Ethics Statement (Unisa Press Journals)
As part of fulfilling the University of South Africa's vision of being "the African university shaping futures in the service of humanity" the vision of Unisa Press Journals is to "publish with integrity" and, as such, Unisa Press Journals would like all parties involved in the publication process to adhere to the expected ethical behaviour set out in this ethics statement.
- Responsibilities of the Publisher and the Institutions and/or Societies on Behalf of Which It Publishes
Unisa Press Journals and the institutions and/or societies on behalf of which it publishes shall ensure that:
1.1. Good practice is maintained to the standards set out in this statement.
1.2. Collaborations with other publishers and industry associations adhere to standards for best practices on ethical matters, errors and retractions.
1.3. The publisher's address and contact details are published in all journals and on these journals' websites.
1.4. Guidelines on how the review process works are published on all journals' websites.
1.5. Journals publish guidance on what is expected from reviewers.
1.6. Journals publish guidance on what is expected from authors.
1.7. Journals have properly functioning editorial boards and international advisory boards.
- Responsibilities of Editorial Boards
A properly functioning editorial board of a journal is of vital importance to ensure that the journals are governed efficiently. The board is responsible to ensure that the requirements for journals to be accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) are adhered to.
Editorial boards need to:
2.1. Meet regularly and be actively involved in the editorial management of the journal.
2.2. Have terms of reference.
2.3. Keep minutes of their meetings.
2.4. Be comprised of members from beyond a single institution, and with more than two-thirds of the editorial board members beyond a single institution.
2.5. Be reflective of expertise in the relevant subject area.
2.6. Ensure that the names, titles and affiliation of board members are published in the journal and on the journals' website.
2.7. Ensure that all board members serve for a clearly defined term, after which they may be re-elected in order to remain on the board.
2.8. Ensure that their journal has a mechanism for authors to appeal against editorial decisions. This should be managed by the editorial board and not the editor.
2.9. Appoint the academic editor of the journal
- International Advisory Boards
This journal, just like any other, does boast a vibrant team of international advisory board, which advises the editorial board and the editor on the academic standard of the journal. This is a critical part of our editorial component as it helps the journal to foster excellence in scholarship.
- Responsibilities of Academic Editors
Academic Editors should:
4.1. Execute their duties in an objective and fair way without discriminating on the basis of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious or political affiliation or sexual orientation of authors or reviewers.
4.2. Ensure that articles include English abstracts if their language of publication is not English.
4.3. Ensure that their journal uses the double blind peer review method, where the identities of authors and reviewers are not known to each other.
4.4. Pursue suspected cases of misconduct and not just simply reject articles that raise suspicion.
4.5. Give authors an opportunity to respond to any complaints and, if they are not satisfied, ask the authors' employers to investigate. Editors should persist until they obtain a resolution to the problem in question.
4.6. Follow reasonable procedures when complaints of conflict of interest or of an ethical nature arise, and follow the procedures of the society or institution which owns the journal, where appropriate, to resolve the complaint. Journals owned by Unisa need to follow the guidelines set out in the relevant Unisa policies.
4.7. Keep all documentation relating to the investigation of a complaint.
4.8. Correct any inaccuracy or misleading statement that has been published in order to maintain the integrity of the academic record. They have to publish errata, corrigenda or even retract articles if need be.
4.9. Make sure their journals comply with all the requirements of the Department: Higher Education and Training's Research Outputs Policy (2015)
- Responsibilities of Peer Reviewers
5.1. Maintain the confidentiality of all information supplied by the editor.
5.2. Review each manuscript objectively, in a timely manner, contribute to the decision-making process regarding publication of articles, and assist in improving the quality of the manuscript.
5.3. Alert the editor to any suspected plagiarism or substantially similar content.
5.4. Keep the integrity of the double blind peer review intact by ensuring they stay anonymous in their review reports.
5.5. Be aware of any potential conflict of interest, and decline the review on those grounds.
- Authors' responsibilities
6.1. Declare any real or potential conflict of interest regarding the research and the publication process.
6.2. Confirm that each submission has not been previously published and that it is not under consideration by another journal.
6.3. Confirm that the work in submission is original, and acknowledge and cite content from other sources.
6.4. Confirm that they have obtained permission to reproduce any content that is not theirs.
6.5. Notify the journal editor or publisher immediately if a significant error in their publication comes to light, and should cooperate with the editor and publisher if it is necessary to retract the article or to publish an erratum, addendum or corrigendum notice.
6.6. Maintain accurate records of data associated with their submission, and should grant access to these data if reasonably requested. Where allowed and where appropriate, authors should deposit this data in a suitable repository or storage for sharing and further use.
6.7. Ensure that any studies involving human or animal subjects conform to local, national and international laws and requirements. Authors should obtain express permission from human subjects and respect their privacy.
6.8. Be aware that online originality checking will be conducted to protect the integrity of the journal.
Misconduct and unethical behaviour may be identified and brought to the attention of the editor and publisher at any time, by anyone. Sufficient evidence should be provided in writing by any complainant when informing the editor or publisher for an investigation to be initiated. All allegations should be taken seriously and must be treated appropriately. Those who report such behaviour in good faith must be protected in accordance with relevant Unisa policies and procedures. When misconduct or unethical behaviour is confirmed appropriate actions should be taken timeously, including correcting the research record (Singapore Statement, 2010).