Code of Best Practice in Scholarly Journal Publishing, Editing and Peer Review

March 2018

Approved by the Committee on Scholarly Publishing in South Africa (CSPiSA) and ASSAf Council

Fundamental Principles of Research Publishing

  • The reported findings and/or conceptual insights must be original, in the sense that that they are novel findings or insights that are not published elsewhere.
  • Any paper submitted to a journal should only be considered for possible publication if the author(s) have certified that the paper in question is not under consideration by another publication, and will not be submitted to any other journal until a final rejection decision (or formal withdrawal) from the present journal has been received. Authors may be asked to enter into a publishing agreement.
  • Manuscripts must contain, or permit reference in sufficient detail, of the methods and materials used in the study (where applicable) in order to make explicit how the knowledge was generated, and the academic basis for the claims being made.
  • Integrity of scholarship requires that no apparently inconsistent data are omitted.
  • The statistical treatment of data must be thorough and the conclusions reasonable, and based on the results of the research and objectives.
  • The existing relevant literature must be appropriately and fairly cited, and self-citation must be limited; in this respect, efforts should be made to ensure that reference is made to the first report of a finding or conceptual insight, if possible, rather than a later citation with reference to subsequent work.
  • Authorship must conform to the notions of responsibility and credit; thus special attention must be given to the first ‘lead’ author (sometimes explicitly shared), and the inclusion in the authorship listing only of persons who have made a significant contribution to the production of the work at an intellectual, practical or conceptual level.
  • Speculative decisions and statements must be clearly specified as such and kept to a minimum (except where the nature of the contribution requires speculation, such as philosophical articles, case discussions, theology, etc.).
  • Acknowledgement of funding sources and possible conflicts of interest must be stated.
  • Author affiliations should be provided which reflect both the period of the study and the present situation.
  • Priority is given from the date of acceptance of an article (i.e. once the peer review has already taken place), not from its date of receipt. However both dates are always provided in the published version.
  • Post-publication errors and falsifications must always be corrected and/or retracted in a later issue of the same journal by means of an erratum or a retraction notice which should be published on the article HTML/website page as well as the PDF.
  • Studies addressing a particular question should not be broken up into a series of fragmented short publications or articles but should preferably be presented as a full article of the work and its results.

Resources: Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE)