The publication of an article in the Arab Journal of Plant Protection (AJPP), a peer-reviewed journal published by the Arab Society of Plant Protection (ASPP), is a process of permanent knowledge improvement. It is a direct reflection of the quality of the work of the authors and the institutions that support them. Peer-reviewed articles support and embody the scientific method. It is therefore important to agree upon standards of expected ethical behavior for all parties involved in the act of publishing: the author, the journal editor, the peer reviewer and the publisher.
The Arab Society for Plant Protection takes its duties of guardianship over all stages of publishing extremely seriously and we recognize our ethical and other responsibilities.
We are committed to ensuring that advertising, reprint or other commercial revenue has no impact or influence on editorial decisions. In addition, the Editorial Board will assist in communications with other journals and/or publishers where this is useful to the editors.
Duties of authors
Authors of reports of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the paper. A paper should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable. Review and professional publication articles should also be accurate and objective, and editorial ‘opinion’ works should be clearly identified as such.
Data access and retention
Authors may be asked to provide the raw data in connection with a paper for editorial review, and should in any event be prepared to retain such data for a reasonable time after publication.
Originality and plagiarism
The authors should ensure that they have written entirely original works, and if the authors have used the work and/or words of others, these have been appropriately cited or quoted. Plagiarism takes many forms, from ‘passing off’ another’s paper as the author’s own paper, to copying or paraphrasing substantial parts of another’s paper (without attribution), to claiming results from research conducted by others. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.
Multiple, redundant or concurrent publication
An author should not in general publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. In general, an author should not submit a previously published paper for consideration in another journal.
Acknowledgement of sources
Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Authors should cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work. Information obtained privately, for example in conversation, correspondence, or discussion with third parties, must not be used or reported without explicit, written permission from the source. Information obtained in the course of confidential services, such as refereeing manuscripts or grant applications, must not be used without the explicit written permission of the author of the work involved in these services.
Authorship of the paper
Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. Where there are others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the research project, they should be acknowledged or listed as contributors. The corresponding author should ensure that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication.
Disclosure and conflicts of interest
All authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or other substantive conflict of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed. Examples of potential conflicts of interest which should be disclosed include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations, and grants or other funding. Potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed at the earliest stage possible.
Fundamental errors in published works
When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper. If the editor or the publisher learns from a third party that a published work contains a significant error, it is the obligation of the author to promptly retract or correct the paper or provide evidence to the editor of the correctness of the original paper.
Duties of editors
The editor of a peer-reviewed journal is responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published, often working in conjunction with the relevant society (for society-owned or sponsored journals). The validation of the work in question and its importance to researchers and readers must always drive such decisions. The editor may be guided by the policies of the journal’s editorial board and constrained by such legal requirements as shall then be in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism. The editor may confer with other editors or reviewers (or society officers) in making this decision.
An editor should evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to the author’s race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship or political philosophy.
The editor and any editorial staff must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers or the publisher, as appropriate.
Disclosure and conflicts of interest
Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in an editor’s own research without the express written consent of the author. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Editors should recuse themselves
(i.e. should ask a co-editor, associate editor or other member of the editorial board to review and consider instead) from considering manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or (possibly) institutions connected to the papers. Editors should require all contributors to disclose relevant competing interests and publish corrections if competing interests are revealed after publication. If needed, other appropriate action should be taken, such as the publication of a retraction or expression of concern. It should be ensured that the peer-review process for sponsored supplements is the same as that used for the main journal. Items in sponsored supplements should be accepted solely on the basis of academic merit and interest to readers and not be influenced by commercial considerations. Non-peer reviewed sections of the journal should be clearly identified.
Involvement and cooperation in investigations
An editor should take reasonably responsive measures when ethical complaints have been presented concerning a submitted manuscript or published paper, in conjunction with the publisher (or society). Such
measures will generally include contacting the author of the manuscript or paper and giving due consideration of the respective complaint or claims made, but may also include further communications to the relevant institutions and research bodies, and if the complaint is upheld, the publication of a correction, retraction, expression of concern, or other note, as may be relevant. Every reported act of unethical publishing behavior must be looked into, even if it is discovered years after publication.
