CODE OF ETHICS

I. General principles

The publication ethics in the Acta Scientiarum Polonorum Hortorum Cultus is based on the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics  (COPE; http://publicationethics.org/).

Reliability in science is one of its qualitative foundations. Readers should be sure that the authors of the publication present the results of their work in a transparent, reliable and honest manner.

A proof of an ethical conduct of a scientist and the highest editorial standards should be transparency of information about the entities contributing to the publication (substantive contribution, in-kind contribution, financial contribution, etc.), which is an expression not only of good behaviour but also of social responsibility.

Manifestations of scientific dishonesty and publication fraud include such acts as plagiarism and self-plagiarism (including submission of a manuscript that is a translation of a published text), fabrication or falsification of data, ghost authorship, guest or gift authorship, and conflict of interest.

Plagiarism – borrowing from someone else's work without revealing the source of the information used.

Self-plagiarism – borrowing from your own previously published work without revealing the source of the information used.

Data fabrication – the author invents processes, observations or results that did not occur in reality.

Data falsification – the author changes or omits research results to support hypotheses or other data.

Ghost authorship – someone does an amount of work related to the creation of the publication and their identity is not disclosed.

Guest authorship, gift authorship – an author is credited with a publication while the actual contribution of their work is negligible, insignificant, or non-existent.

Conflict of interest – a situation in which financial (e.g. employment, consulting, shareholding, royalties) or other concerns may interfere with scientific judgment and threaten its objectivity.

 II. Author policy

  1. The author is obliged to maintain the standards of scientific integrity and to follow the rules of publishing ethics. Any violations in this regard shall be subject to the procedure recommended by COPE.
  2. The author may only submit original work of his/her own authorship for publication. All references to research and publications made by other authors must be referenced and the referenced items must be listed in the appendix bibliography.
  3. The author may submit only unpublished works and works not submitted for publication elsewhere.
  4. The author is committed to objectivity: he/she bases interpretations and conclusions only on facts, provable reasoning, and data that are confirmable by others.
  5. The author is obliged to transparency in research documentation and to provide access to data after publication of research results.
  6. If the study used any chemicals, procedures, or equipment that may have caused any unusual risks to humans or animals, the author must clearly identify them in the article.
  7. In the case of a multi-author publication, the authors are required to disclose the contribution of each author to the publication (authorship of the concept, method development, conducting research, editing a specific part of the text, etc.). The author offers the accompanying acknowledgments to those who contributed to the publication, but their contributions are not sufficient to acknowledge co-authorship.
  8. In the case of a multi-author publication, it is the responsibility of the author submitting the article to collect the signatures of all the authors on the statement, as well as to make sure that they accept the final form of the article.
  9. The author is required to disclose any conflicts of interest that may affect the research results or their interpretation. Potential conflicts of interest include, for example, royalties or other funding sources, membership in organizations, shareholding, personal or business relationships.
    10. The author is required to disclose all sources of financial support for research and publication, including grant number, etc.
  10. The author provides a statement indicating that the manuscript is an original work, does not infringe the rights of third parties, has not been previously published in whole or in part (under the same or a different title) or has not been sent for publication elsewhere, states the contribution of individual authors in the case of multi-author publication, the source of funding, and declares that there is no conflict of interest (and if there is any conflict of interest, it is clearly described).
  11. After receiving the review, the author responds to the reviewers' comments in writing. Until the article is published, all contact between the author and the reviewer shall be made only through the editorial team.
  12. If the author discovers significant errors in a published article, he/she must immediately notify the editors in order to retract the article (see section IV.14) or publish a correction.

 

III. Review policy

  1. The reviewer performs the review on behalf of the editorial team. Each publication is reviewed by at least two independent reviewers not associated with the place of the author's affiliation.
  2. The review is written in a system called "double-blind review process", which means that authors and reviewers do not know their identities. The reviewer must sign the relevant declaration.

If the reviewer knows the author's identity, the reviewer declares that there is no conflict of interest, which means that between the reviewer and the author there are no: a) direct personal relations (kinship, legal relations, conflict), b) professional subordination, c) direct scientific cooperation during the last two years preceding the preparation of the review. If there is a conflict of interest, the editorial team selects another reviewer.

