Editorial Issues

Various editorial issues are currently under discussion: of these reviewing and plagiarism are most in the news. There are several innovations in the field of reviewing - projects to test different methodologies, and innovative methods implemented by journals. Plagiarism is of increasing concern because it appears to be increasing rapidly (particularly within the student population) and so there are various initiatives launched to tackle this.

Except for links to ALPSP resources on this website, the links below are to external websites and will open a new window in the browser.

ALPSP Publications (Inc. guidelines - reports - statements - research & articles)

ALPSP Advice Notes for editors

ALPSP advice notes (available to members only) include several of interest to editors. These include the Journal Editor's Contract, Managing the Editorial Office, A Guide For Editors Commissioning Indexes, Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines, and Publishing Animal Research.

Author-perceived Quality Characteristics of STM Journals (2008)

Report from ALPSP. Download free for ALPSP members. Purchase available for non-members.

Peer Review and Manuscript Management in Scientific Journals

2007 book from ALPSP providing a complete guide to every aspect of managing the peer review process for scientific journals. Member  discount for ALPSP members.

Articles & Reports

2012 guide on authorship and attribution

A working group met at Harvard in 2012 to discuss problems with authorship and published a 'Report on the International Workshop on Contributorship and Scholarly Attribution', written by Irene Hames. The outcomes  included a series of good practice steps to minimise authorship disputes.

Fake reviewers, 2013

Report of several publishers being supplied with fake names for reviewers so that authors can ensure positive review.

Peer Review in Scholarly Journals - perspective of the scholarly community: an international study

A 2008 study by Mark Ware Consulting on behalf of the Publishers Research Consortium confirms that researchers are basically happy with the current peer review system. There is also a 2009 update on the site.

Peer Review Survey 2009

This survey was conducted by "Sense about Science" between 28th July 2009 and 11th August 2009; 40,000 researchers were randomly selected from over 10,000 journals on the ISI author database, and 4,037 researchers completed the survey. Key findings were that researchers want to improve, not replace peer review, reviewers want anonymity,  and reviewers are divided over incentives.

Peer Review: the challenges for the humanities and social sciences

2007 report from the British Academy that addresses issues relating to the current practice of peer review both for the purpose of awarding research grants and for publication in journals.

Trends in authorship: 2014 report

Analysis in the Septemer 2014 issue of Research Trends using Scopus shows that the increase in articles since 2003 has been vastly exceeded by the growth in the number of authors.

UK government peer review investigation 2011

The UK The Science and Technology Committee investigated peer review, receiving submissions from a range of organisations. The review looked at the strengths and weaknesses of peer review throughout the scholarly system (from grant application through to journal publishing). Their report confirmed previous findings and reported that the oversight of research integrity in the UK is unsatisfactory.


Plagiarism Today

Active blog with items about plagiarism and copyright infringement - "I am not a lawyer. I am just a legally-minded Webmaster/Writer frustrated with the plague of plagiarism online and doing something about it." The site includes many interesting links to news items on the topic.

Retraction Watch

Retraction Watch was launched in August 2010 to record retractions and keep a watching eye on problem authors. The site has been rather more busy than the authors had anticipated.


COPE guidelines on Sharing of Information Among Editors-in-Chief Regarding Possible Misconduct

COPE guidelines state that it is acceptable for editors to share information about misconduct within certain parameters and with respect for confidentiality.

EASE Guidelines for Authors and Translators of Scientific Articles to be Published in English

Released in 2010 these guidelines are aimed at helping authors to prepare cleaner papers that will require minimal editing. The guidelines are available in a variety of languages.

EQUATOR: enhancing the quality and transparency of health research

An initiative launched in October 2007 that provides guidelines for authors and editors on ethical reporting of health research.

Guide to citing social media (2013)

A short, succinct guide to citation style and content.

Instructions to Authors in the Health Sciences

Links to author guidelines in over 6000 journals in the health and life sciences

International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)

The ICMJE is a group of general medical journal editors whose participants meet annually and fund their work on the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts. The site provides guidelines on author-related issues, including standard forms for Conflict of Interest statements. Note that the guidelines are equally valid in most other disciplines. Author guidelines were updated in 2014. 

International standards for editors and authors, 2011

Developed from the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity in Singapore in 2010 and coordinated by COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics), the guidelines for editors and authors encourage transparent, ethical good practice in both research and publication.

WAME Good practice journal guidelines (2013)

This set of guidelines provides a 16-point statement of good practice for scholarly journals. It has been issued by the World Association of Medical Editors.

Position Statements

DORA campaign for improved research assessment

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), initiated by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) in 2013, has issued a declaration challenging the prominence of the impact factor, at the time of writing it had over 10,000 signatories.


