Publication Ethics

1. Principles of Publishing Ethics

The Journal of Rural Research (JRUR) as a member of Negah Journals, published by Negah Institute for Scientific Communication, is committed to apply ethics of publication, based on the COPE’s Code of Conduct and Best Practices. You may find the journal’s code of publication ethics, here. 


The Journal of Rural Research (JRUR) aims to be a main channel of data communication, sharing of ideas and information to the scientific researching community. It is mandatory for us to follow certain code of ethics and it is advices to adhere strictly to the following code of ethics, which will enhance the quality of the published works heavily. This currently written code of ethics is focusing to provide guidance on the proper behavior of editors, authors and reviewers in the process of scientific publication. 


Authors and Co-authors


The journal of Rural Research is committed to follow and apply “International Standards for Authors” of Committee on Publication Ethics in designing and leading the Journal’s reviewing and publishing process and dealing with their issues. You may find the International Standards for Authors, here. Authors should read the standard and apply it on their works, completely.

Authors submitting a paper confirm that the understanding that the manuscript have been read and approved by all authors and that all authors agree to the submission of the manuscript to the Journal. The journal of Rural Research adheres to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria:

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

It is a requirement that all authors have been accredited as appropriate upon submission of the manuscript. Contributors who do not qualify as authors should be mentioned under Acknowledgements. 

In addition, authors are advised to follow the following code of ethics strictly Submit manuscripts, which are their originals works or of the work, they are associated with during their tenure. 

Submitted manuscripts should contain original and new results, data, and their ideas, which are not submitted for publishing to other publications or published elsewhere. Fabrication of data and results, intellectual property theft and plagiarism are highly unacceptable, it is beyond the ethics of an author. Information obtained via various media should be provided in the manuscript only with prior permission from the owner of the source of information or data. 

They should properly cite the work they are referring; authors are advised to crosscheck the reference before submission of manuscript. 

They may not promote in any form via any media to get their works published. No article should have an author who is not directly involved in the work for any means or reasons. 

Authors and co-authors are requested to review and ensure the accuracy and validity of all the results prior to submission. Any potential conflict of interest should be informed to the editor in advance. Authors are bound by the Creative Commons licensing policy of publication. 

All authors are requested to submit the copyright transfer form without failure once they receive the acceptance of their article for publication. 



The Journal of Rural Research is committed to follow and apply “International Standards for Editors” of Committee on Publication Ethics in designing and leading the Journal’s reviewing and publishing process and dealing with their issues. You may find the International Standards for Editors, here. The journal's editors should read the standard and apply it in their editorial tasks and procedures, completely.

The term editor is a common terminology used to refer Chief Editor of any journal, Content editor, Section Editor (An expert who is the manager of reviewing process in a subject centered section), and Editorial board members. Editors of the JRUR are insisted to have full responsibility for editorial and technical decisions of the journal. Any editor or office bearer should not intervene or give comment on any editorial decisions taken on any manuscript by the concerned editor. Editors are requested to give unbiased considerations for the articles submitted. JRUR aims for rapid publication, editors are advised to process the manuscripts promptly and diligently. 

Editors are the sole responsible persons for the acceptance or rejection of a manuscript, it may be subjected to peer review but the final decision is bound to the concerned editor. 

Any decision taken or matter of concern about a submitted article should not be revealed to anyone by an editor. If one of the editor is willing to publish an article the article should be processed by another editor. 

Editor should refrain from using the information, data, theories, or interpretations of any submitted manuscript in her/his own work until that manuscript is in press.



Reviewers are the main members contributing for the benefit of the journal being a peer reviewed (double-blind review) journal they are insisted not to disclose their identity in any form. 

A reviewer should immediately decline to review an article submitted if he/she feels that the article is technically unqualified or if the timely review cannot be done by him/her or if the article has a conflict of interest. 

All submissions should be treated as confidential, editorial approval might be given for any outside person’s advice received. 

No reviewer should pass on the article submitted to him/her for review to another reviewer in his own concern, it should be declined immediately. 

Reviewers being the base of the whole quality process should ensure that the articles published should be of high quality and original work. He may inform the editor if he finds the article submitted to him for review is under consideration in any other publication to his/her knowledge. 

There are no hard and fast rules to analysis an article, this can be done on case-to-case basis considering the worthiness, quality, and originality of the article submitted. 

