Tropical Parasitology

: 2012  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4--5

Ethics of editorial and peer review

Jharna Mandal, Sidhartha Giri, Subhash Chandra Parija 
 Department of Microbiology, Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Subhash Chandra Parija
Department of Microbiology, Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry

How to cite this article:
Mandal J, Giri S, Parija SC. Ethics of editorial and peer review.Trop Parasitol 2012;2:4-5

How to cite this URL:
Mandal J, Giri S, Parija SC. Ethics of editorial and peer review. Trop Parasitol [serial online] 2012 [cited 2022 Oct 1 ];2:4-5
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Full Text

In the age of publication-based appraisals, the general dictum is to either publish or perish. This has brought in an unwanted alteration in the scientific temper leading to unabated flouting of ethical norms regarding documentation of research findings. Pressures to deliver are countered by chaos generated by the slipshod research or ignoring fine print or rules. With the rise in number of publications and most of the publishing houses receiving more than what they can be expected to handle, it is worth taking a glimpse of the peer reviewers' role and responsibilities related to ethics of scientific publication.

Role and responsibilities of peer reviewers

The most important responsibility of the editorial process is to ensure good quality of scientific publication. This entails that the entire peer review and publication process has to be thorough, objective, and fair. The purpose of peer reviewing is to improve and advance research publication. In a nutshell it is a form of unbiased constructive criticism which aims to bring about the best in the research work. Researchers who offer or accept the role of a peer reviewer should be made aware regarding their responsibilities towards the cause so that when any malpractices in research or violation of ethics are encountered, the researcher/peer reviewer should willingly take appropriate steps to report it. They should remain available for such work and they need to possess adequate knowledge and expertise in the related field. They must be fully aware of the ethical aspects of research and publication and hence should disclose any actual or potential conflicts of personal or professional interest with the work under review.

Ethical principles and decisions are a part of every process, be it peer review or otherwise. Extra efforts are taken to screen the manuscripts using many less-explained processes of detecting any unethical content. The reputation of a journal depends on these editorial policies on ethics and a journal of good repute undoubtedly enjoys an overwhelming trust from its readers, contributors, reviewers, and research workers. [1],[2] Hence, the role of the peer reviewers is of prime importance and they are great assets to an editorial team.

Responsibilities of the author/s

The basis of a good research is a well-justified, well-planned, and appropriately designed approach, which has the capacity to address the research question. Ethical and statistical issues should be addressed in depth so as to answer the research question. Outcomes should be specified at the start of the study. High standards of quality should be maintained in conducting the research. All procedures and data must be retained and produced for review upon request. Any sort of concealment or misrepresentation of data constitutes scientific misconduct. [2],[3] All the authors should be awarded the appropriate credit for their involvement in a publication. Also the authors should avoid dissemination of the results of research before they are peer reviewed or published in appropriate journals.

In studies involving medical records, humans or human parts, as well as animals, a documented review and approval from a formally constituted review board (institutional review board or ethics committee) is an essential requirement. All studies should abide by the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki. The process of recruitment of subjects for study should be stated clearly and informed consent from participants should always be obtained. All animal experiments should be compliant with the ethical and regulatory principles and should be accompanied by either statements or certificates of local licensing authority. The art and style of presentation for the contributors should be mentioned in a simplified and an unambiguous manner in the journal's home page so that the authors do not find it difficult to comprehend. It is of utmost importance that the editors should keep themselves well informed of the latest developments regarding publication of scientific research. [2],[3],[4]


Hence, there is room for more thoughts on the ethics of the editorial process, which may have been compromised in the establishment of certain facts.

In fact, if the scientific approach is appropriate and honest by all means, it is capable of transforming the mindset of research workers, which can cause tumultuous metamorphosis of the entire scientific temper and research. Every creature is born free and with this freedom comes power and one should wield this power with a great sense of responsibility. In the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, "Even the most rational approach to ethics is defenseless if there isn't the will to do what is right".


1International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals: Ethical considerations in the conduct and reporting of research: Editorship. Available from: [Last accessed on 2012 Feb 5].
2WAME Editorial Policy Committee. The relationship between journal editors-in-chief and owners (formerly titled editorial independence). World association of medical editors. Available from: [Last accessed on 2012 Feb 5].
3Benos DJ, Fabres J, Farmer J, Gutierrez JP, Hennessy C, Kosek D, et al. Ethics and scientific publication. Adv Physiol Educ 2005;29:59-74.
4Horner J, Minifie FD. Research ethics III: Publication practices and authorship, conflicts of interest, and research misconduct. J Speech, Lang Hear Res 2011;54: S346-62.