Editors are in a powerful position by making decisions on publications, which makes it very important that this process is as fair and unbiased as possible, and is in accordance with the academic vision of the particular journal.
- Editorial and journal processes
- All editorial processes should be made clear in the information for authors. In particular, it should be stated what is expected of authors, which types of papers are published, and how papers are handled by the journal. All editors should be fully familiar with the journal policies, vision, and scope. The final responsibility for all decisions rests with the editor-in-chief.
- Editorial conflicts of interest
- Editors should not be involved in decisions about papers in which they have a conflict of interest, for example if they work or have worked in the same institution and collaborated with the authors, if they own stock in a particular company, or if they have a personal relationship with the authors. Journals should have a defined process for handling such papers. Journals should also have a process in place to handle papers submitted by editors or editorial board members to ensure unbiased and independent handling of such papers. This process should be stated in the information for authors. Editorial conflicts of interests should be declared, ideally publicly.
- The journal will ask authors to transfer copyright to the journal. Editors should make their position on copyright transfer clear to authors and to others who might be interested in using editorial content from their journals. The copyright status of articles in a given journal can vary: Some content cannot be copyrighted (for example, articles written by employees of the U.S. and some other governments in the course of their work); editors may agree to waive copyright on others; and still others may be protected under serial rights (that is, use in publications other than journals, including electronic publications, is permitted).