Code of Ethics

Íkala is governed by COPE ethical standards for publication, which are described on the COPE’s webpage and on several guides such as COPE, Ethical Guidelines for Peer-reviewers; COPE, A Short Guide to Ethical Editing for New Editors; COPE Guidelines on Good Publication Practice, and other flowcharts and brochures produced by them. These documents establish a series of ethical guidelines for authors, reviewers, and editors which are described below. We invite you to read them and follow them, depending on the category in which you are participating.

Ethical Guidelines for Authors

Following the COPE guidelines cited above, authors who send their manuscript to Íkala, Revista de Lenguaje y Cultura, are required to:

  1. Submit original work and ensure that it is not a “redundant”, otherwise known as “salami publication” (Elsevier). Such work will not be considered by the journal, and when detected during the submission process, it will be rejected.
  2. Inform the editor/publisher if there are similar versions of the manuscript that have appeared or are being considered elsewhere.
  3. Include only the actual authors of the study, that is, people who have made significant intellectual contributions to the study.
  4. Refrain from crediting with authorship individuals who have not made a substantial contribution to the article, otherwise known as “ghost”, “gift”, or “guests” authors.
  5. Agree on the order of authorship, as this must be a joint decision between the co-authors, taking into account that the first author is usually considered to be the one who made the most significant contribution to the manuscript.
  6. Check that there is no plagiarism or that all external contributions are appropriately cited.
  7. Be aware that by submitting their manuscript to Íkala, they accept that it can be examined for plagiarism against previously published works, including their own (self-plagiarism) through a similarity checking system called Crosscheck which indicates the degree of coincidence with other work already published. Likewise, the team will carry out a verificiation of materials in other languages when there is uncertaintly as to whether the text may have been partially or totally published in another language.
  8. Use no more than 10% of the total number of citations in the manuscript for self-citation.
  9. Ensure that the identity of the participants in the study is not disclosed.
  10. Avoid incurring in defamation, conflict of interest, or fraud.
  11. Maintain a respectful and professional communication with the editor.
  12. Refrain from submitting other manuscripts to the journal until an editorial decision has been made with respect to the first submission.

Ethical Guidelines for Peer reviewers 

According to the COPE guidelines cited above, in general terms, peer reviewers must:

  1. Maintain confidentiality of the manuscript under review. Refrain from having direct contact with the author(s) or discussing the status of the review with colleagues.
  2. Refrain from keeping or coyping the submitted manuscript.
  3. Abstain from using content found in the manuscript (e.g. data, arguments, interpetations) for any purpose unrelated to the review process, unless you have permission from the authors.
  4. Provide prompt, accurate, courteous, impartial and justifiable reports.
  5. Inform the editor of any case of suspected misconduct in a confidential manner.
  6. Notify the editor immediately if they have reviewed a similar manuscript for another journal, and let the editor decide what to do in this case.
  7. Promptly notify the editor if they are unable to keep the review anonymous due to, for example, comments made to the authors.
  8. Request an extension immediately if they are unable to meet the proposed submission deadline.
  9. Reject an invitation to review a manuscript if they believe the topic is not related to their research group or area of expertise, or if they do not have the time to complete the review before the proposed submission deadline.
  10. Suggest alternative peer reviewers when they have any potential impediment.
  11. Avoid favouring a manuscript deliberately or opposing it improperly based on whether or not it confirms their existing beliefs or their own work.
  12. Ensure that the report is the type of review that they would like to receive as an author or editor. (System Journal).
  13. Carry out their review objectively.
  14. Refrain from making personal criticisms of the author.
  15. Express their points of view with supporting arguments or evidence as necessary without using inappropriate language.
  16. Refrain from reviewing any manuscript if they have a conflict of interest resulting from personal or professional relations with the authors, or the companies or institutions connected to the manuscript.
  17. Maintain confidentiality of the manuscripts received.
  18. Obtain formal permission from the editor before passing on a peer review invitation to a colleague.