In general, cases the following may be checked in a review 

· Structure of the article submitted and its relevance to author guidelines 

· Purpose and Objective of the article 

· Method of using transitions in the article 

· Introduction given and the conclusion/ suggestions provided 

· References provided to substantiate the content 

· Grammar, punctuation and spelling · Plagiarism issues 

· Suitability of the article to the need 

A reviewer’s comment decides the acceptance or rejection of an article and they are one major element in a peer review process. All our reviewers are requested to go through the articles submitted to them for review in detail and give the review comments without any bias, which will increase the quality of our journals. 


Breach of Code 

Being an association dedicated for the researcher fraternity, we all should ensure that the code of ethics formed is followed in all possible ways. Being a not-for-profit body it is the internal responsibility of a person whom should have to follow the codes, there is no enforcement to follow. 

JRUR committee members are entitled to take action against an individual if they found to be violating the code.


COPE’s Guidelines & Flowcharts

The journal of Rural Research is committed to follow and apply guidelines and flowcharts of Committee on Publication Ethics in its reviewing and publishing process and issues. For more information, please click here.


COPE’s Code of Conduct and Best Practices

 1. Editors

Chief Editors is accountable for everything published in the journal. This means the editors

1.1 strive to meet the needs of readers and authors;

1.2 strive to constantly improve their journal;

1.3 have processes in place to assure the quality of the material they publish;

1.4 champion freedom of expression;

1.5 maintain the integrity of the academic record;

1.6 preclude business needs from compromising intellectual and ethical standards;

1.7 always be willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies when needed.


Best Practice for Editors would include 

  • actively seeking the views of authors, readers, reviewers and editorial board members about ways of improving their journal’s processes 
  • encouraging and being aware of research into peer review and publishing and reassessing their journal’s processes in the light of new findings 
  • supporting initiatives designed to reduce research and publication misconduct 
  • supporting initiatives to educate researchers about publication ethics 
  • assessing the effects of their journal policies on author and reviewer behavior and revising policies, as required, to encourage responsible behavior and discourage misconduct 
  • ensuring that any press releases issued by their journal reflect the message of the reported article and put it into context.

2. Readers 

2.1 Readers should be informed about who has funded research or other scholarly work and whether the funders had any role in the research and its publication and, if so, what this was. 

    Best practice for editors would include: 

  • ensuring that all published reports and reviews of research have been reviewed by suitably qualified reviewers including statistical review. 
  • ensuring that non-peer-reviewed sections of their journal are clearly identified 
  • adopting processes that encourage accuracy, completeness and clarity of research reporting including technical editing and the use of appropriate guidelines and checklists 
  • considering developing a transparency policy to encourage maximum disclosure about the provenance of non-research articles 
  • adopting authorship or contributorship systems that promote good practice (i.e. so that listings accurately reflect who did the work) and discourage misconduct (e.g. ghost and guest authors)


3. informing readers about steps taken to ensure that submissions from members of the journal’s staff or editorial board receive an objective and unbiased evaluation


4. Relations with authors

4.1 Editors’ decisions to accept or reject a paper for publication should be based on the paper’s importance, originality and clarity, and the study’s validity and its relevance to the remit of the journal. 

4.2 Editors should not reverse decisions to accept submissions unless serious problems are identified with the submission. 

4.3 New editors should not overturn decisions to publish submissions made by the previous editor unless serious problems are identified. 

4.4 A description of peer review processes should be published, and editors should be ready to justify any important deviation from the described processes. 

4.5 Journals should have a declared mechanism for authors to appeal against editorial decisions. 

4.6 Editors should publish guidance to authors on everything that is expected of them. This guidance should be regularly updated and should refer or link to this code.

4.7 Editors should provide guidance about criteria for authorship and/or who should be listed as a contributor following the standards within the relevant field. 

Best practice for editors would include: 

  • reviewing author instructions regularly and providing links to relevant guidelines
  • publishing relevant competing interests for all contributors and publishing corrections if competing interests are revealed after publication 
  • ensuring that appropriate reviewers are selected for submissions (i.e. individuals who are able to judge the work and are free from disqualifying competing interests) 
  • respecting requests from authors that an individual should not review their submission, if these are well-reasoned and practicable 
  • publishing details of how they handle cases of suspected misconduct
  • publishing submission and acceptance dates for articles


5. Relations with reviewers 

5.1 Editors should provide guidance to reviewers on everything that is expected of them including the need to handle submitted material in confidence. This guidance should be regularly updated and should refer or link to this code. 

5.2 Editors should require reviewers to disclose any potential competing interests before agreeing to review a submission. 

5.3 Editors should have systems to ensure that peer reviewers’ identities are protected unless they use an open review system that is declared to authors and reviewers.


