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Journal Publication Ethics

The MIT Press adheres to the ethical guidelines for journal publications put forth by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), viewable on the COPE website, and ICMJE website. The MIT Press is a member of COPE via its membership in the Association of University Presses (AUPresses). The AUPresses have recently become an Associate member of COPE.

Authorship. The corresponding author is responsible for the appropriateness and completeness of the authorship list, appropriate credit attribution, and agreement of all authors to the journal’s open access, ethical, and if applicable, data sharing policies.  We follow the guidelines set out by the Contributor Roles Taxonomy Project (CRediT) to assign author contributions. The corresponding author is responsible for declaring these contributions, which are required for all Research, Methods and Data articles.

Originality. All articles published in any MIT Press journal must represent original work. While under consideration at an MIT Press journal, they cannot be submitted for publication elsewhere.

Plagiarism and Research Fraud. A determination of plagiarism or fabrication by the journal will require contacting the corresponding author’s institution and possibly funding agencies. If plagiarism or fabrication is determined post-publication, the journal will investigate potential courses of action, up to and including formal retraction of the article. 

Retraction Statement. In the event that an article is determined to have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct or honest error, a Notice of Retraction will be attached to all versions of the article on the MIT website and related bibliographic databases. For full Retraction Guidelines, please visit the following COPE webpage: COPE Retraction Guidelines

Additionally, we encourage our authors to adhere to the following publishing standards:

Conflicts of Interest

When an author or the institution of the author has a relationship, financial or otherwise, with individuals or organizations that could influence the author’s work inappropriately, a conflict of interest may exist. Perceptions of conflict of interest are as important as actual conflicts of interest.

Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership or options, honoraria, patents, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships or rivalries, academic competition, and intellectual beliefs. Authors should avoid entering into agreements with study sponsors, both for-profit and non-profit, that interfere with authors’ access to all of the study’s data or that interfere with their ability to analyze and interpret the data and to prepare and publish manuscripts independently when and where they choose.

To report a conflict of interest, please download the following form, and complete and return it to the applicable MIT Press Journal editorial office: Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest

Statement of Informed Consent

Participants have a right to privacy that should not be infringed upon without their informed consent. Identifying information, including participants’ names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the participant (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a participant who is identifiable be shown the manuscript before it is to be published. Compete anonymity is difficult to achieve, however, and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt. Informed consent is required for many different reasons:

  • To include subjects/participants in a study
  • To publish identifying information in text and images
  • To publish a paper which includes details of the subject/participant

In the Methods section of the manuscript, authors must state the following verbatim, or after suitable modifications unique to the study:

“Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.”

Authors should also state whether the informed consent was written or oral. If informed consent was received orally, the author must include the following:

  • Why written consent could not be obtained
  • That the institutional review board or appropriate research committee(s) approved the use of the oral consent
  • How oral consent was documented

If informed consent was not obtained, authors are required to give an explanation why this was so.

The MIT Press Consent Form for Publication in an MIT Press Journal may be downloaded from our site and may be found under Journal Resources, Publication Ethics.

Human Subjects Research

All research involving human participants must have been approved by the authors’ Institutional Review Board (IRB) or by equivalent ethics committee(s), and must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. Authors should be able to submit, upon request, a statement from the IRB or ethics committee indicating approval of the research. We reserve the right to reject work that we believe has not been conducted to a high ethical standard, even when acceptance by the editorial process has been obtained.

Subjects must be properly instructed and have indicated that they consent to participate by signing the appropriate informed consent paperwork.

Animal research

All research involving vertebrates or cephalopods must have approval from the authors' Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or equivalent ethics committee(s), and must have been conducted according to applicable national and international guidelines. Approval must be received prior to beginning research.

If we note differences between an IACUC-approved protocol and the methods reported in a submitted manuscript, we may report these discrepancies to the relevant institution or committee. When reporting animal studies we suggest following the ARRIVE guidelines (PLOS Biology 8, e1000412).

Methods sections of manuscripts reporting results of animal research must include required ethics statements that specify:

  • The full name of the relevant ethics committee that approved the work, and the associated permit number(s). Where ethical approval is not required, the manuscript should include a clear statement of this and the reason why.
  • Relevant details for efforts taken to ameliorate animal suffering.

Example ethics statement:

This study was carried out in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. The protocol was approved by the Committee on the Ethics of Animal Experiments of the University of Minnesota (Permit Number: 27-2956). All surgery was performed under sodium pentobarbital anesthesia, and all efforts were made to minimize suffering.

The MIT Press does not publish papers reporting on clinical trials.

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