Publication Ethics

1. Ethical expectations

Editors’ responsibilities

  • To act in a balanced, objective and fair way while carrying out their expected duties, without discrimination on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, ethnic or geographical origin of the authors.
  • To handle submissions for sponsored supplements or special issues in the same way as other submissions, so that articles are considered and accepted solely on their academic merit and without commercial influence.
  • To adopt and follow reasonable procedures in cases of complaint or conflict of ethical nature. To give authors a opportunity to respond to any complaints. All complaints should be investigated regardless of the date of approval of the original publication. Documentation associated with any such complaints should be retained.
  • Problems of Geography (PRG) editors are responsible for applying the ethical norms of publishing. They encourage the responsible behavior and discourage any unlawful behavior, and they are expected to advise the authors of the ethical standards of publishing.
  • Editors must not allow plagiarism or the publication of untrue data.
  • The Editorial Board announces in public the instructions, guidelines and requirements on the procedure of acceptance, reviewing, editing and printing of the approved materials on the journal’s website.
  • Editors must not allow financial influence or involvement of commercial interest in the process of printing the submitted papers and materials.
  • The Editorial Board’s decisions are based on the scientific, literary and stylistic qualities of the submitted papers, and are subject only to the profile of the journal, as well as the interest and the needs of the readers, in compliance with the ethical standards.
  • Editors’ decisions should only be based on the paper’s significance, originality and clarity and its relevance to the remit of the journal.
  • Editors ensure the quality of the published work. They have complete responsibility and authority to reject/accept an article.
  • Editors are required to react and take the necessary action on suspicion of misconduct concerning both published and unpublished work.
  • Editors should have no conflict of interest with respect to articles they reject/accept.
  • Editors provide materials to reviewers appropriate to their scholarly profile. Reviewing is done anonymously. In case of at least one negative review, the Editorial Board appoints a third reviewer whose opinion is final.
  • Editors demand from the reviewers a written statement (in the existing template) where both the positive aspects and any shortcomings of the reviewed papers are stated, as well as specific remarks and recommendations.
  • Editors inform the authors about their opinion and agree to review one more time the manuscript after its final submission by the author. The editors promote publication of corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies when needed.
  • Editors encourage the collaboration between reviewers and authors so as to achieve high publishing standards.
  • Editors preserve the anonymity of the reviewers, treat confidentially the articles while under review, and keep the correspondence with reviewers and the authors confidential.
  • Editors support and promote PRG through their actions.
  • The Editorial Board maintains an electronic archive of the submitted articles and all materials related to their discussion, review and printing.

Reviewers’ responsibilities

  • To objectively and impartially perform a high quality analysis and assessment of the scientific merits, as well as the shortcomings of the submitted papers for publication. To make a written statement in an existing template and provide it promptly to the editors.
  • To maintain the confidentiality of any information supplied by the editor or the author. To not retain or copy the manuscript.
  • To alert the editor to any published or submitted content that is substantially similar to that under review.
  • To be aware of any potential conflicts of interest (financial, institutional, collaborative or other relationships between the reviewer and author) and to alert the editor to these, and if necessary, withdrawing their services for that manuscript.
  • Referees, if they prefer, may contact directly the author for speeding the review process, however, they must notify the editor beforehand.

Authors’ responsibilities

  • Authors submitting an article for publication in PRG are required to declare that:
    • it is their original research;
    • it does not contain untrue data;
    • it has not been published in other journals/editions;
    • have not copied or plagiarized all or part of any research conducted by other authors
  • Authors must have significant contribution to the research presented in the paper. They are obliged to demonstrate that the data used in the article are real and authentic. Authors are obligated to provide a proper and accurate citation of references. Authors are obliged to participate in the peer review process and to provide corrections of mistakes. Authors cannot withdraw a paper after it has been accepted..
  • In case of plagiarism, authors are legally liable.
  • When commenting already published materials, good tone should be observed, the differences should be well-formulated, evidence is applied, and contribution of the author making the comment is provided.
  • The publication of private results of joint research should be done with the knowledge and approval of the research supervisor, while the title of the joint research must be cited. Authors should refrain from publishing general research results, which are not conclusively proven. The use of working hypotheses must be explicitly emphasized. Controversial results and materials are published in the Discussions section.
  • Authors are to confirm/assert that all the work in the submitted manuscript is original and is not under consideration or accepted for publication elsewhere.
  • Authors are to ensure that any studies involving human or animal subjects conform to national, local and institutional laws and requirements, and confirm that approval has been sought and obtained where appropriate.
  • Authors are to declare any potential conflicts of interest (e.g. where the author has a competing interest (real or apparent) that could be considered or viewed as exerting an undue influence on his or her duties at any stage during the publication process).
  • To notify promptly the journal editor or publisher if a significant error in their publication is identified. To cooperate with the editor and publisher to publish an erratum, addendum, corrigendum notice, or to retract the paper, where this is deemed necessary.
  • Acknowledgements for financial or moral support should be clearly stated at the end of the paper, whenever possible or necessary.
  • Public dissemination by authors of reviews and editorial correspondence is inappropriate.

Publisher’s responsibilities

  • Both “Prof. Marin Drinov” Publishing House at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography – on behalf of which PRG is published – shall ensure that good practices are maintained to the standards outlined above.
  • The National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography provides assurance that it subscribes to the principles outlined above, or to substantially similar principles, either adopting these formally or producing their own for the attention of their editors and editorial boards.

2. Procedures for dealing with unethical behavior

Identification of unethical behavior and subsequent actions of the Editorial Board

  • Misconduct and unethical behavior may be identified and brought to the attention of the editor and publisher at any time, by anyone. Behavior is deemed unethical only when sufficiently detailed information and evidence is provided. All allegations are taken into consideration until a successful ending of the case has been reached. Evidence should be gathered, while avoiding spreading any allegations beyond those who need to know.
  • An initial decision should be taken by the editor, who should consult with or seek advice from the publisher, if appropriate.

Minor breaches

  • Minor misconduct might be dealt without the need to consult more widely. In any event, the author should be given the opportunity to respond to any allegations.

Serious breaches

  • Serious misconduct might require that the employers of the accused be notified. The Editorial Board or the editor may seek cooperation from a limited number of experts or the employer.

Outcomes (in increasing order of severity; may be applied separately or in conjunction)

  • Informing or educating the author or reviewer where there appears to be a misunderstanding or misapplication of acceptable standards.
  • A more strongly-worded letter to the author or reviewer covering the misconduct and as a warning to future behavior.
  • A formal letter to the head of the institution which the author or reviewer is affiliated to, or the provider of the research funding, detailing the case of misconduct.
  • Formal retraction or withdrawal of the publication from the journal, after informing the head of the institution which the author or reviewer is affiliated to. Ceasing all abstracting & indexing services, and the readership of the retracted publication.
  • Imposition of a formal embargo for a defined period on contributions from an individual found responsible for serious unethical conduct.
  • Should the case can not be resolved within the Editorial Board and the NIGGG, the rules of the national legislation in this field shall be applied.