Best practice for editors would include: 

  • encouraging reviewers to comment on ethical questions and possible research and publication misconduct raised by submissions (e.g. unethical research design, insufficient detail on patient consent or protection of research subjects (including animals), inappropriate data manipulation and presentation) 
  • encouraging reviewers to comment on the originality of submissions and to be alert to redundant publication and plagiarism 
  • considering providing reviewers with tools to detect related publications (e.g. links to cited references and bibliographic searches) 
  • sending reviewers’ comments to authors in their entirety unless they contain offensive or libelous remarks 
  • seeking to acknowledge the contribution of reviewers to the journal 
  • encouraging academic institutions to recognize peer review activities as part of the scholarly process 
  • monitoring the performance of peer reviewers and taking steps to ensure this is of high standard 
  • developing and maintaining a database of suitable reviewers and updating this on the basis of reviewer performance 
  • ceasing to use reviewers who consistently produce discourteous, poor quality or late reviews
  • ensuring that the reviewer database reflects the community for their journal and adding new reviewers as needed 
  • using a wide range of sources (not just personal contacts) to identify potential new reviewers (e.g. author suggestions, bibliographic databases) 
  • following the COPE flowchart in cases of suspected reviewer misconduct 


6. Relations with editorial board members 

6.1 Editors should provide new editorial board members with guidelines on everything that is expected of them and should keep existing members updated on new policies and developments. 

Best practice for editors would include: 

  • having policies in place for handling submissions from editorial board members to ensure unbiased review 
  • identifying suitably qualified editorial board members who can actively contribute to the development and good management of the journal
    • regularly reviewing the composition of the editorial board 
  • providing clear guidance to editorial board members about their expected functions and duties, which might include: 
  • acting as ambassadors for the journal 
  • supporting and promoting the journal 
  • seeking out the best authors and best work (e.g. from meeting abstracts) and actively encouraging submissions 
  • reviewing submissions to the journal 
  • accepting commissions to write editorials, reviews and commentaries on papers in their specialist area 
  • attending and contributing to editorial board meetings 
  • consulting editorial board members periodically (e.g. once a year) to gauge their opinions about the running of the journal, informing them of any changes to journal policies and identifying future challenge


7. Relations with Negah Publisher 

7.1 The relationship of editors to Negah Publisher and the owner is based firmly on the principle of editorial independence. 

7.2 Editors should make decisions on which articles to publish based on quality and suitability for the journal and without interference from Negah Publisher. 

7.3 Editors have a written contract(s) setting out their relationship with Negah Publisher. 

7.4 The terms of this contract is in line with the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors. 


Best practice for editors would include: 

  • communicating regularly with Negah Publisher 

8. Editorial and peer review processes 

8.1 Editors should strive to ensure that peer review at their journal is fair, unbiased and timely. 

8.2 Editors should have systems to ensure that material submitted to their journal remains confidential while under review. 

Best practice for editors would include: 

  • ensuring that people involved with the editorial process (including themselves) receive adequate training and keep abreast of the latest guidelines, recommendations and evidence about peer review and journal management 
  • keeping informed about research into peer review and technological advances 
  • adopting peer review methods best suited for their journal and the research community it serves 
  • reviewing peer review practices periodically to see if improvement is possible 
  • referring troubling cases to COPE, especially when questions arise that are not addressed by the COPE flowcharts, or new types of publication misconduct are suspected 
  • considering the appointment of an ombudsperson to adjudicate in complaints that cannot be resolved internally 

9. Quality assurance 

9.1 Editors should take all reasonable steps to ensure the quality of the material they publish, recognizing that journals and sections within journals will have different aims and standards.


Best practice for editors would include: 

  • having systems in place to detect falsified data (e.g. inappropriately manipulated photographic images or plagiarised text) either for routine use or when suspicions are raised 
  • basing decisions about journal house style on relevant evidence of factors that raise the quality of reporting (e.g. adopting structured abstracts, applying guidance) rather than simply on aesthetic grounds or personal preference 


10. Protecting individual data 

10.1 Editors must obey laws on confidentiality in their own jurisdiction. Regardless of local statutes, however, they should always protect the confidentiality of individual information obtained in the course of research or professional interactions. It is therefore almost always necessary to obtain written informed consent for publication from people who might recognize themselves or be identified by others (e.g. from case reports or photographs). It may be possible to publish individual information without explicit consent if public interest considerations outweigh possible harms, it is impossible to obtain consent and a reasonable individual would be unlikely to object to publication.


Best practice for editors would include: 

  • publishing their policy on publishing individual data (e.g. identifiable personal details or images) and explaining this clearly to authors 

Note that consent to take part in research or undergo treatment is not the same as consent to publish personal details, images or quotations.


11. Encouraging ethical research (e.g. research involving humans or animals) 

11.1 Editors should endeavour to ensure that research they publish was carried out according to the relevant internationally Declaration of Helsinki for clinical research, and the AERA and BERA guidelines for educational research. 

11.2 Editors should seek assurances that all research has been approved by an appropriate body (e.g. research ethics committee, institutional review board) where one exists. However, editors should recognize that such approval does not guarantee that the research is ethical. 

Best practice for editors would include: 

  • being prepared to request evidence of ethical research approval and to question authors about ethical aspects (such as how research participant consent was obtained or what methods were employed to minimize animal suffering) if concerns are raised or clarifications are needed 
  • ensuring that reports of clinical trials cite compliance with the Declaration of Helsinki, Good Clinical Practice. 
  • appointing a journal ethics advisor or panel to advise on specific cases and review journal policies periodically 


12. Dealing with possible misconduct 

12.1 Editors have a duty to act if they suspect misconduct or if an allegation of misconduct is brought to them. This duty extends to both published and unpublished papers. 

12.2 Editors should not simply reject papers that raise concerns about possible misconduct. They are ethically obliged to pursue alleged cases. 

12.3 Editors should follow the COPE flowcharts where applicable. 

12.4 Editors should first seek a response from those suspected of misconduct. If they are not satisfied with the response, they should ask the relevant employers, or institution, or some appropriate body (perhaps a regulatory body or national research integrity organization) to investigate. 

12.5 Editors should make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a proper investigation into alleged misconduct is conducted; if this does not happen, editors should make all reasonable attempts to persist in obtaining a resolution to the problem. This is an onerous but important duty. 

13. Ensuring the integrity of the academic record 

13.1 Errors, inaccurate or misleading statements must be corrected promptly and with due prominence. 

13.2 Editors should follow the COPE guidelines on retractions.


Best practice for editors would include: 

  • taking steps to reduce covert redundant publication (e.g. by requiring all clinical trials to be registered) 
  • ensuring that published material is securely archived (e.g. via online permanent repositories, such as PubMed Central) 
  • having systems in place to give authors the opportunity to make original research articles freely available


14. Intellectual property 

14.1 Editors should be alert to intellectual property issues and work with Negah Publisher to handle potential breaches of intellectual property laws and conventions. 

Best practice for editors would include: 

  • adopting systems for detecting plagiarism (e.g. software, searching for similar titles) in submitted items (either routinely or when suspicions are raised) 
  • supporting authors whose copyright has been breached or who have been the victims of plagiarism 
  • being prepared to work with Negah Publisher to defend authors’ rights and pursue offenders (e.g.  by requesting retractions or removal of material from websites) irrespective of whether their journal holds the copyright 

15. Encouraging debate 

15.1 Editors should encourage and be willing to consider cogent criticisms of work published in their journal. 

15.2 Authors of criticized material should be given the opportunity to respond. 

15.3 Studies reporting negative results should not be excluded.


Best practice for editors would include: 

  • being open to research that challenges previous work published in the journal 

16. Complaints 

16.1 Editors should respond promptly to complaints and should ensure there is a way for dissatisfied complainants to take complaints further. This mechanism should be made clear in the journal and should include information on how to refer unresolved matters to COPE. 

16.2 Editors should follow the procedure set out in the COPE flowchart on complaints.


17. Commercial considerations 

17.1 Journals should have policies and systems in place to ensure that commercial considerations do not affect editorial decisions (e.g. advertising departments should operate independently from editorial departments). 

17.2 Editors should have declared policies on advertising in relation to the content of the journal and on processes for publishing sponsored supplements. 

17.3 Reprints should be published as they appear in the journal unless a correction needs to be included in which case it should be clearly identified. 

Best practice for editors would include: 

  • publishing a general description of their journal’s income sources (e.g. the proportions received from display advertising, reprint sales, sponsored supplements, page charges, etc.) 
  • ensuring that the peer review process for sponsored supplements is the same as that used for the main journal 
  • ensuring that items in sponsored supplements are accepted solely on the basis of academic merit and interest to readers and decisions about such supplements are not influenced by commercial considerations 


2. Conflict of Interest Policy

Journal of Rural Research (JRUR) as a member of Negah Journals, published by Negah Institute for Scientific Communication, is committed to apply ICMJE recommendation on “Author Responsibilities—Conflicts of Interest” in authors’ conflict of interest issues. Authors should disclose, at the time of submission, information on financial conflicts of interest or other interests that may influence the manuscript. Authors should declare sources of funding for the work undertaken, too. So, completion and signing the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest is necessary for all authors and the articles submission won’t be accepted without filling this form. Although ICMJE’s statement and form have basically designed for medical journals, but due to its completeness we have applied for the current journal, too.


Conflict of Interest Policy inJournal of Rural Research

(Prepared Based on ICMJE's Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work)

Public trust in the peer-review process and the credibility of published articles depend in part on how well conflict of interest is handled during writing, peer review, and editorial decision making. Conflict of interest exists when an author (or the author’s institution), reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence (bias) his or her actions (such relation- ships are also known as dual commitments, competing interests, or competing loyalties). These relationships vary from negligible to great potential for influencing judgment. Not all relationships represent true conflict of interest. On the other hand, the potential for conflict of interest can exist regardless of whether an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her scientific judgment. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion.

All participants in journal of Rural Research’s peer-review and publication process must disclose all relationships that could be viewed as potential conflicts of interest. Disclosure of such relationships is also important in connection with editorials and review articles, because it can be more difficult to detect bias in these types of publications than in reports of original research. Editors may use information disclosed in conflict-of-interest and financial interest statements as a basis for editorial decisions. The Journal editors should publish this information if they believe it is important in judging the manuscript.

1. Potential Conflicts of Interest Related to Individual Authors’ Commitments

When authors submit a manuscript, whether an article or a letter, they are responsible for disclosing all financial and personal relationships that might bias their work. To prevent ambiguity, authors must state explicitly whether potential conflicts do or do not exist. Authors should do so in the manuscript on a conflict-of-interest notification page that follows the title page, providing additional detail, if necessary, in a cover letter that accompanies the manuscript.

Authors should identify Individuals who provide writing or other assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance. Investigators must disclose potential conflicts to study participants and should state in the manuscript whether they have done so. Editors also need to decide whether to publish information disclosed by authors about potential conflicts. If doubt exists, it is best to err on the side of publication.

2. Potential Conflicts of Interest Related to Project Support

Increasingly, individual studies receive funding from commercial firms, private foundations, and government. The conditions of this funding have the potential to bias and otherwise discredit the research.

Scientists have an ethical obligation to submit credit- able research results for publication. Moreover, as the persons directly responsible for their work, researchers should not enter into agreements that interfere with their access to the data and their ability to analyze them independently, and to prepare and publish manuscripts. Authors should describe the role of the study sponsor, if any, in study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing the report; and the decision to submit the report for publication. If the supporting source had no such involvement, the authors should so state. Biases potentially introduced when sponsors are directly involved in research are analogous to methodological biases. In such cases, therefore, journal of Rural Research editors choose to include information in the Methods section about the sponsor’s involvement.

journal of Rural Research editors may request that authors of a study funded by an agency with a proprietary or financial interest in the outcome sign a statement, such as “I had full access to all of the data in this study and I take complete responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.” The editors will review copies of the protocol and/or contracts associated with project-specific studies before accepting such studies for publication. The journal’s editors may choose not to consider an article if a sponsor has asserted control over the authors’ right to publish.

3. Potential Conflicts of Interest Related to Commitments of Editors, Journal Staff, or Reviewers

Journal of Rural Research editors avoid selecting external peer reviewers with obvious potential conflicts of interest, for example, those who work in the same department or institution as any of the authors. Authors often provide editors with the names of persons they feel should not be asked to review a manuscript because of potential, usually professional, conflicts of interest. When possible, authors may be asked to explain or justify their concerns; that information is important to editors in deciding whether to honor such requests.

Journal of Rural Research reviewers must disclose to the journal editors any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should recuse themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if the potential for bias exists. As in the case of authors, silence on the part of reviewers concerning potential conflicts may mean either that conflicts exist and the reviewer has failed to disclose them or conflicts do not exist. Reviewers must therefore also be asked to state explicitly whether conflicts do or do not exist. Reviewers must not use knowledge of the work, before its publication, to further their own interests.

Journal of Rural Research editors who make final decisions about manuscripts must have no personal, professional, or financial involvement in any of the issues they might judge. Other members of the editorial staff, if they participate in editorial decisions, must provide editors with a current description of their financial interests (as they might relate to editorial judgments) and recuse themselves from any decisions in which a conflict of interest exists. Editorial staff must not use information gained through working with manuscripts for private gain. The journal editors should publish regular disclosure statements about potential conflicts of interests related to the commitments of journal staff.


