Research misconduct refers to fabrication, falsification, citation manipulation, or plagiarism in producing, performing, or reviewing research, writing it up, or reporting research results. When authors are found to have been involved in research misconduct or other serious irregularities involving articles that have been published in scientific journals, the editors have the responsibility to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the scientific records.
In cases of suspected misconduct, the editors and editorial board will use the best practices of COPE and Allegations of research errors, falsification, and fabrication by Elsevier to assist them in resolving any complaint and addressing the misconduct fairly. This will include an investigation of the allegation by the editors. A submitted manuscript that is found to contain such misconduct will be rejected. In cases where a published paper is found to involve such misconduct, a retraction will be published and linked to the original article.
The first step in such a process involves determining the validity of the allegation and assessing whether it is consistent with the definition of research misconduct. This also involves determining whether the individuals alleging misconduct have relevant conflicts of interest.
If scientific misconduct or the presence of other substantial research irregularities is a possibility, the allegations will be shared with the corresponding author, who, on behalf of all of the co-authors, will be requested to provide a detailed response. After the response is received and evaluated, additional reviews and involvement of experts (such as statistical reviewers) may be needed. For cases in which it is unlikely that misconduct has occurred, clarifications, additional analyses, or both, published as letters to the editor, and often including a correction notice and correction to the published article, are sufficient.
Institutions are expected to conduct an appropriate and thorough investigation of allegations of scientific misconduct. Ultimately, authors, journals, and institutions have an important obligation to ensure the accuracy of scientific records. By responding appropriately to concerns about scientific misconduct, and taking necessary actions based on the evaluation of such concerns, such as corrections, retractions with replacement, or retractions, DEVELOPMENT: Studies in Educational Management and Leadership will continue to fulfill its responsibilities of ensuring the validity and integrity of the scientific record.