Ethical Editor

(Re)Introducing Ethical Editor

Ensuring that the publication of manuscripts in the sciences meets the highest ethical standards is paramount in upholding the tenants of scholarly publishing. Ethical standards help to ensure that published research is reliable, reproducible, and conducted without any conflict of interest. Recent media stories have brought to light instances where the highest ethical standards were not maintained.1,2 While advances in forensic tools (such as plagiarism detection software), an environment of growing awareness, and stronger book and journal ethics policies have been helpful in catching some violations prior to publication, it remains imperative that editors and editorial offices have resources to consult in order to help them navigate these often complicated issues in a fair and consistent manner.

The CSE Editorial Policy Committee (EPC) serves as a resource regarding editorial and publishing policies as they apply to publications in the sciences. The EPC meets monthly and studies and analyzes procedural, ethical, legal, and economic policies and recommends policies and/or guidelines that relate to the editing, review, and publication of manuscripts in books and journals in the sciences. The EPC may also suggest policies to the CSE Board of Directors that affect CSE’s own publications. Policy guidelines developed by the EPC are presented to the CSE membership via many vehicles including the White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications, online resources including a retraction resource and sample correspondence for editorial offices managing ethical issues, publication in Science Editor, and presentation at CSE annual meetings. After appropriate revision in consultation with the Board, the policy guidelines may be published and disseminated by CSE through the Publications, Education, Membership, and Program Committees. More information about the EPC’s mission is available on the CSE website4 and some initiatives undertaken by the EPC in recent years are shown in the Table.

Table. Recent CSE Editorial Policy Committee Initiatives.

Date Initiative
Spring 2020 White Paper updates to Roles and Responsibilities in Publishing section
April 2020 Updates to Retraction Resource
January 2019 Science Editor Commentary on White Paper update regarding preprint servers
May 2018 Whiter Paper updates to address editorial board participation, preprint servers, and publication oversight committees
October 2017 Prepared rules of etiquette for CSE Listserv

As the Chairperson of the EPC, I am pleased to announce that this column is the first of a newly relaunched Science Editor column on publication ethics entitled “Ethical Editor.” The EPC is honored to have been asked to contribute to Science Editor on an ongoing basis. We will use this vehicle to not only update the membership on the EPC’s activities, including White Paper updates and why they are important to the field, but also to serve the CSE membership in a larger capacity by writing about topics of specific interest to the membership. Is there a particular issue you would like to learn more about? Let the EPC know by contacting me at

References and Links 



Kelly A Hadsell is Editorial Director, KWF Editorial.