Code of Practice on Ethics and Malpractice
All manuscripts are subject to peer review and are expected to meet standards of academic excellence. If approved by the editor, submissions will be considered by peer-reviewers, whose identities will remain anonymous to the authors.
The publication ethics is a commitment which draws up some moral limitations and responsibilities of research journals.
Applied Linguistics Research Journal (ALRJ) adheres to a strict code of practice to ensure that all parties involved in the publishing process (authors, reviewers, and editors) maintain a high standard of ethical behavior throughout the process and that malpractice is dealt with in a timely and responsible manner. The journal’s code of practice is influenced by guidelines made available by the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology (MSRT) emphasizing ethics in publishing and avoiding scientific malpractice. In addition, the journal’s code of practice is influenced by guidelines made available by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and is observed by the journal’s Editorial Board. See COPE Ethical Guidelines for peer reviewers at https://publicationethics.org/files/u7140/Peer%20review%20guidelines.pdf
The major principles of peer review by COPE are restated in the following.
Peer reviewers should:
- only agree to review manuscripts for which they have the subject expertise required to carry out a proper assessment and which they can assess in a timely manner
- respect the confidentiality of peer review and not reveal any details of a manuscript or its review, during or after the peer-review process, beyond those that are released by the journal
- not use information obtained during the peer-review process for their own or any other person’s or organization’s advantage, or to disadvantage or discredit others
- declare all potential conflicting interests, seeking advice from the journal if they are unsure whether something constitutes a relevant interest
- not allow their reviews to be influenced by the origins of a manuscript, by the nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender or other characteristics of the authors, or by commercial considerations
- be objective and constructive in their reviews, refraining from being hostile or inflammatory and from making libellous or derogatory personal comments
- acknowledge that peer review is largely a reciprocal endeavour and undertake to carry out their fair share of reviewing and in a timely manner
- provide journals with personal and professional information that is accurate and a true representation of their expertise
- recognize that impersonation of another individual during the review process is considered serious misconduct
Expectations during the peer-review process
On being approached to review Peer reviewers should:
- respond in a reasonable time-frame, especially if they cannot do the review, and without intentional delay.
- declare if they do not have the subject expertise required to carry out the review or if they are able to assess only part of the manuscript, outlining clearly the areas for which they have the relevant expertise.
- only agree to review a manuscript if they are fairly confident they can return a review within the proposed or mutually agreed time-frame, informing the journal promptly if they require an extension.
- declare any potentially conflicting or competing interests (which may, for example, be personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious), seeking advice from the journal if they are unsure whether something constitutes a relevant interest.
- follow journals’ policies on situations they consider to represent a conflict to reviewing. If no guidance is provided, they should inform the journal if: they work at the same institution as any of the authors (or will be joining that institution or are applying for a job there); they are or have been recent (e.g. within the past 3 years) mentors, mentees, close collaborators or joint grant holders; they have a close personal relationship with any of the authors.
- review afresh any manuscript they have previously reviewed for another journal as it may have changed between the two submissions and the journals’ criteria for evaluation and acceptance may be different.
- ensure suggestions for alternative reviewers are based on suitability and not influenced by personal considerations or made with the intention of the manuscript receiving a specific outcome (either positive or negative).
- not agree to review a manuscript just to gain sight of it with no intention of submitting a review.
- decline to review if they feel unable to provide a fair and unbiased review.
- decline to review if they have been involved with any of the work in the manuscript or its reporting.
- decline to review if asked to review a manuscript that is very similar to one they have in preparation or under consideration at another journal.
- decline to review if they have issues with the peer-review model used by a journal (e.g. it uses open review and releases the reviewers’ names to the authors) that would either affect their review or cause it to be invalidated because of their inability to comply with the journal’s review policies.
Peer reviewers should:
- notify the journal immediately and seek advice if they discover either a conflicting interest that wasn’t apparent when they agreed to the review or anything that might prevent them providing a fair and unbiased review.
- refrain from looking at the manuscript and associated material while awaiting instructions from a journal on issues that might cause the request to review to be rescinded.
