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Ethical Guidelines for Authors
Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement
Equinox Publishing is a leading independent publisher specialising in books and journals in the humanities, social sciences and performing arts. We are committed to the integrity of our academic publishing, and to ensure this we follow a number of best practice principles especially those recommended by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE); a global not-for-profit organisation which aims to support publishers and editors to achieve high standards in publishing ethics.
Equinox publishes more than 50 academic journals alongside a book programme that produces approximately 50 new books per year. We have been in business since 2003. We publish journals on behalf of academic societies/associations and journals that we own ourselves but which operate under the direction of independent academic editors. All of our journals have international editorial boards and are peer reviewed to the highest standards.
We uphold the following standards as well as other specific standards that may be appropriate for specific subject matters and disciplines. We have communicated these standards to our journal editors who share in our aims for ethical publishing practice and agree to work towards these standards throughout the editorial process.
• honesty in all aspects of research;
• scrupulous care, thoroughness and excellence in research practice;
• transparency and open communication;
• care and respect for all participants in and subjects of research;
• accountability both for one’s own research integrity and that of others when behaviour falls short of our standards.
• editorial independence un-compromised through competing interests, fear, or any other corporate, business, financial or political influence;
• non-discrimination against anyone involved in the authorship, editing or reviewing of submitted papers based on identity or personal characteristics;
• active efforts to encourage submissions from scholars from diverse backgrounds that have historically been under-represented in academic journals
We (the publisher and editors) commit to taking all reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred. Thus, in the event that we are made aware of any allegation of research misconduct, we shall deal with allegations appropriately, including taking steps to retract or correct articles when necessary or to publish clarification and or apologies. See below for specific steps we might take.
We do not tolerate abusive behaviour or correspondence towards our staff or others involved in the publishing process on our behalf and we assert the right to take action to take action against such abuse. This may include, for example, withdrawal of a manuscript from consideration, or challenging clearly abusive peer review comments or abusive book reviews.
Peer review is critical to maintaining the standards of our publications. Editorial decisions on manuscripts submitted to our journals are made by external academic editors (not by employees of Equinox), and are based on independent peer review reports which are normally double-blind unless otherwise noted in the guidelines for contributors of a particular journal.
Upon receipt of manuscripts, the journal editor or editors make a decision about whether or not to take a submission forward for peer review and will notify the author/s of their decision within a reasonable time as outlined in the guidelines for contributors of each journal. Unless noted otherwise, all research articles that our journal editors choose to have reviewed are done so under a double-blind process by two external reviewers. Some material may be invited in which case it will be peer reviewed by either a member of the editorial board or by an external, non-board member but not on a double-blind basis. Regular book, media or software reviews are not blind reviewed but are invited and accepted on the recommendation of appropriate review editor.
• provide appropriate systems, training and support to facilitate rigorous, fair and effective peer review for all our publications;
• encourage our editors and peer reviewers to familiarise themselves with and act in accordance with relevant best practice guidelines on peer review. For journal editors and peer reviewers, please refer to COPE’s Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers;
• expect those who oversee the peer review process to be able to recognise warning signs of fraudulent or manipulated peer review, and to raise any concerns with the Publisher;
• support our editors and peer reviewers in investigating and acting on any suspected cases of manipulated or fraudulent peer review;
• protect the confidentiality of participants in the peer review process where anonymity forms part of that publication’s peer review process. We also expect our publishing partners, authors and peer reviewers to uphold any relevant confidentiality arrangements for each journal and to provide necessary information to support this.
An invited reviewer may work with a more junior colleague to review a manuscript for the purpose of reviewer training as long as permission is obtained in advance from the journal editor/s.
The co-reviewer must also declare any relevant competing interests.
The co-reviewer must be specifically identified during the completion of the review, either in the ‘Confidential Comments to the Editor’ section or, if a journal has a specific question about co-review, in the reviewer report form. This allows the co-reviewer to be credited for the review and to be added to a journal’s reviewer pool.
Authorship and Contributorship
Different disciplines and publication formats have different norms for who is listed as an author. In the majority of cases in our subject areas there are single or multiple authors each of whom qualifies as a main author, in which case they are listed alphabetically unless specifically requested otherwise and agreed by all parties.
Where a paper has multiple contributors not all of whom have made equal contributions we recommend applying the following principles to define the main or corresponding author/s and it is the responsibility of such authors to confirm that such designation has been agreed by all parties. The qualifications are that the person
1. Has made substantial contributions to the original conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work;
2. Has drafted the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content;
3. Has undertaken manuscript corrections and proofreading and the handling the revisions and re-submission of revised manuscripts up to the acceptance of the manuscripts;
4. Has signed our publishing agreement and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and that any permissions for re-use (as in illustrations or quotations) have been cleared and resolved;
5. In the case of Gold Open Access, has arranged for payment of an APC (article processing charge) as required and whose affiliation will be the primary determining factor for the consideration of any discounts;
6. Will act on behalf of other contributors in responding to post-publication queries in relation to the work as a whole.
