Publisher codes of ethics, and how they are enforced, should occupy a larger part of the discourse around scientific ethics and, in turn, influence where scientists choose to publish. The current editorial policies of many major scientific journals describe how journals enforce the code of ethics for scientists, not the rules that govern the publishing process itself. Why should scientists ask their journals to publish an editorial policy akin to a newsroom operations ethics policy (https://www.washingtonpost.com/policies-and-standards/)? Publishers play a pivotal role in filtering stories. Through their definitions and weighting of significance/impact/novelty, scientific editors select the stories that get sent out for peer review, pick the peer reviewers, and arbitrate the peer review process. In addition, while scientific institutions are responsible for adjudicating charges of scientific misconduct, journals are responsible for managing retractions. Thus, journals determine who gets published (and when) and set the pace of retractions. In other words, they play multiple roles in scientific governance. Finally, biased publishing outcomes—where a group is underrepresented in the pool of published authors relative to the pool of eligible authors—have been documented at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) (1) and other journals. . . .
In the face of biased publishing outcomes, what should we expect of our publishers? Research is often conducted using money from federally funded grants. The publication fees we pay, if not taken from federal grant funding, are in some way supported by it. As a consequence, we can expect that publishers will meet their responsibility, not just to us, but also to the taxpayers of ensuring fairness in what gets reported. If publishers were to make transparent the principles that guide their decisions, then scientists could use these new policies (and accountability for them) to determine where to publish, rather than using impact factor as a single guiding light.
| Research Data Curation and Management Works |
| Digital Curation and Digital Preservation Works |
| Open Access Works |
| Digital Scholarship |