  1. The reviewer is obliged to be objective, all comments must be properly argued. Personal criticism of the author is not allowed.
  2. If necessary for the reliability of the sources, the reviewer should indicate relevant works not cited by the author.
  3. The review must be in written form (review form) and end with a clear conclusion as to whether the article can be published or should be rejected.
  4. Until the article is published, all contact between the author and the reviewer shall be made only through the editorial team.
  5. The reviewer is obliged to review the article within the agreed deadline. If the reviewer cannot undertake the review or meet the deadline, he/she should immediately inform the editorial team.
  6. Reviews are confidential and are shared only with those involved in the editorial process.
  7. The reviewer is required to keep confidential all details of the reviewed article.
  8. The reviewer is not allowed to use the unpublished article.
  9. The reviewer is obliged to report to the editorial team any suspected ethical violations committed by the author.
  10. The list of reviewers is published once a year in the journal in the last issue of the year and on the journal's website.

 IV. Editorial policy

  1. The editorial team ensures compliance with applicable ethical standards and principles.
  2. The editorial team monitors internationally accepted publishing ethical standards, with particular attention to those propagated by COPE.
  3. The editorial team provides publicly available guidelines for authors and reviewers on how to submit, review, and publish articles.
  4. The editor checks the submitted manuscript for originality using the Crossref Similarity Check anti-plagiarism system (iThenticate software).
  5. The editorial team selects reviewers with appropriate qualifications in the research area for submitted manuscripts.
  6. The editorial team does not disclose information about submitted articles to unauthorized persons. The authors, selected reviewers, eligible editors, and the publisher are authorized persons.
  7. Unpublished articles cannot be used by members of the editorial team or others involved in the publishing process for their own purposes.
  8. The editorial team decides whether a manuscript is accepted for publication or rejected, taking into account substantive considerations only (criteria: compliance with the thematic scope of the journal, scientific value of the work, originality of the approach to the problem, clarity). The author's origin, affiliation, nationality, ethnicity, political beliefs, gender, race or religion in no way affect the evaluation of the article.
  9. The editor-in-chief decides about the final approval or rejection of the submitted manuscripts, taking into account the opinions of editors and reviewers.
  10. If a member of the editorial team is an author of a submitted manuscript, that person is excluded from the internal evaluation and review process.
  11. Members of the editorial team are obliged to care for the scientific reliability of published articles, and for this purpose they may introduce appropriate changes and corrections.
  12. In justified cases, the editorial team is ready to publish an appropriate correction, a rectification, a statement, an explanation or an apology.
  13. If an ethical violation is suspected at any stage of the publishing process or after the publication of an article, the journal's editors are required to take action in order to obtain a satisfactory explanation, following COPE guidelines.

Detected violations or unexplained concerns may result in the following: rejection of the submitted article, retraction of the published article, publication of relevant information, notification of the author's employer, notification of other entities.

  1. The editorial team has the right to retract an article after publication in the following situations:

– fabrication or falsification of data or unintentional but significant errors (e.g. calculation errors, methodological errors) were found;

– study results were previously published elsewhere (self-plagiarism);

– the article contains signs of plagiarism or violates publishing ethics.

A retracted article will not be removed from the published version of the journal, but the fact of its retraction will be clearly marked (watermark in the PDF version). A retraction notice titled "Retraction: [article title]" will be published on the website and in the next issue of the journal.

V. Main principles for proceeding with potential violations

When ethical violations are suspected, the editorial team considers COPE's specific instructions (https://publicationethics.org/files/cope-publication-ethics-flowcharts-full-set.pdf), including:

– always contact the person suspected of violation and take his/her explanation into account during the proceedings, as well as contact the person reporting the potential violation and inform him/her of the actions and decisions taken;

– depending on the circumstances, contact with the superiors of the person suspected of violation, contact with his/her employer, contact with other entities (scientific associations, societies, editorial team, publisher, research supervising authority, etc.), publication of polemics, describing the case in the journal.

  1. If there is suspicion of duplicate publication (self-plagiarism) in a submitted manuscript, the editorial team collects full documentation with evidence and checks the extent of coverage/repeatability. Depending on the results of the coverage/repeatability analysis and the author's reaction or lack of reaction, the editorial team decides: to contact the author's institution, to inform the supervisors, to reject the manuscript, to correct the text, to proceed further.

If a high degree of repetition is found, the manuscript is rejected.

If a small amount of repetition is found, it is required to cite the original work and insert the missing reference or remove the duplicate material.