3. Ethical Codes: Rural Research

In social studies, Journal of Rural Studies, as a member of Negah Journals, published by Negah Institute for Scientific Communication, is committed to apply ethics of research, based on Respect Code of Practice for Socio-Economic Researchof the European Commission’s Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme. You may find the journal’s Ethical Principles for Social Research, here.

Respect Code of Practice for Socio-Economic Research

1. Upholding Scientific Standards

Researchers have a responsibility to take account of all relevant evidence and present it without omission, misrepresentation or deception.

This means making sure that the selection and formulation of research questions, and the conceptualization or design of research undertakings, does not predetermine an outcome, and does not exclude unwanted findings from the outset. Data and information must not knowingly be fabricated, or manipulated in a way that might lead to distortion. Integrity requires researchers to strive to ensure that research findings are reported by themselves, the contractor or the funding agency truthfully, accurately and comprehensively. This includes the distribution and publication of information about their research through the popular media. In order to avoid misinterpretation of findings and misunderstandings, researchers have a duty to communicate their results in as clear a manner as possible. However strongly the goal of objectivity is pursued, no researcher can approach a subject entirely without preconceptions and any research will undoubtedly be colored by the individual approach of the researcher. It is therefore also the responsibility of researchers to balance the need for rigor and validity with a reflexive awareness of the impact of their own personal values on the research. Finally, integrity means that researchers primarily serve scholarly and public interests. Economic gain or material advantage should not override scholarly, public or ethical considerations.

Socio-Economic Researchers Should Endeavor to:

  1. ensure factual accuracy and avoid misrepresentation, fabrication, suppression or misinterpretation of data.
  2. take account of the work of colleagues, including research that challenges their own results, and acknowledge fully any debts to previous research as a source of knowledge, data, concepts and methodology.
  3. critically question authorities and assumptions to make sure that the selection and formulation of research questions, and the conceptualization or design of research undertakings, do not predetermine an outcome, and do not exclude unwanted findings from the outset.
  4. ensure the use of appropriate methodologies and the availability of the appropriate skills and qualifications in the research team.
  5. demonstrate an awareness of the limitations of the research, including the ways in which the characteristics or values of the researchers may have influenced the research process and outcomes, and report fully on any methodologies used and results obtained (for instance when reporting survey results, mentioning the date, the sample size, the number of non-responses and the probability of error).
  6. declare any conflict of interest that may arise in the research funding or design, or in the scientific evaluation of proposals or peer review of colleagues’ work.
  7. report their qualifications and competences accurately and truthfully to contractors and other interested parties, declare the limitations of their own knowledge and experience when invited to review, referee or evaluate the work of colleagues, and avoid taking on work they are not qualified to carry out.
  8. ensure methodology and findings are open for discussion and full peer review.
  9. ensure that research findings are reported by themselves, the contractor or the funding agency truthfully, accurately, comprehensively and without distortion. In order to avoid misinterpretation of findings and misunderstandings, researchers have a duty to seek the greatest possible clarity of language when imparting research results.
  10. ensure that research results are disseminated responsibly and in language that is appropriate and accessible to the target groups for whom the research results are relevant.
  11. avoid professional behavior likely to bring the socio-economic research community into disrepute.
  12. ensure fair and open recruitment and promotion, equality of opportunity and appropriate working conditions for research assistants whom they manage, including interns/Stagirites and research students
  13. honor their contractual obligations to funders and employers
  14. declare the source of funding in any communications about the research.

2. Compliance with The Law

In general, socio-economic researchers should comply with the laws of the countries in which they are based or in which they are carrying out research. In the case of international collaborations or online research, the laws of additional countries may also apply. Researchers have a duty to ensure that their work complies with any relevant legislation. Two areas of law (data protection law and intellectual property law) are particularly relevant for the conduct of research, especially research involving human subjects, and researchers should acquaint themselves with the relevant national and international provisions. 

2.1 Data Protection

2.1.1 Legal Requirements

Socio-economic research often involves the collection and other further processing of personal data. The processing of personal data is regulated by the national law, and researchers have therefore to comply with the relevant national legislation.