Nature Peer Review Trial and Debate

Nature's 2006 trial and report on open peer review. Despite enthusiasm for the concept, open peer review was not widely popular, either among authors or by scientists invited to comment.

PRE initiative to accredit peer reviewers

PRE (Peer Review Evaluation) has launched as an accreditation system to validate peer reviewed articles and journals. It has formed partnerships with Aries, ORCiD, CrossRef and others to provide a ‘badge’ that will provide information about the peer review that has taken place on individual articles. 


COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics)

COPE is a forum for editors and publishers for discussion on publication ethics and promotion of good practice.


Managed by the CrossRef association, this system looks for text duplication and possible plagiarism. CrossCheck powered by iThenticate.

CSE (Council of Science Editors)

Active US-based association of science editors, providing training, information resources and advice on editorial policies.

EASE (European Association of Science Editors)

The European Association of Science Editors (EASE) is an internationally-oriented community of individuals from diverse backgrounds, linguistic traditions and professional experience who share an interest in science communication and editing.

FAME (Forum of African Medical Editors)

WHO-supported group of African journal editors. The site includes good practice guidelines for editors. (It is possible that the group is no longer active.)

Macros for Editors: ebook guide

A free downloadable PDF book about using Word macros for book editors. frequently updated with macros included.

Mediterranean Editors and Translators

MET is a forum for translators and editors who work mainly into or with English to exchange views and experiences. The site contains some editorial resources.

ORCID - Open Researcher Contributor Identification Initiative

Launched in 2012, this initiative (led by Thomson and the Nature Group), this project provides a system for assigning unique IDs to authors so that their works can be easily tracked.

Peer Review Congress

These congresses are held every four years. The Seventh International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication was held September 8-10, 2013, in Chicago, IL. 516 participants from 32 countries participated.

Peer Review Innovation: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

Two-stage peer review: stage one assures the basic scientific and technical quality, after which the article is uploaded for open review. Following this open review, papers are accepted or rejected.

Peer Review Innovation: Biology Direct

Biology Direct aims to provide authors and readers with a novel system of peer review. This will include making the author responsible for obtaining reviewers' reports, via the journal's Editorial Board making the peer-review process open rather than anonymous; and making the reviewers' reports public, thus increasing the responsibility of the referees and eliminating sources of abuse in the refereeing process.

Peer Review Innovation: F1000 Research

F1000Research launched in 2013 as a superjournal with a combined open/closed reviewing system. The journal publishes articles after initial, basic, quality control, and is then sent for external review: the paper can be revised by the authors, and its status is updated from 'awaiting peer review' through to dApproved', 'Approved with Reservations' (similar to major revisions) or 'Not Approved' (similar to reject), 

Peer Review Innovation: Journal of Biology

System of allowing authors to opt-out of second reviews - putting more responsibility on authors to make corrections and changes accurately.

Peer Review Innovation: Journal of Interactive Media in Education

Journal providing three stage review: (1) closed traditional review, author revision, (2) pre-print open for user comments, author revision, editorial decision (3) final publication of article.

Peer Review Innovation: Neuroscience peer review consortium

An alliance of journals that has agreed to accept manuscript reviews from other members of the Consortium, and thereby save editorial time and effort.

Peer Review Innovation: Peerage of Science

Peerage of Science is a social network of scientists set up in 2011 to provide pre-submission peer review.  The online system provides a single-blind peer review system whereby researchers upload their manuscripts and other scientists are alerted (via keywords) to available articles.  Reviewers are rewarded by online Peerage Essay Quality accreditation and offered the opportunity to publish their reviews (in the form of short essays) in the website "journal". It is envisaged that journal editors will trawl the site to identify articles and invite the authors to submit to them. The site also requires authors to pay-back by reviewing other aricles: all articles that receive at least one review create a review commitment for two reviews which is shared between the article authors. 

Peer Review Innovation: PLoS One

First of the "superjournals" that publishers a wide range of content on the basis of it being "methodologically sound". Articles are posted after initial review which concentrates on technical rather than subjective concerns, and are then available for post-publication review and comment from users.

Peer review innovation: Rubiq

Rubiq is a company that started in 2013 offering a peer reviewing system for authors. Authors upload their manuscripts and pay a fee (c. $500) for which they will receive a report compiled from three reviewers (within c.1 week is promised). The peer review report will also suggest suitable journals for the article. Authors can elect to make their articles public on the 'Rubriq Journal Network' that can be searched by journal editors who may invite authors to submit their work to them.


A training and resource centre to learn more about plagiarism, and tools to combat it.

The Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME)

Supported by WHO, this is a non-governmental, non-partisan and non-profit organisation whose mission is to support and promote medical journalism in the Eastern Mediterranean Region by fostering networking, education, discussion, and exchange of information and knowledge.

WAME (World Association of Medical Editors)

Member organisation of medical editors around the world.

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