Ethics Policy

Statement on our Expectations: Professional Ethics and Malpractice 

Preamble:  Reasoning behind this statement

The Informing Science Institute continues its proud heritage of "Setting Knowledge Free" and "Colleagues Mentoring Colleagues".  In this regard, we ensure that all our publications, both journals and books, are available to all scholars and students online without charge.  We endorse strongly the belief that we all have obligations to one another to treat each other with respect and to help our colleagues to develop as readers, researchers, reviewers, and editors. 

As researchers, we are obligated to ensure that all data and information we make public is sound and of the highest quality possible.  We also have a responsibility as researchers to respect the rights of other researchers, publishers, the subjects of our studies, and those who may read and rely upon our reports.  As a result of our policies, readers of the journals we publish are assured that the papers they read are derived from truthful, ethical, and current research.

The purpose of this statement is to inform readers, authors, reviewers, and editors of our expectations.

Section I.  Author Responsibilities

Peer Review Process

All authors are required to participate in the peer review process of their submissions.  All papers that we publish are double-blind externally peer reviewed, except in rare cases, which are clearly identified as an invited paper.  In the case of an invited paper, the paper may be published without external review.  Cases published in the Journal of Information Technology Education: Discussion Cases are reviewed in a collaborative developmental setting by members of its panel of reviewers, as noted at http://jitedc.org/submitpaper, so as not only to ensure that all cases fit with the expectations of the readers, but also to mentor authors on how to write discussion cases effectively.

All authors are responsible for ensuring that they submit their  manuscript to only one journal at a time and are made to understand that this is Informing Science Institute‚Äôs ethical policy.  If authors would like to submit their (same) manuscript to an alternative journal before the first journal has reached a publication determination, they must first notify the first journal's editor of this decision to withdraw the paper from further consideration by that journal before submitting the article elsewhere.  Because of the time and effort put into the peer review process by reviewers and editors, authors are expected to submit articles in good faith and to recognize that withdrawing a manuscript from one journal to submit it to another outlet is not a trivial action.

Intellectual Property, Plagiarism, and Use of Copyrighted Material

When submitting a paper to a journal published by the Informing Science Institute, the author is required to assert and confirm that the paper does not contain any copyrighted material except as noted in the paper through proper citation, that the paper is not currently under review by any other publication outlet, that once the paper enters the review process for this journal the author will not submit the paper for publication consideration to any other publication outlet, that the paper contains no plagiarized material, and that upon acceptance or conditional acceptance for publication, the author transfers the copyright of the material to the Informing Science Institute.

Self Plagiarism

Publishing the same manuscript in multiple journals results in self-plagiarism.  Submitting a manuscript that has been previously published or contains substantially the same content as a previously published article is professional misconduct.  This is not to limit the author from reporting the results of the same study to different journals or in separate articles to the same journal so long as at least 25% of the material content (not simply the wording) is different and the author clearly cites the original publication(s) in which this material appeared earlier.  In such cases, direct rewordings and quotations from the prior publication must be cited as such in the submission.

Authorship

When a paper is co-authored, all persons who have contributed substantively are to be listed as authors, in order of contribution. A person who has not made a substantive contribution may not be listed.

Listing as author someone who did not contribute to the research or writing of a paper or failing to list someone who did is professional misconduct. Those who make minor contributions to the research or writing should be acknowledged in a statement of thanks, but not listed as co-authors.

No one is to be listed as co-author simply on the basis of an institutional position, such as Head of School or department, or reputation. Co-authors are to be listed in order of their contribution to the research and writing of the paper. For papers based on student research, the student is expected to be listed as first author, unless the faculty member's contribution substantially exceeds that of the student.

Use of Human Subjects in Research

All authors are bound to ensure (1) the informed consent of all study participants; (2) that no study participant is put at greater risk than they would normally experience in their daily life; and (3) that the research is consistent with the research policies and requirements of the host institution(s). 

Responsibility for Accuracy

Authors are responsible for ensuring and certifying that data reported upon in their manuscript is genuine and reliable.  We expect authors to retain their datasets and provide them upon request to other researchers.

Authors are responsible for ensuring that any statistical results presented in their manuscript are accurate.

Authors are responsible for contacting their journal's editor promptly should they uncover an error or omission in their manuscript, both before and after publication.

Authors are responsible for providing editors with the information needed to publish a prompt retraction or correction in the case of errors or omissions.

Responsibility to Credit Others

Authors are responsible for citing and accurately listing in their manuscript's reference list all works that had material influence on their research.

Authors are responsible for including an appropriate note acknowledging any financial support used in the research reported upon in their manuscript.

