Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement

University of Toronto Press (UTP) is committed to ensuring that all works published in our journals are of the highest quality and scrutinized under the highest ethical standards. We expect editors, reviewers, and authors working on, and contributing to, UTP journals to be committed to upholding these high ethical standards as well. In our ethical standards and procedures, we set out general expectations for authors, editors, reviewers, publishers, and society partners. The University of Toronto Press hereby adheres to the current copyright laws and practices set out by the Official Copyright Board of Canada.

ETHICAL EXPECTATIONS

Publishers and Editors must:

  • Take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred
  • In no case encourage such misconduct, or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place
  • In the event that a journal’s publisher or editors are made aware of any allegation of research misconduct the publisher or editor must deal with allegations appropriately
  • Have guidelines for retracting or correcting articles when needed
  • Always be willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions, and apologies when needed
  • Ensure that each journal name is unique and not one that might be easily confused with another journal or that might mislead potential authors and readers about the journal’s origin or association with other journals

Publishers must:

  • Not use organizational names that would mislead potential authors and editors about the nature of the journal’s owner
  • Provide support to editors during investigations into allegations of misconduct

Editors must:

  • Have editorial boards or other governing bodies whose members are recognized experts in the field(s) discussed in the publication
  • Disclose full names and affiliations of the editorial board members on the journal’s web site
  • Provide accurate contact information for the editorial office on the journal’s website
  • Provide authors with clear information regarding any fees or charges that are required for manuscript processing and/or publishing materials before authors begin preparing their manuscript for submission
  • Determine and accept responsibility for all content published in the journal
  • Value and ensure the integrity and accuracy of content published in the journal and publish corrections, clarifications, and retractions when necessary
  • Ensure confidentiality during the peer review process
  • Follow and uphold the journal’s submission process and policy
  • Maintain a neutral stance and not have a stake in the acceptance and publication of a manuscript
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the identities of both authors and peer reviewers
  • Provide guidance to authors and reviewers as needed throughout the submission, review, and publication process
  • Ensure that the peer review process of their journal is impartial, unbiased, and timely
  • Alert the publisher of potential infringements of intellectual property laws
  • Address reported ethical breaches in a timely manner and from a neutral position (see Procedures for Addressing Unethical Behaviour for more on this process)

Authors must:

  • Have significantly contributed to the research; “guest”/”gift” authorship is strictly prohibited. Some journals may require a short statement describing each author’s contribution to the work to be included with submitted files
  • List all contributing authors; “ghost authorship” is strictly prohibited
  • Certify in writing that neither the article submitted nor a version of it (in any language) has been published, nor is publicly available online, nor is being considered for publication elsewhere, nor will be submitted elsewhere for consideration for publication while the manuscript is under review by the journal. Articles that represent expansions must be identified as such at submission. They will be considered on a case-by-case basis
  • Certify that they have written the manuscript in its entirety and that it contains only original and accurate information
  • Ensure that the publication has been approved by all coauthors and the authorities at the organization where the research was carried out, as necessary
  • Participate in the peer review process
  • List references and financial support
  • Cite sources accurately and in accordance with journal submission guidelines
  • Declare any conflict of interest (COI) for any author. For some journals, the corresponding author may be required to coordinate the completion of COI declarations by each coauthor
  • Ensure that all research is conducted fairly and ethically. Whenever appropriate, articles presenting research on human subjects must either provide the name of the ethics committee that approved the study or confirm that no approval is needed.
  • Ensure patients’ rights to privacy when publishing articles involving human subjects. UTP encourages journals to follow the ICMJE guidelines for reporting on human subjects. For articles containing detailed information about a living patient, it is necessary for signed patient consent to be obtained. Any identifying characteristics that might reveal a patient’s identity must be removed (i.e., x-rays, MRIs, charts, photographs, etc.). Written informed consent is also needed from any potentially identifiable patient or that patient’s legal representative. This consent should be presented in the submission.
  • Adhere to the ARRIVE guidelines when animals are used in research, and, when requested, provide evidence of ethical/legal approval that was obtained prior to the research being undertaken
  • Register clinical trials in publically accessible databases (e.g., Health Canada, www.clinicaltrials.gov)
  • Ensure that all permissions have been obtained for all images, graphics, and supplementary materials prior to publication
  • Immediately inform the journal editor of any errors, inaccuracies, or misrepresentations discovered within the manuscript after submission
  • Provide retractions or corrections of mistakes

Peer Review Process

Peer-review is defined as obtaining advice on individual manuscripts from reviewers who are experts in the field.

All of a journal’s scholarly content should be subjected to peer-review. UTP does not promote one system of peer review over another (e.g., open, single- or double-blind), and individual journals are encouraged to publish the details of their review procedures.

Reviewers must:

  • Disclose any potential or immediate conflict of interest in the review of a submission
  • Ensure confidentiality during the peer review process
  • Recuse themselves if they are certain of the identity of the author(s) in order to maintain the integrity of the blind review process (when applicable)
  • Review manuscripts in an objective, impartial, unbiased, and timely manner
  • Advise the editor if there are any concerns regarding the originality of the submission
  • Not distribute the electronic manuscript file for any purpose other than blinded peer review

UTP’s Code of Conduct states that employees, directors, and officers must:

  • Comply with all Canadian laws
  • Manage conflicts of interest with integrity
  • Maintain accurate records
  • Protect intellectual property, information systems, and confidential journal information
  • Communicate with honesty and professionalism at all times

PROCEDURES FOR ADDRESSING UNETHICAL BEHAVIOUR

Identification

  • Unethical practices may be identified and brought to the attention of the editor or publisher at any time.
  • Unethical practices may include, but are not limited to, violations of any of the Ethical Expectations outlined above (e.g., plagiarism, falsification or fabrication, authorship falsification, redundant publication, undeclared COI, etc.).
  • The person reporting the ethical breach must provide sufficient evidence in order for an investigation to be undertaken. All allegations are treated equally and taken seriously until a conclusion has been reached.

Investigation

  • Initial decisions will be made by the editor in consultation with UTP.
  • To avoid defamation, evidence gathering will be conducted in such a way as to limit the spread of allegations beyond those who need to know.
  • Allegations will be raised in a timely manner.
  • Cases that fall outside of the means of the editor to investigate (e.g., data fabrication or theft) should be referred to the author’s institution with a request for investigation.

Minor Ethical Breaches

  • Minor misconduct may be dealt with without wider consultation. The author should be given an opportunity to respond to any allegations.

Serious Ethical Breaches

  • In cases of serious misconduct, the employer of the accused may need to be notified. The editor, in consultation with the publisher, editorial board, and/or society governing body, as appropriate, will make a decision on whether this is warranted.

Consequences

Once an ethical breach has been confirmed, one or several of the following will be applied in response. Consequences are listed from least to most severe and will match the severity of the misconduct.

  • Informing the author or reviewer of the breach in misconduct in cases where there seems to be a misunderstanding of ethical standards
  • Sending a more strongly worded letter to the author or reviewer outlining the breach and warning against future behaviour
  • Publishing an erratum notice outlining the breach
  • Publishing an editorial outlining the ethical breach
  • Sending a formal letter to the author or reviewer’s employer or funding agency
  • Undertaking a formal retraction or withdrawal of the work in question from the journal, coupled with informing A&I services and readership of the misconduct
  • Imposing a formal embargo on submissions from an individual for a set period
  • Reporting the misconduct to a regulatory association for review and action