Publication Ethics

Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing


Islamic Political Thought as a member of Imam Sadiq University Journals, is committed to apply ethics of publication, based on the COPE’s Code of Conduct and Best Practices. You may find the journal’s code of publication ethics, here.


The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) are scholarly organizations that have seen an increase in the number, and broad range in the quality, of membership applications. Our organizations have collaborated in an effort to identify principles of transparency and best practice for scholarly publications and to clarify that these principles form part of the criteria on which membership applications will be evaluated.

These criteria are largely derived from those developed by the Directory of Open Access Journals. Note that additional membership criteria may also be used by each of the scholarly organizations. The organizations will not share information about applications received. We do not intend to develop or publish a list of publishers or journals that failed to demonstrate they met the criteria for transparency and best practice.

This is the third version of a work in progress (published 15 January 2018); the first version was posted in January 2014. We encourage its wide dissemination and continue to welcome feedback on the general principles and the specific criteria. Background on the organizations is at the bottom.

Princípios de Transparência e Boas Práticas em Publicações Acadêmicas (Portuguese)

Principios de Transparencia y Mejores Prácticas en Publicaciones Académicas (Latin American Spanish)


Principles of Transparency

  1. Website: A journal's website, including the text that it contains, shall demonstrate that care has been taken to ensure high ethical and professional standards. It must not contain information that might mislead readers or authors, including any attempt to mimic another journal/publisher’s site. An ‘Aims & Scope’ statement should be included on the website and the readership clearly defined. There should be a statement on what a journal will consider for publication including authorship criteria (e.g., not considering multiple submissions, redundant publications) to be included. ISSNs should be clearly displayed (separate for print and electronic).
  2. Name of journal: The Journal name shall be unique and not be one that is easily confused with another journal or that might mislead potential authors and readers about the Journal’s origin or association with other journals. 
  3. Peer review process: Journal content must be clearly marked as whether peer reviewed or not. Peer review is defined as obtaining advice on individual manuscripts from reviewers expert in the field who are not part of the journal’s editorial staff. This process, as well as any policies related to the journal’s peer review procedures, shall be clearly described on the journal website, including the method of peer review used. Journal websites should not guarantee manuscript acceptance or very short peer review times.
  4. Ownership and management: Information about the ownership and/or management of a journal shall be clearly indicated on the journal’s website. Publishers shall not use organizational or journal names that would mislead potential authors and editors about the nature of the journal’s owner.
  5. Governing body: Journals shall have editorial boards or other governing bodies whose members are recognized experts in the subject areas included within the journal’s scope. The full names and affiliations of the journal’s editorial board or other governing body shall be provided on the journal’s website.
  6. Editorial team/contact information: Journals shall provide the full names and affiliations of the journal’s editors on the journal website as well as contact information for the editorial office, including a full address.
  7. Copyright and Licensing: The policy for copyright shall be clearly stated in the author guidelines and the copyright holder named on all published articles.  Likewise, licensing information shall be clearly described in guidelines on the website, and licensing terms shall be indicated on all published articles, both HTML and PDFs.  If authors are allowed to publish under a Creative Commons license then any specific license requirements shall be noted.  Any policies on posting of final accepted versions or published articles on third party repositories shall be clearly stated.
  8. Author fees: Any fees or charges that are required for manuscript processing and/or publishing materials in the journal shall be clearly stated in a place that is easy for potential authors to find prior to submitting their manuscripts for review or explained to authors before they begin preparing their manuscript for submission.  If no such fees are charged that should also be clearly stated.
  9. Process for identification of and dealing with allegations of research misconduct: Publishers and editors shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, including plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication, among others. In no case shall a journal or its editors encourage such misconduct, or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place. In the event that a journal’s publisher or editors are made aware of any allegation of research misconduct relating to a published article in their journal, the publisher or editor shall follow COPE’s guidelines (or equivalent) in dealing with allegations.
  10. Publication Ethics: A journal shall also have policies on publishing ethics. These should be clearly visible on its website, and should refer to: i) Journal policies on authorship and contributorship; ii) How the journal will handle complaints and appeals; iii) Journal policies on conflicts of interest / competing interests; iv) Journal policies on data sharing and reproducibility; v) Journal’s policy on ethical oversight; vi) Journal’s policy on intellectual property; and vii) Journal’s options for post-publication discussions and corrections.
  11. Publishing schedule: The periodicity at which a journal publishes shall be clearly indicated.
  12. Access: The way(s) in which the journal and individual articles are available to readers and whether there are associated subscription or pay per view fees shall be stated.
  13. Archiving: A journal’s plan for electronic backup and preservation of access to the journal content (for example, access to main articles via CLOCKSS or PubMed Central) in the event a journal is no longer published shall be clearly indicated.
  14. Revenue sources: Business models or revenue sources (e.g., author fees, subscriptions, advertising, reprints, institutional support, and organizational support) shall be clearly stated or otherwise evident on the journal’s website. Publishing fees or waiver status should not influence editorial decision making.
  15. Advertising: Journals shall state their advertising policy if relevant, including what types of adverts will be considered, who makes decisions regarding accepting adverts and whether they are linked to content or reader behaviour (online only) or are displayed at random. Advertisements should not be related in any way to editorial decision making and shall be kept separate from the published content.
  16. Direct marketing: Any direct marketing activities, including solicitation of manuscripts that are conducted on behalf of the journal, shall be appropriate, well targeted, and unobtrusive.  Information provided about the publisher or journal is expected to be truthful and not misleading for readers or authors.