Duties of reviewers
Contribution to editorial decisions
Peer review assists the editor in making editorial decisions and through the editorial communications with the author may also assist the author in improving the paper. Peer review is an essential component of formal scholarly communication, and lies at the heart of the scientific method. ASPP shares the view of many that all scholars who wish to contribute to publications have an obligation to do a fair share of reviewing.
Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse him/herself from the review process.
Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor.
Standards of objectivity
Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.
Acknowledgement of sources
Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also call to the editor’s attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.
Disclosure and conflict of interest Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer’s own research without the express written consent of the author. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies or institutions connected to the papers.
based on Elsevier recommendations and COPE’s Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editor
Peer review is a process aiming at evaluating the originality, the quality and the robustness of a manuscript for publication. The key point of this approach is the safeguard of the academic research integrity and the improvement of the paper quality.
For the publisher (Arab Society for Plant Protection), the peer review process is essential to screen the contents for publication, ensuring that only top-level articles will be disseminated. Peer review should add value to a research work, and the constructive dialogue with the reviewers should stimulate the authors to improve the robustness of their work.
The following outline summarizes all the fundamental stages of the peer review process.
1. Paper Submission and first editorial evaluation
The manuscript, along with all the supplementary files (Supplementary Material, raw data, media, cover letter…) is submitted to the journal by the corresponding author(s) via email. The Editorial Office Staff checks that the submitted paper complies with all the relevant style and formatting guidelines, and adhere to all the requirements related to competing interests, financial disclosures.
2. Editor-in-Chief Assessment
The Editor-in-Chief and/or Associate Editor validates the submission by evaluating the quality and the originality of the paper. If the manuscript is considered inappropriate for the journal or does not match its “Focus and Scope”, it may be rejected at this stage. Reviewers are assigned by the Editor-in-Chief and/or the Associate Editor.
3. Invitation of Reviewers
Editorial Assistant contacts academics, experts, scientists that could be appropriate reviewers for the manuscript and suggested by the editor-in-chief/associate editor. Usually the minimum required number of reviews per article is 3. The identity of the authors is not disclosed to the reviewers. The potential reviewers evaluate the assignment on the basis of their expertise, time availability and conflict of interest, and communicate to the editor-in-chief their acceptance or rejection (suggesting alternative reviewers, if possible).
4. The Review Stage
The reviewers examine the manuscript several times. A first reading is useful to form a general impression of the work. If major issues are found, the reviewers can reject the paper. Otherwise, they perform an in-depth analysis, building a detailed review which addresses all the topics investigated. The final report is submitted to the editor-in-chief with a recommendation to accept or reject the article or with a revision request
5. Review Evaluation and Decision Communication
The editor-in-chief collects all the reviews and make a decision about the paper. If the reviews are diverging – or one or more reports are evidently biased – the editor can contact additional referees before the final judgment about publication. Once the decision is reached, the reviewers’ reports are forwarded to the authors. The identity of the reviewers is not disclosed.
6. Final Steps
The author modifies the paper according to the reviewers’ suggestions or make a rebuttal to any comments with which he/she disagrees. In case of major revisions the revised manuscript may undergo a second round of peer-review. When only minor changes are requested the review follow-up as well as the final check is handled by the editor-in-chief. Once the manuscript is ready in its final form it is sent to production.
Transparency in Peer review
The Arab Society for Plant Protection (The Publisher) takes every effort to ensure and increase transparency in peer review, making it clear to the readers, the authors and the reviewers the rigorous process behind article publication.
We are happy to announce that the Arab Journal of Plant Protection, published by the Arab Society for Plant Protection (ASPP) is now an on-line open access journal with no publication charges but there is a processing fee. The objective of being open access is to make research results freely available to the public in support of a greater global exchange of knowledge.
Copyright license policy
ASPP as the AJPP publisher encourages the free re-use and distribution of the journal contents. Users can copy, distribute and perform the copyrighted work only for non-commercial purposes, and if they give credit to the publisher (ASPP). Authors can archive pre-print (i.e. pre-refereeing), post print (final draft post-refereeing), and publisher’s version (PDF). Author’s pre-print and post-print versions as well as the publisher’s version (PDF) can be placed on open access repositories. Published articles are available under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC).