Betty Auxiliadora De La Hoz Suárez
To plan and build online publications of a scientific nature, emphasis should be placed on editorial processes and functions supported by information and communication technologies. Some of these processes include: guidelines for authors, peer review, verdict by reviewers, editing, layout, publication, preservation of the document, storage system, access to the publication, indexing of the publication and visibility of the document. There are editorial problems that may arise during the publication management of scientific documents, whose responsibility may fall on the author, the reviewer, or the editor, depending on the case.
Therefore,each of the parties involved must comply with and respect their position, as well as abide by the rules of the editorial process, with the support of information and communication technologies, office tools and free software designed exclusively for publication. management and publication of articles, such as the Open Journal System – OJS. Undoubtedly, the success of the publication of scientific documents in academic journals in digital format depends on the sequential application of the editorial processes, as well as the technological support available.
Based on the above, the purpose of this paper is to detect the ethical/editorial problems that harm the good management of a scientific publication and that could alter and hinder the editorial management of scientific publications in digital academic journals. The problems have an ethical approach, whose faults not only fall on the editor or editorial committee, but also on the reviewers, as well as on the authors of the postulated document. As already mentioned, each of the editor-reviewer-author parts have a share of responsibility within the editorial management of scientific publications for digital academic journals. Next, Table 1 is presented, where the main problems present during the editorial management for the publication of a scientific article are detailed.
Experience indicates that these problems arise basically at the beginning of the management of an academic journal, since, not being known, nor being indexed in catalogs, databases, and recognized directories, they become unattractive forthe scientific community. This means that the inaugural issue of the journal is made up of articles written by members of the editorial committee and the review team, a situation that extends to the following issues, where the percentage of editorial inbreeding gradually decreases.
One of the main problems is associated with the reviewers, since when a journal is new, it usually has a reduced editorial team that does not cover all areas of the journal, therefore, the same reviewers are often used repeatedly. In addition to this, the little time available to the members of the editorial committee to collaborate with the reviews also influences, which leads to the use of reviewers who are not experts in the subject of the article.
The small number of reviewers often causes the editor to incur in unethical practices such as the article being published without going through the review process; give a lighter treatment to manuscripts that come from well-known authors or who are part of the editor's circle; choose reviewers who are not experts in the topic of the article; assign reviewers to an article at will, either because the editor wants the article to be rejected or accepted; assign a single reviewer to the article, among others.
According toTable 1, another mistake journal editors make is to give little weight to a reviewer observations, or, worse yet, omit them from their final report; refusing to use reliable plagiarism detection software to detect similarities with other previously published documents; let pass the percentage of similarity obtained once the plagiarism detection software has passed to the document, proceeding to make the publication; not complying with the response times to the author or not reporting the verdict of the article at any time, publishing it without their authorization.
In another order of ideas, there are also problems associated with the author. For example, on many occasions there is informality in the reception of articles, that is, when the article is not received via official email from the journal and without a request letter from the authors. But, in addition, the application, reception and assignment of reviewers through the Open Journal System can also be omitted, wasting the facilities provided by this technological tool for the editorial management of scientific publications; in such a way that the entire process before publication is registered in the OJS system itself.
Another problem mentioned in Table 1 has to do with the untimely delivery of the corrections within the time stipulated for it, and with the non-existence of a manifest by the editor towards the author, where the authorship, originality, and publication authorization, which must remain as a backup in the publisher. Experience indicates that this happens mainly because the authors do not comply with the timely delivery of the document duly filled out and signed by all the authors; and, as the time of publication arrives, the editor has no alternative but to publish without waiting for the document. Once the article is published, it is difficult for the author to deliver the document to the editor.
In conclusion, the value of the scientific document can only be measured by the quality of its revisions, through good editorial management, an adequate composition of the editorial committees, using plagiarism detection software, lowering the percentages of editorial inbreeding, and relying on systems of information that have been created to carry out all the editorial processes of a publication, from the document's own application. The systems that reviewers and editors of academic journals normally rely on are Microsoft Office, plagiarism detection software, article layout software and the Open Journal System. The first is used by reviewers and the other three by the editor, editorial team, and even by the author himself.