In the event that a member organization is found to have violated these best practices, or other specific requirements of the organization, OASPA/DOAJ/COPE/WAME shall in the first instance try to work with them in order to address any concerns that have been raised. In the event that the member organization is unable or unwilling to address these concerns, their membership in the organization may be suspended or terminated.

OASPA/DOAJ/COPE/WAME have procedures for dealing with concerns raised about members.

This version published: 15 January 2018
Second version published: 22 June 2015
First version published: 10 January 2014

About the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE,

COPE provides advice to editors and publishers on all aspects of publication ethics and, in particular, how to handle cases of research and publication misconduct. It also provides a forum for its members to discuss individual cases. COPE does not investigate individual cases but encourages editors to ensure that cases are investigated by the appropriate authorities (usually a research institution or employer).

All COPE members are expected to apply the principles of publication ethics as laid out in the Core Practices.

About the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ,

The mission of the DOAJ is: to curate, maintain and develop a source of reliable information about open access scholarly journals on the web; to verify that entries on the list comply with reasonable standards; to increase the visibility, dissemination, discoverability and attraction of open access journals; to enable scholars, libraries, universities, research funders and other stakeholders to benefit from the information and services provided; to facilitate the integration of open access journals into library and aggregator services; to assist, where possible, publishers and their journals to meet reasonable digital publishing standards; and to thereby support the transition of the system of scholarly communication and publishing into a model that serves science, higher education, industry, innovation, societies and the people. Through this work, DOAJ will cooperate and collaborate with all interested parties working toward these objectives.

About the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA,

The OASPA is a trade association that was established in 2008 in order to represent the interests of Open Access (OA) publishers globally in all scientific, technical and scholarly disciplines. This mission will be carried out through exchanging information, setting standards, advancing models, advocacy, education, and the promotion of innovation.

About the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME,

ME is a global nonprofit voluntary association of editors of peer-reviewed medical journals who seek to foster cooperation and communication among editors; improve editorial standards; promote professionalism in medical editing through education, self-criticism, and self-regulation; and encourage research on the principles and practice of medical editing. WAME develops policies and recommendations of best practices for medical journal editors and has a syllabus for editors that members are encouraged to follow.

