ethical publishing policy

CopeCrossref Similarity Check

The IUCr is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and endorses its recommendations, including the Code of Conduct for Editors, which are available at http://www.publicationethics.org/.

The editorial policies of the IUCr conform to the ethical guidelines published in Acc. Chem. Res. (2002), 35, 74–76 and Graf et al. [Int. J. Clin. Pract. (2007), 61 (Suppl. 152), 1–26]. Authors, editors, editorial board members and reviewers are expected to comply with these guidelines.

Author warranty

Authors are asked to sign an author warranty when they submit an article for publication in an IUCr journal. The wording of the warranty is as follows:

`By agreeing to this declaration you certify that your contribution is your original work, has not been published before (in any language or medium) and is not being considered for publication elsewhere; that all authors concur with and are aware of the submission; that all workers involved in the study are listed as authors or given proper credit in the acknowledgements; that you have obtained permission for and acknowledged the source of any excerpts from other copyright works; and that to the best of your knowledge your paper contains no statements which are libellous, unlawful or in any way actionable.'

Plagiarism and text recycling

The US Office of Research Integrity has defined plagiarism as including both the theft or misappropriation of intellectual property and the substantial unattributed textual copying of another's work. It does not include authorship or credit disputes (http://ori.hhs.gov/ori-policy-plagiarism).

When submitting an article for publication in an IUCr journal, authors have a responsibility to ensure that they have not plagiarised others' work. Plagiarism checks are carried out on articles submitted to IUCr journals via Crossref Similarity Check.

Crossref Similarity Check is a tool provided by iThenticate and Crossref to help publishers screen articles for plagiarism (http://www.crossref.org/crosscheck/index.html). When plagiarism is detected, the relevant COPE guidelines are followed (for COPE flowcharts, see http://publicationethics.org/resources/flowcharts).

If extensive excerpts or figures and tables have been taken from other published works, authors should ensure that appropriate permission has been obtained from the copyright holder.

Text recycling (also known as self-plagiarism) is when an author replicates text from their own previous publications.

A certain amount of overlap of text between an author's publications may be unavoidable and acceptable, for example, in methods sections where descriptions are given of methods/techniques that have been used in the study. Editors may wish to consider whether the author has given an appropriate citation for a method that has been described in full previously.

The editors at BioMed Central have developed a set of guidelines for journal editors on how to deal with text recycling, a copy of which is available at http://publicationethics.org/text-recycling-guidelines.

The US Office of Research Integrity has published a document on this topic: Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical writing http://ori.hhs.gov/plagiarism-13.

Conflict of interest

Authors, editors and peer reviewers have a responsibility to disclose interests that might appear to affect their ability to present or review data objectively. Such interests may be financial or non-financial and some examples are given below.

Examples of financial conflicts of interest include

  • Stock ownership
  • Employment or consultancy work
  • Patent ownership or application
  • Board membership
  • Research grants
  • Speaker's fees

Examples of non-financial conflicts of interest include

  • Personal relationships (e.g. friend, family member, mentor, adversary)
  • Personal beliefs (e.g. religious, political)
  • Acting as an expert witness
  • Membership of government or advisory board, or lobbying/advocacy organization
  • Academic links (e.g. with institution or funding bodies)

Authors should declare any conflicts of interest in the Acknowledgements section of their article. In general, interests that apply in the five years leading up to submission of an article are relevant.

Editors may consider not publishing details of authors' interests when, in their opinion, these interests have no relevance to the content being published.

In addition, authors should declare all sources of research funding and other sources of support in the Acknowledgements section of their article.

Editors and peer reviewers should disclose conflicts of interest, and if necessary exclude themselves from the peer-review process.

Informed consent

Information and images from individual participants/subjects or patients should only be published where the authors have obtained the individual's explicit consent.

In the case of technical images (for example, radiographs, micrographs) all information that could identify the subject must be removed from the image.

Human and animal rights

Authors are asked to state that the study they are submitting has been approved by the relevant research ethics committee or institutional review board (as defined by the lead investigator's national standards), and that it conforms to Good Clinical Practice (e.g. US Food and Drug Administration Good Clinical Practice in FDA-Regulated Clinical Trials; UK Medicines Research Council Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice in Clinical Trials) and/or the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki. If human participants were involved, manuscripts must be accompanied by a statement that the experiments were undertaken with the understanding and appropriate informed consent of each. If experimental animals were used, the materials and methods (experimental procedures) section must clearly indicate that appropriate measures were taken to minimize pain or discomfort, and details of animal care should be provided.

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