General | Publication Ethics

Publication EthicsOur Commitment to Research Integrity

Founded in 1984, Common Ground Research Networks (Not-for-Profit) is committed to building new kinds of knowledge communities, innovative in their media, and forward-thinking in their messages.

We take research integrity seriously, following standards and best practices established by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). We’re also active members of key industry associations: Association of American Publishers, Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, The Society for Scholarly Publishing, and Crossref.

We adhere to the following best practice principles in all journals published in our Research Networks.

Editorial Process

Our editorial process commits to editorial independence. We seek to be fair, transparent, and encourage intellectual excellence against clearly articulated disciplinary standards:

  • Submitted articles are evaluated according to their intellectual merit, without regard to the race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ethnic origin, citizenship, political philosophy, or institutional affiliation of the author(s)
  • Editorial decisions on manuscripts submitted to our journals are based on independent, anonymized peer review reports
  • We commit to an editorial process that is not compromised by financial or political influence
  • We actively seek and encourage submissions from underrepresented segments of the global scholarly communication ecosystem
  • We provide clear and transparent processes for appeal of editorial decisions
  • We do not tolerate abusive behavior or correspondence towards our staff and others involved in the publishing process on our behalf

If you have questions, concerns, or wish to appeal or file a complaint contact us via the Knowledge Base

Peer Review

We are committed to upholding the highest standards of peer review. At the Common Ground Media Lab, we also commit to researching the future of peer review as a defining characteristic of scholarly communication. Our approach to peer review is founded on rigorous and double-anonymized peer review. Reviewers are assigned based on the subject matter and disciplinary expertise, and ranking is based on clearly articulated criteria. The result is a peer-review process that is scrupulously fair in its assessments and, at the same time, offers a carefully structured and constructive contribution to the shape of the published article.

Our Commitment

  • At the Common Ground Media Lab, the research and development arm Common Ground Research Networks, we build software infrastructures to facilitate rigorous, fair, and effective peer review for all our publications
  • We encourage our editors and peer reviewers to familiarize themselves with and act in accordance with relevant best practice guidelines on peer review established by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)
  • We expect those who oversee the peer review process, and support our editors and peer reviewers, to act on any suspected cases of manipulated or fraudulent peer review
  • As part of our publishing and peer review processes, we seek full disclosure of commercial interests and potential conflicts of interest on the part of both authors and reviewers
  • We protect the confidentiality of participants in the peer-review process

Our Model

  • All Common Ground Research Networks journals use the double-anonymized peer review method. (The only exception is for special issues with invited content reviewed by the journal/issue Editor)
  • Peer review is conducted by members of the Research Network Advisory Board, Editorial Board, Author Reviewers, and Volunteer Peer Reviews, based on the relevance of their area of expertise to the work under review

If you wish to know more about our Peer Review Policy feel free to contact us via the Knowledge Base

​Authorship, Co-Authorship, and Author Responsibilities

Authorship and Co-Authorship

Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the study. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. Where there are others who participated in certain substantial aspects of the research project, they should be acknowledged or listed as contributors.

Author Responsibilities

We establish the following general rules for the corresponding author’s responsibilities:

  • Manuscript correction and proofreading
  • Handling the revisions and re-submission of revised manuscripts up to the acceptance of the manuscripts
  • Provision of raw data upon which the paper is based, for editorial review and public access to such data whenever possible. If the data is not published with the paper, authors should be prepared to retain such data for a reasonable amount of time after publication
  • Authors should ensure that they have written an entirely original work, and if they have used the work and/or words of others that this has been appropriately cited and quoted. Articles found to have plagiarized material will be withdrawn from consideration for publication
  • Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behavior, and it is unacceptable. Manuscripts must only be peer-reviewed by one journal at a time
  • Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be made. Authors should cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work
  • Authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or other substantive conflicts of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of the manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed.
  • When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his or her own published work, it is the author's obligation to promptly notify the publisher and cooperate with Common Ground’s editorial team to correct or retract the article.

If you wish to know more about Authorship or Author Responsibilities contact us via the Knowledge Base

Special Issues

A special issue focuses on a specific area of research that falls within a journal’s aims and scope. They might also be commissioned or proposed to recognize a particular contribution to the field or to commemorate a specific occasion. Special issues are subject to the same strict and rigorous ethical principles as regular journal issues. No fewer than two independent experts review each article to ensure the quality, originality, and novelty of the work published.

If you wish to learn more about Special Issues, take the following link.

Research with Humans or Animals

For research studies using human or animal subjects, the trial’s design, conduct, and reporting of results must conform to Good Clinical Practice guidelines (such as the Good Clinical Practice in Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-Regulated Clinical Trials (USA) or the Medical Research Council Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice in Clinical Trials (UK)) and/or to the World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Helsinki.

Any work describing a study that used human subjects must include a statement that affirms the experiments were performed with prior informed consent (written or verbal, as appropriate) from each participant.

Humans: When reporting experiments on human subjects, authors should indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008 (5). If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the author(s) must explain the rationale for their approach and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study.

Animals: When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether the institutional and national guide for the care and use of laboratory animals was followed. Experimental research on vertebrates or any regulated invertebrates must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing compliance with guidelines and/or ethical approval must be included in the work. For studies involving client-owned animals, author(s) must document informed client consent and adherence to a high standard (best practice) of veterinary care.

Statement on Informed Consent

Consent: For all research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study should be obtained from participants (or their parent or guardian in the case of children under 18 and a statement to this effect should appear in the work.

