Publication Decisions

The editor of a learned journal is solely and independently responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published, often working in conjunction with the relevant society (for society-owned or sponsored journals) [4, 6]. The validation of the work in question and its importance to researchers and readers must always underwrite such decisions. The editor may be guided by the policies of the journal's editorial board and constrained by such legal requirements as shall then be in force regarding issues such as libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism. The editor may confer with other editors or reviewers (or society officers) in making these decisions.

Peer review

The editor shall ensure that the peer review process is fair, unbiased, and timely.  Research articles must typically be reviewed by at least two external and independent reviewers, and where necessary the editor should seek additional opinions.

The editor shall select reviewers who have suitable expertise in the relevant field and shall follow best practice in avoiding the selection of fraudulent peer reviewers [8]. The editor shall review all disclosures of potential conflicts of interest and suggestions for self-citation made by reviewers in order to determine whether there is any potential for bias.

Fair play

The editor should evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors.

The editorial policies of the journal should encourage transparency and complete, honest reporting, and the editor should ensure that peer reviewers and authors have a clear understanding of what is expected of them.  The editor shall use the journal’s standard electronic submission system for all journal communications.

The editor shall establish, along with the publisher, a transparent mechanism for appeal against editorial decisions.

Journal metrics

The editor must not attempt to influence the journal’s ranking by artificially increasing any journal metric. In particular, the editor shall not require that references to that (or any other) journal’s articles be included except for genuine scholarly reasons and authors should not be required to include references to the editor’s own articles or products and services in which the editor has an interest.


The editor must protect the confidentiality of all material submitted to the journal and all communications with reviewers, unless otherwise agreed with the relevant authors and reviewers. In exceptional circumstances and in consultation with the publisher, the editor may share limited information with editors of other journals where deemed necessary to investigate suspected research misconduct [9].

Unless the journal is operating an open peer-review system and/or reviewers have agreed to disclose their names, the editor must protect reviewers’ identities.

Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in an editor's own research without the express written consent of the author. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage.

Declaration of Competing Interests

Any potential editorial conflicts of interest should be declared to the publisher in writing prior to the appointment of the editor, and then updated if and when new conflicts arise. The publisher may publish such declarations in the journal.

The editor must not be involved in decisions about papers which s/he has written him/herself or have been written by family members or colleagues or which relate to products or services in which the editor has an interest. Further, any such submission must be subject to all of the journal’s usual procedures, peer review must be handled independently of the relevant author/editor and their research groups, and there must be a clear statement to this effect on any such paper that is published [10].

The editor shall apply Elsevier’s policy relating to the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest by authors and reviewers, e.g. the ICMJE guidelines [1].

Vigilance over the Published Record

The editor should work to safeguard the integrity of the published record by reviewing and assessing reported or suspected misconduct (research, publication, reviewer and editorial), in conjunction with the publisher (or society).

Such measures will generally include contacting the author of the manuscript or paper and giving due consideration to the respective complaint or claims made, but may also include further communications to the relevant institutions and research bodies. The editor shall further make appropriate use of the publisher’s systems for the detection of misconduct, such as plagiarism.

An editor presented with convincing evidence of misconduct should coordinate with the publisher (and/or society) to arrange the prompt publication of a correction, retraction, expression of concern, or other correction to the record, as may be relevant [10].