Ethical Guidelines for Editors

In line with COPE guidelines, Editors of Íkala, Revista de Lenguaje y Cultura, are required to: 

  1. Ensure that the manuscripts are evaluated on the intellectual content regardless of the race, gender, or ethnicity, of the authors.
  2. Accept or reject a manuscript for publication taking into account only criteria chosen by the journal, such as the importance, originality and clarity of the manuscript, and the study’s relevance to the journal’s mission.
  3. Select manuscripts based on their quality and suitability for the readers, and not on any immediate financial, political, or personal gains they may offer.
  4. Give special consideration to studies that dispute work previously published in this or other journals.
  5. Refrain from excluding studies that report negative results.
  6. Ensure that all original studies are peer reviewed before publication and possible biases or conflict of interest are taken into account.
  7. Accept responsibility when a published article is found to have significant flaws and proceed to correct them promptly and noticeably
  8. Encourage proper attribution of authorship and discourage the use of “guest”, “gift” or “ghost” authors.
  9. Maintain an ethical oversight of research published in the journal.
  10. Have protocols in place to protect the identities of the authors durign the peer review process.
  11. Follow up on allegations of misconduct, even in those cases where the manuscript is not being published, and act both cortiously but also fairly and firmly in all cases.
  12. Communicate with authors and peer reviewers with respect to alleged cases of misconduct, avoiding accusations, and providing evidence instead, and also allowing authors to provide explanations prior to making a decision.
  13. Share information with relevant editors about suspected cases of misconduct involving plagiarism, data fabrication, or authorship disputes.
  14. Always publish corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies when needed.

Important Definitions

The following is a list of definitions that may be helpful in understanding ethical standards in publication.

Author: A credited author is a person who has:

  • Made a substantial contribution to the conception of the study and its design, the data collection, and its analysis and interpretation.
  • Drafted or revised the article for intellectual content.
  • Given approval of the last version of the manuscript to be published.
  • Agreed to be held accountable for the accuracy or integrity of all parts of the work carried out (Ethics in Research and Publication – Elsevier).

In general, there are 3 kinds of authors that need to be avoided:

  • “Ghost” Authors: authors “who contribute substantially but are not acknowledged” (often paid by commercial sponsors)
  • “Guest” Authors: authors “who make no discernible contributions, but are listed to help increase the chances of publication”.
  • “Gift” Authors: authors “whose contribution is based solely on a tenuous affiliation with a study” (Ethics in Research & Publication, Elsevier).

Conflict of Interest: “are situations that could be perceived to exert an undue influence on the presentation, review and publication of a piece of work. These may be financial, non-financial, professional, contractual or personal in nature” (Publishing Ethics: Academic Research, Cambridge University Press).

Defamation: “language in both submitted manuscripts and also in peer review reports or correspondence which could give rise to legal action for defamation or negligent misstatement. Such language, which can be directed at corporate entities and associations as well as individuals, should not appear within published articles and should be removed from any peer review report or correspondence that is passed on to the author” (Best Practice Guidelines on Publishing Ethics, Wiley).

Fraud: Research fraud is “publishing data or conclusions that were not generated by experiments or observations, but by invention or data manipulation. There are two kinds in research and scientific publishing:

  • Fabrication: Making up research data and results, and recording or reporting them.
  • Falsification: Manipulating research materials, images, data, equipment, or processes. Falsification includes changing or omitting data or results in such a way that the research is not accurately represented. A person might falsify data to make it fit with the desired end result of a study” (FACTSHEET: Research fraud, Elsevier).

Plagiarism: Implies “submitting as one’s own work, irrespective of intent to deceive, that which derives in part or in its entirety from the work of others without due acknowledgement. It is both poor scholarship and a breach of academic integrity.

Examples of plagiarism include:

  • Copying (using another person’s language and/or ideas as if they are one’s own)
  • Quoting verbatim another person’s work without due acknowledgement of the source
  • Paraphrasing another person’s work by changing some of the words, or the order of the words, without due acknowledgement of the source
  • Using ideas taken from someone else without reference to the originator;
  • Cutting and pasting from the Internet to make a pastiche of online sources;
  • Submitting someone else’s work as part of one’s own without identifying clearly who did the work. For example, not attributing research contributed by others to a joint project.

Plagiarism might also arise from colluding with another person who has not been declared or acknowledged (i.e. where collaboration is concealed or has been forbidden). (Ethics in Research and Publication –Elsevier).

Types of plagiarism: The literature on publications mentiones at least 5 types of plagiarism:

  • Literal: Reproducing a work word for word, in whole or in part, without permission and acknowledgment of the original source.
  • Substantial: Reproduction of research materials, processes, tables, or equipment.
  • Paraphrasing: Reproducing someone else’s ideas while not copying word for word, without permission and acknowledgment of the original source.
  • Recycling: Reproducing portions of an author’s own work in a paper, and resubmitting it for publication as an entirely new paper. (Ethics in Research & Publication-Elsevier).
  • Self-Plagiarism: This concept refers to any attempt to reuse one’s own content from previously published texts and present it as completely new. There is no citation of the original content and the reader is unaware that the content has appeared in a journal before (Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-plagiarism, and other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing, Miguel Roig).

