Ethics and Malpractice Statements
Ethics and Malpractice Statements
Fountain Journal of Natural and Applied Sciences is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal with both Online ISSN (2354-337X) and Print ISSN (2350-1863). The Journal Publication Committee of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences, Fountain University, Osogbo, Nigeria is committed to ensuring that the editorial process of the journal is governed by rigorous ethical and malpractice standards that are both fair and transparent. We recognize the complex nature of the scholarly publishing ecosystem which includes the authors, reviewers, editors, and publishers. As a result, this journal follows the COPE Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and the Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE EDITORS AND THE EDITORIAL BOARD
- The editors are to determine which manuscripts/articles submitted to the journal should be published. They are to ensure that decisions are made on any submission based on merit only and not on the author’s race, citizenship, religion, ethnicity, gender or political beliefs;
- The editors are to subject any submitted manuscript to originality test by the use of the appropriate software and send out the blinded copy for the peer-review process;
- The editors recommend to the Editor-in-Chief, which manuscripts to be accepted or rejected during the review process;
- Provide the required guidance for the guest editors and the new editorial board members on what is required of them and also keeping the existing members abreast on new policies and developments;
- Keeping confidentiality of the authors by ensuring that no information about the author(s) is revealed to the reviewers and vice-versa;
- Editors are to ensure that no paper is rejected based on suspicion without any valid proof;
- Editors are to ensure the best international ethical practices by ensuring that all accepted manuscripts meet the international best practice;
- Ensure that only competent reviewers within a particular field are selected for the review process;
- The editors shall ensure that materials from all unpublished works submitted to the journal are not used in their work;
- Ensuring the publication of clarifications, corrections, retractions and apologies when the need arises;
- The Editor must be responsive and follow the outlined processes in the COPE in a situation where an ethical complaint is made against a submitted or a published article.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE REVIEWERS
The essence of the peer review process is to assist the editor and the editorial board in making a publishing decision and also assist the author to improve the quality of their work by providing critical feedback. With this, the reviews’ responsibilities are highlighted
- Confidentiality: Any information regarding the submitted manuscript should be strictly kept confidential and shouldn’t be discussed with a third party without the permission of the editor.
- Conflict of interest: If any of the reviewers have a conflict of interest in any manuscript resulting from a collaboration, competition, or any other connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers, the reviewer should not consider the manuscript.
- Unbiasedness: The reviewers should consider the manuscript objectively without any consideration of the authors’ race, religion, ethnicity, political affiliation, age, or whatsoever.
- Objectivity: The assessment by the reviewers should be conducted objectively, supported with data and the arguments should be clearly expressed without personal criticism of any of the authors.
- Celerity: The review should be conducted promptly as stipulated by the editor and if a potential reviewer feels unqualified to assess the manuscript, he/she should withdraw from the review process and notify the editor immediately for a timely replacement.
- Acknowledgement of sources and relevant works: The reviewers must make sure that authors have acknowledged and cited all sources of data used in the research. Any copyrighted pictures should be used with permission and any relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors should be identified.
- Plagiarism and other ethical concerns: The reviewers should notify the editor if they suspect any plagiarism or other unethical practices concerning the manuscript.
RESPONSIBILITY OF AUTHORS
- Authorship of the Paper: Authorship should be limited to all those who have made substantial contributions to the conception, design, execution and analysis/interpretation of data including draft preparation. All authors are to take collective responsibility for the reported work.
- Originality: Authors must ensure that the submitted article is original in content and has not been previously published or being considered for publication elsewhere.
- Human and animal welfare: It is the duty of the authors to ensure that adequate considerations have been given to the welfare of human and animal subjects used in the work. Details of precautionary measures taken must be given while citing relevant body/ies responsible for the measures put in place.
- Declaration of any conflict of interest: Authors must declare any conflict of interest that may arise from an article. This should include the source of funding for the work.
- Avoidance of plagiarism: authors must ensure that works of others are properly cited and efforts should be made to avoid word for word copies of other people’s works.
