An article in the January issue of Science & Engineering Ethics reports on journals’ policies and procedures about image manipulation.
Mindaugas Broga and colleagues studied differences in publication ethics policies among journals in Eastern European countries in the European Union (EU) and in South-Eastern European countries, which were not in the EU. (For convenience, these groups will be referred to as EU and non-EU countries of Eastern Europe.) The researchers studied 57 journals in the Eastern EU and 11 journals in Eastern non-EU countries (i.e., South-East Europe). All the journals were in English and indexed in Medline.
The outcome? None of the journals from the EU countries had policies on image manipulation, while 18% of the non-EU journals had such policies (P = 0.0001).
The authors summed up by stating that the study “indicates that the least frequently addressed policies for both regions include image manipulation.” They note that most of the journals were either general medical journals or journals that did not publish many articles with digital images.
Overall, the findings mean that the regional journals that are most linked into the international research community do not have the policies on the digital images that underlie so much of contemporary science research. Further, the journals from EU countries, which would also normally be considered part of the international research community, have no policies.
Broga, M et al. Publication Ethics in Biomedical Journals from Countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Sci Eng Ethics (2014) 20:99–109.