In order to comply with the terms of the data protection law, researchers should:

  1. find out whether the processing will include personal data (ie, not just confidential data but any data related to an identifiable individual).
  2. examine which national law applies, especially in international co-operations.
  3. determine who will be the person responsible for the processing (the controller) collect the data only for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes.
  4. collect only data that are adequate, relevant and not excessive with regard to the purpose of the processing.
  5. keep the data accurate and, where necessary, keep them up-to-date.
  6. process the data fairly and lawfully.
  7. in general, not keep data longer than necessary according to the purpose of the processing and when the purpose is achieved, destroy or render the data anonymous. In some countries where personal data may be kept for longer periods for historical, statistical or scientific use, researchers may keep them longer if all the conditions for this longer storage are fulfilled.
  8. not further process the data in a way incompatible with the initial purpose(s). If the data are further processed for scientific or statistical purposes, researchers should comply with requirements regarding the re-use of personal data.
  9. respect the conditions regarding the legitimacy of the processing, bearing in mind that to qualify as legitimate it must meet one of the social justifications laid down by the law.
  10. comply with the information duty towards data subjects to provide information on the identity, address of the controller, purpose of the processing, and other information stipulated by law unless an exemption is provided by the law.
  11. comply with duties towards National Data Protection Authorities by providing the required information regarding the planned processing and, where relevant, obtaining prior consent, unless an exemption is provided by the law.
  12. respect the rights of data subjects to access personal data, rectify incomplete or inaccurate data, and to object to the processing under the stipulated circumstances.
  13. take technical and organizational measures to ensure the security and confidentiality of personal data (including encryption where necessary).
  14. comply with the conditions for communication of personal data to third parties or recipients, bearing in mind that it is only lawful to transfer data if the purpose is compatible with that for which the data were originally collected.

2.1.2 Good Practice

Good practice, as embodied in existing professional codes, lays out the following principles, which aim at ensuring the security and confidentiality of personal data.

  1. Researchers in socio-economic studies are obliged to protect personal data, ie information on identifiable individuals. In order to prevent misuse of data, data are to be stored properly and adequately (eg, by storing information through which individuals can be identified, separately from the remaining research material). Particular caution is necessary in this context with regard to the risks posed by electronic data processing and data transfer.
  2. Researchers should respect the anonymity, privacy and confidentiality of individuals participating in the research, and ensure that the presentation of data and findings does not allow the identity of individuals participating in a study, or informants, to be disclosed or inferred. Researchers should also ensure that this is also the case in the presentation of findings by contractors, funding agencies or colleagues. In cases where disclosure of the identity of a subject (whether an individual or an organization) is central and relevant to the research such confidentiality cannot always be guaranteed. In such cases the problem should be addressed in open discussion with research subjects, with the aim of obtaining informed consent to any disclosure.

The security and confidentiality of data is only one aspect of data protection; the other legal requirements are still compulsory. Therefore, research should be conducted in accordance with all the principles of the applicable national data protection legislation.

Before embarking on the collection of any personal data, researchers should take into account the duties and conditions of processing, make an analysis of the processing envisaged, identify the operations that will be involved and the level of sensitivity of the data, in order to assess the lawfulness of the exercise.

2.2 Intellectual Property

The Journal directives on intellectual property converge with professional good practice in requiring researchers to pay attention to ensuring necessary permissions, correct attribution of authorship, acknowledgement of sources, correctness of references and the avoidance of plagiarism.

2.2.1 Legal Requirements

Wherever practicable, intellectual property rights should be explicitly addressed in contracts covering the conduct of socio-economic research, whether these are funding contracts, partnership agreements or employment contracts.

In accordance with the national legislation on intellectual property rights, the following questions and principles should be taken into account when conducting socio-economic research:

  1. recognizing the relevance of intellectual property rights to socio-economic research.
  2. taking due account of the fact that (especially in an online environment and/or international co-operations) several national laws might be applicable that differ substantially from the regulations in the researcher’s home country.
  3. paying due respect to the fact that material used in socio-economic research is predominantly protected by intellectual property rights such as copyright, database and software protection.
  4. ascertaining which acts within typical research conduct are unacceptable without (statutory or contractual) permission due to rights being reserved for the author under intellectual property legislation (as named above).
  5. realizing how exceptions/exemptions/limitations supersede individual permission for certain acts of socio-economic research under certain conditions.
  6. understanding how to use licenses and assignments of rights when creating or using material protected as intellectual property
  7. taking into account how employment contracts might affect intellectual property
  8. realizing the consequences of copyright infringements.

