Ethical standards

Publication of an article in this academic peer-reviewed journal serves to validate and preserve the research which must be accurate and trustworthy. The publishing process involves many parties, which play an important role in achieving the aims of the journal, i.e. the author, the journal editor and the peer-reviewers have responsibilities to meet the expected ethical standards from submission of an article to publication of an article. A summary of our key expectations of the involved parties is mentioned below.

I. Ethical expectations

1. Responsibilities of the editorial board
The Editorial Board can decide which of the manuscripts submitted to the journal should be submitted to reviewers, published or rejected without any review. The rejection of the manuscript after submission belongs to the Editor-in-Chief’s and his decision, to accept or reject a manuscript for publication is based on its importance, originality and its relevance to the scope of the journal.
The Editor-in-Chief of the journal is responsible for deciding which of the submitted articles should be published. The Editor-in-Chief may confer with other editors or reviewers in making this decision.
The Editorial Board must ensure that all material submitted to the journal remains confidential while under review. The Editorial Board and the editorial staff will keep confidential the information about the authors while the manuscript is under review.
All materials rejected and unpublished are returned to the authors and shall not be used by any member of the Editorial Board in their own research. Information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential by the Editorial Board and disclosed only to the authors of the manuscript under review.
No author shall be obliged to cite the journal as a condition of acceptance for publication. Recommendations regarding the citations of any articles should be made based on the relevance to the author’s article, with the objective of improving the final published research, but this should never extend to the instructions to cite individual journals.
The Editor-in-Chief should take responsive measures when ethical complaints have been presented concerning a submitted manuscript or published paper in the journal. The first step shall include to contact the author of the manuscript to let him know about the respective complaint made. Other investigations may be conducted and if the claim is upheld, measures of correction, retraction may be made.

2. Responsibilities of the reviewers
The journal accepts manuscripts which are subjected to a blind peer review process. All submitted manuscripts are analyzed by two reviewers, experts in the field, who are not part of the journal’s editorial staff. The peer review process help the editor in relation to his editorial decisions, to his communications with the author and may also help the author improve his paper by useful recommendations. Reviews should be conducted objectively and any views should be clearly stated and supported with arguments. No personal criticism of the author should be made.
All members of the editorial board are recognized experts in the domains included within the journal’s scope.
Any reviewer who feels unqualified to review the manuscript or that his prompt review will be impossible should notify the Editorial Board and should excuse himself from the review process.
Any manuscripts received for review should be treated with strict confidentiality.
Reviewers should identify any relevant published work that has not been cited by the author. Any similarity between the manuscript under review and any other published paper should be reported to the Editor-in-Chief.
Any information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential by the reviewers and shall not be used in their personal advantage or further research.

3. Responsibilities of the authors
The authors should not submit manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal. To submit an article for publication in our journal it is required that the article has not been published before, nor it is being considered for publication in other journals. To publish the results of the same results in more than one journal is considered unethical publishing behavior and is not acceptable.
The authors of manuscripts should present accurate information, clearly present objectives, methods, as inaccurate statements are unacceptable. Also, authors may be asked to provide the raw data of their investigations or access to such data.
Only original research will be published. Concepts, statements, formulae and other information used in other works should be properly cited. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is not acceptable. Manuscripts that are proved to commit any form of plagiarism will be rejected.
Authors are responsible for the content and the originality of their contributions. In order to be published, articles must be thoroughly researched and referenced. In the event that the editors are made aware of any allegation of re-search misconduct shall refuse the publication of the manuscript.
Authors should properly cite and indicate other works or publications that have influenced their researched. Private conversations, manuscripts or documents and data from grant applications should not be used without the prior consent of the third parties.
The authorship of the paper should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution or interpretation of the reported research. All authors should agree on the sequence in which their name should appear prior to the submission of the manuscript. All co-authors should approve the final form of the paper before publication.
The journal will not accept to include or delete any co-author of the submitted work after its publication.
When the author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal and to cooperate with the Editor-in-Chief to retract or correct the paper.
All authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial, grants, funding or other substantive conflict of interest that might be seen as to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed.

II. Guidelines for dealing with unethical behavior/malpractice

1. Conflicts of interest
Authors submitting to this journal are required to declare any potential conflicts of interest (they can be financial, non-financial, professional or personal) that exert an undue influence on the review and publication of their work.

2. Unethical behavior
2.1. Identification
Misconduct and unethical behaviour may be identified and brought to the attention of the editor and publisher at any time.
Whoever informs the editor or publisher of such conduct should provide sufficient information and evidence in order for an investigation to be initiated. All allegations should be taken seriously and treated in the same way, until a successful decision or conclusion is reached.

2.2. Investigation
An initial decision should be taken by the editor, who should consult with the other involved parties (authors, publisher).
Evidence should be gathered, while avoiding spreading any allegations beyond those who need to know.

2.3. Minor and major misconduct
Minor misconduct might be dealt with without the need to consult more widely. In any event, the author should be given the opportunity to respond to any allegations.
Major misconduct might require that the accused parties to be notified. The editor should make the decision whether or not to involve the employers, either by examining the available evidence themselves or by further consultation with a limited number of experts.

2.4. Outcomes
• Informing the author or reviewer where there appears to be a misunderstanding or misapplication of acceptable standards.
• Sending a letter to the author or reviewer covering the misconduct and also to be regarded as a warning to future behaviour.
• Issuing a formal notice/ editorial detailing the misconduct.
• A formal letter to the head of the author’s or reviewer’s department or university/research entre/institution.
• Formal withdrawal of a publication from the journal, in conjunction with informing the head of the author or reviewer’s department, university etc.
• Imposition of an interdiction to publish of the contributions for a defined period.
Reporting the case to a professional organisation for further investigation and action.

3. Allegations
Actions to be taken in case of allegations:
1. To raise the issue with the corresponding author and co-authors whose actions are complained about, seeking an explanation and, where necessary, the evidence supporting that explanation.
2. Seeking explanation from and the views of any complainant, together, where necessary, with evidence supporting that explanation.
3. Seeking the complainant’s views on any explanation and evidence provided by the author and the views of the author on any explanation and evidence provided by the complainant. At this point in the investigation, if there was found ethical violation, the investigation of that matter should continue.
4. If the authors are unable to offer probabilities that there has been no violation, further investigation must be carried out, varying from case to case and including the following steps (according to COPE):
• Further investigating any allegations made by third parties
• Speaking to colleagues of any author
• Speaking to officials at any institutions where the research in question was carried out
• Speaking to officials at any professional body or institution of which any author is a member
• Speaking to members of the editorial board of the journal and seeking advice
• Speaking to leading experts in the field of research in question.