What is Elsevier’s position on publishing ethics?
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 the work of the authors 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 for all parties involved in the act of publishing: the author, the journal editor, the peer reviewer, the publisher and the society of society-owned or sponsored journals.
Elsevier, as the world's leading journal publisher, takes its duties of guardianship over the scholarly record extremely seriously. Our journals record "the minutes of science"* and we recognise our responsibilities as the keeper of those "minutes" in all our policies and ethical guidelines. Elsevier plays a leading role in establishing standards and policies that improve scientific communications, promote business ethics, and encourage continued, sustainable growth in the field of scholarly publishing.
Over the past few years, Elsevier editors have noticed a significant increase in the number of cases of plagiarism that they have had to deal with. Examples of publishing ethics issues that editors face include an author copying a substantial part of another's work without acknowledgment or passing another's work off as her or his own; fraudulent research; and authorship disputes. Elsevier believes that monitoring publishing ethics is a major aspect of the editorial and peer-review process, and as such lies within the area of responsibility of the editor-in-chief, or scientific editor, of each journal. As part of our commitment to the protection and enhancement of peer review, our publishing team offers editors assistance and guidance in these matters. The Publishing Ethics Resource Kit was developed in response to requests from editors for helpful tools to manage these challenging situations. It provides flowcharts to guide editors through processes required to deal with different forms of publishing ethics abuse, template letters to adapt and use for various situations, Q & A information and much more.
Besides providing this online resource, Elsevier is also active in other publishing ethics initiatives, internally and externally. Elsevier has signed up to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), a charitable organization that provides a forum for scientific journal editors and publishers to discuss issues relating to the integrity of the work submitted to or published in their journals. Enlisting journals in COPE ensures our editors have an independent source to refer to when dealing with publishing ethics issues. For more information on our membership with COPE, click here.
In addition, in partnership with the CrossRef Association, Elsevier is involved in a plagiarism software project called CrossCheck. Other examples are tools for Editors in EES (our online submission tool), such as ‘Scopus author search’ and ‘Scirus title search’. These link to other articles by the same authors including citation history and to related published articles respectively. See Related Elsevier policies, documents and initiatives for more information.
Michael E. Hansen Youngsuk Chi
CEO Health Sciences CEO Science & Technology
*see: Jan J.M. Velterop, “Keeping the Minutes of Science”, in: Proceedings of Electronic Libraries and Visual Information Research (ELVIRA) Conference, Aslib, London, No. 2-14 May 1995