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AGU guidelines

AGU is committed to upholding the highest level of scientific integrity and professional ethics in all of its activities in order to preserve and enhance its position as a global authority in the scientific community. To this end, AGU has established a set of guidelines for scientific integrity and professional ethics (PDF) for the actions of the members and the governance of the union.

These guidelines apply to the conduct of scientific research and its submission for publication. It applies to authors, as well as reviewers and editors involved in the peer review processes. In general, AGU follows the standards of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Per these guidelines, scientific research, and the preparation of the results, must be free of any impropriety or undisclosed conflicts of interest. Intentional plagiarism, fabrication, or falsification are serious examples of scientific misconduct and as such are inappropriate actions that will discredit the union and compromise the integrity of science. If there is a concern with the peer review or publication of research in an AGU journal, authors are encouraged to follow the guidelines to file a formal appeal.


Authors are expected to do the following to contribute the highest quality science to AGU publications:

  1. Present a precise and accurate account of the research performed and a clear, objective discussion of its significance.
  2. Include sufficient detail and reference to sources of information in a manuscript to permit the author’s peers to repeat the work.
  3. Include sufficient detail in the Data and Methods section and provide an Availability Statements for data and software in the Open Research section, and citations in the References section that permit the author’s peers to repeat the work. Access restrictions and licensing (terms of use) need to be clearly stated in the availability statement. Details, templates, and examples are in the Data and Software for Authors guidance.
  4. Identify sources of all information and cite those publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work and that guide the reader quickly to the primary and other earlier work essential for understanding the present investigation. Information obtained privately, as in conversation or correspondence, should not be used or reported without explicit permission from the source.
  5. Carefully document methodology, assumptions, and uncertainty.
  6. Follow the appropriate procedures in force in their countries that govern the ethics of work done with human or animal subjects.
  7. Never plagiarize the work or ideas of others or your own work. Always provide appropriate citation. [Please see below for additional information on avoiding plagiarism of your own work or that of others.]
  8. Avoid unnecessary fragmentation or redundant publication of research reports to artificially increase the number of publications.
  9. Never include personal criticism in a written piece of work.
  10. Report to the editor any changes made to the manuscript after acceptance.
  11. Include as coauthors only those persons who have made significant scientific contributions to the work and determine order of authorship in a manner appropriate to the contribution. All coauthors share responsibility for the quality and integrity of the submitted and published manuscript.
  12. List all funding sources including persistent identifiers (e.g. Grant ID, Funder ID) or other in-kind support for all authors in the Acknowledgments.
  13. For AGU Advances and GeoHealth, authors will be required to disclose any potential conflict of interest for any author that might be affected by publication of the results contained in a manuscript or in the development of the research. Journal editors will assess the disclosures.
  14. In the role of corresponding author, ensure that all coauthors are fully cognizant of the steps and changes in the manuscript during the peer review process.


Plagiarism is using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person or that person’s work. This includes using text, figures, tables, or ideas, and includes not just duplicating any of these items but also close paraphrasing of text that still represents someone else’s ideas or work. Plagiarism is unacceptable in all AGU publications.

Self-plagiarism, the act of reproducing your own work without changes for the current science and submission, is also a violation of our plagiarism standards. It potentially constitutes dual publication or prior publication. Including one or two identical sentences from your own previous paper is not likely to be considered plagiarism; however, material quoted verbatim should be placed within quotation marks with appropriate citation. However, including significant portions of your own work without acknowledging the source is unacceptable and could also violate copyrights. AGU journals use plagiarism detection software from iThenticate upon submission to identify any such duplication.

To avoid potential plagiarism:

  • Ensure that permission (in writing) has been obtained for reuse of any text, figures, or tables from the author and copyright holder
  • Learn the journal’s usage permission policy and proper citation
  • Remember that self-plagiarism is still plagiarism


Reviewers are expected to follow the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers (PDF).

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Statement

AGU Publications Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Statement

As an organization that serves a global community of Earth and space scientists, AGU is committed to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). Following AGU’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, AGU Publications is implementing changes to foster a more equitable and inclusive scientific publishing environment. This includes proactively working to eliminate the influence of bias in peer review, improving diversity and inclusion within our editorial teams (editors, reviewers, authors) and our publishing processes and policies, and ensuring our publications content fairly and inclusively represents people and communities. We also plan to regularly track and publish our AGU Publications DEI progress.

All AGU members, editors, authors, reviewers, and publications officers and staff are expected to aspire and adhere to our Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics Policy, which includes AGU’s Code of Conduct (Section III) and Ethical Guidelines for Publications of Scientific Research (Section VI).

More information:

Professional conduct self-disclosure

The editors or authors of AGU books are now required to complete a simple professional conduct self-disclosure form.

This is an opportunity to disclose any past allegations or institutional proceedings resulting in a finding of professional misconduct, or any current formal complaints related to professional conduct, even if the matter is still pending.

This disclosure is required starting in January 2020 following implementation of AGU’s revised “Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics Policy” (PDF). This Policy includes a Code of Conduct that sets expectations for professional conduct related to harassment, bullying, and other scientific misconduct issues.

Concurrent with finalizing the book contract with Wiley, all relevant editors and authors will be invited to complete and return the form to the AGU ethics inbox.

This applies to editors or authors of books across all AGU series. It is not a requirement for authors of chapters within edited volumes.

A self-disclosure does not automatically disqualify someone from publishing with AGU, but each disclosure will receive a review and follow-up discussion if there are areas of concern.

Sign the form

If you have been requested to complete the professional conduct disclosure form, download it here.

Download Form