- read the manuscript, ancillary material (e.g. reviewer instructions, required ethics and policy statements, supplemental data files) and journal instructions thoroughly, getting back to the journal if anything is not clear and requesting any missing or incomplete items they need to carry out a full review.
- notify the journal as soon as possible if they find they do not have the expertise to assess all aspects of the manuscript; they shouldn’t wait until submitting their review as this will unduly delay the review process.
- not involve anyone else in the review of a manuscript, including junior researchers they are mentoring, without first obtaining permission from the journal; the names of any individuals who have helped them with the review should be included with the returned review so that they are associated with the manuscript in the journal’s records and can also receive due credit for their efforts.
- keep all manuscript and review details confidential.
- contact the journal if circumstances arise that will prevent them from submitting a timely review, providing an accurate estimate of the time they will need to do a review if still asked to do so.
- in the case of double-blind review, if they suspect the identity of the author(s) notify the journal if this knowledge raises any potential conflict of interest.
- notify the journal immediately if they come across any irregularities, have concerns about ethical aspects of the work, are aware of substantial similarity between the manuscript and a concurrent submission to another journal or a published article, or suspect that misconduct may have occurred during either the research or the writing and submission of the manuscript; reviewers should, however, keep their concerns confidential and not personally investigate further unless the journal asks for further information or advice.
- not intentionally prolong the review process, either by delaying the submission of their review or by requesting unnecessary additional information from the journal or author.
- ensure their review is based on the merits of the work and not influenced, either positively or negatively, by any personal, financial, or other conflicting considerations or by intellectual biases.
- not contact the authors directly without the permission of the journal.
When preparing the report
Peer reviewers should:
- bear in mind that the editor is looking to them for subject knowledge, good judgement, and an honest and fair assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the work and the manuscript.
- make clear at the start of their review if they have been asked to address only specific parts or aspects of a manuscript and indicate which these are.
- follow journals’ instructions on the specific feedback that is required of them and, unless there are good reasons not to, the way this should be organized.
- be objective and constructive in their reviews and provide feedback that will help the authors to improve their manuscript.
- not make derogatory personal comments or unfounded accusations.
- be specific in their criticisms, and provide evidence with appropriate references to substantiate general statements such as, ‘this work has been done before’, to help editors in their evaluation and decision and in fairness to the authors.
- remember it is the authors’ paper and not attempt to rewrite it to their own preferred style if it is basically sound and clear; suggestions for changes that improve clarity are, however, important.
- be aware of the sensitivities surrounding language issues that are due to the authors writing in a language that is not their own, and phrase the feedback appropriately and with due respect.
- make clear which suggested additional investigations are essential to support claims made in the manuscript under consideration and which will just strengthen or extend the work.
- not prepare their report in such a way or include comments that suggest the review has been done by another person.
- not prepare their report in a way that reflects badly or unfairly on another person.
- not make unfair negative comments or include unjustified criticisms of any competitors’ work that is mentioned in the manuscript.
- ensure their comments and recommendations for the editor are consistent with their report for the authors; most feedback should be put in the report for the authors.
- confidential comments to the editor should not be a place for denigration or false accusation, done in the knowledge that the authors will not see these comments.
- not suggest that authors include citations to the reviewer’s (or their associates’) work merely to increase the reviewer’s (or their associates’) citation count or to enhance the visibility of their or their associates’ work; suggestions must be based on valid academic or technological reasons.
- determine whether the journal allows them to sign their reviews and, if it does, decide as they feel comfortable doing.
- if they are the editor handling a manuscript and decide themselves to provide a review of that manuscript, do this transparently and not under the guise of an anonymous review if the journal operates blind review; providing a review for a manuscript being handled by another editor at the journal can be treated as any other review.
Expectations post review
Peer reviewers should:
- continue to keep details of the manuscript and its review confidential.
- respond promptly if contacted by a journal about matters related to their review of a manuscript and provide the information required.