Conflicts of Interest

Islamic Political Thought as a member of Imam Sadiq University Journals, is committed to apply COPE recommendation on “Conflicts of Interest” in conflict of interest issues.

Authors should disclose, at the time of submission, information on financial conflicts of interest or other interests that may influence the manuscript. Authors should declare sources of funding for the work undertaken, too.

Conflicts of Interest Policy in Islamic Political Thought

(Prepared Based on COPE recommendation on “Conflicts of Interest”)

Public trust in the peer-review process and the credibility of published articles depend in part on how well conflict of interest is handled during writing, peer review, and editorial decision making. Conflict of interest exists when an author (or the author’s institution), reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence (bias) his or her actions (such relation- ships are also known as dual commitments, competing interests, or competing loyalties). These relationships vary from negligible to great potential for influencing judgment. Not all relationships represent true conflict of interest. On the other hand, the potential for conflict of interest can exist regardless of whether an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her scientific judgment. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion.

All participants in Islamic Political Thought’s peer-review and publication process must disclose all relationships that could be viewed as potential conflicts of interest. Disclosure of such relationships is also important in connection with editorials and review articles, because it can be more difficult to detect bias in these types of publications than in reports of original research. Editors may use information disclosed in conflict-of-interest and financial interest statements as a basis for editorial decisions. The Journal editors should publish this information if they believe it is important in judging the manuscript.

  1. Potential Conflicts of Interest Related to IndividualAuthors’ Commitments

When authors submit a manuscript, whether an article or a letter, they are responsible for disclosing all financial and personal relationships that might bias their work. To prevent ambiguity, authors must state explicitly whether potential conflicts do or do not exist. Authors should do so in the manuscript on a conflict-of-interest notification page that follows the title page, providing additional detail, if necessary, in a cover letter that accompanies the manuscript.

Authors should identify Individuals who provide writing or other assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance. Investigators must disclose potential conflicts to study participants and should state in the manuscript whether they have done so. Editors also need to decide whether to publish information disclosed by authors about potential conflicts. If doubt exists, it is best to err on the side of publication.

  1. Potential Conflicts of Interest Related to ProjectSupport

Increasingly, individual studies receive funding from commercial firms, private foundations, and government. The conditions of this funding have the potential to bias and otherwise discredit the research.

Scientists have an ethical obligation to submit credit- able research results for publication. Moreover, as the persons directly responsible for their work, researchers should not enter into agreements that interfere with their access to the data and their ability to analyze them independently, and to prepare and publish manuscripts. Authors should describe the role of the study sponsor, if any, in study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing the report; and the decision to submit the report for publication. If the supporting source had no such involvement, the authors should so state. Biases potentially introduced when sponsors are directly involved in research are analogous to methodological biases. In such cases, therefore, Islamic Political Thought editors choose to include information in the Methods section about the sponsor’s involvement.

Islamic Political Thought editors may request that authors of a study funded by an agency with a proprietary or financial interest in the outcome sign a statement, such as “I had full access to all of the data in this study and I take complete responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.” The editors will review copies of the protocol and/or contracts associated with project-specific studies before accepting such studies for publication. The journal’s editors may choose not to consider an article if a sponsor has asserted control over the authors’ right to publish.

  1. Potential Conflicts of Interest Related to Commitmentsof Editors, Journal Staff, or Reviewers

Islamic Political Thought editors avoid selecting external peer reviewers with obvious potential conflicts of interest, for example, those who work in the same department or institution as any of the authors. Authors often provide editors with the names of persons they feel should not be asked to review a manuscript because of potential, usually professional, conflicts of interest. When possible, authors may be asked to explain or justify their concerns; that information is important to editors in deciding whether to honor such requests.

Islamic Political Thought reviewers must disclose to the journal editors any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should recuse themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if the potential for bias exists. As in the case of authors, silence on the part of reviewers concerning potential conflicts may mean either that conflicts exist and the reviewer has failed to disclose them or conflicts do not exist. Reviewers must therefore also be asked to state explicitly whether conflicts do or do not exist. Reviewers must not use knowledge of the work, before its publication, to further their own interests.

