The publication of an article in a peer-reviewed journal is an essential building block in the development of a coherent and respected network of knowledge. It is a direct reflection of the quality of work of the author and the institutions that support them. Peer-reviewed articles support and embody the scientific method. It is therefore important to agree upon standards of expected ethical behaviour.

Information for authors about how to publish ethically is available in the Ethics section. Other useful information specifically developed for editors but useful for anyone with a deep interest in the topic is the Publishing Ethics Resource Kit.

Ethics topics to consider when publishing:

  • Authorship of the paper: Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution or interpretation of the reported study.
  • Originality and plagiarism: The authors should ensure that they have written entirely original works and if the authors have used the work and/or words of others, that this has been appropriately cited or quoted.
  • Data access and retention: Authors may be asked to provide the raw data in connection with a paper for editorial review and should be prepared to provide public access to such data.
  • Multiple, redundant or concurrent publication: An author should not, in general, publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication. ASDF does not view the following uses of a work as prior publication: publication in the form of an abstract; publication as an academic thesis; publication as an electronic preprint. Information on prior publication is included within each ASDF journal’s Guide for Authors. Note: Cell Press, The Lancet, and some society-owned titles have different policies on prior publication. Information on these is available on the journal homepage.
  • Acknowledgement of sources: proper acknowledgement.
  • Disclosure and conflicts of interest: All submissions must include disclosure of all relationships that could be viewed as presenting a potential conflict of interest.
  • Fundamental errors in published works: When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper.
  • Reporting standards: Authors of reports of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance.
  • Hazards and human or animal subjects: Statements of compliance are required if the work involves chemicals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use or if it involves the use of animal or human subjects.
  • Use of patient images or case details: Studies on patients or volunteers require ethics committee approval and informed consent, which should be documented in the paper.

Data Fabrication and Falsification

Data fabrication and falsificationData fabrication means the researcher did not actually do the study, but made up data. Data falsification means the researcher did the experiment, but then changed some of the data. Both of these practices make people distrust scientists. If the public is mistrustful of science then it will be less willing to provide funding support.


Taking the ideas and work of others without giving them credit is unfair and dishonest. Copying even one sentence from someone else’s manuscript, or even one of your own that has previously been published, without proper citation, is considered plagiarism-use your own words instead.

Multiple submissions

It is unethical to submit the same manuscript to more than one journal at the same time. Doing this wastes the time of editors and peer reviewers, and can damage the reputation of journals if published in more than one.

1. What happens about copyright?

In accordance with academic and professional protocols, ASDF cannot accept an article if it is not the author’s original work, has been published before, or is currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. The article must not contain any libellous or unlawful statements or in any way infringe the rights of others. The author must be the owner of the copyright and be entitled to sign the Author Copyright Agreement. In submitting an article, the author complies with these conditions.

If/when an article is accepted for publication, Author Copyright Agreements should be submitted via the online submission system(DCRC – Digital Copyrights Center), along with the final accepted version of the article. Each author must sign a copyright agreement (Author Copyright Agreement) form after reading the Explanatory Notes below. Signatures of all authors may appear on one form or be sent on individual forms. Each form must list the names of all authors of the article under the title of the article at the top of the form and must reflect the order given in the article. We would expect a “Corresponding Author” to be responsible for the collection and provision of the copyright assignment from each author.

2. Why do we ask you to transfer copyright to us?

ASDF is wholly committed to the highest standards of publishing, founded on rigorous double-blind peer review. In all that we do, we work to ensure the widest possible access to the articles that we publish, to enhance the reputation of the author, the journal, its Editor and Editorial Board, and the value that we add as a publisher in both printed and online forms.

In order that we can do this properly and professionally, we ask authors of articles accepted for publication to sign our DCRC (our partner) assigning (or transferring) copyright to ASDF.

