Allegations of misconduct
- Cancellation of the decision to publish an article after its adoption
Journal editors have complete control over what is published in their journal at any stage, so even if an article has received an acceptance decision, if concerns have been raised, the editors may choose to do additional peer review, delay publication, or even revoke the acceptance decision prior to publication. A journal may wish to minimize the risks of bad publicity or claims of censorship and suspend consideration of the manuscript.
Any decision to re-review a document should be based on whether deficiencies were identified in the original review process or in the document itself. Re-review will be recommended if there are concerns about the initial review process, such as an undeclared conflict of interest or recognition that the reviewers were appointed by the reviewers' authors and returned overly prompt and positive reports. Additional review will also be required if the editor realizes that the data set or research ethics are questionable because of a rebuttal elsewhere that relates to the same study or there is duplication.
In addition, the journal avoids dragging out the review process. How the review process should be conducted will also depend on whether the article has been made available anywhere. If an article has been accepted but not yet published, it may be deferred for further evaluation (perhaps by members of the editorial board, rather than further external review), and the acceptance decision may be changed to rejection if the article is deemed to be of poor quality. If it is already posted online and available to readers, a rebuttal will be required. The journal allows authors to withdraw their article rather than have it re-reviewed.
- Statement of misconduct of authorship
Although this case is presented as a dispute between authors, in fact the key issue is the alleged plagiarism of ideas or methods. Thus, the approach a magazine should follow depends on the proof of "theft".
If the authors can provide evidence of originality of their work with dates prior to submission to the journal, this will allow the current journal to reject the plaintiff's allegations. In this case, it is also worth considering reporting the situation at the applicant's institution, because the evidence presented so far seems weak and this may be a false statement. The journal checks whether any new material was added to the article when it was edited for publication.
- Submission of an article by a ghost author
A journal may consider full removal of an article by the journal upon recognition that the author has not given permission for publication in the journal or use of the data/content. In this case, the journal is right to retract the article in accordance with COPE guidelines, giving the named authors an opportunity to comment on the circumstances. It would be inappropriate to publish the article with the original author's name instead, as this may constitute counter-plagiarism if any changes have been made to the original work. Also, it would not have the consent of the original author. The retraction notice must refer to the featured authors so that there are no consequences for the author.