The Entomological Society of America (ESA) expects authors, reviewers, editors, and others involved in its publications enterprise to safeguard the integrity of its publications process and to operate according to a high ethical standard. This document defines the expectations of this ethical standard and the procedures for reporting possible misconduct.
The ESA believes it has a responsibility to ensure that allegations of misconduct are properly investigated. The Society takes all such allegations seriously and will use the expectations, definitions, and procedures outlined below to examine their validity and to take appropriate action.
All individuals involved in ESA’s publications are expected to honor the Society’s broader Ethics Statement and Policy. This publications-specific policy outlines additional expectations for those involved in the publications process. The peer-review process is managed by volunteers for the benefit of the science; all those involved are asked to be courteous and respectful of one another. For matters not clearly articulated here, ESA publications follows guidelines and recommendations from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
- Author Ethical Code of Conduct
- Reviewer Ethical Code of Conduct
- Editor Ethical Code of Conduct
- The Process for Addressing Allegations
- Complaints Against Authors, Editors, or Reviewers
- Experimental Ethics
Allegations of misconduct should be sent in writing to the director of publications at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a description of the alleged behavior and information in support of the allegation.
Author Ethical Code of Conduct
The ESA expects authors submitting to and publishing in its journals, proceedings, and books to adhere to ethical standards of scholarship and to ensure that the work they submit for publication is free of scientific and publication misconduct. As noted in the Authorship Guidelines, the list of authors should accurately reflect who carried out the research, who wrote the paper, and others who made substantive contributions. All authors assume individual and shared responsibility, within the limits of their professional competence, for the accuracy and integrity of their work.
Important Considerations for Authors
- Papers submitted to ESA must not be under consideration for publication elsewhere.
- Authors should cite the works of others whose ideas and data contributed to their understanding of the material presented in the paper.
- Authors must disclose all potential conflicts of interest and funding sources and are encouraged to make all relevant data and samples publicly available.
- Intentional fragmentation of work into multiple papers rather than one more complete paper should be avoided (sometimes referred to as shingling or salami publishing).
While we understand that authors may follow similar processes from one experiment to the next, which may lead to similarities in introductory text or materials and methods, we expect papers to contain original content, particularly with regard to the abstract, discussion, results, and conclusion. Direct quotations should be placed in quotation marks. All manuscripts undergo a plagiarism test before being sent out for review. Data published in another paper, including in a paper in another language, may not be published again without explicit written consent from the publisher of the previous paper.
Examples and Definitions of Author Misconduct
- Plagiarism – taking material from another's work and submitting it as one’s own without properly acknowledging or attributing its source.
- Self-plagiarism – republishing one's own work that has previously been published elsewhere in the primary literature without citing the earlier publication.
- Duplicate publication – publishing the same, or substantially the same, article in more than one journal or other publishing venue.
- Conflict of interest – failing to make known to the editor financial, institutional, or other conflicts of interest that might be perceived by a reasonable person to influence one’s work.
- Dishonest communications – knowingly providing ESA with dishonest information during any part of the publications process.
- Fraud – falsifying a research report; fabricating, suppressing, or altering data; or manipulating images to falsely represent the data or results.
- Improper assignment of credit or authorship – omitting those who should be included as authors or including as authors those who should not be. For additional information on authorship, refer to ESA’s Authorship Guidelines.
- Citation manipulation – adding citations that do not contribute to the scientific content of a paper for the purpose of artificially inflating citations to an individual or organization’s research.
It is the responsibility of the authors, not the journal, to provide accurate information about the contribution of each author of the paper. Disputes over the author list, either before or after publication, should be addressed by the relevant institutional authorities and are not the responsibility of ESA.
Reviewer Ethical Code of Conduct
Reviewers serve an essential role in ensuring the integrity and efficiency of the publication process. As gatekeepers of the science, they are asked to provide constructive and respectful feedback on papers. To encourage transparency, reviewers are encouraged to sign their reviews, but they can remain anonymous if desired. To ensure an unbiased and fair review, reviewers must:
- Disclose real or perceived conflicts of interest before agreeing to review or as soon as they become apparent.
