Integrity is essential to the advancement of science and trust in the published record. To achieve high-quality, reliable, and reproducible science, ACS Publications relies on a code of conduct related to ethical research and publication. The Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research sets forth expectations and obligations for the editors, authors, and reviewers engaged with the publication process at ACS journals. The policy covers common topics such as editor responsibility, confidentiality requirements, conflict of interest disclosure, plagiarism, data manipulation, and author contribution. The guidelines were developed by the Editors of ACS Publications journals and are regularly reviewed by the ACS Publications Ethics Committee to ensure they are clear and reflect the current best practices.
The guidelines were recently updated to include new language for authors regarding conflicts of interest when suggesting preferred reviewers. This update supports the author’s ability to suggest experts in their field, while promoting a fair and objective peer review process.
The policy now states:
Authors are encouraged to recommend appropriate reviewers during submission of a manuscript. However, they should not suggest reviewers with whom they have an actual, perceived, or potential conflict of interest. Moreover, authors should not suggest reviewers with whom they share a personal or professional connection if there is potential for that relationship to introduce bias into the evaluation of the manuscript.
The update also revises the section on the Ethical Obligations of Scientists Publishing Outside the Scientific Literature, which provides guidance about authors communicating their work in the press or outside of literature sources. The section now reads:
Scientists communicating outside the peer-reviewed, scientific literature (e.g., in preprints, magazines, trade communications, or the popular press) should be accurate, clear, objective and unbiased in discussing, reporting on or commenting about scientific results and their implications. Scientists should strive to do this while also recognizing the need to use commonly accessible language to support public comprehension. Unsubstantiated claims and use of language that conveys undue novelty, overly broad implications and hype should be avoided.