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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 108-109

Academic publishing and publication ethics: Innovations and challenges

Senior Consultant, Indian Nursing Council, Former Dean College of Nursing, CMC Vellore and Founder of IJCNE Publication, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication19-Feb-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Punitha Ezhilarasu
College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijcn.ijcn_15_21

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How to cite this article:
Ezhilarasu P. Academic publishing and publication ethics: Innovations and challenges. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn 2020;21:108-9

How to cite this URL:
Ezhilarasu P. Academic publishing and publication ethics: Innovations and challenges. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Nov 27];21:108-9. Available from: https://www.ijcne.org/text.asp?2020/21/2/108/309853

It gives me immense pleasure to recall the success and growth of IJCNE journal and its publication by College of Nursing over the past two decades. I am honoured and delighted to write the guest editorial at this important milestone. We have experienced many innovations as well as challenges. When we began the publication, it was manual, tedious and non-indexed. Gradually, we progressed, and today, we have moved to electronic publishing with the journal indexed and every article has a digital object identifier number.

In today's world of academic publishing relevant to health science knowledge dissemination, the scientific and professional community has to be equipped to face these innovations as well as challenges. An important skill that requires updation and strengthening among clinical nurses, nursing faculty, nurse leaders and nurse researchers is scientific writing for the publication. Publication in nursing has changed over the years to embrace the upcoming innovations and challenges. The nursing community must be aware of these as they get involved in the production and dissemination of nursing knowledge and evidence essential for evidence-based nursing practice. Recent knowledge relevant to academic publishing and ethics of publication are highlighted in this article.

  Academic Publishing Top

Academic publishing is open to innovations of various kinds. Publishing has moved towards a business model. Publishing companies have created many innovations to make profits through enhancing the publication of scientific papers in scientific journals. Innovations in this industry have occurred at different levels. At the infrastructure level, the competition has brought in new entrants, open access journals, new digital-only formats and platforms for academic publishing, social-based platforms of sharing and communicating and technology-based forms of ranking the quality of scientific knowledge. Open access has improved the discoverability and readability of the articles that gives researchers the opportunity for more citations, media attention, potential collaborators, job opportunities and funding opportunities. At the strategy level, new business models and strategies are used such as the innovative forms of pricing and new type of value assignment to offer the services. At the third level, the production and consumption of scientific knowledge has been transformed creating new roles and new linkages. The stakeholders, namely authors, readers, reviewers, editors, publishers, libraries, universities and institutions reposition themselves in a growing cyber-mediated market. Digital identifiers such as DOI and ORCID provide a structured method for publishers to link their articles with related information.[1]

These innovations made the scholarly research and dissemination process more interactive and web based. The search for new information is based on topics and names of authors rather than locating already known journals. Literature review and systematic review and meta-analysis of nursing literature are examples. The publication process is not anymore under the total control of scientific publishers as the publication infrastructure has become more fragmented. New publishing houses have made significant investments into the digital publishing infrastructures. New technology-based evaluation of the quality of a scientific journal is emphasising journal metrics rather than impact factor alone.[2]

Digital transformation in publishing carries many challenges along with innovations. Paper-based journal which is familiar to many nursing professionals have lost contact with new information. Personal interactive communication is no more a reality as every interaction is web based. Today's generation of nursing students and nurses who are Tech Savvy find these exciting and challenging. Ranking of journals using technology has created misconduct. Link stability and content preservation are the challenges in electronic publishing as this allows linking to various sites and resources beyond editorial control. Permanent preservation of articles is a challenge, and therefore, it has to be preserved on a journal's website or credible repository to create historical record.

  Publication Ethics Top

Unethical practices are evident among authors, editors, peer reviewers and publishers. The authors resort to some forms of unethical practice, sometimes intentionally and occasionally by accident. Being aware of publication ethics will help readers to consciously avoid such misconduct and perform honest ethical research and pursue publications.

Ethical standards for publication exist to ensure high-quality scientific publications, public trust in scientific findings and that people receive credit for their work and ideas. Publication ethics include statutory and ethics approval, informed consent, data manipulation and research fraud, plagiarism, simultaneous submission, duplicate publication, self-citation, consent to reproduce published material, ethics of authorship and conflicts of interest. Authorship poses a great challenge. The four authorship criteria listed under IJCME recommendations (2019) should be fulfilled on deciding authorship. Conflict in the order of authors needs to be sorted in the consensus before sending the manuscript. The three major types of misconduct with authorship are ghost authorship, gifted authorship and guest authorship.[2],[3]

Obtaining informed consent from all the study participants is critical and should not be trivialised by the authors. Submitting a new manuscript containing the same hypotheses, data, discussion points and/or conclusions as a previously published manuscript is called as duplicate publication. The authors must refrain from such misconduct and recognise that this is unethical behaviour. Conflicts of interest, also called as competing interests, are defined as financial, personal, social or other interests that directly or indirectly influence the conduct of the author with respect to the particular manuscript. The authors, peer reviewers and editors must disclose any such type of competing interests. Plagiarism is the use of previously published work by another author in one's own manuscript without consent, credit, or acknowledgment and fraudulently passing it as one's own work is referred to as plagiarism. This is the most common form of scientific misconduct in manuscript writing. Data manipulation and research fraud contributes to scientific misconduct that refers to publications that report results and draw conclusions from data that are not generated by the study (fabrication) but are manipulated (falsification).[2],[3]

In case of pseudo-journals/predatory journals, the publishers advertise the journal as scholarly medical/nursing journals. They accept and publish almost all submissions and charge article processing fee and claim to perform peer review but do not do it and use names similar to well-established journals. The authors should take caution to identify the nature and credibility of the journal before submitting the manuscript. The integrity of editorial decisions should not be influenced by commercial interests. The reviewers must maintain true scientific review process.

The Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE)[4] provides the guidelines for retraction. Retraction is a mechanism for correcting the literature and alerting readers to articles that contain such seriously flawed or erroneous content or data that their findings and conclusions cannot be relied upon. Editors should consider retracting a publication only if they have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable; there is data fabrication or falsification; it constitutes plagiarism; the findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper attribution to previous sources; disclosure to the editor justification; it contains material or data without authorisation for use; Copyright has been infringed; there is some other serious legal issue (e.g., libel and privacy); reports unethical research; the author(s) failed to disclose a major competing interest. Notices of retraction should be linked to the retracted article, identified as a retraction published promptly to minimise harmful effects stating the reason and who is retracting the article and be freely available to all readers.

The academic publishing innovations and challenges are applicable to publication in nursing too. The community of professional nurses, scholars and researchers should be aware of these, so that they take adequate caution as authors, peer reviewers, editors and publishers when they are involved in the publication process. The scientific misconduct that prevails among nurse authors must diminish or be absent in future by having clear understanding of guidelines. COPE guidelines and IJCME recommendations will serve as resources in this area.

  References Top

Ponte D, Mierzejewska BI, Klein S. The transformation of the academic publishing market: multiple perspectives on innovation. Electronic Markets. 2017;27:97-100.  Back to cited text no. 1
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals-update 2019. Available from: http://www.ICMJE.org. [Last accessed on 2021 Feb 04].  Back to cited text no. 2
Sengupta S, Honavar SG. Publication ethics. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2017 Jun;65:429-432. doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_483_17. PMID: 28643704; PMCID: PMC5508450.  Back to cited text no. 3
Committee on Publication Ethics Council. COPE Retraction guidelines-English. Ver. 1.4. Committee on Publication Ethics; 2019. Available from: https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.  Back to cited text no. 4


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