The Scientific Committee of the UMI adopts, recognizing their validity, the principles embodied in section 2 of the “Code of Practice” of the EMS.
The Scientific Committee agrees to follow them in its publications, to disseminate them in the italian mathematical community, and will operate to raise, among its members, the awareness of their relevance.
Section 2 of the “Code of Practice” has been unanimously approved in the UMI General Assembly on may 17, 2013.
Code of Practice
Responsibilities of authors
1. Individual researchers and authors should understand and uphold high standards of ethical behaviour, particularly in relation to the publication and dissemination of their research. An aspect of good practice is the granting of proper credit, and the referencing of the work of others, with appropriate bibliographic references.
It is important to note that it is not unethical to be mistaken in the attribution, or lack of attribution, of results, provided that authors have carefully sought to determine whether their claimed results are new, and provided that errors of attribution are corrected in a timely and appropriate manner, as they are discovered or pointed out.
Publication of mathematical results as one’s own when the author has learned of the results from others, for example through published material, lectures, conversation, or earlier informal publication, constitutes plagiarism: this is a form of theft, is unethical, and constitutes serious misconduct.
2. Each co-author should have contributed significantly to the research reported in any published work, and each person who contributed significantly to the relevant research should be named as a co-author. Further, all named authors should accept joint responsibility for any submitted manuscript and final publication. It is misconduct for one author to submit and to publish joint research without the consent of his or her named co-authors.
3. Most mathematics is published by the submission of manuscripts to journals or conference proceedings (including those that will appear only online), or by the writing of books. Our guiding principle is that an author or authors who submit a work to editors or publishers take responsibility for the integrity of what they have written, seeking carefully to ensure that the mathematics presented is correct and that the work of others is appropriately acknowledged.
4. In mathematics simultaneous or concurrent submission of a manuscript describing the same research to more than one publication constitutes misconduct. Similarly, in mathematics the publication of the same research in more than one journal or outlet without appropriate acknowledgement and citation constitutes misconduct.
5. Translations of published or unpublished works should always fully acknowledge the source of the work.
6. Mathematicians should not make public claims of potential new theorems or the resolution of particular mathematical problems unless they are able to provide full details in a timely manner.
Responsibilities of editors and publishers
1. It is recommended that journals publishing mathematics should establish and conspicuously present their standards for ethical behaviour in publishing, and specify their responsibilities and the steps to be taken to investigate and respond to suspicions or accusations of misconduct. Journals should respond to an author’s complaints with respect and due process.
2. Editors should adhere to high standards of ethical treatment of all authors in arriving at a responsible and objective decision about publication. An editor should withdraw from any editorial duties that would involve a personal, commercial, or professional conflict of interest. An editor should also avoid any misuse of their privileged position or of information received as part of their editorial duties to influence the handling of their own papers, or those of colleagues, students, or personal acquaintances. Certainly no information received in confidence should ever be used in the editor’s own work.
3. It is recommended that journals publishing mathematics should make clear their policy and practices for handling submissions. In particular, an editor or publisher should acknowledge receipt of a manuscript. A publisher should ensure that the progress of consideration of a submitted manuscript is monitored, and seek diligently to avoid excessive delays in either the refereeing of a paper or the decision process. The publisher must obtain consent to publish either from one author acting on behalf of all authors, or from all authors. The date of submission of, and the date of any significant changes to, a manuscript should be published; this is important, in particular, in cases of disputes concerning priority.
4. Publishers have an obligation to present mathematical papers and books in a clear and precise format, and they should ensure that the mathematical symbols, words, and sentences that are used in the published work are clear and are not a barrier to understanding. It is misconduct on the part of publishers merely to reproduce without improvement submitted manuscripts that are badly written or presented.
5. Editors and publishers should consider carefully and make objective judgements about the acceptance of submitted manuscripts. Normally this will be on the basis of reports from appropriate referees, but the Committee recognises that it will sometimes be clear to editors that a submitted manuscript is considerably below the standards of the journal, or not in an appropriate subject area, and can therefore be rejected without submission to referees; in this case, the authors should be courteously informed of this rejection in a timely and reasoned manner.
