Scientific publication is the main channel of communication of data, information and ideas to the global scientific community and to society at large. It is a process that is self-regulated, relying heavily on peer review and the integrity of all those involved – namely authors, editors and reviewers. This code of ethics is written to provide guidance on the proper behaviour of editors, authors and reviewers in the process of scientific publication in any book or journal published by the Geological Society of London. It draws heavily on a similar code of conduct drawn up by the Geological Society of America.
1. Council and the Publications and Information Committee
1.1. Council is responsible for appointing a Publications Secretary who acts for and reports to Council on matters relating to Society Publications and chairs the Publications and Information Committee
1.2 The Publications and Information Committee sets policy for all Geological Society publications and appoints the Chief Editors of Society journals and book series
2. Editors, Associate Editors, and Guest Editors of Books
The term editor as used below refers to Chief Editors, Subject Editors, Advisory Editors, and other Editorial Board members when delegated to serve in an editorial capacity.
2.1. Editors of books and journals are expected to carry out editorial duties in a manner consistent with policies set by Council and with the Charter and Bye-laws of the Society. They should work closely with the appropriate Geological Society Publishing House staff.
2.2 Editors have full responsibility for editorial and technical decisions on journal and book content. Society Officers and Members of Council should not intervene or comment on editorial decisions on individual manuscripts unless specifically requested to do so by the responsible editor.
2.3 Editors will give manuscripts unbiased consideration.
2.4 Editors should process manuscripts promptly and diligently.
2.5 The editor has sole responsibility for acceptance or rejection of a manuscript. Manuscripts should be subject to peer review, but the Editor may exercise his/her own discretion to reject a manuscript for a particular reason (e.g. outside the remit of the journal, of poor scientific or presentational quality, contents previously published elsewhere, etc.)
2.6 The editor and editorial staff should not disclose information about submitted manuscripts except to reviewers, associate editors, editorial board members, and Geological Society Publishing House staff.
2.7 Responsibility for manuscripts submitted by an editor should be delegated to another editor or editorial board member. If an editor is listed as an author on an article, however minor his or her input, he or she cannot be involved in the review process for that article.
2.8 The editor should not handle manuscripts for which there is a real or perceived conflict of interest. Examples include, but are not restricted to, past or current collaboration, past or current employer or employee, past or current graduate supervisor or supervisee, personal or family relationship, institutional relationship, someone with whom the reviewer has had a past or on-going scientific controversy, or situations where the editor could stand to gain financially by publication or rejection of the manuscript. In these cases, past means within the past 5 years. In any of these cases, editorial responsibility should be delegated to another editor or editorial board member.
2.9 The editor should not use information, data, theories, or interpretations of any submitted manuscript in her/his own work until that manuscript is in press or published unless the author has given permission to do so.
2.10 If an editor is presented with convincing evidence that the main substance or conclusions of a publication are erroneous, he/she should facilitate publication of a report (e.g., correction, follow-up manuscript, or other appropriate means) pointing out the error and, if possible, correcting it. The report may be written by the person who discovered the error or by the original author, who should be asked if they wish to make a formal reply
3. Authors and Co-authors
3.1 Manuscripts should contain original, new results, data, ideas and/or interpretations not previously published or under consideration for publication elsewhere (including electronic media and databases).
3.2 Authors should be encouraged to avoid fragmentation of their published submitted work where practical. For example, full data sets should be published where possible and in press and or unpublished references to data that are germane to the paper should be avoided at all times. Data tables that are too large for print publication should be lodged as supplementary material on the relevant journal web site.
3.3 Authors should inform the editor of related manuscripts under consideration elsewhere and provide copies if requested.
3.4 Fabrication of data, results, selective reporting of data, theft of intellectual property of others, and plagiarism are unacceptable.
3.5 Information obtained privately (for example, in conversation, correspondence, or discussion with third parties) should not be used or reported in a manuscript without explicit permission from the party with whom the information originated. Information obtained in the course of confidential services (for example, refereeing manuscripts or grant applications) should be treated similarly.
3.6 Manuscripts will contain proper citation of works by others, especially publications of the original hypotheses, ideas, and/or data upon which the manuscript is based.
3.7 Data and/or samples (especially unusual or rare materials) upon which a publication is based should be made available to other scientists, except in special circumstances (patent protection, privacy, etc.), in the manuscript or through accessible data repositories, databases, museum collections, or other means when requested.