- Decline to review if a timely review cannot be completed.
- Treat the manuscript as confidential until published. The reviewer must request permission from the editor before allowing anyone else to see the manuscript in full or in part.
- Refrain from using any information, data, or theories obtained from the manuscript unless given permission by the author or until such information has been published.
- Not attempt to game citations, such as by encouraging citations to their own or a peer’s papers for the sole reason of raising the profile of a person or journal.
- Inform the publisher of suspected or potential misconduct.
Editor Ethical Code of Conduct
The editors of ESA’s publications ensure the integrity of the publication process. The subject editors manage the review process for individual manuscripts, while the editors-in-chief (EICs) provide oversight of the subject editors and manage the review process for certain types of manuscripts. For a more complete understanding of these roles and how editors are selected, see the ESA Policy Manual.
Editors should be accountable for everything published in their journals. They should strive to constantly improve their journal; to maintain the integrity of the academic record; and to publish corrections, clarifications, and retractions as needed.
Specific Editor Duties and Considerations
- Editors should handle manuscripts as expeditiously and efficiently as possible in an unbiased manner.
- Manuscripts submitted by an editor must be assigned to a different editor.
- Editors must not use their position of authority to game citations, such as by encouraging citations to their own papers for the sole reason of raising their own or someone else’s research profile.
- Editors should avoid handling papers where there is a real or perceived conflict of interest.
- Unless given specific permission from the author to do so, editors may not share or use the data, theories, or information in submitted papers until those papers have been published.
- Editors should not let commercial considerations affect editorial decisions.
- Editors should be alert to intellectual property issues and to work with ESA staff to handle potential breaches.
- Editors have a duty to act if they suspect misconduct or if an allegation of misconduct on the part of reviewers or authors is brought to their attention. This duty extends to both published and unpublished papers.
The Process for Addressing Allegations of Publications Misconduct
The ESA recognizes that allegations of misconduct, whether of an author, reviewer, or editor, may prove to be unfounded, and that such allegations may be damaging to an individual. Therefore, the following general considerations will be observed:
- To be actionable, allegations of misconduct should be sent in writing (see Report a Concern).
- Investigations of allegations will begin promptly and proceed as expeditiously as possible.
- Strict standards of confidentiality, fairness, and impartiality will be maintained throughout the processes of investigation and resolution. All aspects of an investigation must be treated confidentially throughout the investigation process.
- Processing of a manuscript involved in a case of alleged author misconduct will be suspended until the relevant case has been resolved. The director of publications will communicate as necessary with the corresponding author of a suspended manuscript to keep the author informed of the status of their submission.
- If preliminary investigation determines that misconduct has not occurred, the manuscript will resume processing at the point it was paused.
- If a case of author misconduct has been determined to have occurred, any actions taken by ESA will apply only to the author(s) who was involved in the misconduct.
Preliminary Investigation of an Allegation
As noted above, all allegations of misconduct should be sent in writing to the director of publications at email@example.com. Unless the allegation involves the EIC of the affected publication, all allegations of misconduct will then be referred to the EIC. When a written allegation of misconduct is received, the EIC will make a preliminary inquiry to determine whether misconduct may have occurred. The EIC will treat the allegation confidentially, but may communicate with the person(s) making the allegation, the author(s) of any related work, any involved editors, or the ESA publications director. Additionally, other related parties may need to be called to accurately assess the allegation. If, after these preliminary consultations, the EIC determines that misconduct has not occurred, the EIC will dismiss the allegation and no further investigation will be made. If the EIC is accused of being involved in the misconduct, a similar process will occur, but it will be handled by the director of publications. Note that the appeals process is outlined below.
If the EIC (or director of publications as noted above) determines that further investigation is warranted, a more formal investigation will be conducted by the Publications Council’s Ethics subcommittee, along with the EIC of the affected publication (where appropriate). Alternate subcommittee members may be appointed on a case-by-case basis.
