MPSA Policy on Editorial Conflicts of Interest
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 commonly one of the most highly ranked journals in the discipline, and is currently ranked as 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 them 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 and 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 Conflicts. Upon 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 Publishing Ethics Committee is responsible for supporting the editorial office in the implementation of this policy. A member of the committee will review any disclosed potential conflicts of interest not explicitly identified in the preceding section to determine if they require 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 only be used in limited circumstances.
6. Transparency. If a manuscript has an alternate editor assigned and it is accepted and published, the fact that an alternate editor was assigned will be noted in the journal. Annually, the editor(s) and the Publishing Ethics Committee 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.
Adopted by the MPSA Council on April 5, 2018
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@mpsanet.org.