APS Editorial Policies

Effective 5/26/18

At the annual Publications Committee meeting during the 2018 APS Annual Convention, the Committee generated a number of editorial policy updates that will apply to APS publications going forward:

  • Diversity and Inclusive Excellence
    • All APS journals should continue to strive to increase diversity and inclusive excellence among topics, authors, and reviewers.
  • Author Conflicts of Interest
    • Authors should err on the side of transparency, identifying any activities that might reasonably be perceived as a conflict, whether or not they believe that those activities actually influenced their research. Examples include, but are not limited to, consulting fees or grants from for-profit organizations, sitting on boards of for-profit organizations, or earning royalties for copyrighted measures. If editorial team members believe that authors might have an undisclosed conflict, they should discuss the potential conflict with authors and evaluate the need for disclosure. This policy is not meant to imply that individuals with potential conflicts are behaving unethically, but rather to encourage reporting of potential conflicts in the interest of promoting transparency.
  • Full Article Submissions by Members of a Journal’s Editorial team to that Journal
    • Any substantive submissions by action editors to their own journal should be managed by an external guest editor (selected by the Editor-in-Chief or by the APS publication committee if the author is the Editor-in-Chief) who is not a regular part of the editorial team and does not have any conflicts of interest.
  • Review of Editor Contributions
    • Any contribution by an editor that goes beyond a brief introduction or summary (e.g., a paragraph or two introducing a special section) should undergo peer review by a guest editor.
    • Any contributions that do not undergo peer review, however minimal (e.g., brief introduction or summary), should include a statement that it did not undergo peer review.
  • Identification of Action Editors
    • Articles should identify the action editor and Editor-in-Chief for each article (e.g., “John Doe served as Action Editor on this submission during Jane Doe’s term as Editor-in-Chief.“)
  • Self-Citations by Authors
    • Editorial team members should evaluate whether the extent of self-citation by authors is appropriate relative to that individual’s contributions to fields relevant to the focus of the article and citations to other relevant literature or authors. Editorial team members should recommend reductions in self-citations when they appear excessive or inappropriate scientifically.
  • Text Recycling/Self-Plagiarism
    • Authors can reuse text describing technical procedures or methods when those methods remain constant across studies. The COPE Editorial guidelines suggest that this form of reuse is reasonable, though citation of the previous work may be appropriate. However, authors should minimize text reuse (i.e., self-plagiarism) in other writing, though there may be some special circumstances in which some text-reuse is appropriate (e.g., invited article on a particular topic). Any text reuse outside of methods should cite the original work and should employ direct quotes and/or note that that the work excerpts from previous work with copyright permission (see also https://ori.hhs.gov/plagiarism-16a).

Note:  Authors should feel free to contact the Editor-in-Chief or other editorial staff of a journal if they are uncertain about the relevance of any of these issues for their manuscript.