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BJSW - Code of Practice

THIS STATEMENT OUTLINES THE EXPECTATIONS OF EDITORS, REVIEWERS AND AUTHORS


EDITORS’ RESPONSIBILITIES

Introduction

The British Journal of Social Work is the flagship journal of the British Association of Social Workers and represents both social work scholarship in the UK itself and social work on the international stage.

The Editor/CoEditors are responsible for the content of the journal and for ensuring the integrity of all work that is published in it. They have a responsibility to champion the freedom of expression, subject to taking reasonable care to ensure that:
• no work is published that contains any material that is copied from any other work;
• all work that is published is original and has not previously been published in whole or substantial part;
• no work is published that contains material from other copyrighted publications for which necessary permissions have not been obtained by the author(s);
• no work is published that contains any material that is defamatory, inaccurate, libellous, misleading, obscene, scandalous, unlawful, or otherwise objectionable, or that infringes any other person’s copyright, right of privacy, or other rights.

Where necessary, the Editor/CoEditors will seek legal advice from the publishers where they have concerns regarding any of the above factors.

The Editor/CoEditors should consistently strive to improve standards, and ensure at all times that the journal serves the interests of readers, authors and reviewers. The Editor/CoEditors are responsible for ensuring an appropriate balance of articles published in each issue and volume, taking account of factors including, but not limited to, multiple submissions from individuals/teams and the focus of papers.

Where supported by necessary evidence, the Editor/CoEditors must always be willing to publish apologies, clarifications, corrections, and retractions. The Editor/CoEditors welcome debate in respect of material published in the journal and will normally publish succinct comments (so long as these avoid personal attack and are otherwise not defamatory, inaccurate, libellous, misleading, obscene, scandalous, unlawful, or otherwise objectionable, or infringe any other person’s copyright, right of privacy, or other rights), while affording authors a concurrent right of reply. However, the journal is unable to provide a forum for extended debate.

The Editor/CoEditors will publish annual data on the number of manuscripts submitted to the journal and on the number of manuscripts accepted for publication.

Guidance to authors and reviewers

The Editor/CoEditors are responsible for publishing guidance both to authors on the requirements for submitting manuscripts to the journal and to reviewers on the requirements for undertaking peer review. They are responsible for ensuring that this guidance is kept up to date.

Peer review of manuscripts

The Editor/CoEditors/Associate Editor/Guest Editors of Special Issues are responsible for securing timely, independent and anonymous peer review from suitably qualified reviewers who have no disqualifying competing interests, of all manuscripts submitted to the journal. The Editor/CoEditors/Associate Editor are responsible for ensuring that the journal has access to an adequate number of competent reviewers.

Normally the Editor/CoEditors/Associate Editor/ Guest Editors of Special Issues will appoint two reviewers for each manuscript, taking account of any reasonable request from authors that a named individual should not review their manuscript.

The Editor/CoEditors will provide reviewers with copies of all reviews of manuscripts they have reviewed and advise them of interim and final editorial decisions. Reviewers will be acknowledged by the journal at the end of each year.

Book Reviews

The Reviews Editor is responsible for ensuring that the journal has access to an adequate number of competent reviewers. and for securing timely and independent review from suitably qualified reviewers, who have no disqualifying or competing interests, of books (s)he has selected for review. Since the journal does not have space to review all books submitted, selection of books for review will be made by the Reviews Editor on the basis of her/his judgement of those of most interest to the journal’s readers. In exercising such judgement, the Reviews Editor will act impartially at all times.

The Reviews Editor reserves the right not to publish a review containing material that is unfair, defamatory, inaccurate, libellous, misleading, obscene, scandalous, unlawful, or otherwise objectionable, or infringes any other person’s copyright, right of privacy, or other rights or does not met the journal’s standards of scholarship. Where necessary, the Reviews Editor will consult with the Editor/CoEditors and/or seek legal advice from the publishers where they have concerns regarding any of the above factors.

Confidentiality of submitted material

The Editor/CoEditors/ Associate Editor/ Guest Editors of Special Issues will ensure that systems are in place to ensure the confidentiality and protection from misuse of material submitted to the journal while under review and the protection of authors’ and reviewers’ identities and will themselves take all reasonable steps to preserve the confidentiality of authors’ and reviewers’ identities.

Appeals against editorial decisions

Editorial decisions regarding manuscripts are made on the basis of peer review and the editors are responsible for all such decisions. The Editor/CoEditors may be requested to reconsider adverse reviews and decisions. In such an event, they will undertake such reconsiderations expeditiously. Their decision is final and there are no provisions for further appeal. Once a paper has been accepted for publication, the decision to publish should not be reversed, including by any incoming Editor/ CoEditors in respect of papers accepted by their predecessor(s), unless serious problems are identified. Such examples could include, but are not limited to, self plagiarism, double publication, data fabrication, fraud, content that is defamatory, inaccurate, libellous, misleading, obscene, scandalous, unlawful or otherwise objectionable or that infringes on any other person’s copyright, right of privacy, or other rights.

In the case of a book review that has been accepted for publication, the decision to publish should not be reversed, including by any incoming Reviews Editor in respect of reviews accepted by their predecessor(s), unless serious problems are identified. Such examples could include, but are not limited to, self plagiarism, double publication, data fabrication, fraud, content that is defamatory, inaccurate, libellous, misleading, obscene, scandalous, unlawful or otherwise objectionable or that infringes on any other person’s copyright, right of privacy, or other rights.