All reports are kept confidential to the extent possible, but the subcommittee may need to involve others to obtain a full understanding of the situation. These notifications may include the person(s) making the allegation, the individual(s) alleged to have committed the misconduct, any involved editors, and the ESA publications director, but may also include other parties, such as other publishers or the individual’s employer if there is a need for their involvement in the investigation. In cases where the subcommittee wishes to contact other parties, they shall first consult with ESA’s executive director about the need for legal counsel. In cases of author misconduct, notice will be made only to the author(s) alleged to have engaged in misconduct and the corresponding author, who shall be responsible for communications with other authors. After the investigation is complete, the subcommittee will send a statement outlining the allegations to the individual(s) alleged to have committed them. The individual will be given a maximum of 30 days to respond in writing. The response, if any, will be included as part of the subcommittee's report.
The subcommittee will then make a determination whether, in its judgment, misconduct has occurred. If the subcommittee determines that no misconduct has occurred, 1) the EIC will communicate the results of the determination to the involved parties and to the person(s) making the allegation; and 2) any suspended manuscripts will be released to continue through the publications process.
If the subcommittee determines misconduct has occurred, the subcommittee will determine a course of action that it deems appropriate (see details below.) The ESA executive director and, as appropriate, legal counsel will review the subcommittee's decision and notify the subcommittee of any legal concerns that could affect the subcommittee's decision. After reviewing and addressing that feedback, the subcommittee will carry out the course of action, including the appropriate notification of all parties involved, including the Publications Council and Governing Board.
Some Courses of Action for Resolving Cases of Misconduct
The following actions may be taken upon a finding of author misconduct:
- Withdraw the manuscript pending correction to eliminate the misconduct.
- Reject the manuscript and deny its publication by ESA.
- If a paper has already been published, officially retract the paper and flag any electronic version as a retracted paper.
- Prohibit the author(s) from publishing in ESA publications and/or participating in Society activities for a specified period of time.
The following actions may be taken upon a finding of editor or reviewer misconduct:
- Public or private reprimand.
- Removal or suspension from a volunteer or leadership position.
- Suspension or permanent denial of the privilege of publishing with or participating in ESA publications or other Society activities.
- Suspension, revocation, or permanent denial of ESA membership and associated privileges.
Actions may vary depending on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, the severity of the misconduct, identified prior misconduct, and the stage of the publication process at which the misconduct is discovered. Any report or disclosure of a finding of misconduct or imposition of discipline shall not be undertaken without prior consultation with legal counsel. The outcomes of investigations and subsequent sanctions will not be made public; however, those reporting incidents will be informed of the outcome.
Reviews and Appeals
All parties directly involved in a case of misconduct shall have the right to review and respond to the report and documentation provided. In cases where someone is appealing an EIC’s preliminary investigation, such appeal will be handled by the subcommittee. If the person is appealing a formal investigation handled by the subcommittee, that process shall be handled by the full Publications Council. All appeals must be submitted in writing within 30 days of notification of the decision by the Ethics subcommittee. The appeal must include a rebuttal of the decision, explaining in detail the rationale for why the decision was in error. The subcommittee or Council, as outlined above, will review the evidence and the rebuttal, and issue its decision as promptly as reasonably possible. The decision of the appeal is final. In the case where a formal investigation is being appealed, members of the Ethics subcommittee will not have a vote on the appeal.
Cases Involving Duplicate Publication
In cases of author misconduct that involve the appearance of duplicate, or near duplicate, materials in an ESA publication and in a publication of another publisher, the EIC involved (or the director of publications acting on their behalf) will notify the other publisher of the apparent duplicate publication. If the ESA publication is not the original publication of the material, a retraction of the duplicate materials will be published as soon as practicable, and a retraction notice will be issued. If the duplicate material will remain on the ESA site, it will be appropriately flagged.
