The publication ethics and publication malpractice statement of BELTA Journal is based on the Code of Conduct and Best-Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors of COPE. It is expected that the editors, reviewers, authors, and the publisher will follow the ethical guidelines. The key points of the best-practice guidelines are listed below.
Editors evaluate submitted manuscripts on the basis of their academic merit (importance, originality, validity, reliability, clarity) and relevance to the journal's scope. The manuscript evaluation is not influenced by authors' race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, citizenship, religious belief, political philosophy, or institutional affiliation.
The editors or any editorial staff must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, and the publisher, as appropriate.
Disclosure and conflicts of interest
Editors, editorial board members, or editorial staff will not use unpublished information disclosed in a submitted manuscript for their own research purposes without explicit written consent of the authors. Editors will abstain from handling manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest (emanating from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers). They will ask another member of the editorial team to handle the manuscript.
The executive editors are responsible for deciding which of the manuscripts submitted to the journal will be published. The decision will be based on the validation of the work in question, its significance to researchers and readers, comments of the reviewers, and legal requirements pertaining to libel, copyright infringement, and plagiarism.
Contribution to editorial decisions
Peer review assists editors in making editorial decisions. In addition, the peer review process helps authors improve their manuscripts.
Any invited referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should immediately notify the executive editors so that alternative reviewers can be contacted.
Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except if authorized by the Executive Editors.
Standards of objectivity
Reviews should be conducted objectively. Observations of the reviewers should be supported by appropriate arguments so that authors can improve their manuscripts. Personal criticism of the authors is highly discouraged.
Acknowledgement of sources
Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement, observations, or arguments derived from other publications should be accompanied by relevant citation. Reviewers should notify the editors of any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other manuscripts (published or unpublished) of which they have personal knowledge.
Authors of original research should present an accurate account of the research and findings. The findings should be followed by an objective discussion of the significance of the findings. The manuscript should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.
Data access and retention Authors may be asked to provide the raw data of their study together with the paper for editorial review and should be prepared to make the data publicly available if practicable. In any event, authors should ensure accessibility of such data to other competent professionals for at least ten years after publication (preferably via an institutional or subject-based data repository or other data center), provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected and legal rights concerning proprietary data do not preclude their release.
Originality and plagiarism
Authors should ensure that they have submitted only entirely original works. In the manuscript, wherever they have used the work and/or words of others, those have been appropriately cited. Plagiarism includes claiming another's paper as the author's own, copying or paraphrasing substantial parts of another's paper (without attribution), claiming results from research conducted by others, or directly copying from one's own work, i.e. self-plagiarism. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.
Multiple, duplicate, redundant or concurrent submission/publication
Papers describing essentially the same research should not be published in more than one journal or primary publication. Submission of a manuscript concurrently to more than one journal is unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.
Authorship of the manuscript
Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as coauthors. The corresponding author ensures that all contributing coauthors and no uninvolved persons are included in the author list. The corresponding author will also verify that all coauthors have approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication.
Disclosure and conflicts of interest
Authors should disclose any conflicts of interest (financial and non-financial) that might be construed to influence the results or their interpretation in the manuscript. All sources of financial support for the research should be disclosed.
Acknowledgement of sources
Authors should ensure that they have properly acknowledged the work of others. They should also cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work.
Hazards and human subjects
If the work involves human participants, the authors should ensure that all procedures were performed in compliance with relevant laws (if applicable) and institutional guidelines (if available). Authors must ensure that informed consent was obtained from human participants. They should also include a statement in the manuscript regarding informed consent. The privacy rights of human participants must always be observed.
Peer review Authors are required to participate in the peer review process and cooperate fully by responding promptly to editors' requests for raw data, clarifications, consent documents, or copyright permissions. In the case of a first decision of "revisions necessary", authors should respond to the reviewers' comments systematically (point by point). They should revise and re-submit their manuscript to the journal by the deadline given.
Fundamental errors in published works
When authors discover significant errors or inaccuracies in their own published work, it is their obligation to promptly notify the executive editors. They must cooperate with the executive editors to either correct the paper in the form of an erratum or to retract the paper. If the executive editors learn from a third party that a published work contains a significant error or inaccuracy, it is the authors' obligation to promptly correct or retract the paper or provide evidence to the journal editors of the correctness of the paper.
Handling of unethical publishing behavior In cases of alleged or proven scientific misconduct, fraudulent publication or plagiarism, the publisher, in close collaboration with the executive editors, will take all appropriate measures to clarify the situation and to amend the article in question. This includes the prompt publication of an erratum, clarification or, in the most severe case, the retraction of the affected work. The publisher, together with the executive editors, shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, and under no circumstances encourage such misconduct or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place.