Basic Canon of Publishing Ethics


“An important but seldom discussed aspect of the ethics of science is concerned with the integrity of the medium which conveys reports to the scientific community at large.” Therefore, model policy for publishing ethics is pending further discovery:

  • What are scientific fraud?
  • What are deliberate misconducts?
  • How to provide an additional level of quality control to the model policy released by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)?

Named nonhumans credit for scientists

Miscellaneous nonhumans with anthropomorphic names are routinely credited as solo authors, coauthors and contributors in scientific publications. Such prosocial behaviors against social norms may disrupt the present-day canon of publication ethics, and further challenge inception architecture on augmentation of human abilities in a hybrid society.

Our key findings are listed as follows:

  • On the occasion of the 20th celebration of the COPE Report 1999, we recast the diachronic discourse of the phrase ‘publication ethics’ and its variations, which promises to articulate the unfolding chronological picture of publication ethics. Miscellaneous nonhumans with anthropomorphic names are routinely credited as authors or contributors in scientific publications. Such offenders require a collective response.
  • Our findings show that prosociality theory is useful for understanding the motivation behind these empathetic behaviors. Entitlement to named credit should not be considered to be owed to primates only. If due credit is not extended to the rest of earth’s fauna, this implies stereotypical notions of anthropocentrism and dogmatism.
  • The increase in the number of nonhuman protagonists raises intriguing ethical questions and ushers us in a sequential dilemma. Such prosocial behaviours against social norms may disrupt the present-day protocols of gatekeepers and the canon of publication ethics, which should be duly reinforced. We propose a generic fame model to illustrate the trajectories of the collaborative interaction between scientists and nonhuman protagonists, which cannot be explained by the well-accepted theoretical frameworks such as utility theory and reciprocal altruism.
  • As the former Editor-in-Chief of Science, Dr. Bruce Alberts, remarked, “Scientists everywhere can and should do more to promote [scientific standards].”[i] This critical review is expected to provide a hallmark reference for reframing far-reaching discussions on both publication ethics and inception architecture on human-nonhuman collaboration in a hybrid society.

[i] B. Alberts, Promoting Scientific Standards. Science 327, 12–12 (2010).