Ethics Policy


Duties of Editors-in-Chief

Editors-in-Chief are the stewards of journals. Most Editors-in-Chief 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. Editors-in-Chief 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.


A Editor-in-Chief's decision 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 Editor-in-Chief seek advice from Associate Editors or others who are experts 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.

Editors-in-Chief must treat all submitted papers as confidential. The Editor-in-Chief 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 Editors-in-Chief or editorial staff shall not release the names of reviewers.

Editors-in-Chief 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 Editor-in-Chief 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 Editor-in-Chief must write to the authors first before contacting the head of the institution concerned.

Editors-in-Chief should ensure that the author submission guidelines for the journal specify that manuscripts must not be submitted to another journal at the same time. Guidelines should also outline the review process, including matters of confidentiality and time.

Editors-in-Chief transmit to Human Kinetics (specifically, the journal’s managing editor) the manuscripts accepted for publication approximately three months ahead of the publication date.

Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest arise when Editors-in-Chief have interests that are not fully apparent and that may influence their judgments on what is published.

Editors-in-Chief 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 Editor-in-Chief has recently collaborated, and from those in the same institution.

Editors-in-Chief 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 Review

Human Kinetics believes that ethical publishing contributes to a stronger research community. Reviewers are encouraged to adhere to ethical guidelines throughout the peer review process, as outlined by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). The COPE framework covers three categories of responsibility: confidentiality, objectivity, and diligence. Visit the COPE guidelines on their website for see their full ethical guidelines for reviewers.

Peer review across the Human Kinetics journal portfolio generally follows a double blinded process with multiple reviewers solicited. It is possible that a certain type of review process is preferred by a specific subject community, and there is also an increasing call towards more transparency around the peer review process. Thus, please contact the editorial office of the journal if there are questions about the peer review process used by the journal.

Peer reviewers are external experts chosen by Editors to provide written opinions, with the aim of assessing and improving the works submitted for publication for scientific validity and significance. Suggestions from authors as to who might act as a reviewer are often useful, but there is no obligation for Editors to use those suggested.

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. Editors will require that reviewers provide timely, honest, confidential, unbiased, and justifiable reviews. Editors will seek reviewers with the appropriate subject expertise and an appropriate amount of time to complete a full review.

The submitted manuscript should not be retained or copied by peer reviewers.

Reviewers have a critical role in supporting research integrity. If reviewers suspect misconduct, they should write in confidence to the 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.

Editors-in-Chief 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, Editors-in-Chief 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 increasing 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.