Policy on Research Misconduct

Policy on Research Misconduct

Scope and Responsibility: This policy applies to all journals published or hosted by Discover STM Publishing Ltd. It aligns with global ethical standards and COPE guidelines.

Definition of Research Misconduct: Research misconduct includes fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism in research proposal, execution, review, or reporting. It excludes honest errors or differences in opinion. Misconduct is characterized by a significant deviation from accepted practices, intentional or negligent actions, and verifiable allegations.

Fabrication: Creating and reporting fictitious data or results.

Falsification: Manipulating research materials, processes, data, or results, misrepresenting the research record.

Plagiarism: Using another’s ideas, processes, results, or words without proper attribution.

Breach of Confidentiality: Deviating from agreed-upon confidentiality terms regarding research records.

Research Record: Includes all data and results comprising research facts, such as proposals, reports, articles, and materials related to manuscript submission or inquiry.

Handling of Misconduct:

Reporting: Allegations of misconduct should be reported to the designated Complaint Cell of the journal in writing or electronically.

Confidentiality: Complainant’s identity may remain confidential, subject to legal constraints.

Initial Assessment: The Editor determines if an allegation warrants an inquiry, based on initial review.

Inquiry Process: Allegations are investigated following journal policy, adapted from COPE Guidelines. Proper custody and documentation of research records are ensured.


Unsubstantiated Allegations: If allegations are not corroborated, they are dismissed without further action.
Substantiated Allegations: If allegations are confirmed, appropriate actions are taken based on COPE guidelines and the severity of misconduct.

Reporting: Final Investigatory Reports are submitted to relevant committees, and actions may include reprimands, retraction of publications, and reporting to external bodies.

Appeals: Accused individuals have the right to appeal decisions within 30 days of notification. Appeals are reviewed and resolved per established regulations.

Additional Resources: This policy is supplemented by various COPE flowcharts and guidelines, which provide detailed procedures for different types of suspected misconduct.


World Association of Medical Editors: Publication ethics policies for medical journals.
Parrish D, Noonan B. Image manipulation as research misconduct. Sci Eng Ethics 2009; 15: 161-7.
Little Book of Plagiarism, Leeds Metropolitan University.

Note: This policy is subject to periodic review and updates to reflect evolving best practices in research ethics.