MPSA Policy on Editorial Conflicts of Interest
(Adopted on 4/5/2018; Revised 8/30/2019 )
The American Journal
of Political Science is the flagship journal of the Midwest Political Science
Association, with a large readership, articles that are frequently cited and a
reputation as a global leader in social science research. It is consistently one
of the most highly-ranked journals in the discipline, and is currently ranked
first. Because of this status, the AJPS editorial office exercises
significant power with direct consequences for the intellectual advancement and
the professional careers of those who seek to publish in the journal. AJPS
editors are held to the highest professional and ethical standards of the
academy, are expected to act in the best interests of the MPSA, and are
required to avoid conflicts of interest. The purpose of this policy is to
clarify what constitutes a conflict of interest for editors and authors, and
how to prevent such conflicts from occurring in the editorial process.
While conflicts of interest on the part of AJPS reviewers are also relevant to
the integrity of the editorial process, this policy addresses only conflicts of
interest between editors and author and requires that editor(s) will develop
and implement an appropriate reviewer conflict of interest policy consistent
with the principles and goals expressed below.
1. Conflict of Interest. A conflict of
interest (COI) is a transaction or relationship which presents or may present
an incompatibility between an editor’s obligations to the MPSA and discipline,
and the editor’s personal, professional, third-party or other interests.
COI’s in the editorial process could result in an unfair situation in which the
editor tries to bestow a benefit or impose a cost on an author, or where
authors seek such benefits, for reasons that are not merit-based. These
transactions/relationships potentially include, but are not limited to:
financial (investments, loans, royalties, fee payments) or non-financial but
cash-in-kind (meals, transportation, entertainment); professional relationships
(students, colleagues, collaborators); and personal relationships, including
but not limited to family members or close friends and other types of
relationships that might be deemed by a reasonable person to be unethical.
2. Disclosure of Claims. An actual or
potential conflict of interest may also result from formal professional or
ethical claims made against the editor independent of editorial
operations. These conflicts may compromise the editor’s ability to
perform his/her editorial responsibilities or may have consequences for the
reputation and success of the journal. Editors are expected to inform the
executive committee (president, president-elect and past president) of any
known claims. Should such claims be brought to the attention of the
executive committee, the committee will review the status of the claims and
determine the best response, if any.
3. Disclosure of Known
appointment, and updated as needed, the editors and all editorial board members
shall receive a copy of this policy and agree (by signing) to comply with
it. In addition, authors and editors are required to provide full
disclosure of all actual and potential conflicts to the Publishing Ethics
Committee when a manuscript is submitted for review, and before any editorial
actions are taken.
4. Nature of Conflicts
Relevant to this Policy.
Not all conflicts of interest are prohibited or
harmful to the MPSA. The association recognizes that our association,
disciplines, and scholarly communities are relatively small, with potentially
complex (collegial or competitive) relationships. However, the following
professional or personal relationships between authors and editors are
conflicts of interest that are prohibited:
- current or former
dissertation committee chair or committee member (ever)
- current colleagues at
the same institution
- current professional
research, teaching or funding collaborators
- current or former
spouses or partners
5. Review of Conflicts. The MPSA’s
Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) will review any disclosed potential
conflicts of interest not explicitly identified in the preceding section to
determine if COPE requires an alternate editorial review process, which could
include assigning an alternate editor for that manuscript. If there is a single
editor, the alternate editor would be a past editor of AJPS. If there are
multiple editors of the AJPS and only one has a conflict, one of the other
editors may be assigned to the manuscript. The association expects that the
alternate editorial process will be used only in limited circumstances.
Annually, the editor(s) and COPE will provide a report to the executive
committee and editorial board that lists the actual and potential conflicts of
interests identified through the conflict of interest review process.
NOTE: The MPSA Executive Council may consider improvements to the policy as the AJPS Editorial Team creates procedures to implement and evaluate the Editorial Conflict of Interest Policy.
Contacting the Publishing Ethics Committee
The Publishing Ethics Committee, comprised of Sarah Binder of George Washington University (chair), Ray Duch of Oxford University and Laurel Weldon of Purdue University may be contacted by email at PEC@ajps.org.