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University professors lead voluntary code of ethics effort for journals

Wed, 06/06/2012 - 9:44am

Professors from Purdue University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte are bringing editors of academic journals together to reaffirm their commitment to research integrity.

Journal editors are being asked to sign the Journal Editor Ethics Code, which includes guidelines to promote data transparency when reporting research findings, communicating ethical standards to its audiences and authors, keeping the financial aspects of the journal separate from the peer-review process, and refraining from coercive citation practices. For example, a report published earlier this year in Science found that some journals were encouraging authors to add citations to articles that were not needed but could help improve a journal's impact factor.

"Most authors, reviewers and editors are following ethical practices and do exemplary work, but recent research has revealed that some unethical practices, such as coercive citations, do happen," said Deborah Rupp, the William C. Bynam Chair in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Purdue. "The Journal Editor Ethics Code builds on the ethical standards already in place within various professional associations, publishing groups and journals."

Rupp is coleading this effort with Steven Rogelberg, professor and director of organizational science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

"As a journal editor community we need to take a strong public stance about our ethics around publishing," he said. "Our science depends on editors acting with great integrity and not engaging in practices that directly or indirectly promote corruption of the scholarly process. We are pleased with people's interest and commitment to support research integrity by affirming the code."

So far, 165 editors and associate editors have signed up to show their support for the Journal Editor Ethics Code. The code and a list of editors who affirm they will its guidelines are available at http://editorethics.uncc.edu

Rupp and Rogelberg began by contacting editors in their fields of management and psychology, but interest has expanded to other fields such as anthropology and sociology.

Source: Purdue University
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