Islamic Political Thought editors who make final decisions about manuscripts must have no personal, professional, or financial involvement in any of the issues they might judge. Other members of the editorial staff, if they participate in editorial decisions, must provide editors with a current description of their financial interests (as they might relate to editorial judgments) and recuse themselves from any decisions in which a conflict of interest exists. Editorial staff must not use information gained through working with manuscripts for private gain. The journal editors should publish regular disclosure statements about potential conflicts of interest related to the commitments of journal staff.

Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement

In regard to ISU approach to the production, publication, and updating of Islamic and human sciences , and providing answers for newly emerged demands of the revolution and Islamic government, and also in compliance with the national and international research ethics guidelines, such as those of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), and "Code of Practice for Research Ethics " ratified by the Research Assistance Branch of the Islamic Republic of Iran  Ministry of Sciences, Research and Technology, ISU academic journals and publications are bound to observe the related professional code of conduct. Hence, the major duties of those involved, namely author(s), director, editor-in-chief, the editorial board, managing editor are briefly mentioned below.

Authors' responsibilities

1- Submitted manuscripts must be previously unpublished, domestically and internationally, in order to be approved for publication in ISU journals; they must be the original work of the author(s) and have exact sources and citations.

2-   The final responsibility of the full content of the submitted manuscript is with the author. It is appropriate to report the results of the article completely and take sufficient care about them and about their analysis. The article must contain enough details and resources to permit other researchers to have access to similar data for further research.

3- Before submitting the article, any possible conflict of interest affecting the research results and research analysis or the selection of editor- in- chief and reviewers must be mentioned and the funders of the research must be named.

4- Respect must be paid to the confidential assessment, and the disclosure of the author(s)' identity to the reviewers and vice versa must be avoided. In other words, the manuscript must avoid self- disclosing information to prevent reviewers from identifying the author(s).

5- Authorship information must be transparently and completely ensured and mentioned and non-contributors must be excluded.

6- Privacy, dignity, well-being and liberty of all those involved in the research must be preserved and supported and any threat posed to humans and other creatures must be declared.

7- The author must notify the journal officials of any error or inexactitude in time and set out to correcting them or withdrawing the whole manuscript.

8- The author(s) must clearly declare the originality of the work and its being free from plagiarism or being published previously.

Instances of unethical behavior in research and publication:

1-    Fabrication: reporting unreal matters and providing fabricated data and results in the name of experimental and personal findings; unreal recording of events or replacing different research results.

2-    Falsification: recording and presenting research results in a way that the details or the process of data collection are manipulated, or some data are removed or changed, or some minor results are exaggerated to conceal facts in order to lead the research results to special objectives or to make the provided results accepted unquestionably.

3-    Plagiarism: appropriation of other writers' ideas and phrases, copying opinions, structural similarities in writing, borrowing ideas and findings of others without attribution or proper reference, or introducing them as an original scientific research.

4-    Scientific hiring: employing other people to carry out the research in place of the author(s) and after some manipulation passing it off as one's own.

5-     Unreal affiliation: unreal affiliation of the author(s) to some organization or educational and research center which have not had any role in the fulfillment of the task.

6-    Duplicate submission: an article or part of an article already published domestically or internationally or under review and publication.

7-    Overlapping publication: publishing data or findings from previous articles with some alterations in another article under a new title.

Director's responsibilities

1-    Pursuing free access to information given in the journal and extending its publication.

2-    Monitoring and pursuing the affairs of the editorial board and the editor-in-chief.

3-    Avoiding interference in the scientific review process.

4-    Avoiding interference in the scientific decisions of the editorial board and the editor- in-chief.

5-    Observing the material and intellectual rights of the authors, editor- in- chief, editorial board, reviewers, and executive members.