  1. When duplicate publication (self-plagiarism) is suspected in a published article, the editorial team collects a full evidence documentation and checks the extent of coverage/repeatability. Depending on the results of the coverage/repeatability analysis and the author's reaction or lack of reaction, the editorial team decides: to contact the author's institution, to inform the supervisors, to notify other parties, to inform the potentially affected parties (author, editorial team, publisher), to reject the manuscript, to correct the text, to proceed further.

If a high degree of repetition is found, a republication statement is published or the article is retracted and a retraction notice is published.

If a small degree of repetition is found, the author provides a correction of the article for publication together with a link to the original text.

  1. If plagiarism is suspected in a submitted manuscript, the editorial team collects a full evidence documentation and checks the extent of coverage/repeatability. Depending on the results of the coverage/repeatability analysis and the author's reaction or lack of reaction, the editorial team decides: to contact the author's institution, to inform the supervisors, to notify other parties, to inform the potentially affected parties (author, editorial team, publisher), to reject the manuscript, to correct the text, to proceed further.

If a high degree of repetition is found, the manuscript is rejected.

If a small degree of repetition is found, the author is required to correct the text – rephrasing the copied text or enclosing it in quotation marks with references.

  1. If plagiarism is suspected in a submitted manuscript, the editorial team collects a full evidence documentation and checks the extent of coverage/repeatability. Depending on the results of the coverage/repeatability analysis and the author's reaction or lack of reaction, the editorial team decides: to contact the author's institution, to inform supervisors, to notify other parties, to retract the publication, to post a note about the retraction, to inform readers and the affected parties (author, editorial team, publisher) about the action taken.

If a high degree of repetition is found, the article is retracted and a retraction notice is published.

If a small degree of repetition is found, the author provides a correction of the article for publication together with a link to the original text.

  1. In case of suspicion of fabrication or falsification of data in the submitted manuscript, the editorial team asks for evidence from the person reporting the suspicion, contacts the author's institution if necessary, notifies the superivisors, consults an additional reviewer, and notifies relevant parties.

If the allegation is confirmed, the manuscript is rejected.

If the error was unintentional, the author is required to correct the text.

  1. In case of suspicion of fabrication or falsification of data in a published article, the editorial team asks for evidence from the person reporting the suspicion, contacts the author's institution if necessary, notifies the supervisors, consults an additional reviewer, notifies relevant parties, publishes a warning.

If the allegation is confirmed, the article is retracted and a retraction notice is published.

If the error was unintentional, the author submits a correction for publication.

  1. When a change in the list of authors is requested before the article is published the editorial team requires a justification for the change in authorship and a statement signed by all authors (past and present) agreeing to the changes.

If the justification is sufficient and all authors agree, the change is accepted.

If the justification is not sufficient, the change is not considered.

If all authors do not agree to the change, the publishing process is suspended until the authorship issue is resolved by all authors, if necessary through their employer.

  1. When a change in the list of authors is requested after publication of the article, the editorial team requires a justification for the change in authorship and a statement signed by all authors (past and present) agreeing to the change.

If the justification is sufficient and all authors agree to the change, a correction is published.

If the justification is not sufficient, the change is not considered.

If all authors do not agree to the change, the editorial team submits the matter to the authors' employer in order to resolve the issue (until resolved, the change is not considered).

If all authors do not agree with a change due to differing interpretations of the research, the editorial team allows the authors to publish polemics.

  1. If one author of a submitted manuscript is found not to meet the criteria for authorship (ghost authorship, guest authorship, or gift authorship), the editorial team requests written permission from all authors to add the missing author, remove the guest or gift author, possibly suggesting that the name of the removed author should be included in the acknowledgments. Depending on the circumstances, the editorial team considers notifying the authors' supervisors.
  2. If the reviewer suspects unauthorized use of the author's work, the editorial team examines the article and the reviews. When doubts are justified, the editorial team asks the reviewer to clarify the matter.

If the reviewer's explanation is satisfactory, after discussing it with the author, the editorial team discontinues the proceedings.

If the reviewer's explanation is unsatisfactory, the editorial team asks the reviewer's institution to examine the matter. If the reviewer is found guilty, the editorial team terminates the cooperation with the reviewer. Depending on the circumstances, the editorial team informs the relevant entities, and considers describing the case in the journal.

  1. If an undisclosed conflict of interest is suspected in a submitted manuscript, the editorial team asks the author for clarification (relevant documents). If necessary, the author submits a correction to the declaration of interest.
  2. If an undisclosed conflict of interest is suspected in a published article, the editorial team asks the author for clarification (relevant documents). If necessary, the author provides a correction to the author's declaration of interest for publication.