Ethics and Malpractice Statements
Publication Code of Ethics for Authors, Reviewers and Editors
Solid State Science and Technology
Solid State Science and Technology (SSST), henceforth referred to as “The Journal” wish to select and publish, through single-blind peer-review, the highest quality research articles on advanced materials and solid-state materials worldwide. The editorial board will make the utmost effort to make sure that the peer-review and publication process is thorough, objective and fair. A guideline on The Journal publication code of ethics largely based upon the principles upheld by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). COPE outlines standards for good behavior and solutions to ethical issues faced by Authors, Editors and Reviewers. The Journal publication code of ethics has been designed to safeguard the integrity of the journal and to ascertain all published materials are of the highest scientific and ethical standard. Authors, Editors and Reviewers can use these guidelines when discharging their task and duties. Any ethical issue and question, which concerns The Journal, can be addressed to the Editor-in-Chief. This code of ethics applies to manuscripts submitted to The Journal. The Editorial Board revises it from time to time.
A. Code of Ethics for Authors
1.1 Authors’ Responsibility
Authors should submit original work carried out honestly according to scientific standards. Research results should not have been obtained fraudulently or dishonestly, fabricated or falsified. When writing the Authors should present a concise and accurate account how the work was carried out. There should have enough detail for other researchers to repeat the work. The data should be accurately reported and never fudged. The Authors should not leave out problematic data so as to provide a clear story. The Authors should not claim originality if others have reported similar work. All information obtained privately should not be used without the explicit permission from the individual or source.
Authors who submit a manuscript to The Journal, must ascertain that the manuscript is their original work and has not been submitted elsewhere simultaneously. The Authors should also declare that the work and its variation have not been published elsewhere prior to submission to The Journal. Materials from other sources or publications must be appropriately cited or quoted whenever it is used in the submitted manuscript.
If the manuscript contains materials that overlap with work that was previously published, or is in-press, or that is under consideration for publication elsewhere, the Authors must cite this work in the manuscript. The Authors must also inform The Journal Editor-in-Chief of the related work, the Editor-in-Chief may request a copy of the related work.
A manuscript that is under review by any other journal must be withdrawn from the other journal, prior to submission to The Journal.
Authors must explicitly cite their own earlier work and ideas, even when the work or ideas are not quoted exactly in the manuscript. If exact sentences or paragraphs that appear in another work by the Authors are included in the manuscript, the material should be reworded and appropriately cited.
Authors are not allowed to resubmit a manuscript to The Journal that was previously reviewed and rejected by The Journal unless encouraged by the Editor-in-Chief to resubmit in the rejection letter. If an earlier version was previously rejected by The Journal, and the Authors wish to submit a revised version for review, this fact and the justification for resubmission should be clearly communicated by the Authors to The Journal’s Editor-in-Chief at the time of submission.
To speed up the peer review process, Authors is strongly suggest to submit the manuscripts for publication in The Journal to check their manuscripts for possible plagiarism using any anti-plagiarism software before submitting it to The Journal.
Manuscript submitted to The Journal must not contain any form of plagiarism including self-plagiarism. The manuscript should not contain any materials that are falsified and fabricated. The Authors should ensure that they have written entirely original works, and if the Authors have used the work and/or words of others that this has been appropriately cited.
Plagiarism can be in the form of claiming others’ paper as the Author’s own paper; using or paraphrasing substantial parts of other’s paper without proper credit. Claiming results from research others as Authors’ own is also a form of plagiarism.
The use of others' published and unpublished ideas or words or intellectual property without proper citation and permission, and claiming them as an original idea rather than derived from an existing source can be construed as plagiarism. This applies whether the ideas or words are taken from any published or unpublished materials including abstracts, proceedings, grant applications, journal articles, books or any other publication format.
Authors must cite others' work and ideas explicitly, even if the work or ideas are not quoted exactly or being paraphrased. This applies to previous work published or unpublished in any form.