6-    Final confirmation of the submitted material for publication from a legal point of view.

Editorial board responsibilities

1-    Preserving the freedom and authority of the editor-in-chief in executing its duties independently, such as acceptance or rejection of received manuscripts with the assistance of the editorial board and observing the scientific merits of the article including the preservation of material and intellectual rights, research originality and editors' and reviewers' opinions.

2-    Attempting to promote and enforce regulations of ethics and soundness of research.

3-    Receiving documentary evidence about the following conditions when accepting manuscripts from their authors.

a-    Granting the rights of publishing the article in the university journal.

b-    Declaring the possible conflicts of interest.

4-    Selecting qualified reviewers by relying on their specialties, scientific and professional experience, and also respecting the well-reasoned requests of the author(s) for special reviewers.

5-     Avoiding the disclosure of the information about the author(s) and reviewers and   discussing its details with others.

6-    Preventing any sort of conflict of interests in reviewing that could potentially affect the acceptance and publication of articles.

7-    Accurate assessment of works charged with breaching the codes by reviewers or other channels, and if necessary acting according to the pertinent rules.

Procedures of dealing with unethical behavior in publication and research

1-    Notifying the journal’s editorial board and sending letter to the corresponding author demanding clarification without any prejudgment.

2-    Allocating suitable time for receiving response from the author(s) charged with unethical publication and research behavior, and pursuing definite violations till the end.

3-    Referring the case to the editorial board in case of receiving unacceptable justifications from the author(s) for final decision as for the acceptance or rejection of the submitted manuscript.

4-    Based on the final decision of the editorial board,

a-    Sending written notification to the author and reminding him of the journal’s policy, or asking for corrections and making apology on the next journal issue.

b-    Sending warning to the corresponding author for rejecting any other work by the offender.

5-    Issuing apologetic announcement in the next printed issue of the journal and including it in the online version for the retracted article.

6-    Trying to continuously improve the quality and ensure the integrity of the journal's content and pay respect to its administration and all the involved people and audience.

7-    Examining all received articles in due time.

Reviewers' responsibility

1- Assisting in the scientific quality and content analysis of the articles in order to improve its status.

2- Applying professional knowledge and expertise related to the subject domain of the journal and declaring the rejection of submitted manuscripts to the editor-in-chief when it does not conform with the shared interests, be it financial, organizational, personal, or due to shortage of time for reviewing.

3- Expressing expert and corrective opinions clearly, based on scientific evidence and sufficient reasoning in a definite time to the editor-in-chief and author(s), and avoiding partiality due to one's preferences, ethnicity, religious belief, professional inclination and otherwise in reviewing the submitted manuscripts.

4- Avoiding the appropriation of the received data, discussions, explanations and ideas in the process of reviewing and even the unpublished information of the author(s) for personal gain.

5- Respecting the confidentiality of the reviewing process and avoiding the appropriation of the received information, discussions, explanations and ideas in the process of reviewing, or utilizing the new data and concepts derived from the article for or against one's own or other people's research or for criticizing or discrediting the author(s).

6- Assisting the journal's editor-in-chief in providing a report on "unethical research and publication behavior "about the received manuscripts for review.

7- Informing the editor-in-chief in case of a delay in reviewing the manuscripts and requesting more time allocation or selecting another reviewer.

Scientific- Research journals' office management

1- Establishing and announcing clearly one's publishing policies, especially in regard to the autonomy of the editor-in-chief in making decisions, publication ethics, safeguarding the intellectual property and copyright, conflict of interests, authors' duties, reviewers, editor-in-chief, editorial board, reviewing and decision making process, revision requests and complaints, preserving the scientific documents of the decision making process, preserving the authors' and reviewers'  information , correcting or removing the accepted manuscripts, and solving disputes between the complainants and those accused of unethical research and publication behavior.

2- Monitoring and pursuing research complaints for the university's journals.

3- Assisting in ensuring the originality and soundness of the published articles in the university's journals