Duties of Field Editors
Field Editors are the stewards of journals. Most Field Editors provide direction for the journal and build a strong management team. They must consider and balance the interests of many constituents, including readers, authors, staff, publishers, and editorial board members. Field Editors have a responsibility to ensure an efficient, fair, and timely review process of manuscripts submitted for publication and to establish and maintain high standards of technical and professional quality.
Field 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 relevance to the remit of the journal. Consideration should be given without regard to race, religion, ethnic origin, gender, seniority, citizenship, professional association, institutional affiliation, or political philosophy of the author(s).
All original studies should be peer reviewed before publication, taking into full account possible bias due to related or conflicting interests. This requires that the Field Editor seek advice from associate editors or others who are expert in a specific area and will send manuscripts submitted for publication to reviewers chosen for their expertise and good judgment to referee the quality and reliability of manuscripts. Manuscripts may be rejected without review if considered inappropriate for the journal.
Field Editors must treat all submitted papers as confidential. The Field Editor and editorial staff shall disclose no information about a manuscript under consideration to anyone other than those from whom professional advice regarding the publication of the manuscript is sought. The Field Editors or editorial staff shall not release the names of reviewers.
Field Editors should consider manuscripts submitted for publication with all reasonable speed. Authors should be periodically informed of the status of the review process. In cases where reasonable speed cannot be accomplished because of unforeseen circumstances, the Field Editor has an obligation to withdraw himself/herself from the process in a timely manner to avoid unduly affecting the author’s pursuit of publication.
Where misconduct is suspected, the Field Editor must write to the authors first before contacting the head of the institution concerned.
Field Editors should ensure that the Instructions to Contributors published with each issue of the journal specify that manuscripts must not be submitted to another journal at the same time. It must also outline the review process, including matters of confidentiality and time frame.
Field Editors transmit to Human Kinetics (journal’s managing editor) the manuscripts accepted for publication approximately 3 months ahead of the publication date.
Conflicts of Interest
Conflicts of interest arise when Field Editors have interests that are not fully apparent and that may influence their judgments on what is published.
Field Editors should avoid situations of real or perceived conflicts of interest, including, but not limited to, handling papers from present and former students, from colleagues with whom the Field Editor has recently collaborated, and from those in the same institution.
Field Editors should disclose relevant conflicts of interest (of their own or those of the teams, editorial boards, managers, or publishers) to their readers, authors, and reviewers.
Peer reviewers are external experts chosen by Field Editors to provide written opinions, with the aim of improving the works submitted for publication.
Suggestions from authors as to who might act as a reviewer are often useful, but there should be no obligation on Field Editors to use those suggested.
Field Editors and expert reviewers must maintain the duty of confidentiality in the assessment of a manuscript, and this extends to reviewers’ colleagues who give opinions on specific sections.
The submitted manuscript should not be retained or copied.
Field Editors should require that reviewers provide speedy, accurate, courteous, unbiased, and justifiable reports.
If reviewers suspect misconduct, they should write in confidence to the Field Editor.
Dealing With Misconduct
The general principle confirming misconduct is the intention to cause others to regard as true, that which is not true. The examination of misconduct must, therefore, focus not only on the particular act or omission, but also on the intention of the researcher or author.
Field Editors should be alert to possible cases of plagiarism, duplication of previous published work, falsified data, misappropriation of intellectual property, duplicate submission of manuscripts, inappropriate attribution, or incorrect co-author listing.
In cases of other misconduct, such as redundant publication, deception over authorship, or failure to declare conflict of interest, Field Editors may judge what is necessary in regard to involving authors’ employers. Authors should be given the opportunity to respond to any charge of minor misconduct.
The following sanctions are ranked in approximate order of severity:
- A letter of explanation to the authors, where there appears to be a genuine misunderstanding of principles.
- A letter of reprimand and warning as to future conduct.
- A formal letter to the relevant head of the institution or funding body.
- Refusal to accept future submissions from the individual, unit, or institution responsible for the misconduct, for a stated period.
- Formal withdrawal or retraction of the paper from the scientific literature, informing other editors and the indexing authorities.