Retractions, Conflict of Interest and Plagiarism

Retractions, Conflict of interest and Plagiarism

The Journal of Anti-Corruption Law follows the Committee on Publication Ethics' Guidelines available at ( ) when dealing with retractions, conflict of interest and plagiarism.


In instances where the article has various shortcomings such as: 

  1. Discussions that did not thoroughly address limitations, and conclusions that were over-stated and/or not supported by the results.
  2. Methods that were not described clearly and in sufficient detail to enable reproducibility.
  3. Abstracts that did not provide sufficient detail to describe the content of the article.

The following steps will be considered:

  • Is Retraction appropriate for the scenarios given above?
  • If not, should we publish a Correction or Expression of Concern for these cases? Do you have any other suggestions?


At the journal level, the editors will engage in a thorough review of their peer review and editorial processes to identify where these issues arose and establish how they can be prevented in future. This may require updating of policies and processes, and/or team training if the review suggests that there have been systematic lapses.

At an article level, the editors will establish whether the issues identified concern only the articles flagged by the JACL, or whether this is something more systematic. If other articles might be affected too then it would be essential for a larger-scale review to be carried out and for any corrective actions to apply to them as well. As part of this review the editors shall determine:

  1. The nature of the issues in the editorial process.
  2. Their connection with a single editor, or special issues.

The response to the paper(s) highlighted by the JACL shall be based on whether the flaws uncovered nullify the conclusions of the authors such as the lack of data or sources to support the data. The editors may solicit advice from a neutral, domain-expert third party could be useful in determining this. 

In terms of actions, if the issues are confined to a failure to address limitations or adequately describe methods, then the editors may like to offer the authors the opportunity to correct or clarify their work since those scenarios affect content but not necessarily results. This outcome would also avoid penalising authors if the flaws in the paper should have been uncovered in editorial processes prior to publication. Papers which include over-stated or unsupported conclusions might need expressions of concerns or retractions to avoid misleading readers, especially if methods and conclusions are not aligned. This should be done in conjunction with the more thorough reviews noted above.

If expressions of concern are posted, they should detail not only the specific problems with the article, but also the more general process issues, how these have been handled by the journal, and any reparative steps taken. 

Conflict of interest.

  • The JACL ascribes to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) which states in its Guidelines on Good Publication Practice (2003) as follows:


‘Conflicts of interest arise when authors, reviewers, or editors have interests that are not fully apparent and that may influence their judgments on what is published. They have been described as those which, when revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived.’

  • Authors must disclose all information that may be reasonably perceived to lead to a conflict of interest; and must declare any financial support related to the submitted manuscript.
  • If manuscripts are submitted by co-authors, it must be clearly indicated that all authors have significantly contributed to the research.
  • All authors are obliged to provide retractions or corrections of mistakes when so required by the publisher or editors (see comments on retractions above).
  • Authors should declare if they consider that they may be reasonably perceived to have a conflict of interest in respect of the content of the manuscript they submit.  The ground for the potential perception of a conflict of interest must be acknowledged in the manuscript. 
  • Editors must refrain from participating in the selection of articles about which they may reasonably be perceived to have a conflict of interest.
  • External reviewers are expected to refrain from participating in the selection of articles about which they may be reasonably perceived to have a conflict of interest.
  • Conflict of interest include any personal involvement in a case or other matter related to a manuscript under consideration for publication that may reasonably perceived to lead to bias, such as having a meaningful financial interest in a related matter, having received funding, having an interest in the outcome of a case being discussed in a manuscript, or having a personal relationship

Screening for Plagiarism

  • The Journal of Anti-Corruption Law  has a strict policy of screening manuscripts for plagiarism. The Journal of Anti-Corruption Law uses Anti-plagiarism software to detect plagiarism before considering a manuscript for review. Evidence of plagiarism may lead to the rejection of the manuscript.
  • All manuscripts then undergo an in-house substantive screening by the Editor-in-Chief and the Associate Editors.  Manuscripts may at this stage be rejected without undergoing anonymous peer review where, they fall outside the scope of the Journal of Anti-Corruption Law; do not follow the guidelines of the Journal of Anti-Corruption Law. the language use significantly impedes comprehension; and the manuscript does not present a substantiated argument, among other reasons.