Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement
The shaping of this publication ethics and publication malpractice statement was guided by the documents referenced at the end.
The purpose of JOVACET is to provide a platform for authors and readers of vocational, adult and continuing education and training, constituents of the post-school sector in which there is a growing research interest. The editor-in-chief and editorial administrator will strive towards publishing a journal that upholds publication ethics by adhering to the following:
- General duties and responsibilities of the editor
The editor is accountable for everything published in JOVACET and will ensure that the content is of high quality by:
- striving to meet the needs of readers and authors;
- striving to constantly improve JOVACET;
- ensuring that processes are in place to assure the quality of the material that is published;
- supporting freedom of expression;
- maintaining the integrity of the academic content of the journal;
- ensuring that intellectual and ethical standards are not compromised by business needs;
- being prepared to publish any corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies where necessary;
- communicating at least once a year with editorial members, readers, reviewers and authors about JOVACET’s activities;
- assisting aspirant academic writers to write academic articles by means of regular workshops and educating them about publishing ethics; and
- ensuring that the publisher upholds the high standards of JOVACET.
- Relations with editorial board members
The editor will fulfil this function by:
- Identifying editorial board members who are recognised experts in the field and can thus make a positive contribution to the development and good management of JOVACET (their full names and affiliations have been provided on the website);
- providing new editorial board members with guidelines on everything that is expected of them;
- keeping existing members updated on new policies and development;
- reviewing the composition of the editorial board regularly;
- providing clear guidelines to educate board members about their expected functions and duties; and
- consulting with editorial board members at least once a year to gauge their opinions about the running of JOVACET, informing them of any policy changes and identifying future challenges.
- Relationship with readers
The editor will uphold a good relationship with readers by:
- ensuring that authors acknowledge the funders of their research in their submissions;
- ensuring that all published research in JOVACET has been reviewed by suitably qualified reviewers according to JOVACET’s peer review policy;
- ensuring that non-peer-reviewed sections of JOVACET are clearly identified;
- adopting processes such as language and reference checking, and editing that encourages accuracy, completeness and clarity of research reporting; and
- ensuring that submissions by members of JOVACET’s editorial board and committee are evaluated in an unbiased and objective way.
- Relationship with authors
The editor’s decision to accept or reject a paper for publication will be based on the importance of the research, its originality and clarity, and the study’s validity and relevance to the scope of the journal by:
- making it clear that until further notice there is no financial obligation on the part of authors who make submissions;
- announcing any fees or charges before authors begin preparing their manuscripts for submission;
- reminding authors that they are forbidden to publish the same research in more than one journal;
- ensuring that decisions to accept submissions will not be reversed unless serious problems are identified with the submission;
- publishing a description of the peer review process in all journals and on the website and justifying any deviation from the described processes;
- directing authors who wish to appeal against editorial decisions to the appeals sub-committee of board members whose responsibility it is to hear such appeals;
- providing guidelines on the website to authors about what is expected of them and updating these annually;
- providing guidance about criteria for authorship and that all authors must contribute significantly to the research;
- ensuring that appropriate reviewers are selected for submissions, namely those who are able to evaluate the work, and that there are no conflicts of interest;
- respecting requests from authors that an individual should not review their submission if these are well-reasoned and practicable;
- ensuring that authors know that they are obliged to provide retractions or corrections of mistakes;
- referring any cases of suspected misconduct or disputed authorships to the disciplinary sub-committee of the editorial board; and
- publishing submission and acceptance dates for articles in all journal publications and on the website.
- Relationship with reviewers
The editor will fulfil this function by:
- providing guidance to reviewers about what is expected of them, including the need to handle the submitted material in confidence, and updating guidelines regularly;
- requiring reviewers to disclose any potential conflicts of interest before agreeing to review a submission;
- ensuring that peer reviewers’ identities are protected;
- encouraging reviewers to comment on ethical questions and possible research and publication misconduct that emerge from submissions;
- encouraging reviewers to comment on the originality of submissions and to be alert to redundant publications and plagiarism;
- requesting reviewers to point out relevant published work which has not been cited;
- sending reviewers’ comments to the authors in their entirety unless they contain offensive or libellous remarks;
- acknowledging the contribution of reviewers to the journal;
- monitoring the performance of peer reviewers and taking steps to ensure this is of a high standard;
- developing and maintaining a database of suitable reviewers and updating this on the basis of reviewer performance;
- ceasing to use reviewers who consistently produce discourteous, poor quality and late reviews;
- ensuring that the reviewer database reflects the JOVACET community and adding reviewers as needed;
- using a wide range of sources to identify potential new reviewers; and
- referring any cases of suspected misconduct to the disciplinary sub-committee of the editorial board.
- Relationship with journal owners (University of the Western Cape) and publishers
The editor will base these relationships firmly on the principle of editorial independence by:
- deciding which articles to publish based on quality and suitability for JOVACET, without interference from the university or publisher;
- ensuring that there is a written contract setting out this relationship;
- publishing the name of the owners on the website; and
- communicating regularly with the different parties.
- Editorial and peer review processes
The editor will uphold ethical editorial and peer review processes by:
- ensuring that all of JOVACET’s content will be subjected to peer-review;
- ensuring that authors know that they are obliged to undergo peer review;
- identifying any material that has not been peer reviewed (such as book reviews or interviews) and making that evident;
- striving to ensure that peer reviews are fair, objective and timely;
- putting systems in place to ensure that material submitted to JOVACET remains confidential while under review;
- adopting the blind peer review method with two anonymous reviewers who are deemed best suited to the journal and JOVACET community;
- reviewing the practice if necessary;
- referring troubling cases to the disciplinary sub-committee of the editorial board;
- taking all reasonable steps to ensure the quality of the material published as described in 1.4;
- determining the journal house style according to ease of reporting rather than on personal or aesthetic preference; and
- protecting individual data by obeying the laws on confidentiality.
- Encouraging ethical research
The editor will encourage ethical research by:
- endeavouring to ensure published research was carried out according to the relevant internationally accepted guidelines;
- seeking assurances that all research has been approved by an appropriate body even though such approval does not guarantee that the research is ethical; and
- requesting evidence of ethical research approval if concerns are raised or clarification is needed.
- Dealing with possible misconduct
The editor will deal with possible misconduct by:
- acting on any suspicion or allegation of misconduct since any misconduct cannot be encouraged or take place;
- not simply rejecting a submission where possible misconduct is suspected, but pursuing cases where concerns have been raised;
- seeking a response from those suspected of misconduct as a first step;
- asking the relevant employee or institution or some appropriate body if not satisfied with the response;
- making all reasonable efforts to ensure that a proper investigation into the alleged misconduct is conducted until a solution is found; and
- being willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies where needed.
- Ensuring the integrity of the academic record
The editor will ensure the integrity of the academic record by:
- correcting any errors, inaccurate or misleading statements promptly;
- issuing a retraction where necessary; and
- archiving original research articles electronically should JOVACET no longer be published and ensuring that these are freely available.
- Intellectual property (copyright and access)
The editor will be alert to intellectual property issues by:
- describing open access, copyright and licensing information on the website (at this stage there is no charge or subscription fees but this situation may change);
- working with the publisher to handle potential breaches of intellectual property laws and conventions;
- adopting systems for detecting plagiarism in submitted items if suspicions are raised, by requesting a plagiarism check using one of the instruments available; and
- supporting authors who have been the victims of plagiarism.
- Encouraging debate
The editor will be willing to consider criticism of published work by:
- giving authors the right of reply to criticism;
- not excluding studies reporting negative results; and
- being open to research that challenges previous work published in JOVACET.
The editor will appoint a webmaster and ensure that the website demonstrates that care has been taken to ensure high ethical and professional standards by:
- ensuring that the owner, the University of the Western Cape (UWC), is clearly named on the website;
- ensuring that all policy documents are up to date and uploaded on the website;
- ensuring that all guidelines have been published on the website and their currency maintained;
- uploading all published journals without delay;
- ensuring that the website is user-friendly; and
- archiving all research electronically so that it is always readily available to readers and authors even if the journal is no longer published.
Revised and updated: 5 December 2020
Committee on Publications Ethics (COPE). 2011. Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors. Available at http://www.publicationethics.org/files/Code_of_conduct_for_journal_editors. (Retrieved on 24 July 2018 and 4 December 2020).
Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTAL). Available at: http://cristal.epubs.ac.za/index.php/cristal/ethics. (Retrieved on 24 July 2018).
PsychOpen (n.d.). Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement. Available at http://psychopen.eu/fieladmin/user_upload/documents/guidelines/publoication_ethics_and_publication_malpractice_statement.pdf. (Retrieved on 24 July 2018).