6. The editors should inform potential authors of decisions taken in a courteous and timely manner, always passing on constructive criticism and information provided by the referees. Editors may decide that it is appropriate that certain comments provided by the referees should be confidential to the Editorial Board, and not passed on verbatim to the authors.
7. An author may communicate to the editors the information that a mathematical statement or an attribution in his or her published article is incorrect. In the case where this information is significant, it is recommended that the editors publish a correction or retraction, preferably written by the original author.
8. In some cases, it may be pointed out to the editors by another person that certain statements or attributions in an article appear to be incorrect. In these cases, the editors should consider the comments carefully and react in a proportionate manner; when appropriate, they should insist that the authors write a correction or retraction.
9. In rare cases, the editors may become convinced that parts of a work that they have
published have been plagiarised from another source. In these cases, the editors should request the authors to submit for publication a substantial retraction; if this is not forthcoming, the editors themselves should publish a statement giving details of the plagiarism involved.
10. Many articles are first published on the journal web site. It may become apparent that an article so published contains mathematical errors, incorrect attributions, or has been plagiarised in whole or in part. It is recommended that publishers retain the original article for the historical record, but that they indicate by addition at a later specific date appropriate corrections, as they would for a printed article. In extreme cases, it may be that the publishers should indicate that the article has been ‘withdrawn’ either at the request of the authors or by a decision of the publishers; in this case, any subsequent printed version should reflect this decision.
11. A publisher of journals or books should not list on any of its publications a person as ‘editor’ or ‘editorial advisor’ or similar without full disclosure of this to the person concerned and receipt of his or her explicit agreement. The name of any person who resigns from such a position must quickly be removed from the displayed list.
12. Any person listed as editor or editorial advisor should be aware of, and content with, the standards and editorial procedures and policies of the journal, and be willing to act in extreme cases when it is clear that the publishers are not following this Code.
Responsibilities of referees
1. Referees should adhere to high standards of ethical treatment of all authors in arriving at responsible and objective recommendations about the publication of material that they assess. Referees should seek to validate the correctness, significance, novelty, and clarity of a manuscript under consideration, and then report their findings to the editor in a careful and constructive manner. Nevertheless, final responsibility for the published work lies with the authors.
2. A person asked to accept the task of refereeing a paper may feel that there is a potential personal or professional conflict of interest, for example, when he or she is asked to referee a manuscript from a recent student, collaborator, or colleague. In such cases, the potential referee should discuss with the editor any possible conflicts of interest, and continue to act only with the agreement of the editor.
3. Once they have accepted the task of refereeing a manuscript, referees should seek to report in a timely manner, taking into account the length of the manuscript
and the requests of the editors.
4. A referee should eschew the use of privileged information gleaned from a manuscript under review.
5. A referee who suspects any element of plagiarism in a manuscript under consideration, or any other unethical behaviour, should quickly report these concerns to the editor.
Responsibilities of users of bibliometric data
1. Whilst accepting that mathematical research is and should be evaluated by appropriate authorities, and especially by those that fund mathematical research, the Committee sees grave danger in the routine use of bibliometric and other related measures to assess the alleged quality of mathematical research and the performance of individuals or small groups of people.
2. It is irresponsible for institutions or committees assessing individuals for possible promotion or the award of a grant or distinction to base their decisions on automatic responses to bibliometric data.
3. It is unethical to manipulate references within an article or to arrange the publication of articles for the purpose of artificially influencing the bibliometric data, impact factors, and citation counts that are generated.
4. It is unethical to include inappropriate citations of one’s own work or of the work of particular colleagues or of articles in journals with which the author has a connection.
5. It is misconduct for publishers to advertise their own journals by the quotation of insecure or partial or tendentious bibliometric data.