- contact the journal if anything relevant comes to light after they have submitted their review that might affect their original feedback and recommendations.
- read the reviews from the other reviewers, if these are provided by the journal, to improve their own understanding of the topic or the decision reached.
- try to accommodate requests from journals to review revisions or resubmissions of manuscripts they have reviewed.
The requirements of publishing in this journal are:
- All named authors must have contributed to the writing of the paper.
- Papers must not contain a substantial duplication of research published elsewhere although papers referring to new aspects, or new interpretations, of research published elsewhere, are acceptable.
- Authors must confirm that the paper, or portions of it, has not been submitted for publication elsewhere. Where overlap exists with other papers the authors should declare this in a note to the editor (notes to the editor can be included during the online submission process).
- Authors are responsible for ensuring they have complied with the legal and ethical requirements of their countries and institutions, and that they have secured all the necessary ethics approvals.
- Authors must ensure that reports of their research as contained in the paper they submit are accurate descriptions of the research and that no falsification of procedures, data or outcomes is included. Authors must be willing to provide access to the data on which the paper is based on a reasonable request.
- If during the review process or after the publication of a paper authors become aware of errors or inaccuracies in their work they must inform the editor right away and be prepared to provide a statement of retraction or correction.
- Authors must declare the source of any financial support that has contributed to the research discussed in the paper or to the writing of the paper (such a declaration can be made as part of the online submission process but is usually also included in the acknowledgement section at the end of the paper).
- Authors must declare as part of the submission process any potential conflicts of interest that might affect the paper or the process of publication.
- Authors must seriously avoid misconduct in research including plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication, among others.
NOTE: Publishing an article is not known as acceptance of its contents by the journal.
- The editor will ensure that the process for the selection of papers operates without discrimination on the grounds of gender, religious or political beliefs, the ethnic or geographical origin of the authors, or on the basis of the views expressed in papers. Assurances of this policy are the adherence in the editor’s initial selection to only the three criteria of relevance, length and originality, and in the peer review process to the principle of blind review.
- The editor will take all possible steps to ensure that papers published in the journal follow the ethical code of practice laid out in this statement. This includes checking for similarity to other published papers (included in the initial editor’s check described above) and taking advice from the peer reviewers about the content of papers. Papers which do not meet the requirements of this code of practice will not be published although the editor will discuss with authors in order to provide an opportunity to correct inadvertent errors and to ensure the authors understand the rationale for rejection (where relevant).
All reviewers are currently engaged within the field of Applied Linguistics. The role of reviewers is an important one because they contribute to the quality of editorial decision-making. Reviewers are required to:
- Provide an unbiased review of the paper rooted in their current understanding of the field and of the recent research and literature.
- Complete their reviews within the timeframe agreed at the time of accepting the request to review. This timeliness is important in helping authors achieve publication within a reasonable time and in keeping issues of the journal on schedule.
- Inform the editor of any substantial similarity to other papers of which they are aware.
- Treat all review materials in confidence.
- Inform the editor if they believe they may have a conflict of interest in undertaking the review (for example, but not limited to, declaring any professional or personal relationship which might compromise the review).
Changes to Authorship
Based on the journal policy, we accept only the rearrangement of author names in the authorship of accepted manuscripts. However, any decision to rearrange names should be formally announced to the Editor-in-Chief prior to publishing the manuscript. Requests to add new authors is not considered. The corresponding author of the manuscript is required to ask for any rearrangement of the names via the journal email. It goes without saying that all authors need to confirm their agreement regarding rearrangement of the names.
Conflict of interest and source of funding
Authors are required to disclose any possible conflict of interest. These include financial issues (for example patent, ownership, stock ownership, consultancies, speaker's fee). Applied Linguistics Research Journal requires that sources of institutional, private and corporate financial support for the work within the manuscript must be fully acknowledged, and any potential conflicts of interest noted. Please include this information under the separate headings of 'Source of Funding' and 'Conflict of Interest' at the end of your manuscript.
Authors are required to download the Conflict of Interest Form from the journal website and submit it to the journal.