Ethics Statement

Research Involving Humans

"`’Ethical conduct’ literally means simply doing the right thing, but in reality it means more. It involves acting in the right spirit, out of an abiding respect and concern for one's fellow creatures." From "Ethics in human research" by  Jharna Mandal, Srinivas Acharya, and Subhash Chandra Parija.

All research studies involving human subjects (individuals, samples, or data) must have been followed the ESOMAR/GRBN Guideline on Duty of Care: Protecting Research Data Subjects from Harm and ICC/ESOMAR International Code on Market, Opinion and Social Research and Data Analytics or equivalent guidelines with the same intention.

Social science research often requires the participation of people in empirical studies. In this context, researchers are aware of their special role in their relationship with the participants. Appropriate measures are taken to grant the dignity and integrity of the people participating in research processes. Ethical approval must be obtained from the local institutional review board (IRB) or other appropriate ethics committee for all protocols prior to initiation of the study to confirm that the study meets national and international guidelines for research involving human subjects. The manuscript must include a statement confirming this and indicating the name of the ethics committee and reference or approval numbers, if available. Would a retroactive review by the Research Ethics Committee be appropriate? It depends on the case. You can take guidance from the case discussions in the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) forum. For studies for which ethical approval is not required (e.g., due to national laws) or for which an ethics committee has granted an exemption, this should be stated in the manuscript with a detailed explanation. Studies of this type are usually non-interventional studies such as surveys, observational studies or review studies. The name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption should be provided if an exemption was granted for a study. We recommend to take note of the article "Is ethics approval necessary for all trials?" by F. Suna Kıraç. Case reports: Most facilities have specific policies on this topic. Authors should verify that they meet the specific requirements. We recommend to take note of the "ethics of case reports" by Michael I Shevell.

Non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing language should be used when describing different groups by ethnicity, illness, age, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Human studies that use rules of human categorization should include an explanation of the used definitions and categories. We encourage following the Sex and Gender Equity in Research - SAGER - Guidelines and ESOMAR/GRBN Guideline on Research and Data Analytics with Children, Young People, and Other Vulnerable Individuals.

Publications Ethics

Our publication ethics and malpractice statement is based on the Core Practices from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Please note that we reserve the right to make editorial amendments to the content of the submitted articles.

Editors' responsibilities

  • Publication decisions: The editor decides which of all submitted papers will be forwarded to the reviewing process and published thereafter. The author’s gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, religious belief, citizenship, and political philosophy will not influence the editor’s evaluation. Decisions are based on transparent criteria published on Current legal requirements regarding libel, copyright infringement, and plagiarism will also be taken into account.
  • Obligation to secrecy: The editor and the editorial team must not disclose any information about submitted materials to anyone other than the corresponding author, potential reviewers, and reviewers.
  • Disclosure and conflicts of interest: Editors do require reviewers to disclose any potential competing interests before agreeing to review a submission. Unpublished materials in a submitted article will not be misused by the editor or the members of the editorial board or used without explicit agreement by the author(s).

Reviewers' responsibilities

  • Contribution to editorial decisions: The double-blind peer-review process assists the editor in making editorial decisions. Authors have occasion to improve their submissions with the help of the comments from the reviewers.
  • Confidentiality: Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential data. Only after the editor’s permission may contents be discussed with others. Disclosure of any material is prohibited.
  • Objectivity: Reviewers are supposed to review objectively. Personal matters regarding the author should not influence the review decision. If the reviewing results are contradictory, a third opinion will be sought.
  • Acknowledgement of sources: Reviewers are requested to identify relevant previous publications which have not been cited in the reference section. They should point out any observations or arguments from previous publications that are not properly cited.
  • Conflict of interest: Reviewers are required to reveal any conflicts of interest regarding any given manuscript and will not be considered for review of those articles. This includes any connection to authors, companies, and institutions associated with the submission. Any information received during the peer review must not be used for personal advantage.

Authors' duties

  • Reporting standards: Authors of research reports should give an accurate account of their work. The manuscript should include an objective discussion of the work’s significance. Underlying data must be represented comprehensibly in the manuscript. An article should cite sufficient sources to enable others to replicate the work described in the paper. Knowingly inaccurate statements or fraud signify unethical behavior and will not be accepted.
  • Data access and retention: Authors might be asked by the editor to provide the raw data of their manuscript before publication. The data may be made available to the public. Authors should ensure the accessibility of data to other professionals for at least ten years following publication. The confidentiality of any participants as well as legal rights and proprietary data must be protected.
  • Originality, plagiarism and acknowledgement of sources: The entire works of authors should be original work with appropriate citations and quotation of the work and/or words of others. Also, sources that influenced the nature of the reported work should be cited as well.
  • Multiple, redundant or concurrent publication: Articles containing the same research should not be published in more than one journal. Submission of the same manuscript to more than one journal is unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Articles which have been previously published elsewhere as copyrighted material must not be submitted. In addition, papers under review should not be resubmitted to any other copyrighted publications. By submitting a manuscript, the author(s) maintain the rights to the material. In case of publication, the author(s) agree to the use of a CC-BY license, which allows others to copy and redistribute (disseminate) the work.
  • Authorship of the paper: Authorship is limited to those who have made significant contributions to the concept, design, execution or interpretation of the reported material. Co-authors are all those who have made other contributions. The corresponding author must affirm the correctness of the author list. Also, the corresponding author must verify that all co-authors agree to the submission and publication of the final version of the article.
  • Conflicts of interest: All authors must include a complete statement describing any financial or other material conflicts of interest that may be construed to influence the research or interpretation of their work.
  • Fundamental errors in published works: An author who discovers significant errors in his/her published article is obligated to notify the editor of the journal immediately.