Self-plagiarism (or ”redundancy”) includes reusing portions of previous writings by using identical or nearly identical sentences or paragraphs from earlier writings in a research manuscripts, without quotation or acknowledgement. Authoring several manuscripts that are slightly modified from each other and submitted for publication in different journals without acknowledgement of the other manuscript/articles is also a form of self-plagiarism.
Self-plagiarism is not generally regarded in the same light as plagiarism of the ideas and words of other researchers. Self-plagiarism can be minimized or avoided by citing Author’s previous publications wherever appropriate.
Plagiarism is a misconduct and unacceptable publishing behavior that may lead to serious consequences to the Authors. In order to avoid plagiarism Authors should:
• keep all records of the source of information,
• put quotation marks for any phrase that are used in verbatim and cite the source,
• use their own words when summarizing or paraphrasing someone else’s paragraphs together with a proper citation, and
• cite all sources as much as possible when writing a manuscript
1.4 Parallel or Multiple Submissions
Authors should not submit manuscripts describing essentially the same research results to more than one journal at a time. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal at a time constitutes unethical and unacceptable conduct.
Authors must not submit a similar manuscript or research results, in whole or in part, to more than one publication simultaneously, or at any time while the manuscript is currently under review.
Resubmission of a manuscript after being rejected or withdrawn from another publication is acceptable. Authors may not submit to The Journal a manuscript that is in whole or in part under review elsewhere, nor submit to another publication a work that is in whole or in part under review at The Journal.
The submitted manuscript must not have been previously published or accepted for publication elsewhere, or under review by other publication, either in whole or in part in any language.
1.5 Publication from Conference Proceedings
The Journal does not accept any submission of manuscript that has been published in full in a conference proceeding. This is because novelty is an important criterion for articles published in The Journal. The Editor-in-Chief may consider unpublished work that has been presented in part in any forum, particularly if the circulation of the proceeding is limited. Authors must clarify during submission the significant material that was added in the manuscript that was not included in the proceedings. The proceedings must be properly cited in the submitted manuscript.
1.6 Conflicts of Interest
An Author should avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest in his/her research conduct and publication. Conflicts of interest may influence the judgment of Authors, Reviewers, and Editors. Possible conflicts often are not immediately apparent to others. These may be personal, commercial, political, academic, or financial in nature.
All Authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or other substantive conflict of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their research results. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed in the manuscript.
1.7 Suggestion for Reviewers – Conflict of Interest
When submitting a manuscript to The Journal the Authors are encouraged to recommend up to three possible potential Reviewers. The suggested reviewers must not be from the same institution as the Authors. The Editor-in-Chief is however not bound by these suggestions.
Authors should avoid any possible conflict of interest, or appearance of conflict of interest, in selecting Editors and Reviewers. Authors should not submit a manuscript to an Editor who is not in the same field as an easy way to get published.
1.8 Authorship Conduct
Name of Authors listed in the manuscript should those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the research. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as Co-Authors. Others who have assisted in certain aspects of the research project can be mentioned in the Acknowledgement.
Authors of a manuscript should nominate only one Author as the corresponding Author who is solely responsible for communicating with The Journal and communication between Co-Authors. Authors included in the authors list must agree to the order of the names and that all Authors agreed with the final form of the manuscript being submitted to The Journal
1.8.2 Change of Authorship
Once The Journal accepts a manuscript for publication, amendments in the authorship in the form of addition, deletion or rearranging the order of the names are not longer allowed. However, changes in the authorship (addition, deletion or rearrangement) can be made during the review process before a manuscript is accepted.
The affiliation for each Author should be the institution where the majority of the work was performed. If an Author has subsequently transferred to another institution, the new address may also be included in the manuscript.
All Co-Authors should have made significant contributions to the work being written and share accountability for the manuscript. All Authors should agree with the final version of the manuscript before submission to The Journal.
1.9 Permission and Copyright
Authors should check their manuscripts for the need to obtain permission due to copyright law. This may include permissions for quotations, figures, photographs, artwork or tables taken or modified from other publications or from other sources on the Internet. Authors need to secure the necessary permissions before submission to The Journal. Permission may be needed from the publisher and the Authors of the published materials. If using own materials that have been published by another publisher, the Authors need to obtain permission from the publisher only. It is the duty of the Authors to obtain the permission and not The Journal.
1.9.2 Copyright of Published Articles
The Malaysian Solid State Science and Technology Society (MASS) hold the copyright to all published articles in The Journal. The Author(s) should submit the Copyright Transfer form to the Editor-in-Chief once the manuscript has been accepted for publication.
Authors must seek permission from The Journal to publish in whole or in part their articles that have been published in The Journal in another publication.
1.10 Human, Animal Subjects and Bioethics
Works involving chemicals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use must be clearly identify in the manuscript. The relevant ethic committee must approve manuscripts involving experiments on live vertebrates and/or higher invertebrates. Authors must confirm that all experiments were performed in accordance with relevant guidelines and regulations issued by the relevant ethic committee.
The manuscript must include information (methods) section a statement identifying the institutional ethic committee approving the experiments, including any relevant details such as how and why the animal species and model being used can address the scientific objectives and, where appropriate, the study’s relevance to human.
The research should adhere to the guidelines for the care and use of animals in research, the legal requirements of the country in which the work was carried out, and all relevant institutional guidelines.
For experiments involving human subjects, Authors must identify the ethic committee approving the experiments, and include with their submission a statement confirming that informed consent was obtained for all subjects. The reference number of the approval by the committee needs to be stated in the manuscript.
1.11 Manuscript Withdrawal
Authors may write to the Editor-in-Chief requesting for the withdrawal of a manuscript that has been submitted to The Journal. However, such withdrawal is usually permitted within two weeks from the date of initial submission to The Journal. The reason for the withdrawal is required in writing.
In the event that an Author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her own published work, it is the Author’s obligation to promptly notify the Editor-in-Chief or publisher to retract or correct the article accordingly.
Authors should be prompt with their manuscript revisions. If an Author cannot meet the deadline given to complete the revision, he/she should inform the Editor-in-Chief to request for an extension.
B. Code of Ethics for Reviewers
Reviewing for journals is a professional activity that provides value for the field as a whole, and should be encouraged. Authors who submit manuscripts to The Journal are normally expected to reciprocate by accepting an invitation to review manuscripts for The Journal.
2.2 Single-Blind Peer-Review
The Journal follows a single-blind peer-review process, whereby the Authors do not know reviewers but the reviewers know the Authors. Peer review is fundamental to the scientific publication process and the dissemination of knowledge. Peer reviewers are experts chosen by the Editor-in-Chief to provide assessment of a written research manuscript, with the aim of improving the reporting of research and identifying the most appropriate and highest quality material for The Journal.
Authors should respect the confidentiality of the review process and should not reveal themselves to Reviewers, and vice versa. Reviewers should avoid doing or saying anything that could identify them to the Authors of a manuscript they are reviewing or reviewed.
Regular reviewers selected for The Journal should meet minimum standards regarding their background in the research field, publication of articles and formal training
Reviewers are experts in the scientific topic addressed in the manuscripts they review, and are selected for their objectivity and scientific knowledge. Individuals who have a major competing interest in the subject of the manuscript are not appointed as reviewers for such manuscript.
2.3 Quality of Review
Manuscripts received by The Journal will be evaluated by the Editorial board that will judge whether a manuscript is of potential interest to the readers of The Journal. Manuscripts that are of interest, formatted according to the guideline for Authors and presented fairly well are sent for review. Typically one or two reviewers are employed. Manuscript may be sent to other specialized experts such as on statistics or a particular technique where a scientist in that particular technique is needed to evaluate it.
Reviewers are assessed on the quality of review and other performance characteristics by the Editor-in-Chief to assure optimal journal quality and performance. These ratings should also contribute to decisions on reappointment to The Journal’s Editorial Board and to ongoing review requests. Individual performance data on Reviewers are available to the Editor-in-Chief but otherwise kept confidential.