Consent for publication of individual patient data: For all works that include details, images, or videos relating to individual participants, written informed consent for the publication of these must be obtained from the participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 18) and a statement to this effect should appear in the work. A consent form must be made available to the Editor(s) on request and will be treated confidentially. In cases where images are entirely unidentifiable and there are no details on individuals reported within the manuscript, consent for publication of images may not be required. The final decision on whether consent to publish is required lies with the Editor(s)

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information, including patients’ names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, or pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should identify individuals who provide writing assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance. Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, however, an informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, author(s) should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning and the author(s) are responsible to notify the editor(s) in such instances and editor(s) should so note accordingly. The requirement for informed consent should be included in the journal’s instructions for authors. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the published work.

Libel, Defamation, and Freedom of Expression

Freedom of expression is critical to healthy democracies and the production of scholarly communication. Our journals contain the views, thoughts, assertions, and opinions of contributing authors. The inclusion of information in our journals should not be construed as an endorsement, either explicitly or implicitly, by Common Ground Research Networks. At the same time, we do not support publishing false statements that may harm the reputation of individuals, groups, or organizations.

Retractions and Corrections

We will consider retractions or corrections in line with COPE’s Retraction Guidelines. If an author is found to have made an error, the journal will issue a corrigendum. If the journal is found to have made an error, they will issue an erratum. In exceptional cases, we may remove an article from an online publication where we believe it is necessary to comply with our legal obligations.

If you wish to flag work for possible redaction or correction please contact us via the Knowledge Base.

Fraudulent Research and Research Misconduct

If fraudulent research, research misconduct, or plagiarism is found after an article is published, the publisher will contact the author for a response to the allegations. In cases of proven or there is a nonresponse/inadequate response, the offending article will be retracted and a statement from the publisher will be inserted in its place in the relevant journal issue.

If you wish to flag work for possible fraudulent research, research misconduct, or plagiarism please contact us via the Knowledge Base.


We strive to follow COPE’s Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing and encourage our publishing partners to uphold these same principles.

Ethical Business Practices

Ownership, Management, Governing Bodies

Common Ground Research Networks is a not-for-profit corporation registered in the State of Illinois, USA, organized and operated pursuant to the General Not For Profit Corporation Act of 1986, 805 ILCS 105/101.01, et seq., (the "Act") or the corresponding section of any future Act.

Common Ground Research Networks is an independent organization that is funded by: research grants, conference registrations, memberships, article processing charges (APC), subscriptions, content, and software sales. Common Ground Research Networks is a member of the following industry associations: Association of American Publishers, Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, The Society for Scholarly Publishing, and Crossref.

All published content is overseen by the Chief Social Scientist, in collaboration with our Research Network Chairs, Advisory Board, and Editorial Board members, Author and Volunteer Peer Reviewers—based on their expertise. These roles are clearly marked on each Research Network website.


Common Ground Research Networks journals and individual articles are available to readers via Membership, standalone subscription or pay-per-view fees.

At Common Ground Research Networks, we are committed to low-cost access to all our published content. We also offer fee waivers of APC/memberships to Emerging Scholars and researchers from developing countries. We also review and consider requests for waivers from academics who have insufficient funds to pay an Article Processing Charge / Membership in our Hybrid Open Access journals.

We currently self-archive all content that is no longer published, keeping it assessable in our CGScholar repository. We are also working with CLOCKSS to establish longer term system for electronic backup and preservation of access in the event a journal is no longer published.

Copyright and Licensing

Our policy for copyright is clearly stated in our author guidelines, during the submission and contract stages. We offer a number of Creative Commons licenses for our hybrid open access journals. Immediately upon acceptance, authors are permitted to submit the accepted version of their manuscript with a CC-BY license or a CC-BY-ND license if required, to their funding body or institution for inclusion in their funding body or institution's database, archive, or designated repository. This is the version of the paper accepted for publication after changes resulting from peer review, but before editing, formatting, and production of the final PDF by CGRN staff. There are no fees associated with this option. And we have clear and accessible guidance on the form of policies on posting of final accepted versions or published articles on third-party repositories. All licensing terms, and names of the copyright holders, are indicated on all published articles, in both HTML and PDF formats.

Author Fees

In the Rights Agreement phase, we offer several Open Access options for authors. See Journal Author Rights & Permissions for more information. There may be Author Fees depending on your selected Rights Agreement and/or balance of CGScholar Points.

And note: immediately upon acceptance, authors are permitted to submit the Accepted Manuscript (AM) version of their manuscript with a CC BY license or a CC BY-ND license if required, to their funding body or institution for inclusion in their funding body or institution's database, archive, or designated repository. This is the version of the paper accepted for publication after changes resulting from peer review, but before editing, formatting, and production of the final PDF by CGRN staff. There are no fees associated with this option.

Usage Metrics and Reporting

All metrics for individual access to content is available on the product page for all journal content in the CGScholar Bookstore. For institutional subscribers, we endeavor to ensure that our reporting of content usage remains compliant with the industry standard and the COUNTER Code of Practice.

We are also committed to promoting best practices in reporting scholarly research according to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

Data Privacy

We are committed to data privacy and the protection of the personal information of authors. We may disclose personal data to third-party service providers engaged to assist in the conduct of the publication process. Information provided when submitting an article may be shared with those parties, and the treatment of such information is further subject to the privacy policies of those parties. Except as described herein, Common Ground Research Networks will not disclose personal data to any other third party without consent except where required to do so by law.

Direct Marketing, Communication & Advertising

By submitting your email address during the Article Submission, you agree that Common Ground Research Networks and may send you related information. We do not sell data to third parties.

Editorial Team Contact Information

You can reach our Editorial Team by submitting a ticket in our Knowledge Base or emailing

Did this solve your problem? Click ‘No’ to submit a support ticket