Ethics Policy

Palgrave Macmillan is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics. We expect all prospective authors to read and understand our Ethics Policy before submitting any manuscripts to our journals.

Please note that submitted manuscripts may be subject to checks using the iThenticate service, in conjunction with CrossCheck, in order to detect instances of overlapping and similar text.

The iThenticate software checks submissions against millions of published research papers, documents on the web, and other relevant sources. If plagiarism or misconduct is found, consequences are detailed in the policy.

The chief goal of our policy is threefold: to provide advice for our authors, to maintain the scholarly integrity of our journals and their content, and to detail the ethical responsibilities of Palgrave Macmillan, our editors and authors.

We expect all authors to read and understand our ethics policy before submitting to any of our journals. This is in accordance with our commitment to the prevention of ethical misconduct, which we recognise to be a growing problem in academic and professional publications. It is important to note that most incidents of plagiarism, redundant publication, copyright infringement or similar occur because of a lack of understanding, and not through fraudulent intent. Our policy is one of prevention and not persecution.

If you have any questions, please contact the relevant editorial office, or Palgrave Macmillan Journals' ethics representative:

Download a PDF version of the Publication Ethics Policy [PDF,87KB].

Authors’ Responsibilities

Authors should:

  • Ensure that all researched work submitted is original, fully referenced and that all authors are represented accurately. The submission must be exclusive and not under consideration elsewhere.
  • Provide accurate contact details for a designated corresponding author, who shall be deemed by the publisher and editor as fully responsible for the authorship of the paper and all communications concerning the ethical status and originality of the paper. This includes any queries or investigations that may arise, pre- or post publication.
  • Openly disclose the source of all data and third party material, including previously unpublished work by the authors themselves. Anything that could compromise the originality of the submission should be expressly avoided and/or discussed with the editorial office in the first instance.
  • Identify any third party material that they intend to include in their article, and obtain written permission for re-use in each instance from the relevant copyright holders. Such permissions should be submitted once the manuscript is accepted, or requires small changes to be accepted. For further guidance on seeking permission to use 3rd party material please see the Rights and Permissions section.
  • Openly disclose any conflict of interest - for example, if publication were to benefit a company or services in which the author(s) has a vested interest.
  • Expect to formally agree publication terms which defines the author and the publishers rights for the work. Visit our FAQs for further information.
  • Expect the editor to scan submissions using plagiarism detection software at iThenticate to check a paper's originality before sending out for review.
  • Fully correspond and comply with the editor and publisher in any requests for source data, proof of authorship or originality in a timely manner, providing reasonable explanation for discrepancies or failures to disclose vital information.
  • Fully co-operate with any consequent investigations if the editor and/or publisher are dissatisfied with the evidence available or the explanations provided.
  • Expect transparency, efficiency and respect from the publisher and the editor during the submissions process.
  • Remain in good communication with both the publisher and the editor.
  • When necessary, submit corrigenda in a timely and responsible fashion.
  • Co-operate fully with the publication of errata and with the retraction of articles found to be unethical, misleading or damaging.
  • Remain in good communication with the editor(s), the publisher and any co-authors.

Editors’ Responsibilities

Editors should:

  • Read and understand COPE guidelines as well as Palgrave Macmillan's ethics policy, and follow them during all editorial processes.
  • Protect the reputation of their journal(s) and published work by only publishing content of the highest quality and relevance in a timely and responsible manner.
  • Carry out thorough, objective and confidential peer review for original article submissions that pass the initial quality check and editorial assessment, in adherence with COPE guidelines and Palgrave Macmillan Journals' ethics policy.
  • Detail and justify any article types which will not be peer reviewed (e.g. editorials, opinion pieces etc.).
  • Provide a transparent review and publication process as far as is possible, with full respect and care paid to the author(s).
  • Provide advice and give reasonable explanation and updates to authors during the submissions process and once a decision has been made.
  • Allow authors the right to appeal any editorial decision.
  • Only accept papers based on the original merit, quality and relevance of their content.
  • Support authors in queries concerning the originality of their submissions and request the support of Palgrave Macmillan if necessary.
  • Advise the publisher of any third party material which has been included for which they do not believe sufficient permission has been cleared.
  • Be ready and prepared to publish corrections, corrigenda, errata when necessary, as well as retract articles that (the editor and Palgrave Macmillan) deem unethical, misleading or damaging.
  • Remain in good communication with both the publisher and the author(s).

