct the investigation.

All members of the EJT editorial team, as well as reviewers and authors, are encouraged to provide their feedback and suggestions to improve communication during the treatment of ethical issues.

The editor-in-chief will contact both parties in any conflict and study their responses. No repressive action will be decided without sufficient evidence of misconduct.

If the case involves another journal, its editor-in-chief will be contacted and both editorial teams will investigate and, if possible, make a common decision.

-Resolution of ethical problems-

If the paper incriminated has not yet been published, publication will be delayed until the problem is resolved. The manuscript may be rejected if there is any evidence that the author(s) has (have) not respected the present code of conduct.

If the paper incriminated has already been published, the decision of the editor-in-chief will depend on the nature and severity of the problem:

  • If it is proven that the dispute is only due to a difference of scientific point of view between the author and the complainant, the journal must encourage debate. The complainant can publish a paper in EJT and the author of the first paper has a right to reply. These papers, as all the others submitted to EJT, will follow our evaluation process and will be reviewed before any editorial decision.
  • For minor issues, all the persons involved in the decision and publication process of the article are informed. If all parties agree, the publication of a corrigendum or addendum in EJT will be the solution to solve minor problems.
  • In very serious cases (plagiarism for example), the retraction of a publication can be decided. The readers and all persons involved in the decision and publication
  • process of the article will be informed. The head of the department where the incriminated author (or reviewer) works will be informed.

The solution to a problem can vary considerably depending on the case. The EJT editorial team will always try to find the most appropriate solution and will involve every person or institution concerned by the problem in the investigation.

Additionally, the editorial board fully adheres to the code of conduct and the best practice guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). To ensure the integrity of the content published in European Journal of Taxonomy, editors are strongly encouraged to use COPE’s flowcharts whenever they suspect an ethical issue may be present.

-Nomenclatural problems-

If a potential nomenclatural problem is raised, the appropriate nomenclatural code is consulted and the problem is discussed with both parties and with members of the EJT editorial team. If no answer is found, experts in nomenclature will be consulted to help the EJT editors find a solution.

Editorial Team