Where a paper has clearly defined Main/Corresponding Authors as well as contributors who have made significant contributions but who do not meet the above criteria for main or corresponding authorship, those persons may still be designed as a Contributor to a paper if they have undertaken any 2 of the first 4 activities noted above with the agreement of the Main/Corresponding author/s.
Individuals who have had only occasional or minor involvement in the project should be identified in an acknowledgement statement only. Equinox reserves the right to limit the number of persons who will be named as Contributors to an article based on the examination of evidence and in conformance with normal practices pertaining to the discipline concerned.
COPE also provides extensive resources on authorship and authorship disputes, and we encourage anyone involved in editorial decisions to familiarise themselves with these resources. We support our editors in dealing with any authorship disputes, including escalating or seeking advice on cases with COPE.
We support initiatives that enable transparency in authorship and contributorship such as CRediT taxonomy (https://credit.niso.org/)
Any article affiliations should represent the institution(s) at which the research presented was conducted and/or supported and/or approved. For non-research content, any affiliations should represent the institution(s) with which each author is currently affiliated.
Equinox journal editors have access to (and are encouraged to use) CrossCheck, a plagarism-detection software system which identifies professional plagiarism and other forms of scholarly misconduct. Submissions containing suspected plagiarism, in whole or part, will be rejected. If plagiarism is discovered post-publication, we will follow our guidance outlined in the Retractions, Corrections and Expressions of Concern section of this Statement.
Duplicate and Redundant Publication
Duplicate or redundant publication, or ‘self-plagiarism’, occurs when a work, or substantial parts of a work, is published more than once by the author(s) of the work without appropriate cross-referencing or justification for the overlap. This can be in the same or a different language.
We do not support substantial overlap between publications. Exceptions may be made if:
• it is felt that editorially this will strengthen the academic discourse; and
• we have clear approval from the original publication; and
• we include citation of the original source.
Occasionally Equinox has re-published journal special issues (i.e. tightly focused thematic issues) in book format (in all cases reformatting, adding additional content and indexes) on the grounds that publication in book format is warranted to reach a separate audience than that achievable through normal channels available to academic journals.
When authors submit manuscripts to our journals, these manuscripts should not be under consideration, accepted for publication or in press within a different journal, book or similar entity.
Any manuscript based on a thesis should be a reworking of the material in the thesis and written to conform to the journal’s style guide When quoting from the thesis or reusing figures, authors should avoid self-plagiarism by citing and referencing any extracts copied or adapted from the thesis appropriately. If a thesis was published by a publisher and is publicly accessible, permission may be required from the thesis publisher before submitting to a journal. The relevant editor should be informed that the manuscript draws on a thesis in the cover letter.
COPE’s definition of redundant publication, is available at: https://publicationethics.org/
Research with Humans or Animals
Research involving humans or animals should be approved by relevant ethics committee(s) and should conform to international ethical and legal standards for research. We also expect authors to respect human participants’ right to privacy, and to gain any necessary consent to publish before submitting to us.
For information on whether authors are required to submit or include evidence regarding the above, please consult individual journal submission guidelines or contact the relevant book or journal editor.
Archaeology in Areas of Conflict
Our archaeology journals will not normally consider for publication research that has been undertaken in occupied territory and its contiguous waters as defined by the United Nations, unless that research is required to safeguard, record or preserve at-risk archaeological heritage of the occupied territory, or when permission of the acknowledged national authorities of the occupied territory has been obtained by the researcher.
Competing Interests and Funding
Authors submitting a journal manuscript are required to declare any potential competing interests that could interfere with the objectivity or integrity of a publication. Competing interests are situations that could be perceived to exert an undue influence on the presentation, review or publication of a piece of work. These may be financial, non-financial, professional, contractual or personal in nature.
Many of our publications also require the inclusion of a funding declaration in addition to a competing interest declaration.
In order to give people of all abilities and disabilities access to the content of your figures, we ask author to be sure that
• All figures have descriptive captions so that blind users can use text-to-speech software or a text-to-Braille hardware;
• Patterns are used instead of/ or in addition to colors for conveying information so that color-blind users can distinguish the visual elements;
• Any figure lettering has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1
Each of our journals' own webpages also provide a statement concerning Accessibility issues related to the website as a whole.