3.8.1 Authorship should be limited to those who have made significant contributions to the concept, design, execution or interpretation of the work reported in a manuscript; others who have contributed should be acknowledged.
3.8.2 Author order should be agreed on by all authors as should any changes in authors and order that occur while the manuscript is under review or revision. Changes in authorship must be submitted to the assigned scientific editor and must be approved by all authors involved.
3.8.3 Authors and co-authors should review and ensure the accuracy and validity of results prior to submission; co-authors should have the opportunity to review the manuscript before submission.
3.9 Authors should reveal to the editor any potential conflict of interest (for example, a consulting or financial interest in a company), that might be affected by publication of the results contained in a manuscript. The authors should ensure that no contractual relations or proprietary considerations exist that would affect the publication of information in a submitted manuscript.
3.10. Authors are encouraged to disclose major funding sources (for example, government agencies, private foundations, private industry, universities) for reported research.
3.11. Prepublication via internet or other methods is prohibited.
3.12 Authors are bound by the copyright policy of the publisher, as specified at the time of original manuscript submission.
4.1 A reviewer should disclose any real or perceived conflict of interests to the editor before agreeing to write a review. Examples include, but are not restricted to, past or current collaboration, past or current employer or employee, past or current graduate supervisor or supervisee, personal or family relationship, institutional relationship, someone with whom the reviewer has had a past or on-going scientific controversy, or situations where the reviewer could stand to gain financially by publication or rejection of the manuscript. In these cases, past means within the past 5 years. The responsible editor will decide if the conflict is severe enough to prevent the reviewer from writing a fair, objective review.
4.2 A reviewer should decline to review a manuscript if he/she feels technically unqualified, if a timely review cannot be done, or if the manuscript is from a scientific competitor with whom the reviewer has a conflict of interest as defined above (section 4.1).
4.3 Reviewers should be encouraged, but not required, to declare their identities. The editor will endeavour to preserve anonymity should a reviewer elect to remain anonymous. (However, it is the responsibility of anonymous reviewers to maintain their anonymity by using an appropriate means of communication, bearing in mind that many software packages automatically attach source identities both to files and corrections to existing files).
4.4 Reviewers should treat the manuscript as confidential.
4.5 Reviewers should ask the editor for permission to discuss the paper with others for specific advice, giving names and reasons for such consultation.
4.6 Reviewers should not pass the manuscript to another to carry out the review without permission from the editor.
4.7 Reviewers should not use information, data, theories, or interpretations of the manuscript in their own work until that manuscript is in press or published unless the author has given permission to do so.
4.8 Reviewers should clearly support and justify the basis for their review analysis.
4.9 Reviewers should alert the editor to similar manuscripts published or under consideration for publication elsewhere in the event they are aware of such. However, it is the responsibility of the editor, not the reviewer, to decide on the proper course of action once so informed.
5 Breaches of the code
5.1 If an editor, reviewer or author is found to have breached this code of ethics then the information should be passed on to the Publications and Information Committee.
5.2 The Publications and Information Committee reserves the right to deal with such breaches of this code as it sees fit and to refuse publication of papers by authors, reviewers or editors who are found to be in serious breach of this code.
5.3 Authors, reviewers or editors found to be in breach of this code will be informed in writing of the decision of the Publications and Information Committee and the implications of that decision.
5.4 Editors found to be in breach of this code will be required to resign from the relevant editorial board and may be banned from future membership of any editorial board that reports to the Publications and Information Committee.
Publications and Information Committee
25 July 2007
No responsibility or liability is assumed by the Geological Society of London or any copyright owner for any injury or damage to persons or property as a consequence of the reading, use or interpretation of its published content. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the Geological Society of London, the authors, Editors and copyright owners cannot be held responsible for published errors. The views or opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect views of the Geological Society of London or copyright owners. Inclusion of any advertising material does not constitute a guarantee or endorsement of any products or services or the claims made by any manufacturer.
Safe working practices
The Geological Society of London endeavours to ensure that all published images and descriptions of working practices contribute to the objectives of the individual papers in which they appear. The inclusion of such content should not be taken as an endorsement of the practices depicted or described by The Geological Society of London, the authors, Editors, copyright owners or any other person or body.