The principle of transparency and the accountable editorial services

Index Copernicus proposes the principle of transparency as the fundamental protection of the scientific activity. It assumes the full clarity and accountability of processes that take place in science mainly, the spread of full list of information about the actions to all the interested individuals and the key parameters in order to verify them by the international scientific community. In the context of Predatory Journals practices, principle of transparency is understood as the willingness of Editorial Offices to be assessed by the international scientific community in case of reliability of their editorial processes while working with manuscripts (this means: the acceptance of manuscript, preliminary assessment, review, publication, and distribution). Maintaining the principle of transparency by journals is to enable confirmation that the Editorial Offices provide accountable scientific editorial services that are crucial for the scientific environment.

The accountable scientific editorial services may be understood as:

•  publishing complete information about the conditions needed for the articles to be published (the publication charges, the formal requirements of manuscripts, submission deadlines and the estimated time of manuscript acceptance to the first review and manuscript publication),
•  transparent criteria of manuscript rejection (when its topic is inconsistent with the journal’s profile, publisher’s policy, publisher’s requirements or when its scientific quality is not enough to be published),
•  feedback for the author on each step of editorial process,
•  transparent principles of review (including the selection of reviewers who are specialists in a particular study, preferably from different affiliation than the author of a publication),
•  the proper review standards (parametrical and qualitative assessment of manuscript) as well as peer review dialog,
•  sharing the full content of scientific articles along with the data which served as the source for conclusions in electronic version in open access.

Gold standard of scientific review

Index Copernicus Experts pay attention that the weight of scientific work review is too low. An accountable review based on the peer review dialog is crucial for the scientific activity and increasement of the scientists competencies. The most challenging actions for those who create the scientific policy at universities, associations, scientific academies, and for those who financially regulate the scientific activities are development and implementation of high standards of scientific reviews. Having more than fifteen years’ experience in releasing the scientific journals, we recommend the given components of a proper scientific review:

•  Parametric assessment of manuscript, that is the closed-ended questions in review questionnaire. They consists of criteria suggested by the Editorial Office, such as topicality of discussed issues, originality of the theses or the substantive level of publications which are assessed by the reviewer who gives special points for them.
•  Qualitative assessment of manuscript is a descriptive part of the review, where the reviewer indicates the positive as well as negative sides of the assessed article.
•  Peer review dialog is a written form of communication between the author of a particular publication and a person who conducts the review. It can also mean all changes that, according to the reviewer, the author should introduce to the work. Peer review dialog indicates that the manuscripts were reviewed properly. Consequently, these manuscripts may be accepted to the publication, on the condition that the necessary changes are introduced.

The practice proposed by Index Copernicus, which is an exemplification of the transparency of reliable editorial services is publishing by the Editorial Office part of the review containing at least one positive as well as negative remark concerning the authenticity of presented in the work researches plus their influence on the development or spread of study. This practice can be helpful for the general audience to familiarize with the initial opinion about a given work, as well as it can be a supplement to the article’s abstract.

If Index Copernicus Experts have doubts about the Editorial Office, because of omitting of transparency rule or insufficient editorial services the given journal will not be indexed for a particular year, and its Passport will be marked with the proper alert (more about journal’s warning and alerts).