Libel, Defamation and Freedom of Expression
We do not support publishing false statements that harm the reputation of individuals, groups, or organisations. We encourage our journal editors to inform us of any concerns that they may have about the content of any submission prior to either sending it out for review or accepting it so that we may obtain legal advice.
We defend the right to express critical opinions in an objective, non-malicious and non-confrontational manner supported in all cases by verifiable facts or consensus. We will not publish reviews that are, in the opinion of our journal editor or book review editor or the Publisher, written in a malicious, self-serving or unhelpful manner.
Retractions, Corrections and Expressions of Concern
Journal editors will consider retractions, corrections or expressions of concern in line with COPE’s Retraction Guidelines. If an author is found to have made an error, the journal will issue a corrigendum. If the journal is found to have made an error, they will issue an erratum. Retractions are usually reserved for articles that are so seriously flawed that their findings or conclusions should not be relied upon, or that contain substantial plagiarism or life-endangering content.
Journals may make minor changes such as those which would likely occur during copyediting, typesetting or proofreading in order to correct such errors.
In exceptional cases, we may remove an article from online publication where we believe it is necessary to comply with our legal obligations. This includes, without limitation, where we have concerns that the article is defamatory, violates personal privacy or confidentiality laws, is the subject of a court order, or might pose a serious health risk to the general public. In these circumstances, we may decide to remove the article and publish a notice that clearly states why the full article has been removed.
Image Manipulation, Falsification and Fabrication
Where research data are collected or presented as images, modifying these images can sometimes misrepresent the results obtained or their significance. We recognise that there can be legitimate reasons for modifying images, but we expect authors to avoid modifying images where this leads to the falsification, fabrication, or misrepresentation of their results.
Fraudulent Research and Research Misconduct
Where we are made aware of fraudulent research or research misconduct by an Equinox contributor we will take all measures possible to investigate the integrity of any content that we have published by that contributor. Any publication found to include fraudulent results will be retracted, or an appropriate correction or expression of concern will be issued as noted above.
Versions and Adaptations and Potential Censorship Arising
Our publications may be distributed under license in many different global cultural, environmental and economic contexts and delivered to end users via non-Equinox platforms. We neither modify existing, published content nor originate new materials to meet political or ideological requirements. We do not endorse censorship and we support COPE’s Statement on Censorship, and we follow the guidelines set out in the Association of University Presses’ position paper, Facing Censorship: Statement of Guiding Principles.
Where we license reprint rights to journal content, we take measures to review that the licensed material has been reproduced in accordance with the terms in the contract.
Transparency, Data and Supporting Evidence
We strive to follow COPE’s Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.
We support transparency and openness around data, code, and other materials associated with research. We expect authors to maintain accurate records of supporting evidence necessary to allow others to understand, verify, and replicate new findings, and to supply or provide access to this supporting evidence, on reasonable request. Where appropriate and where allowed by their employer, funding body or others who might have an interest, we encourage authors to:
• deposit evidence in a suitable repository or storage location, for sharing and further use by others; and
• describe where the evidence may be found in a Data Availability Statement which authors should include in their publication.
Many of our publications also permit authors to submit and publish supplementary materials that are not essential for inclusion or that cannot be accommodated in the main text, but that would be of benefit to the reader. Unless otherwise stated, it should be assumed that data, code, and other materials or supplementary files will not be peer reviewed.
Integrity of Record
We maintain a record of the existence of everything we publish with information (metadata) describing each publication and stages of submission, review and publication.
We apply these same principles to our marketing, and do not modify or manipulate the representation of the academic record in our marketing activities.
When any product such as a journal article is purchased independent from the issue in which it was published, we supply it only in its totality to the customer, who is not entitled to alter its content in any way that is inconsistent with the licensing terms under which it was published. Such sales of disaggregated products are subject to the contracts with the copyright holders of the original products.
Ethical Business Practices
We have a programme to allow low-cost access to our digital content for researchers in developing countries. We also review and consider requests for reductions in APCs from academics who have insufficient funds to pay the regular Article Processing Charge in our journals for GOLD open access publication.
All Equinox colleagues with responsibility for our social media channels are expected to familiarise themselves with relevant best practice in media use, and to follow the Advertising Standards Authority’s Guidance on the Marketing of Publications. Colleagues are also expected to apply these policies and this guidance when using external influencers during a social media campaign.
We do not sell or rent our journal subscriber lists. We occasionally accept paid advertising with the prior approval of the editor of the journal concerned and on the grounds that such is entirely independent from editorial decisions and clearly distinctive from content.
Metrics, Usage and Reporting
We endeavour to ensure that our reporting of content usage remains compliant with industry standards and the COUNTER Code of Practice. We seek to implement new releases of COUNTER at the earliest opportunity that we can manage as a small publisher.