Principles and ethical rules of the Museum's scientific publications

Principles and ethical rules of the Muséum's Scientific journals

March 2021

Principles and rules of ethics for the Museum's scientific publications

Since 1802, the Museum has been a scientific publisher in the field of natural history and human sciences. The MNHN Science Press publishes original scientific results in the fields of competence of the National Museum of Natural History. The Scientific Publications include periodicals, collections of books and monographs, stand-alone books, as well as titles co-published with other institutions.

The MNHN Science Press is responsible for the evaluation and technical follow-up of projects; it ensures the distribution, storage and sale. Each title or series is placed under the scientific responsibility of an editor who relies on the expertise of specialist reviewers, on the one hand, and under the technical responsibility of a publisher, on the other hand.
The production of the Science Press is covered by indexing organizations, in particular by Web of Knowledge (Clarivate analytics) and Scopus (Elsevier). The journals are thus covered with an impact factor. All articles are available online as soon as they are published, free of charge, on the Museum's website.

Rules applicable to editors and evaluators

The editors of the journals and series are scientists from the Museum or partner institutions, in France or abroad. The editor guarantees that the scope of the journal or series is respected and that the principles and operating rules described below are adhered to, as well as the scientific quality of the journal or series for which he/she is responsible and ensures the regular renewal of its committee of evaluators in the interests of scientific independence.

Evaluation process for submitted articles and monographs
Manuscripts that do not conform to the editorial scope of the journal or series may be rejected by the editorial staff without an evaluation report. The submitted manuscript are first evaluated by the editorial staff and then submitted to the Museum's publishing committee for advice and approval.
Manuscripts that conform to the scope are evaluated by at least two anonymous reviewers, unless they wish to sign their evaluation.

In the event of contradictory evaluations, additional opinions may be requested.

According to the reviewers’ reports, the editor takes one of the following four decisions:
     1) acceptance of the text as submitted;
     2) acceptance subject to minor or major changes;
     3) rejection with the possibility of resubmission.
     4) rejection without the possibility of resubmission.

Based on a corrected version sent by the author, the editor will take a final decision, positive or negative, depending on whether the author has considered the suggestions and comments of the reviewers. The new version may be sent again to the reviewers, if one of them has requested it or if the editor deems it necessary. The new version may also be sent to a new reviewer.

Ethical principles
Editors and reviewers must disqualify themselves if they have a conflict of interest with one of the authors or with the content of the manuscript to be reviewed.
Similarly, any reviewer who knows that he or she is not qualified to evaluate a manuscript or cannot do so within a reasonable period of time is required to notify the editorial staff and recuse himself or herself.
The editorial office considers, in its decisions, the legal requirements with respect to defamation, copyright infringement or plagiarism.
An editor or reviewer should not use in his or her research the data presented in manuscripts submitted prior to eventual publication without the express written consent of the author.

Impartiality and confidentiality
Submitted manuscripts are dealt with as confidential documents. No information about a manuscript submitted to the editorial office shall be divulged to anyone other than the author(s), the potential reviewer(s) and the editorial staff.
Manuscripts are evaluated solely on their intellectual or scientific content, without distinction of origin, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, nationality, academic affiliation or political philosophy of the authors.

Ethical rules applicable to authors
Originality of the text and plagiarism
Authors must guarantee the originality of their article and not publish any text that would be, in any form whatsoever, counterfeit as defined by the intellectual property code.
The authors also undertake not to submit a manuscript that has been the subject of a previous publication or that is based exclusively on works already published elsewhere. Similarly, authors undertake not to submit their manuscript to several journals or series simultaneously.

Respect of the editorial line
MNHN Science Press publishes original scientific results in the fields of competence of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle. Articles must conform to the editorial scope of each journal or series, which is aligned with the editorial policy of the MNHN Science press.

Mention and role of authors
The corresponding authors is the author corresponding with the editorial staff. He/she must ensure that only appropriate co-authors are included in the list of authors, and  must furthermore ensure that all co-authors agreed to submit and then publish the article after they have seen and approved the final version of their text.

The corresponding author thus certifies to have received the agreement of all co-authors of the manuscript as to its content and their participation as authors. The list of authors must illustrate precisely who contributed to the study and how. All authors who have made a significant contribution to the conception, execution or interpretation of the study presented in the text submitted to the editorial office should be listed according to their involvement. An author must:
1. Have made a significant contribution to the conception and execution of the study, or to the acquisition of data, or to its analysis and interpretation;
2. Have made a significant contribution to the writing of the manuscript or to the critical review of its intellectual content;
3. Have given final approval of the version to be published. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the study to be able to assume public responsibility for the content and its compliance with the rules of scientific integrity.
4. Any contributions that would not meet these criteria should be listed, with the permission of the contributor, in the Acknowledgements section (for example, to acknowledge anyone for providing technical assistance, data collection, drafting assistance, funding or other general support). Before submitting the article, all authors should agree on the order in which their names will appear in the manuscript. Any changes in the list or order of authors between submission and the revised or final version of a manuscript should be made on a form signed by all authors confirming their agreement.

Authors' contribution
Submissions must be accompanied at the end of the manuscript by a short paragraph mentioning the contributions of each of the listed authors. For example: L.B. and T.R. conceived the ideas; T.R. and B.G.C. collected the data; L.B. and A.G. analyzed the data; T.R. and A.G. directed the writing. If this paragraph is not indicated, the authors are deemed to have participated equally in the article and the research results it contains.

Ethical principles
The authors undertake to follow, in the submitted manuscripts, the rules of scientific debate and not to make defamatory statements that could be interpreted as damaging to the reputation of a third party.
They must declare any potential professional or financial conflict of interest. All sources of non-public funding for the research presented in the submitted manuscripts must be explicitly mentioned.

The grants and types of funding must imperatively be listed at the end of the article, as well as the analytical platforms, dedicated services (marine stations, databases), including collections and associated resources and anyone who helped facilitate the research.

Sampling and field studies
The corresponding author undertakes to ensure that all necessary permits for sampling, field studies, and export of the material have been obtained from the relevant authorities and are mentioned in the acknowledgements, in accordance with the CBD and Nagoya protocols.

Format of institutional addresses in France
The MNHN recommends that each author indicates all research unit he/she belongs to in the same line in the institutional address. This must include: 1) the name of the research institute in full (followed in brackets by the abbreviation without the unit number, which is difficult to read internationally), 2) the name of the unit's main establishment (for units under the main supervision of the Museum, please indicate in full: Muséum national d'histoire naturelle), followed by the names of the other institutions and organisations under the supervision of the unit (possibly abbreviated as: CNRS), 3) the postal address of the unit, indicating the town, postcode and country.

Any author discovering, after publication, a significant error or inaccuracy in his or her own work, is obliged to inform the editorial staff without delay and to cooperate to publish an erratum or even to ask for the withdrawal of his or her article.

Access to raw data
At the request of the editorial staff, authors may be asked to provide raw data in relation to their research. The authors undertake, as far as possible, to give public access to these data and thus to keep them for a reasonable period of time after publication or to deposit them in free accessible databases.


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