ROLES OF THE PUBLISHER (FUJNAS COMMITTEE OF FUO CONAS)
The roles of the FUJNAS Committee of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences, Fountain University, Osogbo, Nigeria in scientific communication include:
- To provide practical support to the Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Board in following the COPE Code of Conduct for journals;
- To ensure the autonomy of editorial decisions;
- To protect intellectual property and copyright, and arbitrate in disputes (e.g., over ethics, authorship);
- To carry out copy-editing, proofreading, type-setting and styling of materials;
- To ensure linking of articles to open and accessible databases;
- To arrange and manage scholarly peer review;
- To maintain the scholarly record;
- To disseminate research data to researchers and other stakeholders such as policymakers, economic, biomedical and industrial practitioners as well as the general public;
- To manage the processes of quality assurance, interlinking and findability of research;
- To ensure transparency about the nature and the quality of the services offered as a publisher.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD
Maintaining FUJNAS as a scientific journal of the highest quality depends a lot on the Editorial Advisory Board. As a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of FUJNAS, you are expected to add value and academic credibility to FUJNAS in the following ways:
- Work with the Editor-in-Chief and advise him on issues that should be addressed by the journal as well as the overall scope and focus of the journal;
- Promote the journal whenever and wherever possible by sourcing new submissions and making the most of their academic/industry contacts in the journal’s subject areas;
- May be requested to review papers and undertake book reviews; and
- May be required to contribute to the journal content by contributing submissions as Guest Editors.
Procedures for Dealing with Unethical Behavior
- Unethical behavior can be identified and reported to journal editors and/or the publisher Fountain Journals (FJ) at any time.
- Unethical practices may include, but are not limited to, violations of any of the above-mentioned Ethical Expectations (e.g., plagiarism, falsification or fabrication, authorship falsification, redundant publication, undeclared conflict of interest, etc.).
- For an investigation to be conducted, the person reporting the ethical breach must provide sufficient evidence. Until a conclusion is reached, all allegations are treated equally and seriously.
- The journal's editor will investigate in consultation with FJ. In the case of allegations against a journal editor, the investigation will be conducted in consultation with FJ by a different member of the journal's editorial board, such as a deputy editor. The investigation into allegations against FJ will be conducted by the journal's editor in consultation with other members of the journal's editorial board.
- To avoid defamation, evidence gathering will be done so that allegations are only shared with those who need to know.
- The investigation will be completed within a reasonable time after the allegation is made (s).
- The accused party will be notified and allowed to respond to the allegation as part of the investigation (s).
- If the allegation(s) are valid as part of the investigation, the severity of the breach will be determined.
- Cases beyond the editor's and FJ's investigative capabilities (e.g., data fabrication or theft) will be referred to the author's institution with a request for an investigation.
Minor Ethical Violations
The journal's editor and FJ will handle minor infractions.
Major Ethical Violations
In cases of serious misconduct, the accused's employer may be required to be notified. In consultation with FJ, the editorial board, and/or the society governing body, the editor will decide whether this is warranted.
When an ethical violation is confirmed, one or more of the following actions will be taken.
- Informing the author or reviewer of the misconduct breach in cases where there appears to be a misunderstanding of ethical standards;
- Sending a strongly worded letter to the author or reviewer outlining the breach and warning against future behavior
- Publishing an erratum notice outlining the ethical breach
- Sending a formal letter to the author's or reviewer's employer or funding agency;
- Undertaking a formal retraction or withdrawal of the work in question from the journal, as well as informing indexing services and readers of the misconduct;
- Imposing a formal embargo on submissions from an individual for a fixed period; and
- Reporting the misconduct to a regulatory association for review and action.
Conflict of Interest
- All authors must disclose any commercial associations or other arrangements (e.g., financial compensation received, patient-licensing arrangements, the potential for profit, consultancy, stock ownership, etc.) that may pose a conflict of interest in connection with the article.
- Editors and reviewers must recuse themselves from evaluating papers in which they may have a conflict of interest.
- Authors have the right to appeal decisions. All appeals will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by journal editors. The journal editors will recuse themselves depending on the nature of the appeal, and the appeal will be reviewed by a different member of the journal's editorial team.
- Authors must notify the journal's editor and FJ of any factual errors they discover or are informed of in a published article. When corrections are required, they are made quickly and are accompanied by errata notice that describes the correction.
- The editors consider retractions when there is evidence of untrustworthy data or findings, plagiarism, duplicate publication, or unethical research. If an article is under investigation, we may consider an expression of concern notice. If it is determined that a retraction is required, a retraction notice will be added, along with an explanation of the retraction and the original article metadata. The original text will still be available.
- In exceptional circumstances, the original article may be removed for legal reasons. In such cases, the metadata will be kept, while the original text will be replaced with the retraction note and a note explaining why the article was removed for legal reasons.