In Context
Contact In Context Home
  Latest Issue  
  Online Review System  
  Calls for Papers  
  Best Ideas Awards  
  Instructions to Authors  
  Contact Us!  

Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Contact In Context Journals


Contact In Context serves the SETI community by publishing a journal that presents the results of scientific research. The editors of Contact In Context present a set of ethical guidelines for persons engaged in the publication of SETI and astrobiological research; specifically, for editors, authors, and manuscript reviewers. These guidelines are not needed because there is already a lack of ethical behavior in the community, but considering the material that the journal will publish, clear definitions of Contact In Context's expectations and those of the SETI League are important to acceptance in the scientific community.

  1. Ethical Obligations of Journal Editors
    1. An editor should give equal consideration to all manuscripts submitted for publication in accordance with Contact In Context's published Call for Papers.
    2. An editor should accept or reject manuscripts as quickly as possible.
    3. The sole responsibility for acceptance or rejection of a manuscript rests with the editor. Normally the editor seeks advice from reviewers, chosen for their expertise and good judgment, as to the quality and reliability of manuscripts submitted for publication. However, manuscripts may be rejected without review if considered inappropriate for Contact In Context.
    4. Information about a manuscript being considered will not be disclosed by an editor to anyone except those being sought after for professional advice. Submission of manuscripts will be considered permission to publish them from the author.
    5. Author’s intellectual independence should be kept in mind by an editor.
    6. To avoid a conflict of interest, a manuscript authored by an editor for submittal should be considered for publication by a different editor.
    7. Information contained in an unpublished, submitted manuscript should not be used by an editor for personal research except with the author’s consent. If the research presented in a manuscript submitted for publication creates a conflict of interest to the editor, the editor should assign editor-duties to a different editor, and notify the author of said conflict of interest.
    8. If evidence is presented to an editor which refutes conclusions of a published manuscript, the editor should publish a correction.
    9. If an author requests that certain individuals not review their manuscript when considering publication, the editor may still use one or more of these individuals as reviewers if the editor feels that their opinions would be an important deciding factor for publication.

  2. Ethical Obligations of Manuscript Authors
    1. An author should objectively and accurately present his/her research.
    2. Irrelevant material should never be submitted by authors. An author should respect the scientific community editing and reading the journal.
    3. Research presented in a manuscript submitted for publication should contain enough detail and references to allow other scientists to repeat and / or modify the work.
    4. Publications that have influenced the author’s direction and the nature of the research should be cited by the author. A literature search to find publications that describe closely related work should be performed by the author and cited in the manuscript.
    5. The author should identify any hazards or dangers that may befall other researchers working with similar materials to those cited in the work.
    6. Fragmentation of content should be avoided as it complicates literature searches.
    7. If the author currently has related manuscripts under consideration for publication or in press, these manuscripts should be supplied to the editor.
    8. An author may not submit manuscripts describing the same research to more than one journal of primary publication. This is only allowed if it is a resubmission of a manuscript previously rejected for publication.
    9. The source of all quoted information must be identified by an author. Any information obtained from a third party should not be used in the manuscript without permission from the source.
    10. Personal criticism of the author is not permitted. However, there may be times during the review of a manuscript submitted for publication where the manuscript and research presented warrants criticism.
    11. Any person who made a significant contribution to the research presented in the manuscript submitted for publication should be listed as co-authors. Less significant contributors to the work should be indicated in an “Acknowledgments” section. Any co-author who has deceased should be so noted with a footnote reporting the date of death. The author submitting the manuscript has the responsibility of sending each co-author a draft copy and obtaining their assent to co-authorship of it.
    12. Any conflict of interest (such as an author’s affiliation with a company as a consultant, or financial affiliation) which would be affected by publication of a manuscript shall be disclosed by the author to the editor.

  3. Ethical Obligations of Manuscript Reviewers
    1. Reviewers who do not feel comfortable with judging a manuscript submitted for publication should notify the editor promptly.
    2. A reviewer, keeping in mind literary and scientific standards, should objectively judge the quality of the submitted manuscript.
    3. If a conflict of interest exists between the reviewer’s own research and the manuscript submitted for publication, the reviewer should return the manuscript promptly without review, and advise the editor.
    4. If a manuscript author is associated with the reviewer either personally or professionally, the reviewer should not evaluate the manuscript and notify the editor.
    5. All manuscripts submitted for publication should be treated as confidential documents by reviewers.
    6. All judgments submitted by reviewers should be supported with explanations to be of value to editors and authors.
    7. The editor should be notified by the reviewer whenever the reviewer feels that there is a significant similarity between the research presented in the manuscript submitted for publication and a previously published paper.