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 When distrust or assertions arise regarding any of misstatement or malpractice,

the editors will ideally, address such issues after submission and prior to publication. 

Editors will investigate suspicions and any assertions made

and reach a decision on the basis of those investigations.

When the editors suspect an ethics abuse may exist in relation to an article submitted,

or allegation concerning a submitted article,

the editors will take the following steps:

1. Editors, as a matter of due process, will raise the issue with

the corresponding author and in some cases

with a precise co-author whose activities are criticized

about— in some situations all co-authors of the article in

enquiry may need to be communicated.

Editors will seek a clarification and, where needed, the provision of evidence supportive that explanation.

2. Editors will also seek a clarification from, and the views of,

any complainant together, where necessary, with evidence supporting that explanation.

3. Editors will try to find the complainant’s views on

any clarification and evidence provided by the author.

Likewise, editors will seek the views of the author on

any explanation and evidence provided by the complainant.

At this point in the investigation, Editors may be satisfied

that there has been no ethical violation.

If not, however, editors will continue to investigate the matter.

4. If the authors are incapable to gratify editors on

a balance of probabilities that there has been no violation,

then the editors will carry out further investigation.

The depth of the investigation will vary from case to case, but may include the following steps:

  • Further investigating any allegations made by third parties
  • Speaking to colleagues of any author
  • Speaking to officials at any institutions where the research in question was carried out
  • Speaking to officials at any professional body or institution of which any author is a member
  • Speaking to other leading experts in the field of research in question
  • Speaking to members of the editorial advisory board of the journal
  • Working with any professional body with an investigative mission such as the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)

Caution concerning defamation claims

In carrying out any investigation, editors will take great care to act fairly and objectively and not to defame any author

(or complainant) in any way, which could give rise to legal liabilities, including damages.

To avoid defamation claims by authors, editors will bear in mind the following guidelines in investigation:

  • Any inquiries of an author’s institution will be made in terms of an “alleged” or “apparent” violation. 
  • The inquiries should clearly state the facts and the allegation without premature judgment of the author’s culpability.
  • Care will be taken to gather information while imparting as little information as possible about the suspicion or accusation.

    Legal consequences of findings

    In the case of plagiarism, there may be an infringement of copyright and, possibly, also moral rights.

    Moral rights include the right of an author of a work to be identified as such, 

    as well as the right of an author to prevent changes to his or her work that are of a derogatory nature.

    In the case of research results not being original to the purported author,

    and allegations about authorship of contributions,

    there may be an infringement of the moral rights outlined above,

    but also infringement of a person’s moral right not to have

    a work attributed to him or her when not the author.

    In all cases of ethical misconduct, there is likely to be a breach of contract by the author,

    who will have contravened the terms of his or her publishing agreement,

    with the publisher or the relevant instructions to authors.

    Other Journals/publications

    Once a paper has been published in another journal or other publication and it look as if that this paper

    (1) copies a paper published in the JEMS,

    (2) contains research results that are not unique to its author

    but are unique to the author of a paper published in JEMS,


    (3) has already been published in whole or in part in the JEMS,

    editors will observe the following procedure.

    As a first step, editors will communicate with the editor of the publication,

    in which the aberrant paper appears,

    looking for a full explanation.

    It is to be expected that the editor of that publication will take steps parallel to those recommended

    by these guidelines in relation to our publications.

    If that editor fails to investigate the matter appropriately or is not

    able to gratify you on a balance of probabilities that there is no issue,

    then JEMS editors will follow the steps recommended

    when the suspected offending paper appears in the JEMS.

    That is, editors will investigate the suspicion or allegation by initially contacting the author(s) of the

    offending publication for a clarification, and continuing the investigation to its necessary conclusion

    Last Updated on Thursday, 10 March 2022 14:45  

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