Reviews are expected to be professional, honest, courteous, prompt, and constructive. A good review includes the following inputs from the reviewers:
- identify and comment on major strengths and weaknesses of the experimental design and characterization methods.
- comment accurately and constructively on the quality of the Author's interpretation of the data, including acknowledgment of its limitations.
- comment on major strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript, independent of the design, methodology, results, and interpretation of the study.
- comment on any ethical concerns raised by the study, or any possible evidence of substandard scientific conduct.
- provide the Authors with useful suggestions to improve the manuscript.
- comments should be constructive and professional. Personal comments regarding the Authors is not permitted.
- comment on the work and not the Authors.
- provide the Editor-in-Chief with the proper context and perspective to make a recommendation on the acceptability of the manuscript.
The Editor-in-Chief then makes a decision based on the reviewers' recommendation, as follows:
• Accept without revisions;
• Accept with minor revisions to be made by the Authors;
• Return to the Authors for major modifications, Authors to revise & resubmit for another round of reviews depending on the request of the reviewers;
• Reject, with encouragement for resubmission; reasons for rejection must be given by the Editor-in-Chief
• Reject Outright, typically on grounds of specialist interest, lack of novelty, insufficient conceptual advance or major technical and/or interpretational problems, or if the work constitutes any unethical publishing behavior. The Editor-in-Chief must give the reasons for rejection.
Reviewers can recommend for particular course of action. However, the Editor-in-Chief may have to make a decision based on conflicting advice from different reviewers. The most useful reports, therefore, provide the Editor-in-Chief with the information on which a decision should be based.
All reviewers are informed of the journal's expectations, and Editor-in-Chief will make every effort to assist reviewers in improving the quality of review. The Editor-in-Chief will access the quality of review routinely by ratings of review quality and other performance characteristics periodically.
2.4 Responsibility of Reviewers
Reviewers should assess the manuscript sent to them for scope, accuracy, quality, relevance and contribution to the field. They should inform and return the manuscript to the Editor-in-Chief if they decide that the manuscript is not within their field of expertise or that they are not able to complete the review in the stated time.
The manuscript for review is privileged information. Reviewers must treat it as confidential and it should not be retained or copied in whatever means. The manuscript should not be shared with the reviewers’ colleagues without the explicit permission of the Editor-in-Chief. Reviewers and Editor-in-Chief must not make any personal or professional use of the data, arguments, or interpretations (other than those directly involved in its peer review) prior to publication. Such use may constitute as conflict of interest and is an unacceptable behavior.
In cases of suspected misconduct, reviewers should notify the Editor-in-Chief in confidence, and should not share their concerns with other parties.
Reviewers should be prompt with their reviews. If a Reviewer cannot meet the deadline, he/she should inform the Editor-in-Chief immediately to determine whether a longer time period or another Reviewer should be appointed. Typically, the time to complete a review is four weeks.
C. Code of Ethics for Editorial Board
3.1 Handling of submitted manuscript
Editor-in-Chief should evaluate the merit of a manuscript as soon as it is received. An acknowledgement with a reference number must be sent to the Authors once the manuscript is received. Manuscript deemed to be in good order must be sent to reviewers without delay.
3.2 Decision Quality
The Editor-in-Chef has to provide the Authors with an explanation of the editorial decision on a manuscript. Editor-in-Chief should write high-quality editorial letters that integrate reviewers’ comments and offer additional suggestions to the Author.
3.3 Submission by Editorial Board Members
All manuscripts submitted to The Journal undergo a rigid single-blind review process including those received from the Editorial Board members. In addition, when making editorial decisions about peer reviewed articles where an editor is an Author or is acknowledged as a contributor, The Journal will ensure that the affected editors exclude themselves from the publication process including the review process and decision on the manuscript. Although editors are allowed to submit manuscript to The Journal, too many submissions from the Journal’s own Editorial Board is not allowed.