Redundant, double, or multiple publication: “Redundant publication occurs when two or more papers, without full cross reference, share the same hypothesis, data, discussion points, or conclusions” (COPE- Guidelines on Good Publication Practice).   

Salami Publication or Slicing: This “involves breaking up or segmenting a large study into two or more publications. These segments are referred to as ‘slices’ of a study. As a general rule, as long as the ‘slices’ of a broken up study share the same hypotheses, population, and methods, this is not acceptable practice (Ethics in Research and Publication – Elsevier)

Simultaneous Submission: Simultaneous submission occurs when a person submits a paper to different publications at the same time, which can result in more than one journal publishing that particular paper (Ethics in Research & Publication-Elsevier).

Complaints Process

To forward a complaint to Íkala, please send an email with your concern and information supporting it to the Editor-in-Chief at Once she analyzes the case thoroughly, the Editor-in-Chief will discuss it with the Editorial Team and the Associate Editors. Each complaint is handled on an individual basis and the final decision will be sent to the authors via email. Final decisions are not appealable.   

In general terms, the Journal Íkala will follow the guidelines put forth by COPE.

Retractions, Corrections, and Expressions of Concern

Íkala is governed by the guidelines of COPE for retractions, corrections, and expressions of concern. The information below gives recommendations for these concepts:

Retractions: According to COPE, retractions are a mechanism to correct the literature and alert readers to articles that have content or data so flawed or erroneous that their findings and conclusions cannot be trusted. This untrustworthy content may be the result of honest mistakes, naive mistakes, or misconduct in research.

Retractions are made specifically when editors have clear evidence that:

  1. They have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of major error (e.g., miscalculation or experimental error), or as a result of fabrication (e.g., of data) or falsification (e.g., image manipulation).
  2. It constitutes plagiarism
  3. The findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper attribution to previous sources or disclosure to the editor, permission to republish, or justification (i.e., cases of redundant publication).
  4. It contains material or data without authorisation for use.
  5. Copyright has been infringed or there is some other serious legal issue (e.g., libel, privacy).
  6. It reports unethical research.
  7. It has been published solely on the basis of a compromised or manipulated peer review process.
  8. The author(s) failed to disclose a major competing interest (a.k.a. conflict of interest) that, in the view of the editor, would have unduly affected interpretations of the work or recommendations by editors and peer reviewers (COPE Retraction guidelines).

According to COPE, to make a retraction, some conditions must be met:

  1. Be linked to the retracted article wherever possible (ie, in all online versions)
  2. Clearly identify the retracted article (eg, by including the title and authors in the retraction heading or citing the retracted article)
  3. Be clearly identified as a retraction (ie, distinct from other types of correction or comment)
  4. Be published promptly to minimize harmful effects
  5. Be freely available to all readers (i.e., not behind access barriers or available only to subscribers)
  6. State who is retracting the article
  7. State the reason(s) for retraction
  8. Be objective, factual and avoid inflammatory language (COPE Retraction guidelines).

Corrections: According to Wiley’s Best Practice Guidelines on Publishing Ethics, corrections are published when readers or authors notice that there is an important error in the publication, especially if it is one that may affect the interpretation of the data or information presented in an article. However, the error cannot be so fundamental that it invalidates the work, since in this case, retraction must be used. When published, they must be fully distinguished from retractions and expressions of concern about misconduct. In addition, they must be included in the indexing systems, be linked to the article, and can be consulted at no cost, such as retractions (Best Practice Guidelines on Publishing Ethics-Wiley).

According to Cambridge University Press, corrections are only required if it is the author(s) who made the mistake, because if it is the journal, an erratum will be issued. For minor errors, such as those likely to occur during typesetting or copy editing, journals can make the changes without notice. (Publishing Ethics: Academic Research- Cambridge University Press).

Expressions of Concern: These are published when “Editors have well-founded concerns or suspicions and feel that readers should be made aware of potentially misleading information” (Best Practice Guidelines on Publishing Ethics).

According to COPE, editors should consider posting an expression of concern when:

  1. They receive inconclusive evidence of research or publication misconduct by the authors
  2. There is evidence that the findings are unreliable but the authors’ institution will not investigate the case
  3. They believe that an investigation into alleged misconduct related to the publication either has not been, or would not be, fair and impartial or conclusive
  4. An investigation is underway but a judgement will not be available for a considerable time.

Also, as in the case of retractions and corrections, COPE suggests that the expressions of concern be linked to the article and the reasons for the concern be stated. If in the future, more evidence is found for the case, the expression of concern could be replaced by a notice of retraction or an exonerating statement, depending on the case  (COPE Forum 26 February 2018: Expressions of Concern).