It is ESA’s intention to maintain case files for a period not less than 10 years. These case files will include communications, documents, and other materials relative to each case of alleged author misconduct that has been formally submitted. In cases in which no determination of misconduct is found, the relevant files will be sealed and will not be released unless all individuals involved in the case request that the materials be made public or unless disclosure is required by law.
Complaints Against Authors, Editors, or Reviewers
If you believe an individual involved in ESA’s publications has acted unfairly, with bias, abusively, or in some other manner that violates the code of conduct or does not meet ESA’s standard of professionalism, please send your complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org. Complaints should include a letter outlining the complaint and all correspondence involving the issue. The information will be shared with the journal’s Editorial Board and chair of the Publications Council for investigation.
Adherence to Experimental Compliance Regulations
Research published in the ESA publications must adhere to minimal ethical and compliance requirements for medical, veterinary, and wildlife conservation research. Medical entomology research may include human subjects and/or domestic and wild animals and therefore requires that authors reference compliance protocols to indicate adherence to federal, state, and local regulations, permits, and authorizations. International authors should reference similar compliance documents from their government and/or institution or from the area where the research took place.
Listed below is a minimal series of basic requirements requested from researchers to be included, as needed, within an ethical section positioned in the Materials and Methods section of each manuscript:
- Biological Use Authorization (BUA). Surveillance, epidemiological, and experimental infection studies with pathogens require containment for diagnostics and culture depending upon the virulence of the organism and the risk of vector-borne, contact, and/or aerosol transmission. Descriptions of appropriate containment for different biosafety levels.
A search engine and database to determine the Risk Group of the organism[s] concerned can be found on the ABSA website. Researchers should report their institution’s required compliance review and approved containment level BUA protocol for the pathogen(s) or arthropods used.
- Institutional Review Board (IRB) compliance. Use of human subjects in research must be approved by IRB committees adhering to US Department of Health and Human Services guidelines. Each organization may have different interpretations of guidelines required for human subject activities which may range from surveys, house entry for arthropod collection, use of humans to feed arthropods, use of humans as bait for sampling host-seeking insects, test subjects for candidate repellents, etc.1
- Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) compliance. Use of animals in research must adhere to protocols meeting minimal ethical requirements for collection, maintenance, and experimental procedures. Research done within the USA or funded by USA agencies must adhere to requirements described by the US National Institutes of Health, and these protocols should be appropriately referenced. Similar requirements exist for other areas of the globe, such as the European Union.
- Sampling wildlife. Most countries and states/provinces/districts require permits to collect vertebrate animals and some insects for research purposes. This is especially true for migratory species, such as birds, where international agreements are in place; for example, see permitting requirements for collecting and banding birds in North America.
Additional permits may be required for sampling on wildlife refuges or nature conservatory properties. Reference to these permits should be required to ensure sampling was done in compliance with regional oversight.
- Transport and release of organisms. With the increasing use of genetically modified arthropods for population or pathogen control, medical entomologists must adhere to correct oversight governing production and release. The US Department of Agriculture, for example, has strict requirements for the transport and/or release of organisms as well as experimental use permitting for applications of experimental compounds for arthropod control.
The Biotechnology Quality Management System (BQMS) Program within the USDA helps organizations, including small businesses and academic researchers, analyze the critical control points within their management systems to better maintain compliance with the APHIS regulations (7 CFR part 340) for the import, interstate movement, and field release of regulated genetically engineered (GE) organisms.
Similar guidelines can be found in other areas of the world, such as with Brazil’s National Technical Commission on Biosafety.
1Aultman, K. S., E. D. Walker, F. Gifford, D. W. Severson, C. B. Beard, and T. W. Scott. 2000. Managing risks of arthropod vector research. Science 288: 2321-2322.
This policy draws on similar guidelines prepared by other scientific organizations, notably the Geological Society of America, which is itself drawn from other similar scientific organizations. Additional resources can be found on their site.
Revised and approved by the ESA Publications Council on January 19, 2023.