3.4 Handling Conflict of Interest by the Editors
When editors are presented with manuscript where their own interests may influence their ability to make an unbiased editorial decision, they should hand over the handling of the manuscript to a suitably qualified editor in the board. The Editorial Board will appoint a suitable member to handle the manuscripts objectively, fairly and professionally free of personal biases that may affect his/her judgments.
D. Ethics on Post Publication
Changes can be requested by the Authors of the publication due to a variety of reason. These amendments may fall into one of four categories: erratum, corrigendum, retraction or addendum.
Erratum is the notification of an important error made by The Journal during production of the article that affects the publication record or the scientific integrity of the article, or the reputation of the Authors, or of The Journal.
Corrigendum is the notification of an important error made by the Author(s) that affects the publication record or the scientific integrity of the article, or the reputation of the Authors or the journal. All Authors must sign corrigenda submitted for publication.
Retraction is the notification of invalid results. All Co-Authors must sign a retraction specifying the error and stating briefly how the conclusions are affected, and submit it for publication. Retractions are judged according to whether the main conclusion of the article no longer holds or is seriously undermined as a result of subsequent information coming to light of which the Authors were not aware at the time of publication.
Readers who wish to draw attention to published work requiring retraction should write to The Editor-in-Chief who will seek advice from reviewers if they judge that the information is likely to draw into question the main conclusions of the published article. The author of the article will be given a chance to give an explanation regarding the query.
Addendum is the notification of a peer-reviewed addition of information to an article, usually in response to readers' request for clarification.
E. Penalties and Sanctions
The Journal’s Editorial Board has the sole responsibility and authority to determine the proper sanction.
Plagiarism is a scientific misconduct and is an unacceptable violation of publication ethics. The Journal takes scientific misconduct seriously and will be dealt with promptly and fairly. The Editors-in-Chief, Editorial Boards, and the Reviewers are the primary means of detecting plagiarism in manuscripts submitted to The Journal. Given the serious nature of a charge of plagiarism, it is required that confidentiality be maintained throughout the process. The charge of plagiarism, supporting materials and outcome are only to be made known to those persons who are involved in the review process.
Due process and confidentiality are important in all cases of alleged plagiarism, falsification and other unethical conduct. Such cases will be handled according to the Publication Code of Ethics of the Editorial Board and MASS Executive Council.
In cases where the Editorial Board and MASS Executive Council determined that an unethical conduct occurred, the manuscript will be rejected. If the article has been published, it will be retracted promptly. The Authors may be barred from submitting to The Journal for a period of time (one to three years) depending on the nature of the misconduct.
The Journal reserves the right to evaluate issues of misconduct such as plagiarism and redundancy, etc. on a case-by-case basis.
Authors: Any work in the manuscript that has been proven to contain any form of plagiarism, falsification, fabrications, or omission of significant material constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Editor and/or reviewers shall report cases of suspected unethical publishing behavior of the Author(s) to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief who shall ensure an appropriate action and subsequently bring it to The Journal’s Editorial Board and MASS Executive Council for a suitable action below depending upon the severity of the case:
- Notice to the Author(s) involved,
- Rejection of the manuscript,
- Retraction of article that has been published with appropriate notice in the website and the following hardcopy issue of The Journal.
- Ban from submission to The Journal for a period of time, normally up to 3 years.
- Informing the Authors’ institution of the unethical conduct for their further action.
Editorial Board members: Journal reputation depends heavily on the conduct and fairness of its Board members. The Editorial Board members shall demonstrate their dedicated efforts to this effect at all times. Complainants shall bring cases of suspected members’ misconduct to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief who shall ensure that the relevant documentation substantiating an unacceptable violation of publication ethics is made available to the Journal’s Editorial Board and MASS Executive Council for a suitable action. Any member who holds an editorial office at The Journal with proven unethical conducts will be dismissed from that office. Additionally, penalties would typically include the sanctions as in the case of Authors found guilty.
This Publication Code of Ethics was approved by the MASS Executive Council meeting on 7th October 2016.