PUBLISHING ETHICS

In the past decade, India has made rapid strides in contributing scholarly content to global research output and currently accounts for about 88 per cent of scholarly publications from South Asia. Although there has been a visible spurt in the quantity of scholarly publications from India, the average quality of research output remains low. Instances of research misconduct, including but not limited to data fabrication, falsification and plagiarism are aplenty. In such a scenario, there is need for the Indian Research community to focus on publishing ethics to be at par with international standards.

Research and innovation are the key sources of competitive advantage for a society and help in its overall economic, social and cultural well-being. Successful reporting and publication of research adds to the existing pool of knowledge and helps in developing future hypothesis and dialogue to benefit the community and society at large.

A Sound research environment requires the active support of all stakeholders in the research lifecycle. Researchers who are at the heart of this ecosystem, shoulder a greater responsibility in the reporting of research. This booklet is a handy guide for researchers and academia. It provides clear guidelines on ethical practices for conducting and reporting research.

Key influencers like research institutes and universities, will find the overview of the policy framework and guidelines helpful in creating a conducive environment for ethical research practice.

Responsible communication of research depends upon the adherence to guidelines on authorship, acknowledgement, data integrity, appropriate permissions, and being mindful of potential conflicts of interest that may arise while reporting a research

AUTHORSHIP

Who is an author?

An author is someone who has made a significant contribution to the work reported: in terms of research conception or design, or acquisition of data, or the analysis and interpretation of data.

Who is a co-author?

A co-author is someone who has made a significant contribution to an article and who equally shares the responsibility and accountability for results.

If an article is written by more than one author, you’ll choose one person to be the corresponding author, who would handle correspondence and sign the publishing agreement on behalf of all the authors. He/she is responsible for ensuring that all authors’ contact details are correct.

Who is responsible for the contents of a paper?

The researchers who have substantially contributed to the conceptualization, design, investigation, data analysis, drafting or revising of an article would be called as the authors of the paper. All authors named on the paper are equally accountable for the content of a manuscript or a published paper.

DATA MANAGEMENT

What are the factors to be taken care of when reporting research data?

Responsible data collection and reporting is paramount to a sound publication of a scholarly article. Researchers and authors need to be aware of effective data management practices and the norms for handling data in their disciplines. It is important to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness of data to avoid infringement of any form.

The Office of Research Integrity in the USA recognises data management as an essential requirement for all stages of research in order to maintain data integrity. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Identifying appropriate sources and mythologies for collection of data;
  • Obtaining relevant legal or ethical permissions for working with a set of data sources like human and animal subjects;
  • Following good laboratory practices and experimental guidelines by adequately trained research sfaff;
  • Using relevant technologies for recording and analysing the data; and
  • Accurate reporting of the data.

PERMISSIONS

Do I need permission if I use any material from my own work?

Yes, you will need to check who owns the copyright of the original work and ask for permission to reuse the material.

What do I need to be mindful of when using third-party material in my article?

You must obtain the necessary written permission to include material in your article that is owned and held in copyright by a third party, including-but not limited to –any proprietary text, illustration, table, or other material; data, audio, video, film stills, screenshots, musical notation, and any supplemental material.

WHAT IS PLAGIARISM?

According to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), plagiarism is when somebody presents the work of others (data, words, or theories) as if they were his/her own and without proper acknowledgement.

One should ensure the following when citing others’ (or your own) previous works:

  • Mark quoted text reproduced verbatim from another source with quotation marks.
  • Attribute and reference the source of the quotation within the text and in the References section.
  • Obtain permission from the original publisher and rights holder when using previously published figures or tables.

HOW TO AVOID SELF-PLAGIARISM?

Self – plagiarism is the redundant reuse of your work, usually without proper citation. It creates repetition in the academic literature and can skew meta-analysis if the same sets of data are published multiple times as “new” data. If you are discussing your previous work, make sure you cite it.

HOW TO AVOID COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT?

There are many ways in which you can use copyrighted material without infringing copyright.

  • If your use falls under a statutory exception, such as “fair use”
  • Comply with existing license terms or terms of use, if available
  • Request permission from the copyright owner to use the work

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR WORK HAS BEEN PLAGIARISED AND PUBLISHED?

In such a case the author should contact the Editor(s) of the Journal where the paper has been published and provide with appropriate evidences indicating that the research data is that of the authors and has been plagiarized. The complaint will be investigated further by the Editor(s) of the Journal, in consultation with the Publishers.