The transfer of copyright is standard practice in journal publishing. This enables us, as the publisher, to negotiate subsidiary licences to database aggregators and document supply companies, and allows permissions to reproduce articles in books, course packs, electronic reserve or for library loan to be handled efficiently and with sensitivity to changing library and reader needs.

This relieves authors of a time-consuming and costly administrative burden. It also enables us to defend and enforce authors’ rights against plagiarism, copyright infringement, unauthorised use and, most important for authors’ professional reputation, breach of authors’ moral rights.

  • What rights do authors retain?

There is often confusion about what rights Authors retain after assigning copyright to us. When copyright is assigned to ASDF, you can continue to enjoy the following rights:

  1. Patent and trademark rights.
  2. The right to be identified as the Author (i.e. you assert your moral rights under copyright law).
  3. Posting the Author’s Original* on your personal or departmental web pages and/or institutional repositories and/or subject repositories without embargo and sharing it as much as desired.
  4. Using the Article in further research and in courses that you are teaching.
  5. Incorporating the Article content in other works of which you are the Author
  • What happens when the author does not own the copyright of the article?

If you have written the Article in the course of your employment, your employer may consider that it owns the copyright and is considered the legal Author. This is often referred to as ‘Work for Hire’. In such cases, your employer should sign the Author Copyright Agreement. This does NOT apply to faculty and researchers working in a university and submitting the Article as a normal part of research activity.

If you are the UK, Canadian or Australian Government employee Crown Copyright applies to your Article, and it should be cleared for publication by your Head of Department. This applies in the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and eleven other Commonwealth countries. If your research has been funded by a grant from a research funding agency, the funding grant may have had conditions attached to it that affect the transfer of copyright to ASDF or require you to post you Article to a repository. It is your responsibility to advise ASDF of any such conditions and provide any documentation that may be required before publication.

  • What are the author’s responsibilities?

You are making legal undertakings about your Article. It is the Author’s responsibility to ensure and warrant that:

  1. The Article that you submit must be original work and must not have been published before or submitted elsewhere for publication.
  2. It must not contain any material that is obscene, libellous, in breach of any person’s copyright or other rights, in breach of any right of privacy, or in any other way unlawful.
  3. Written permission must have been obtained in advance from any copyright owner for the use in print and electronic form of any material (e.g. text, figures, tables, illustrations or graphics) that does not belong to the Author.
  • What happens if there is more than one author?

All Authors should sign the Author Copyright Agreement on separate forms if necessary. However, if it is not possible to validate online from each and every Author, the Author submitting the Article (usually the ‘Corresponding Author) must have the other Authors’ written agreement to enable him/her to enter into the Author Copyright Agreement on their behalf.

  • What am I entitled to once my article is published and what am I allowed to do with the published article?

Authors of accepted articles will receive a PDF file of their published article.

Authors can use their article for non-commercial purposes after publication in these ways:

  1. Posting the Author’s Original* on the Author’s personal or departmental web pages and/or institutional repositories and/or subject repositories without embargo and sharing it as much as desired.
  2. Accepted Manuscript*
  3. Internally sharing the Accepted Manuscript within their research collaboration groups only, at any point after publication
  4. Posting the Accepted Manuscript on institutional repositories and/or subject repositories, subject to an embargo of 12 months after publication (Green Open Access)
  5. Posting the Accepted Manuscript on academic social networks or social media, subject to an embargo of 24 months after publication (Green Open Access)
  6. Using the article in further research and in courses that the Author is teaching;
  7. Incorporating the article content in other works by the Author.

In all cases, an acknowledgement in the form of a full citation must be given to the journal as the original source of publication, together with a link to the journal webpage and/or EAID as soon as they are available.

* Versions of a paper defined as

  • Author’s Original = Author’s manuscript prior to peer review [often called a ‘preprint’]
  • Accepted Manuscript = Accepted version of author’s manuscript, accepted for publication, i.e. post-review, pre-typesetting. We recommend retaining this version for future posting.
  • A version of Record = Publisher’s version of the finished article