Why this Publishing Ethics Resource Kit?

Perk logoIn the area of scientific publishing, ethics can be considered as either scientific ethics or publishing ethics. Many international, national and governmental institutions worldwide concern themselves with scientific ethics, for example the ethics of human and animal experimentation, data storage regulations and the setting up of ethics committees at universities.

Monitoring publishing ethics is a major aspect of the peer-review process and as such lies within the area of responsibility of the editor-in-chief, or the scientific editor, of each journal. To enforce publishing ethics and detect misconduct, editors rely heavily on the reviews of referees, and post-publication, on comments from the scientific community at large. Fortunately, the area of science publishing is reasonably good at self-correcting, albeit sometimes later rather than earlier. In any case, every reported act of unethical publishing behaviour must be looked into, even if it is discovered years after publication.

Experienced editors may well have dealt with many publishing ethics cases, however the rules and guidelines of the community are constantly being refined and updated. In practice publishers often help guide and support editors with these matters. The Publishing Ethics Resource Kit (PERK) has been assembled and maintained with this in mind. All editors, new and experienced, and all publishing staff are urged to look at and use this resource kit.