1.0 Introduction

The Council of Science Editors and its Editorial Policy Committee encourage everyone involved in the scholarly publishing process to take responsibility for promoting integrity in scientific publishing.  This White Paper will serve as a basis for developing and improving effective practices to achieve that goal. The Committee first wrote this paper in 2006 and the full document was updates in 2009 and 2012.  Beginning with the May 2018 update, the document will be updated on a rolling basis as new sections are added and/or existing sections are updated to reflect new information or best practices.  This will allow the Committee to more rapidly communicate updates.  E-mails from the CSE Marketing Committee along with commentaries in the Science Editor will alert the membership to updates.

Through this White Paper and other activities, the Editorial Policy Committee aims to open dialog about ethical publishing practices, inform those involved in the editorial process, and foster informed decision making by editors.  We intend to work with other professional organizations to shape the scientific journal environment so that the integrity of our publications is upheld.  With the understanding that what may be appropriate for one discipline or organization may not be so for another, the intention of the White Paper is to inform and guide rather than to direct.  Where there is more published information available from the biomedical community on some of the topics in this paper, more references or examples in those sections are given.  However, our intention is to provide information that is useful to all sciences.

Please help us to keep this living document current by pointing out areas that need to be expanded or updated. We will build on the work of this White Paper through the continued work of the committee and member contributions. Please send comments and suggestions to [email protected] and include “Editorial Policy Committee” in the subject line.

(Authorship: Kelly Hadsell took the lead in revising this section for the May, 2018 update on behalf of the CSE Editorial Policy Committee. Diane Scott-Lichter took the lead in writing this section of the white paper on behalf of the CSE Editorial Policy Committee. Heather Goodell revised this section for the 2009 Update. Kristi Overgaard revised this section for the 2012 Update. Members of the Editorial Policy Committee and the CSE Board of Directors reviewed and commented on it.)


Thank you for your further correspondence about this paper.

We have investigated the matter thoroughly. In our opinion there is clear evidence that [specify problem; e.g., a figure was manipulated inappropriately, the degree of overlap with another paper would constitute duplicate publication, etc.]. Therefore, ethical constraints and the policies of this journal require that we reject the paper.

I am sending this letter to all authors listed on the manuscript. [If the offense is severe, the next sentence may be added.] I will also be informing your institution [or: the institutions of all authors] of the outcome.