Basic Research Misconduct

Known as the three cardinal sins of research conduct, falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism (FFP) are the primary concerns in avoiding research misconduct. Any divergence from these norms undermines the integrity of research for that individual, lab, university/corporation, and the field as a whole.
Falsification is the changing or omission of research results (data) to support claims, hypotheses, other data, etc. Falsification can include the manipulation of research instrumentation, materials, or processes. Manipulation of images (e.g. micrographs, gels, radiological images) or representations in a manner that distorts the data or "reads too much between the lines" can also be considered falsification.
   Generally, if the author’s data are questionable, the editor/EiC requests the original data from the authors, and if the reviewers and editors find that any types of fabrication occurred that changes the results of the paper, the paper will be rejected and may be reported to authors’ institutions. The detailed procedure adopted by the IJEEE is similar to the fabrication case, explained below.

Fabrication is the construction and/or addition of data, observations, or characterizations that never occurred in the gathering of data or running of experiments. Fabrication can occur when "filling out" the rest of experiment runs, for example. Claims about results need to be made on complete data sets (as is normally assumed), where claims made based on incomplete or assumed results is a form of fabrication.
With regard to image manipulation, it is allowed to technically improve images for readability. Proper technical manipulation refers to adjusting the contrast and/or brightness or color balance if it is applied to the complete digital image (and not parts of the image). Any technical manipulation by the author should be notified in the cover letter to the Journal Editor upon submission. Improper technical manipulation refers to obscuring, enhancing, deleting, and/or introducing new elements into an image.
Generally, if the author’s data are questionable, the editor/EiC requests the original data from the authors, and if the reviewers and editors find that any types of fabrication occurred that changes the results of the paper, the paper will be rejected and may be reported to authors’ institutions.
IJEEE completely follows the recommended action by COPE for Journal Editors:
Suspected fabricated data in a submitted manuscript
Suspected fabricated data in a published article
Plagiarism is, perhaps, the most common form of research misconduct. Researchers must be aware to cite all sources and take careful notes. Using or representing the work of others as your own work constitutes plagiarism, even if committed unintentionally. When reviewing privileged information, such as when reviewing grants or journal article manuscripts for peer review, researchers must recognize that what they are reading cannot be used for their own purposes because it cannot be cited until the work is published or publicly available.
   IJEEE uses a powerful plagiarism detection software at different stages of the reviewing process (from submission to final publication) and if any types of plagiarism are detected, the paper will be rejected and may be reported to authors’ institutions.
Other aspects of allegations will be considered by the IJEEE are as follows:
Citation Manipulation
According to the COPE Discussion Documents, citation manipulation refers to the following types of behavior:
  • Excessive citation of an author’s research by the author (ie, self-citation by authors) as a means solely of increasing the number of citations of the author’s work;
  • Excessive citation of articles from the journal in which the author is publishing a research article as a means solely of increasing the number of citations of the journal; or
  • Excessive citation of the work of another author or journal, sometimes referred to as ‘honorary’ citations (eg, the editor-in-chief of the journal to which one is submitting a manuscript or a well-known scholar in the field of the researcher) or ‘citation stacking’ solely to contribute to the citations of the author(s)/ journal(s) in question.
   Citation manipulation will result in the article being rejected and may be reported to authors’ institutions. Similarly, any attempts by peer-reviewers or editors to encourage such practices should be reported by authors to the EiC and publisher.
Authors should consider the following guidelines when preparing their manuscript:
  • Any statement in the manuscript that relies on external sources of information (i.e. not the authors' own new ideas or findings or general knowledge) should use a citation.
  • Authors should avoid citing derivations of original work. For example, they should cite the original work rather than a review article that cites an original work.
  • Authors should ensure that their citations are accurate (i.e. they should ensure the citation supports the statement made in their manuscript and should not misrepresent another work by citing it if it does not support the point the authors wish to make).
  • Authors should not cite sources that they have not read.
  • Authors should not preferentially cite their own or their friends’, peers’, or institution’s publications.
  • Authors should avoid citing work solely from one country.
  • Authors should not use an excessive number of citations to support one point.
  • Ideally, authors should cite sources that have undergone peer review where possible, but it is not mandatory for all cases.
Peer-Review Manipulation
According to the COPE definition, some recognized potential signs of peer review manipulation are:
  • Third-party agency involvement;
  • Non-institutional email address, including, but not limited to: gmail, yahoo, or hotmail accounts;
  • Suspicious email address (atypical for that reviewer);
  • Fictitious name;
  • Work in an unrelated subject to the manuscript;
  • Atypical features of the IP address;
  • Extremely quick to agree to peer review;
  • Agreeing to review many manuscripts and particularly active in a journal’s peer review database;
  • Never recommends rejection;
  • Reviews frequently returned well ahead of the deadline;
  • Complimentary review but point out minor technical issues;
  • Positive review in strong contrast to other reviewers (with mainly grammatical changes);
  • A review that is vague in style (language not typical of apparent seniority, experience, or educational background of the reviewer);
  • Similarity to other peer reviewer reports.
IJEEE considers these practices recommended by COPE to minimize the peer-review process manipulation:
  • Authors must submit manuscripts to the journal themselves;
  • Only reviewers with institutional emails or institutionally verified ORCIDs are used when inviting peer-reviewers;
  • Always peer-reviewers which are qualified to review the manuscript and their email address is accurate are used;
  • Unusual patterns of behavior which in combination may suggest peer-review manipulation is occurring, are checked by the editors and journal office.

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