Conflict of interest

The Editor/CoEditors may not submit a manuscript to the journal during their period of office (such restrictions do not apply to the Associate Editor, Reviews Editor or Guest Editors of Special Issues)

A manuscript submitted by an author who is employed at the same institution as the Editor or one of the Co-Editors will be handled by one of the other Co-Editors or by the Associate Editor. The Editor/Co-Editor who is employed at the same institution as the author will not be involved in selecting referees or making any decisions on the paper.

Where a manuscript is submitted by a family member of the Editor or one of the Co-Editors, or by an author whose relationship with the Editor or one of the Co-Editors might create the perception of bias (for example, in terms of close friendship or conflict/rivalry), the Editor/Co-Editor will declare a conflict of interest and the manuscript will be handled by one of the other Co-Editors, or by the Associate Editor. The Editor/Co-Editor who has declared a conflict of interest will not be involved in selecting referees or making any decisions on the paper.

If the Editor or Co-Editors or Reviews Editor consider that there is likely to be a perception of a conflict of interest in relation to their handling of a manuscript or book for review, they will declare it to the other Editors or to the Editorial Board. Arrangements for review will be handled by one of the other Co-Editors or by the Associate Editor. The Editor/Co-Editor who has declared a conflict of interest will not be involved in selecting referees or making any decisions relating to the review.

Where the Reviews Editor is the sole author, co-author, editor, co-editor or contributor of a book that may be considered for review in the journal, or such a book is authored, co-authored edited, co-edited or contains material written by a person whose relationship with the Reviews Editor may create a perception of a conflict of interest (as described above), the Editor/Co-Editors will handle the process. This will include the initial decision as to whether the book should be reviewed, the selection of reviewer and the decision whether to accept the review for publication. If the Editor or all Co-Editors are employed at the same institution as the Reviews Editor, this process will be handled by the Associate Editor or by an Editorial Board member who is not at the same institution. The process will be handled in such a way that the Reviews Editor does not have access to information or correspondence relating to the review.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF AUTHORS

Ethics approval for research involving human participants

Authors are required to show that their research conforms to internationally accepted ethical guidelines and relevant professional ethical guidelines. Where institutional ethics review committees are in operation, authors must provide evidence of relevant ethical research approval. Where such committees do not operate, authors are responsible for providing evidence of their adherence to relevant ethical guidelines.

Integrity of manuscripts

Authors must ensure that:
• no part of their work is copied from any other work, either authored by themselves or others;
• the work is original and has not previously been published in whole or substantial part;
• the work does not contain any defamatory, libellous, obscene, scandalous, unlawful or otherwise objectionable material or material which is inaccurate or misleading or that infringes on any other person’s copyright, right of privacy, or other rights;
• all necessary permissions required for both print and electronic use for any material used from other copyrighted publications have been obtained;
• author attributions – and the order of authorship – accurately reflect all contributions to the paper.

On acceptance, authors will be required to disclose all sources of funding relating to their paper. This declaration will be published with the paper.

Authors must disclose all relevant competing interests, and publish acknowledgement if competing interests are revealed following publication.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF REVIEWERS

Timely and fair reviews

Reviewers who accept an invitation to review a manuscript or a book should provide a fair review within the agreed timescale. Where unanticipated events make it impossible to meet the agreed deadline, reviewers must contact the editorial office or, in the case of a book review, the Reviews Editor, as soon as possible, either to schedule a mutually-agreed alternative deadline or to withdraw from reviewing the manuscript or book.

Reviewers must provide substantiated and fair reviews. These must avoid personal attack, and not include any material that is defamatory, inaccurate, libellous, misleading, obscene, scandalous, unlawful, or otherwise objectionable, or that infringes any other person’s copyright, right of privacy, or other rights.

Conflict of interest

Reviewers of both manuscripts and books are required to declare any potential conflict of interest that may arise because they know or think they know the identity of the author, (e.g. in terms of close friendship or conflict/rivalry) or for any other reason. The Editor/Co Editors/ Reviews Editor will assume that acceptance of the invitation to undertake the review indicates that there is no potential conflict of interest.

Normally, a reviewer will not be used to review a manuscript or book where a conflict of interest has been declared. However, the Editor/Co-Editors/Reviews Editor may use their discretion, after appropriate consultation, to allow a reviewer who has declared a potential conflict of interest to undertake the review.

COMPLAINTS

Any complaint relating to the journal should, in the first instance be directed towards the Editor/Co-Editors. The Editor/Co-Editors is/are responsible for the timely and thorough investigation of all complaints and for reporting the outcome of their investigation to the complainant.

In the event that the complainant is not satisfied with the Editor’s/Co-Editors’ response, or where the complaint is made against the Editor/Co-Editors, the complainant may pursue his/her concerns with the Chief Executive of the British Association of Social Workers.

FURTHER SOURCES

American Psychological Association (2002) Ethical Guidelines for assigning order of authorship

British Journal of Social Work Conflict of Interest Policy

Committee on Publications Ethics

Committee on Publications Ethics (2007) Code of Conduct