In order to comply with intellectual property law, socio-economic researchers should:

  1. find out to what extent questions of intellectual property rights (copyright, database and software protection) are concerned in the particular research activity
  2. examine which countries’ laws apply, especially in international co-operations and when using the Internet
  3. assume that any material created or used in socio-economic research might be intellectual property and consider protection before using it
  4. realize that many ways of using protected material – such as reproduction by down-/upload or by paper/digital copies, publication, making material available on the Internet, alteration (eg, for online format etc.) – are generally reserved for a rightsholder, and find out when permission is therefore (in principle) required
  5. when relying on legal permission (like the exceptions for quotation, research or ‘fair use’) for any particular conduct, consider carefully the respective extent and conditions
  6. if a planned activity is not clearly covered by statutory permissions (for example quotation rights) identify the rights holder and conclude authorizing contracts (transfer/assignment of rights/license agreements). Ascertain that the permission covers explicitly all relevant aspects – among them the description of type, extent, duration, environment (such as online) of the intended use, any preparatory or subsequent acts, rights involved, responsibility for possible infringements, remuneration etc.
  7. where several parties are involved (researchers, assistants, funding parties, employment situations in institutes, enterprises, universities) ensure explicit consensus among parties in advance, about rights matching the intended use.

2.2.2 Good Practice

Good practice in relation to intellectual property goes beyond the bare legal requirements. Existing professional codes lay out the following principles:

  1. In principle, authorship is reserved for those researchers who have made a significant intellectual contribution to a research project, the writing of a research report or another scholarly piece of work. Seniority and position in a research institution’s hierarchy alone is not sufficient for authorship. Honorary authorship is unacceptable. In cases where several persons collaborate on a research project or publication, the question of authorship and intended use of the results should be discussed, and consensus achieved among participating researchers as early on in the project as possible. The order of authors listed should take account of their respective contributions to the work. All collaborating researchers, whether named as authors of a publication or not, bear responsibility for the contents of the respective publications and the presentation of data and findings in these publications.
  2. Any third parties’ material protected by copyright must be clearly identified and clearly attributable to their original authors, regardless of the form their presentation and quotation might take (except in cases where it is necessary for the original author to remain anonymous; in such instances, however, it must be made clear that the information was provided by an anonymous person). Lack of permission for a given use is considered as theft of intellectual property. Even if material, including data, sources, information or ideas drawn from the work of others is not protected by copyright, it should be identified as third parties’ material. Failure to acknowledge the original authorship of such material, as well as knowingly presenting ideas, methodologies and research findings of others in ways that may lead observers to suppose that they are one’s own, is regarded as plagiarism and is unacceptable.


2.3 Other Laws

A wide range of other laws may also apply, varying from general health and safety, employment and anti-discrimination laws, to specific regulations governing the appointment and management of researchers, and more specific regulations that may govern the context in which particular kinds of research are carried out.

There may be certain circumstances that form exceptions to this rule, for instance when criminal behavior itself forms the subject of the research undertaken. In such cases, researchers should:

  • raise the matter with research funders.
  • ensure that full documentation is maintained to establish the bona fide nature of the research, and
  • where necessary, seek the advice of their relevant professional association.

In more extreme cases, research may be carried out in countries where democratic government is absent, or relatively recent, and certain laws are considered to be inherently unjust, socially harmful or detrimental to scientific integrity. In such cases too, individual researchers must take responsibility for decisions of professional judgement and their professional associations have a responsibility to support them.


3. Avoidance of Social and Personal Harm

It should be an overriding aim of socio-economic research that the results should benefit society, either directly or by generally improving human knowledge and understanding. It follows from this that in the conduct of the research, researchers should aim to avoid or minimize social harm to groups and individuals.

With this in mind, socio-economic researchers and their funders should reflect on the consequences of participation in the research for all research subjects and stakeholders.

Research should be designed responsibly in order to ensure that the methodology is appropriate, that no group is unreasonably excluded and that harm is minimized. Participants should not be worse off as a result of their involvement in the research. Research should also be designed in order to maximize its utility and relevance for the benefit of society.

Wherever possible, and providing that this does not conflict with other ethical or scientific considerations, representatives of the social groups under study should be actively involved in the research.

In particular, researchers should endeavor to:

  1. ensure that participation in research is voluntary, on the basis of informed consent, taking account of the specific requirements of differing types of quantitative and qualitative research.
  2. take special care to protect the interests of children, the mentally impaired, the elderly and other vulnerable groups.
  3. ensure that the views of all relevant stakeholders are taken into account where this does not conflict with other ethical or scientific principles.
  4. ensure that research participants are protected from undue intrusion, distress, indignity, physical discomfort, personal embarrassment or psychological or other harm.
  5. ensure that the research process does not involve unwarranted material gain or loss for any participant.
  6. ensure that research results are disseminated in a manner that makes them accessible to the relevant social stakeholders.
  7. ensure that research is commissioned and conducted with respect for all groups in society regardless of race, ethnicity, religion and culture, and with respect for and awareness of gender or other significant social differences.
  8. avoid harassment or discrimination against research assistants, trainees or other colleagues and minimize any safety risks.