Ethical Guidelines

At Bristol University Press/Policy Press we are committed to upholding the highest standards of review in our journals as well as peer review integrity. Bristol University Press/Policy Press is also currently applying to sign up to the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines on good publication practice.

Guidelines for authors

  • All authors must certify that the article is their own original work. Please consult our authorship criteria guidelines when assigning authorship.
  • All material drawn on must be referenced appropriately.
  • Permission must be cleared to re-use any content that has not been created by the author(s). More information on permissions can be seen at here, including advice on when permission is needed and how to go about requesting permission.
  • All named co-authors must consent to publication and to being named as a co-author.
  • Authors should only submit a manuscript to one journal at a time.
  • Authors should avoid making any statements about individuals or organisations that could be construed as libel, slander or defamation.
  • Authors must follow national and international procedures that govern the ethics of experimentation on humans and animals.
  • If authors include details, images; or videos relating to individual research participants in their manuscript, they must obtain written informed consent for publication from the participants (or their parent or legal guardian).
  • Authors must declare potential conflicts of interest (see definition below) when prompted during the online submission process.
  • They must also include a conflict of interest declaration at the end of their final published article, before the funding acknowledgement (if applicable).

    If no conflicts exist,
    please state “The Author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest”.

    If potential conflicts exist please supply details. Suggested wording: “I/we have read and understood the Bristol University Press/Policy Press guidelines for declaration of conflicts of interest and declare the following interests: …[please specify]”.

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) defines conflicts of interest in its 
Guidelines on Good Publication Practice:

“Conflicts of interest comprise those which may not be fully apparent and which may influence the judgment of author, reviewers, and editors. They have been described as those which, when revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived. They may be personal, commercial, political, academic or financial. “Financial” interests may include employment, research funding, stock or share ownership, payment for lectures or travel, consultancies and company support for staff.”

Guidelines for reviewers

Reviewers must give unbiased consideration to each manuscript submitted for consideration for publication, and should judge each on its merits, without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex, seniority, commercial influence, or institutional affiliation of the author(s).

  • Reviewers should declare to the journal editors any potential conflict of interest (see definition above) prior to agreeing to review a manuscript.
  • Reviewers must keep the peer review process and resulting report confidential. Information or correspondence about a manuscript should not be shared with anyone outside of the peer review process, during or after peer review.
  • Reviewers must avoid making statements in their report which might be construed as impugning any person or organisation's reputation. 
  • Reviewers should not suggest that authors include citations to the reviewer’s (or their associates’) work merely to increase the reviewer’s (or their associates’) citation count or to enhance the visibility of their or their associates’ work; suggestions must be based on valid academic reasons.
  • Reviewers should call to the journal editor's attention any significant similarity between the manuscript under consideration and any published paper or submitted manuscripts of which they are aware.
  • Reviewers should call to the journal editor’s attention any irregularities or concerns over the ethical aspects of the work.
  • Bristol University Press/Policy Press refers reviewers to the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers.

    Guidelines for Editors

  • Journal editors must give unbiased consideration to each manuscript submitted for consideration for publication, and should judge each on its merits, without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex, seniority, commercial influence, or institutional affiliation of the author(s).
  • Journal editors should declare to Bristol University Press/Policy Press any potential conflict of interest (see definition above) with a manuscript before establishing the peer review process.
  • Journal editors must keep the peer review process confidential; information or correspondence about a manuscript should not be shared with anyone outside of the peer review process, during or after peer review
  • Journal editors should arrange for responsibility of the peer review of any original research article authored or co-authored by themselves to be delegated to another member of the editorial or advisory board as appropriate. All such articles will be rendered invisible to the author/s in the online submission system.
  • Journal editors should call to Bristol University Press/Policy Press’s attention any irregularities or concerns over the ethical aspects of any work under consideration for the journal, either identified by or reported to them.
  • Bristol University Press/Policy Press refers editors to the COPE Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors.

Any suspected breaches of ethical behaviour relating to Bristol University Press/Policy Press journals should be reported to edwina.thorn@bristol.ac.uk