Ethics Statement

The editorial team of the Higher Learning Research Communications® (HLRC) journal is committed to ensuring the quality of the manuscripts we publish. As such, we expect all parties involved in the publication process to adhere by international standards for ethics in academic publishing, including authors, reviewers, editors, sponsoring institutions, and the publisher.

Authors

Under the Responsible research publication: International standards for authors (Wager & Keinert, 2011), a position statement developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, researchers and authors “have a responsibility to ensure that their publications are honest, clear, accurate, complete and balanced, and should avoid misleading, selective or ambiguous reporting.” Therefore, we expect authors submitting manuscripts for peer and editorial review to duly and carefully document all materials used and cited, properly record and verify their data, and present their findings in an accurate and truthful manner.

Unfortunately, the HLRC editorial team has noticed an increase in plagiarized and rehashed submissions and duplicate publications. We have even encountered instances of “bilingual plagiarism”, in which authors plagiarize and translate materials without giving any credit, passing someone else’s work in one language as their own in another. Oftentimes, plagiarism detection software does not uncover these more extreme cases of purposeful deceit and academic dishonesty. However, as an academic journal that accepts submission in languages other than English (and publishes non-English manuscripts with the corresponding English translation), we have bilingual and polyglot copyeditors that can identify grammatical traits and fact-check the information presented in a manuscript in several languages. As a matter of fact, because of the alarming rate of academic misconduct incidences, we decided to submit papers that pass peer-review to an editorial academic review in order to verify and fact-check manuscripts before acceptance for publication.  

So that there is no ambiguity, HLRC will reject manuscript submissions and ban from submitting new manuscripts for a period of one (1) year any author(s) that commits any acts of academic misconduct and dishonesty, including but not limited to:

  • Plagiarism – using someone else’s words or ideas without giving proper credit or accurately citing the source
  • Self-plagiarism – using your own, already published materials without properly documenting and putting in context the prior publication or simply copy/pasting entire portions of their own previous works and passing them as new knowledge
  • Multiple submissions – submitting the same article for publication to two or more journals/publishers at the same time
  • Duplicate publications – submitting research that has already being published, including merely changing the title of the manuscript and rehashing or reusing already published data
  • Data fabrication and falsification – forging research data or omitting/altering the obtained results in a manner that no longer reflects the accuracy of the research record
  • Deception – misrepresenting your academic work, record, or credentials, including taking credit for work or research in which you did not contribute or take part
  • Copyright infringement – using materials protected under national and international copyright laws without permission or the proper license
  • Carelessness and negligence – hurried and rushed manuscripts that lack adequate revisions and verification from the author(s) and, as a result, contain improperly cited materials or errors in the data reported

Regarding the last point, if your manuscript is rejected because of plagiarism or mishaps in the data reported, but you were simply in a rush to finish the manuscript and honestly did not intend to plagiarize or misrepresent the data, understand that such occurrence is still considered a form of academic misconduct.

Finally, since HLRC follows a double-blind peer-review process, authors must ensure there is no personal information in the manuscript that may lead to reviewers knowing their identity. That includes eliminating their names from the text and removing author identification metadata from Word documents and other text processing applications.

Reviewers

Under the Ethical guidelines for peer reviewers, published by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), reviewers must be objective and diligent in their review, and have the necessary expertise in order to assess the manuscript (Hames, 2013). Furthermore, access to unpublished research and data demands maintaining and ensuring the confidentiality of the information in the manuscript to safeguard both the review process and the intellectual property rights of the author(s).

Reviewers have a duty to promptly respond to review requests and notify one of the editors if, after accepting a request, circumstances change and the review won’t be completed on time. There is also an obligation to decline a review request if they feel they lack the necessary expertise in a subject matter or if there is a conflict of interest (or even the appearance of one). If at any time during the review process there is a question or doubt regarding the accuracy of the research record, or there is suspicion of academic misconduct, the reviewer must bring it to the attention of one of the editors in a timely manner.

Since HLRC follows a double-blind peer-review process, reviewers must refrain from trying to identify the author(s) or contacting them directly.

Editors

According to the Responsible research publication: International standards for editors, journal editors are responsible for everything they include in a publication and, as such, must adopt policies and have guidelines in place in order to “encourage maximum transparency and complete, honest reporting” (Kleinert & Wager, 2011). Furthermore, they are accountable for the truthfulness of the publication, so they should “issue corrections and retractions when needed and pursu[e] suspected or alleged research and publication misconduct” (2011). Editors are the gatekeepers of the journal’s academic integrity and, consequently, must take the appropriate measures so as to ensure an objective review process and publish accurate information.


References

Hames, I. & COPE Council (2013). COPE ethical guidelines for peer reviewers. Retrieved from http://publicationethics.org

Wager, E. & Kleinert, S. (2011). Responsible research publication: International standards for authors. A position statement developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, Singapore, July 22-24, 2010. In Mayer T. & Steneck, N. (Eds.), Promoting research integrity in a global environment (pp. 309-316). Singapore: Imperial College Press/World Scientific Publishing

Kleinert, S. & Wager, E. (2011). Responsible research publication: International standards for editors. A position statement developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, Singapore, July 22-24, 2010. In Mayer T. & Steneck, N. (Eds.), Promoting research integrity in a global environment (pp. 317-328). Singapore: Imperial College Press/World Scientific Publishing