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
- Ethical Obligations of Journal Editors
- An editor should give equal consideration to all manuscripts
submitted for publication in accordance with Contact In
Context's published Call for Papers.
- An editor should accept or reject manuscripts as quickly as
- 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
- 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.
- Author’s intellectual independence should be kept in mind by
- To avoid a conflict of interest, a manuscript authored by an
editor for submittal should be considered for publication by a
- Information contained in an unpublished, submitted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
- If evidence is presented to an editor which refutes
conclusions of a published manuscript, the editor should publish
- 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.
- Ethical Obligations of Manuscript Authors
- An author should objectively and accurately present his/her
- Irrelevant material should never be submitted by authors. An
author should respect the scientific community editing and
reading the journal.
- 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.
- 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
- The author should identify any hazards or dangers that may
befall other researchers working with similar materials to those
cited in the work.
- Fragmentation of content should be avoided as it complicates
- If the author currently has related manuscripts under
consideration for publication or in press, these manuscripts
should be supplied to the editor.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Ethical Obligations of Manuscript Reviewers
- Reviewers who do not feel comfortable with judging a
manuscript submitted for publication should notify the editor
- A reviewer, keeping in mind literary and scientific
standards, should objectively judge the quality of the submitted
- 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.
- If a manuscript author is associated with the reviewer
either personally or professionally, the reviewer should not
evaluate the manuscript and notify the editor.
- All manuscripts submitted for publication should be treated
as confidential documents by reviewers.
- All judgments submitted by reviewers should be supported
with explanations to be of value to editors and authors.
- 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.