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Who rules the ruler? On the misconduct of Journal Editors


  • Aurora A.C. Teixeira

    (CEF.UP; Faculdade de Economia do Porto; Universidade do Porto; INESC Porto; OBEGEF)

  • Mariana Fontes da Costa

    () (Faculdade de Economia do Porto; Universidade do Porto; CIJE; OBEGEF)


There are very few (published) accounts of editorial misconduct, and those that do exist are almost exclusively focused on medicine-related areas. In the present article we detail a case of alleged editorial misconduct in a rather underexplored domain, the social sciences. We provide the facts, the viewpoint of a set of editors of journals in the areas of ethics and innovation, and a legal analysis of the case. Regarding this latter aspect, we discuss two main questions which arose from the situation under analysis: the boundaries of the authors’ right to decide whether and where to publish their works, and whether and when the publisher becomes legally bound to publish the work. This case demonstrates that although legal systems provide different instruments of protection to avoid, compensate for, and punish misconduct on the part of journal editors, the social and economic power unbalance between authors and publishers suggests the importance of alternative solutions before or instead of bringing a lawsuit to court. It then puts forward strong arguments in favour of the need for effective regulatory bodies (or to broaden the scope of the existing Committee on Publication Ethics, COPE), including representatives of both editors and researchers, so as to achieve and maintain a culture of research integrity by all involved in the process.

Suggested Citation

  • Aurora A.C. Teixeira & Mariana Fontes da Costa, 2010. "Who rules the ruler? On the misconduct of Journal Editors," OBEGEF Working Papers 005, OBEGEF - Observatório de Economia e Gestão de Fraude;OBEGEF Working Papers on Fraud and Corruption.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:obegef:005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin, Ben R., 2007. "Keeping plagiarism at bay--A salutary tale," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 905-911, September.
    2. Alan Collins & Guy Judge & Neil Rickman, 2007. "On the economics of plagiarism," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 93-107, October.
    3. Walter Enders & Gary Hoover, 2006. "Plagiarism in the Economics Profession: A Survey," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(5), pages 92-107.
    4. Gary A. Hoover, 2004. "Whose Line Is It? Plagiarism in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 487-493, June.
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    More about this item


    scientifi c research; ethics; editorial misconduct; law; regulatory bodies;

    JEL classification:

    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General
    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law


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