Journals Code of Ethics

The Pennsylvania State University Press takes seriously the responsibility of all of its journal publications to reflect the highest in publication ethics. Thus all journals and journal editors are expected to abide by the following codes of ethics. ‡

The Pennsylvania State University Press

  • Will establish in its publications agreements clear descriptions of its own and the journal editor’s duties and responsibilities, as well as those of any other entity affected by the agreement.
  • Will make every effort to respect the privacy of reviewers and readers of manuscripts submitted for review; should any research involve unidentified subjects, efforts to protect their identity will be a priority.
  • Will protect the copyright and intellectual property rights of its authors and contributors.
  • Will promote editorial autonomy.
  • Will protect the right of free speech.

General duties and responsibilities of Editors

  • Editors are responsible for everything published in their journals.
    • They will endeavor to:
      • meet the needs of readers and authors;
      • improve the journal;
      • maintain the quality of the material they publish;
      • champion freedom of expression;
      • maintain the integrity of the academic record;
      • preclude business needs from compromising intellectual standards;
      • always be willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies when needed.
  • Relations with readers
    • If applicable, readers will be informed about who has funded research and on the role of the funders in the research.
  • Relations with authors
    • Editors should take all reasonable steps to ensure the quality of the material they publish.
    • Editors’ decisions to accept or reject a paper for publication should be based only on the paper’s importance, originality, and clarity, and the manuscript’s relevance to the journal.
    • A description of peer review processes should be published, and Editors should be ready to justify any important deviation from the described processes.
    • Journals should have a declared mechanism for authors to appeal against Editorial decisions.
    • Editors should provide authors with clear submissions guidelines.
    • Editors should not reverse decisions to accept submissions unless serious problems are identified with the submission.
    • Incoming Editors should not reverse decisions to publish submissions made by the previous Editor unless serious problems are identified.
  • Editors, the peer review process, and relations with reviewers
    • Editors should provide reviewers with guidelines, which should be current.
    • Editors should strive to protect peer reviewers’ identities.
    • Editors should ensure that material submitted to their journal remains confidential while under review.

This ethics statement was adapted from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE:, with permission. COPE was not involved in the drafting of this statement. COPE is a forum for editors and publishers of peer-reviewed journals to discuss all aspects of publication ethics. It also advises editors on how to handle cases of research and publication misconduct.