Reviewers’ Responsibilities

Reviewers should:

  • Adhere to Palgrave Macmillan’s policy of confidential peer review of their journals. This includes, but is not restricted to, keeping their identity hidden from authors and not externally distributing any work that is passed to them for their eyes only.
  • Only accept invitations to review work that is relevant to their own expertise and speciality.
  • Review submitted work in a responsible, impartial and timely manner.
  • Report any suspected ethical misconduct as part of a thorough and honest review of the work.
  • Avoid the use of unnecessarily inflammatory or offensive language in their appraisal of the work.
  • Accept the commitment to review future versions of the work and provide 'follow up’ advice to the editor(s), if requested.
  • Seek advice from the editor if anything is unclear at the time of invitation.
  • Remain in good communication with both the publisher and the editor.

Palgrave Macmillan’s Responsibilities

Palgrave Macmillan will:

  • Protect the reputation of our journals and published work by only publishing content of the highest quality and relevance in a timely and responsible manner.
  • Provide detailed information concerning both our understanding of publication ethics and our implementation of the same. Emphasise a desire for prevention, not eventual detection, of ethical misconduct.
  • Uphold our COPE membership (or of such similar organisations) and keep our editorial offices, publishing staff and society partners up-to-date with their guidelines and policies, adapting our own where appropriate (and publicising any update).
  • When necessary, request proof of originality/accuracy from the corresponding author of any work submitted to any of our journals.
  • Use plagiarism detection software when necessary for any submission to any journal at any stage of the submissions and publication process.
  • Provide a transparent submissions and publication process, with full respect and care paid to the author. This includes detailed and dedicated instructions to authors for each journal, outlining referencing style, accepted article types and submission processes.
  • Investigate thoroughly any suggestion of ethical misconduct detected during any stage of the submissions process. This can include, but is not restricted to, the following: plagiarism, redundant publication, fabrication or misuse of data and authorial disputes.
  • Correct substantive errors in Advance Online Publication (AOP) articles in a timely fashion, providing a dated statement of correction in the article.
  • When necessary, retract articles that we deem to be unethical, misleading or damaging.
  • When necessary, publish errata, corrigenda and retractions in a timely and responsible fashion, detailing the decision online in an open access format and publishing in print as soon as possible.
  • Remain in good communication with editors, authors, reviewers and society partners (where applicable).

What happens if ethical misconduct is detected?

If ethical misconduct is suspected in work submitted to any of our journals, Palgrave Macmillan works closely with the editor(s) to ensure that a fair and transparent investigation of the matter is carried out. We would recommend that authors visit the flowcharts available at COPE's website, that detail the various decision processes that can follow any suspicion that a work is not original or ethical.

We take all instances of misconduct very seriously and will investigate each with care and attention, providing full support to the editor. Consequences for misconduct are as varied as the misconduct itself, and are determined on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, the author will be given the opportunity to provide an explanation for the misconduct. An editorial decision will only be made once the investigation is completed.

In most cases, we accept that the incorrect use of third party material is frequently a result of human error, or a misunderstanding of publication ethics. This is why we actively encourage authors to read our ethics policy and guidance on using third party material before submitting, to avoid these mistakes. In those cases where more serious misconduct is detected, consequences are proportionately more serious. Palgrave Macmillan reserves the right to request any and all information from the author concerning the creation of the work, to verify its originality. If no such evidence is provided or no satisfactory explanation given, then we may ban the author(s) from resubmitting to the journal for a determined period. In extreme cases, we may take the matter to the author's institution for their attention.

If ethical misconduct is discovered in content that has already been published, we may publish a statement of concern whilst the work is investigated. If we deem it necessary, the paper may be retracted with a statement of explanation. Other consequences may include a submissions ban for any or all authors, and contacting the relevant institution(s).

If you have any further questions concerning these matters, we would encourage you to familiarise yourself with COPE's website as well as our suggested further reading below. Alternatively, you can email

Further reading

This policy owes its content in no small part to Palgrave Macmillan's membership to COPE, whose guidelines and codes of conduct are available at Palgrave Macmillan have also accessed and learned from the existing policies of other publishers and leading experts as well as open access articles that detail and define ethical misconduct.