Unfair practices and unethical behavior
1. The following is regarded as conduct that does not meet ethical and scientific standards, and is interpreted as fraud. All participants in the publication process should avoid them in their work.
Fabrication/falsification of scientific results.
— plagiarism of data, ideas or fragments of articles (compilation);
— deliberate selection or concealment of the results in the publication, when these results are relevant to the conclusions;
— false use of statistical or other methods;
— intentional or negligent negligence in concealing the details of the methodology;
— false information about the authorship (attributed honorary authorship, invisible authorship ‒ lack of indication of the participation of researchers);
— false representation of the results of other researchers (fictitious citation);
— unacceptable repetition of the publication (self-plagiarism and duplicate publications);
— improper handling of research objects;
— offer of agency services: correspondence with the Editorial Board and revision of articles on behalf of the author;
— the editors transfer the texts of articles to other journals without the consent of the authors;
— transfer of the authors’ materials by editors or reviewers to third parties;
— violation of the standards of objectivity when reviewing and/or when making a decision on publication;
— all kinds of manipulations with citation (collusions with the aim of artificially increasing citation, artificially increasing scientometric indices, excessive self-citation and friendly citation are interpreted as fraud);
— fan mailing of the same text of the article to several scientific journals;
— all kinds of cases of falsification and fabrication of digital images.
2. Situations in which research cannot be considered the original and which are the most common forms of violation of ethics of scientific publications:
‒ fabrication: the researcher provides false information (this often happens in a situation when the authors turn to unscrupulous intermediaries offering such a way “to improve the scientific level of the article”);
‒ falsification: manipulating the data collected to confirm certain hypotheses;
‒ plagiarism (unfair quoting): previously completed work, data, as well as images and graphs are used without correct citation and are presented as the author’s own research. Plagiarism can also be considered a situation when the author uses his previously published data or text without correctly quoting his own original article.
3. Correct quoting.
3.1. Considering the ethical norms of citation of other publications, it is important to note the principle of objectivity. Before including any source in the list of references, the author must read it and make sure that this source contains exactly the idea that he puts into the citation, that this source has not been retracted (this can be checked from the databases of retracted articles on the Association of Scientific Editors and Publishers and Retraction Watch websites).
3.2. The rule of representativeness of references is another important principle of correct citation. It consists in the fact that the author should refer to objectively the best and most significant works in this field. In addition, it is always advisable to cite the most recent publications to maintain the relevance of your work. At the same time, it is important to avoid the so-called “Matthew effect”, which consists in the fact that scientists are ready to exaggerate the achievements of their colleagues who have already made a name for themselves thanks to certain previous merits, and the achievements of scientists who have not yet received fame are usually downplayed or not recognized at all.
4. Selective citation (cherry picking) can also be considered a violation of the rule of representativeness of references, when the author points to individual cases/data confirming a certain provision, while ignoring a significant part of related cases/data that may contradict this provision. Selective citation can be either intentional or unintentional, but it always leads to distortion of the results of scientific research.
4.1. Self-citation. The following definitions are used in the journal (A.V. Kuleshova et al.):
‒ conscientious self-citation is the repeated use by the author of his own texts from earlier works to the extent justified by the purpose of citation, with a reference to the original source, drawn up in accordance with the established citation rules;
‒ conscientious self-citation in an incorrect form is the repeated use by the author of his own texts from earlier works to the extent justified by the purpose of citation and with a reference to the original source, issued in violation of the established citation rules. For example, the link is placed on the wrong source, is in the wrong place, does not show the boundaries of the citation;
‒ unfair self-citation (self-plagiarism) is repeated use by the author of his own texts from earlier works without reference to the source or to the extent not justified by the purpose of quoting.
4.2. Re-publication (reprint) – a complete republication of a previously published work, decorated with a footnote indicating the original source and with permission to reprint from the publisher (copyright holder) of the previous work.
4.3. Duplicate publication – complete republication of an article in another publication without reference to the first publication or simultaneous publication of an article in different publications.
4.4. Paraphrase – paraphrasing, rewriting – processing of the source text while preserving the original meaning by changing the syntactic structure of sentences, replacing the forms of words (number, person, time, etc.), words with synonyms, used terms with similar ones, the order of words, sentences, etc. The resulting text is called a rewrite. The main features of a rewrite are the preservation of the sequence of thoughts and the approximate volume of the source text.
5. Conflict of interest.
5.1. A conflict of interest in the field of scientific publications arises when the author, reviewer or editor have financial or personal relationships, as well as ideological beliefs that prevent an impartial perception, review, and decision-making on the publication of research results.
5.2. In the field of scientific publications, the following conflicts of interest are most often encountered:
– direct financial interests (for example, the researcher works for the party ordering the research, or owns its shares);
– indirect financial interests (for example, the researcher is a consultant to the company ordering the research work);
– career conflict of interest (for example, the author submits an article to a journal whose Editor-in-Chief works in his organization/department);
– a conflict of interest may also arise in a situation when the Editor-in-Chief of the journal is a supporter of the theory alternative to the one studied by the author;
– institutional conflict (for example, a researcher is hired by a university/institute that has made public statements that it firmly adheres to a specific point of view on a certain scientific subject);
– a conflict of personal beliefs (for example, when a doctor who adheres to traditional methods of treatment writes an article about new medical technologies).
6. The purpose of disclosing a conflict of interest is to increase the credibility of the published data.
7. The conflict of interests is declared as follows:
‒ when submitting an article, the authors are responsible for disclosing all financial or personal relationships that may affect their work;
‒ all authors are required to disclose potential conflicts of interest that may be perceived as having influenced the results or conclusions presented in the work;
‒ information about the conflict of interests should be disclosed at the end of the article (before the list of references) under the heading “Conflict of interest” and when sending an article through the journal’s website in the “Conflict of interest” section. If none of the authors has a conflict of interest, it should be indicated: “The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.”;
– information about the conflict of interest is published as part of the full text of the article;
– the authors are obliged to reliably indicate the place of their work and the source of funding for the research.
8. The mere existence of a potential conflict of interest is not something wrong. Transparency and disclosure of information is the correct way to avoid potential conflicts, so authors should inform the editor of the journal about the possibility of their occurrence when sending a cover letter to the manuscript.