Section II.  Reviewer Responsibilities

Quality Reviews

Reviewers have responsibility for preparing thoughtful and objective manuscript evaluations.  Unlike most other journals, Informing Science Institute's journals demand mentorship from its reviewers, requiring them to provide substantive constructive suggestions to improve the submission, even if the reviewer does not recommend publication of the paper.

All reviews should include mention of any relevant published work they are aware of that is not cited in the original manuscript.

Objective Reviews

To avoid potential bias, reviewers are expected to recuse themselves from evaluating papers where they recognize that they have or have had a close relationship with one or more of the paper's authors.

Reviewers must also recuse themselves from commenting upon papers where they may have a conflict of interest with respect to the research topic or funders.

Paper Confidentiality

Reviewers may not disclose or use the contents of papers submitted to a journal that are not yet accepted for publication.  They also may not disclose the contents of papers not selected for publication.

Section III.  Editor Responsibilities

Publication Determinations

Editors have absolute responsibility and authority for making decisions on paper publication. 

Editors are responsible for providing objective evaluations of all papers submitted to them.

Editors may have no conflict of interest with respect to any paper that they are responsible for evaluating.

To avoid potential bias, editors are expected to recuse themselves from evaluating papers where they recognize that they have or have had a close relationship with one or more of the paper's authors.

Editors must also recuse themselves from commenting upon papers where they may have a conflict of interest with respect to the research topic or funders.

Editors should accept papers for publication "subject to revisions" only when they are reasonably certain that the paper will become fully publishable in a reasonable amount of time.

Retractions

Editors have absolute responsibility and authority for ensuring that when an error or omission is detected in a previously published paper, a correction or retraction is promptly published.  See Section VI for guidelines for retractions and corrections.

Reviewer Anonymity

Editors have a duty to preserve the anonymity of each paper's reviewers.  However, editors may and do publically recognize the contributions of reviewers, as long as their reviews are not connected to specific papers.

Paper Confidentiality

Editors may not disclose or use the contents of papers submitted to a journal that are not yet accepted for publication.  They also may not disclose the contents of papers not selected for publication.

Section IV.  Board of Governors responsibilities

Safeguarding Publishing Ethics

The Executive Director and Board of Governors have primary responsibility for maintaining the integrity of the academic record.

The Executive Director and Board of Governors will not allow business needs or concerns for journal or personal reputations to compromise their commitment to intellectual honesty or their ethical or moral standards.  Similarly, we hold that it is unethical for any publisher to hold back publication of a paper simply because the current issue is already full.  For this reason, papers and cases will be published without undue delay as soon as their are accepted for publication, without regard to profit.

The Executive Director and Board of Governors are responsible for upholding the values and commitments expressed in this statement on ethics and misconduct.

The Executive Director and Board of Governors are responsible for monitoring publishing ethics and acting promptly when ethical issues arise.

The Executive Director and Board of Governors will publish retractions, corrections, clarifications, or apologies, willingly and promptly.  See Section VI for guidelines for retractions and corrections.

The Executive Director and Board of Governors are responsible for updating and enforcing this statement on ethics and misconduct.

Section V.  Guidelines for retractions
and corrections

Speed of Reporting

All corrections of any type will be published promptly.  Speed is of the essence to limit the potential damage from others who may rely on faulty research, as well as to maintain academic integrity.

Retractions and Statements of Concern

Retractions will be published in cases where convincing evidence indicates plagiarism, self-plagiarism, unreliable data or statistical results, mistreatment of human subjects, or other unethical research. 

If evidence in such cases is inconclusive or if it will take a lengthy time to determine whether there has been a serious issue, the Executive Director or Board of Governors may decide to issue a Statement of Concern.

Corrections

Corrections will be published to correct small errors in otherwise healthy manuscripts, where authors may have made a mistake, but there was no intentional unethical activity and the vast majority of a manuscript is sound.

Prominence of Retractions and Corrections

Retractions, Statements of Concern, and Corrections will link to the original article in our online publication and be published in the next print issue of the corresponding publication.  Statements of Concern that are resolved will be removed from the online version and, depending on timing, either not published in print at all, or their resolution will be published in the next print issue.

Section VI.  Enforcement

Reporting of violations

Anyone may report a violation or suspected violation by emailing the Executive Director of the Informing Science Institute at EliCohen@InformingScience.org

Enforcement

Those accused of violation of these policies will be objectively investigated by the Board of Governors of the Informing Science Institute. 

Governors with a personal or professional interest in the case are expected to recuse themselves.

Those involved will be notified of concerns and given the opportunity to provide evidence and clarification. 

Following the investigation for professional misconduct, sanctions, if any are taken, may include temporary or permanent barring from ISI journals and conferences and notifying the offender's employer of the board's findings.

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