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Comunicar Journal 48: Ethics and plagiarism in scientific communication (Vol. 24 - 2016)

Antifraud editorial policy in Spanish and Latin American scientific publication: JCR social sciences edition


The process of publishing scientific papers should be based on universal principles of professional conduct: credibility, truth and authenticity. In academia, the inclusion of policies on ethical standards in journal instructions to authors could prevent misconduct and fraud in scientific publication. Due to the lack of attention to research ethics in the Social Sciences, in particular in Spain and Latin America, this research aims to analyze the scientific misconduct policy of the Spanish and Latin American journals in the JCR-Social Sciences Edition (2014). To achieve our goal, 104 selected journal instructions to authors were examined in relation to the following ethical principles: (1) the rights of people involved in the research; (2) the welfare of animals used in research; (3) conflicts of interest; and (4) publication issues. Our results suggest that publication issues such as unpublished research and the ban on simultaneous submission are the most frequently cited ethical issues. In spite of the efforts made by policy-making bodies to establish misconduct guidelines, very few journals adhere to ICMJE and COPE recommendations. Given the ethical heterogeneity evinced by our study, and by previous studies, it seems that the development of a uniform code of ethics in the field of Social Sciences may be required.