Ethical Standards

Out of all the activities and objectives since the creation of the Political Observatory we single out the creation, registration and publication of a scientific journal on the reflection, debate and divulgation of research in the area of Political Science. As such, the Political Observatory adopts a neutral position regarding the issues approached within the journal.

The Portuguese Journal of Political Science (RCPC) is a registered trademark and an official scientific publication created by the Political Observatory. Its objectives are the publishing, circulation and advertisement of original and innovative academic research in the field of Political Science. It converges the various perspectives of the area in the subjects of Political Theory, Political Processes and Institutions and Strategy and Security.

The act of publishing an article in an academic and peer-reviewed journal involves many parties. All these parties are required to meet the expected ethical standards at all stages of their involvement. The Political Observatory is also committed to meet and uphold these ethical standards in all stages of the publication process.

According to Article No. 17 of the Portuguese Press Law (Law No. 2/99, of January 13th), we are committed to ensure the respect of the deontological principles and the professional ethics of the research work, as well as ensuring the readers’ good faith. The Portuguese Journal of Political Science is registered at the Portuguese Regulatory Authority for the Media (ERC).

We follow industry organizations, such as the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), which established guidelines on good publication practice, in order to accomplish the Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement (PEMS) requirements. Therefore, editors, peer-reviewers, and authors, should be aware of the ethical principles below.

1. Ethical principles

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.
• Treat all submitted papers as confidential.
• To adopt and follow reasonable procedures in the event of complaints of an ethical or conflict nature. To give authors a reasonable opportunity to respond to any complaints. All complaints should be investigated no matter when the original publication was approved. Documentation associated with any such complaints should be retained.

Reviewers’ responsibilities

• To contribute to the decision-making process, and to assist in improving the quality of the published paper by reviewing the manuscript objectively, in a timely manner.
• To maintain the confidentiality of any information supplied by the editor or 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, if necessary withdrawing their services for that manuscript.

Authors’ responsibilities

• To maintain accurate records of data associated with the submitted manuscript, and to supply or provide access to these data upon on reasonable request.
• To confirm/assert that the manuscript, as submitted, is not under consideration or accepted for publication elsewhere. Where portions of the content overlap with published or submitted content, to acknowledge and cite those sources. Additionally the author must provide the editor with a copy of any submitted manuscripts that may contain overlapping or closely related content.
• To confirm that all the work in the submitted manuscript is original and to acknowledge and cite content reproduced from other sources. The author must obtain permission to reproduce any content from other sources.
• To declare any potential conflicts of interest (e.g. where the author has a competing interest that could be considered or viewed as exerting an undue influence on his/her duties at any stage during the publication process).
• To promptly notify 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, or to retract the paper, where this is deemed necessary.

Publisher responsibilities

• The Political Observatory shall ensure that good practice is maintained to the standards outlined above.

2. Procedures for dealing with misconduct

Identification of misconduct

• Misconduct and unethical behaviour may be identified and brought to the attention of the editor and publisher at any time, by anyone.
• Misconduct and unethical behaviour may include, but need not be limited to, examples as outlined above.
• Whoever informs the editor or publisher of such conduct should provide sufficient information and evidence in order for an investigation to be initiated. All allegations should be taken seriously and treated in the same way, until a successful decision or conclusion is reached.

Investigation of misconduct

• The decision should be made by the publisher, the Political Observatory.
• When authorship doubts are raised, the Urkund tool is applied. Urkund is an automatic text recognition system designed to detect, prevent and deal with plagiarism.
• Evidence should be gathered, whilst avoiding spreading any allegations beyond those who need to know.

Minor misconduct

• Minor misconduct might be dealt with without the need for further investigation. In any event, the author should be given the opportunity to respond to any allegations.

Serious misconduct

• Serious misconduct might require that the employer of the accused be notified. The Political Observatory should make the decision of whether or not to involve the institution, either by examining the available evidence themselves or by further consultation with a limited number of experts.

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 behaviour.
• Publication of a notice of redundant publication or plagiarism.
• Publication of an editorial detailing the misconduct.
• A formal letter to the head of the author’s or reviewer’s department or funding agency.
• Imposition of a formal embargo on contributions from the individual responsible for the misconduct, for a stated period.
• Formal retraction or withdrawal of a publication from the journal.
• Reporting the case and outcome to a professional organisation or higher authority for further investigation and action.