1.0 Introduction

The Council of Science Editors and its Editorial Policy Committee encourage everyone involved in the journal publishing process to take responsibility for promoting integrity in scientific journal publishing. This paper will serve as a basis for developing and improving effective practices to achieve that goal. We first wrote this white paper in 2006 and it was last updated in 2009. For the 2012 Update, we substantially revised and updated each section; included information on citation manipulation, publication planning by study sponsors, and ethical conduct of sponsors; reorganized the section on reporting suspect manuscripts; updated information on international models for responding to research misconduct; and provided more recent examples of corrections, retractions, and expressions of concern.

Through this White Paper and other activities, the Editorial Policy Committee aims to open dialogue 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 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 White Paper intends to inform and guide rather than 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 areas are given. However, our intention is to provide information that is useful to all the 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 your contributions. Please send comments and suggestions to CSE@councilscienceeditors.org and include “Editorial Policy Committee” in the subject line.

(Authorship: 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. This section was formally approved by the CSE Board of Directors on March 30, 2012.)