WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Publishing rigorously-reviewed journals, which present the results of critical scientific research, is one of the most important ways AGU serves the Earth and space science community and society. Journal editors and reviewers are charged with the responsibility to maintain highest standards for peer review of original submissions. They also reflect a conviction that upholding high ethical standards is equally as vital to the future well-being of the entire scientific enterprise.
Obligations of AGU editors
Editors should not impede the efficient and timely flow of manuscripts through the peer review process.
The editor has complete responsibility and authority to accept a submitted paper for publication or to reject it without interference from any outside influence. The editor confers with associate editors and reviewers to ensure a comprehensive and unbiased evaluation is used in making the decision whether to publish a paper.
An editor should respect the intellectual independence of authors.
AGU’s editorial staff will maintain strict confidentiality of manuscripts under consideration for publication. They should not disclose any information about a manuscript to anyone other than reviewers and potential reviewers. Reviews and a reviewer’s identity can be shared with other editors of AGU journals only if the author consents to having a paper transferred. Our policy prohibits editors from releasing reviews or the identity of reviewers to editors of non-AGU journals.
Conflicts of Interest
Editorial responsibility and authority for any manuscript authored by an editor and submitted to the editor’s journal should be delegated to another qualified editor or associate editor of that journal. If an editor chooses to participate in an ongoing scientific debate within his journal, the editor should arrange for another qualified member of the editorial team to assume editorial responsibility.
Unpublished information, arguments, or interpretations disclosed in a submitted manuscript should not be used in an editor’s own research except with the consent of the author.
If an editor is presented with convincing evidence that the main substance or conclusions of a paper published in an editor’s journal are erroneous, the editor should facilitate publication of an appropriate paper pointing out the error and, if possible, correcting it
Obligations of authors
A paper should contain enough detail and references to public information to allow an author’s peers to evaluate and build on the work.
An author should cite publications that have been influential in the reported work and guide the reader quickly to earlier work that is essential for understanding their investigation. Data and software referenced in the work should be cited using repositories that practice the FAIR principles.
Information obtained privately, such as in conversation or correspondence with third parties, should not be used or reported in the author’s work without explicit permission from the individual with whom the
information originated. Information obtained through confidential services, such as refereeing manuscripts or grant applications, cannot be used without permission of that author.
Fragmentation of research papers should be avoided. A scientist who has done extensive work on a system or group of related systems should organize publication so that each paper gives a complete account of a particular aspect of the general study.
It is unethical for an author to publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one primary journal. This is considered duplicate publication and as a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), AGU does not allow an article into the peer review process if it was previously published. This does not apply to research outputs posted on preprint servers.
An author should make no changes to a paper after it has been accepted for final publication. If there is a compelling reason to make changes, the author is obligated to inform the editor directly of the nature of the desired change. Only the editor has the final authority to approve any such requested changes.
Only individuals who have significantly contributed to the research and preparation of the article should be listed as authors. All of these co-authors share responsibility for submitted articles. While not all co-authors may be familiar with all aspects of the research presented in an article, each should have in place an appropriate process for reviewing the accuracy of the reported results. A deceased person who met the criteria described here may be designated as an author.
The corresponding author accepts the responsibility of having included as authors all persons who meet these criteria for authorship and none who do not. Other contributors who do not meet the authorship criteria should be appropriately acknowledged in the article. The corresponding author also attests that all living co-authors have seen the final version of the article, agree with the major conclusions, and have agreed to its submission for publication.
Obligations of reviewers
Reviewing manuscripts is an essential step in the publication process and all scientists have an obligation to do their fair share of reviewing as part of their service to the scientific community.
A chosen reviewer who feels inadequately qualified or lacks the time to judge the research reported in a manuscript should return it promptly to the editor. In this case, our editors welcome recommendations for alternate reviewers.
Reviewers should judge objectively the quality of the manuscript and respect the intellectual independence of the authors. A criticism of a published paper may be justified; however, in no case is personal criticism considered acceptable.
Conflicts of Interest and confidentiality
A reviewer should not evaluate a manuscript authored or co-authored by a person with whom the reviewer has a personal or professional connection if the relationship would bias judgment of the manuscript.
A reviewer should treat a manuscript sent for review as a confidential document. The reviewer should not share or discuss the manuscript with others. There may be special cases where the reviewer may seek specific advice from another individual. In such an event, the identities of those consulted should be disclosed to the editor.
Reviewers should explain and support their judgments adequately so that editors and authors may understand the basis of their comments. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument in a manuscript was previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation.
A reviewer should be on the alert to the failure of authors to cite relevant work by other scientists. A reviewer should call to the editor’s attention any substantial similarity between the manuscript under consideration and any published paper or manuscript submitted concurrently to another journal.
Reviewers should not use or disclose unpublished information, arguments, or interpretations contained in a manuscript under consideration, except with the consent of the author. These guidelines regarding unpublished information do not include an author's own preprints.
Obligations of scientists
A scientist publishing research results in the mass media or other popular science literature should be as accurate in reporting observations and unbiased in interpreting them as when publishing in a scientific journal.
A scientist should strive to keep public writings, remarks, and interviews as accurate as possible and consistent with the standards of effective communication, such as unambiguous statements and a distinct between opinion and fact.
A scientist should not proclaim a discovery to the public unless the support for it is of sufficient strength to warrant publication in the archival scientific literature. An account of the work and results that support a public pronouncement should be submitted as quickly as possible to a peer-reviewed scientific journal.