Publication Ethics

Publication Ethics at Co-Action Publishing


General Information

Co-Action Publishing is a member of the Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE). Through COPE, Co-Action Publishing editors have access to a databank of highly relevant and useful guidelines and resources (see We strongly encourage our editors of medical journals to join the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), which offers a large number of important resources and guidelines specific to editing medical journals (

Co-Action Publishing complies with the membership guidelines and best practices set forth by the Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA) and was one of the founding members of the organisation. In addition, Co-Founder Caroline Sutton served as the first President of the association from October 2008-March 2013.

Co-Action Publishing journals are listed with the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Co-Action Publishing’s Co-Founder and Editorial Director Caroline Sutton, is Director with Infrastructure Services for Open Access (IS4OA), which holds the rights to the DOAJ.

CrossMark Policy Statement

Co-Action Publishing is a participant in the CrossMark program – a multi-publisher initiative to provide a standard way for readers to locate the authenticated version of a piece of content.

By applying the CrossMark logo, Co-Action Publishing is committing to maintaining the content it publishes and to alerting readers to changes if and when they occur.

Clicking on the CrossMark logo will tell you the current status of a document and may also give you additional publication record information about the document.

Co-Action Publishing recognizes the importance of the integrity and completeness of the scholarly record to researchers, librarians, and others and has therefore drawn up a policy on article corrections, retractions, plagiarism and peer review integrity.

Composition of Editorial Teams

Editors-in-Chief must be of at least an Associate Professor level. Ideally the editorial team of each journal shall include at least one senior full Professor. Editors-in-Chief are highly involved in the selection of the editorial team. Co-Action Publishing seeks to ensure that the editorial team is comprised of individuals from multiple institutions and preferably located in different countries to limit competing interests. In some cases, an editorial team may be based at one institution, but at least one additional editorial team member will be located elsewhere.

All journals are governed by an editorial board, the members of which may be appointed by the editorial team and, when appropriate, by the Publisher. Members of the editorial board are charged with monitoring and safeguarding publishing ethics among other things.

Detecting Plagiarism

All manuscripts submitted to a journal published by Co-Action Publishing are run through iThenticate* before being sent out to peer reviewers, unless rejected at the triage stage (direct reject). The reports generated from iThenticate are evaluated by the editor-in-chief, or a qualified subject editor.

Editors and staff are required to report any case of suspected plagiarism to Co-Action Publishing. Bearing in mind COPE Guidelines for managing suspected plagiarism, as well as those of WAME where relevant, the publisher and editor-in-chief determine the steps to be taken upon suspected plagiarism.

*iThenticate is a plagiarism screening service that verifies the originality of a manuscript submitted for publication.

Peer Review

Original research and review manuscripts, including those relating to special isssues, submitted to a journal published by Co-Action Publishing are subjected to external peer review. The decision to accept or reject a paper is based on comments from at least two independent reviewers. Exceptions may be made in rare cases in which the subject area is especially narrow, requiring the use of a qualified individual from among the editorial team in addition to an external reviewer. Editorials, book reviews, and similar, are not necessarily peer reviewed.

Where authors have suggested reviewers in their covering letter, editors may contact these individuals if the suggestions are reasonable, and the editor is confident that no competing interests are present (e.g. a colleague at the same department, a former co-author, or within the author’s research network).

Only scientifically qualified persons evaluate reviews and make the decision to accept or reject a submission. Typically, this means the Editor-in-Chief makes a final decision, or a Subject Editor or Guest Editor, where this is applicable. The Editor-in-Chief is accountable for the quality of editorial decisions.

Published manuscripts state the name of the responsible editor who managed peer review and made a final decision.

Editors consider competing interests when a manuscript is submitted by a colleague at their own institute or from their research network. In this case, a co-editor – or an external trusted expert – with no such connections is asked to act as the editor for that particular paper.

Should a member of a journal’s editorial team submit a manuscript to the journal, a co-editor will be assigned to take charge of the entire review process and act as editor for that particular paper. Alternatively, the co-editor may assign an external trusted expert. In either case, it will be explicitly stated on the article that the editor who submitted the paper has had nothing to do with the handling of this particular article, the reasons for this, and the name of the assigned editor.

All manuscripts submitted to journals published by Co-Action Publishing, including meeting proceedings, etc. are handled through the Co-Action Publishing platform. In cases where a guest editor is involved in handling the review of meeting proceedings, Co-Action Publishing will provide support and ensure that all materials are handled through the platform.

It is the responsibility of the editor-in-chief to appoint guest editors of special issues. Guest editors are informed that the practices outlined above also apply to guest editors.

Peer reviewers are expected to disclose any competing interests. Reviews shall be objective and constructive. Reviewers shall consider the methodological rigor of the submission, the appropriateness of findings on the basis of methodology, the appropriateness of conclusions, proper establishment of the contribution within the scholarly literature more broadly, among other things. All reviewed manuscripts shall be treated confidentially.

Correction and Retraction Policies

Articles that have already been published will remain unaltered as far as is possible, though updated with information that an erratum/corrigendum or other amendment exists.

Article correction: Should the author discover a major mistake or error in his/her article after it has been officially published online, the Editor will be consulted/notified and if found necessary an Erratum or Corrigendum will be published. There will be links from the online version of the article to the Erratum/Corrigendum and vice versa.

Article Retraction: This action is reserved for articles that are seriously flawed and so the findings or conclusions cannot be relied upon. Articles may be retracted for several reasons. These may include honest errors reported by the authors (for example, errors due to the mixing up of samples or use of a scientific tool or equipment that is found subsequently to be faulty) as well as issues such as research misconduct (data fabrication), duplicate or overlapping publication, fraudulent use of data, plagiarism or unethical research. For any retracted article, the reason for retraction and who is instigating the retraction will be clearly stated in the retraction notice. The retraction notice will be linked to the retracted article and the article will be clearly marked as retracted (including the PDF). See for example this article.

In-house Training

Editors-in-chief who join the Co-Action Publishing network of editors are required to join an online session to review editorial guidelines and standards.

Each Co-Action Publishing title is assigned an in-house managing editor who is a member of the Co-Action Publishing staff. All managing editors receive initial and ongoing training in the detection of irregularities in the editorial process.

Internal Audits

To prevent and detect any potential breaches in proper editorial management of peer review – whether naïve or conscious – Co-Action Publishing carries out regular internal audits of all journals. Following a rotating schedule, each journal is subjected to a review every three years.

This audit covers a random selection of articles, including spontaneously submitted content and those from special issues where contributions have been invited and the peer review performed by a guest editor. Any articles submitted by a member of the editorial team during the preceding three-year period shall be included in the review.

All documents associated with the peer review of the selected articles are reviewed for: evidence of clear and appropriate external peer review, competing interests, and that general practices and standards have been upheld.

Author’s Responsibilities

Authors are responsible for disclosing all relationships that could be viewed as potential competing interests. Any authors listed must meet the criteria for authorship, which are described in the Journal’ Author Guidelines. Other contributors shall be mentioned in the acknowledgement section of the paper and their contribution described. Authors shall verify that all data referred to in the manuscript are authentic. Should errors or other discoveries warranting a correction or a retraction of the article, be detected, these shall be brought to the attention of the publisher immediately.

Complaints Policy

Authors who wish to submit a complaint related to the peer review process should contact the Editorial Director Caroline Sutton:

Complaints regarding suspected abuse or inappropriate content shall be submitted to the journal’s Editor-in-Chief as a first point of contact, with a cc to the Editorial Director Caroline Sutton: