Code of Ethics

Íkala is governed by COPE ethical standards for publication, which are described on the COPE’s webpage and 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”  or "duplicate" publication, or a “salami publication” (COPE). Such work will not be considered by the journal, and when detected during the submission process, it will be rejected. Íkala does not publish translated versions of articles that have already been published.
  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 omitting individuals who contributed substantially to the creation of the article, or from crediting with authorship individuals who did not make a substantial contribution, 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 and 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 or fraud. Disclose any potential conflict of interest.
  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. When they have any potential impediment, suggest alternative peer reviewers.
  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.
  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: All authors on the list should have (i) made substantial contributions to the research and writing process, (ii) approved the final version of the work, and (iii) agreed to be accountable for the work's content.

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

  • “Ghost” authors: An author who does not appear in an authorship list despite qualifying for authorship”(COPE- Guidelines on Good Publication Practice).
  • “Guest” and "gift" authors: Authors listed despite not qualifying for authorship. "Guest" authors are included because they make the article seem more prestigious, while "gift" authors are there as a favor or trade-off (COPE- Guidelines on Good Publication Practice), but none of them actually contributed to the publication.

Conflict of interest: A situation that has the potential to affect a person's judgement. Conflicts of interest can appear in any stage of the research and publication process, and they can be financial, non-financial, personal, or professional (COPE- Guidelines on Good Publication Practice).

Defamation: Statements about persons or institutions that are false or derogatory, and that could result in legal action.

Fraud: Research fraud is knowingly publishing falsified data or conclusions. COPE identifies four types of fraud: (i) data fabrication (making up data and results), (ii) data manipulation or falsification (manipulating data, values, or processes to obtain a desired outcome), (iii) misleading reporting, and (iv) selective reporting.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism means using others' ideas or words (or even one's older work, in the case of self-plagiarism), published or unpublished, without proper attribution or permission, making them appear to be one's new and original work (Recommendations on Publication Ethics Policies for Medical Journals, WAME). Plagiarism does not have to be intentional to be considered plagiarism. As the gravity of plagiarism determines the actions taken by editors, COPE distinguishes between major and minor plagiarism, according to several factors such as the extension of the plagiarized material, the seniority of the author, whether the plagiarism was intentional, the kind of information copied, among others.

  • Major plagiarism takes place when a person copies another author's data or findings without attribution, or when significant amounts of text are copied verbatim from another source without attribution. Copying images or tables that are considered to be data is also major plagiarism.
  • Minor plagiarism occurs when only minor amounts of text are copied, when the source text has been paraphrased without attribution, or when images are included without permission or without proper attribution (How should editors respond to plagiarism?, COPE).
  • 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). See the definitions of "redundant publication" and "salami publication".

Redundant, duplicate, or multiple publication: A work that has been published more than once, or which contains substantial sections or data that appear in more than one publication without adequate justification. Papers with an overlap in more than two-thirds of their content are considered to be redundant publications (COPE- Guidelines on Good Publication Practice).

Salami publication or slicing: Publications that are created by segmenting or "slicing" a study into several publications. Salami publications share the same population, methods and research question. (COPE- Guidelines on Good Publication Practice).

Simultaneous or duplicate submission: Simultaneous or duplicate submission occurs when authors submit a manuscript simultaneously, in the same or in different languages, to more than one journal. This practice is not permitted. (ICJME - Overlapping Publications).

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: Corrections are issued when there is an error that does not change the direction or significance of the results, interpretations, and conclusions of the article, especially when that error was unintentional. Corrections are also used to correct an inaccurate authorship list (COPE Retraction guidelines).

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).