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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Frontiers of Biogeography

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Ethical Considerations

Allegations of misconduct

All allegations of misconduct are taken seriously by the journal and editors.  Please follow the following procedures if you would like to lodge an allegation of misconduct:

  • Designated contact person for allegations:  Editorial Office Manager (Karen Faller
  • The editorial office manager will do an initial review and refer to the appropriate Editor-in-Chief (EiC) or Deputy-Editor-in-Chief (DEiC), who will either review directly, or designate a panel to handle ethics issues, review allegations, and initiate impartial and confidential investigations of cases.
  • In cases where allegations involve either the Editorial Office Manager, Editor-in-Chief, or Deputy Editor-in-Chief, one of the three can be contacted independently (if appropriate), or alternatively an email can be sent to the VP for Communications of the International Biogeography Society.

Policy on sharing of information among editors-in-chief (and/or the VP for Communications of the International Biogeography Society, as above) regarding possible misconduct:

  • Confidential treatment of submissions and authors remains fundamental, and care and consideration are taken in selecting materials to share, and in the methods and motives of sharing.
  • Sharing of information between EiC, Deputy EiC & other editors is only undertaken when it becomes necessary in fulfilling the EiC’s obligation to respond to suspected research misconduct.
  • Information shared is restricted to factual content only, avoiding conjecture, supposition, or inference.
  • Authors will be informed when information will be shared with other editors.
  • EiCs should follow the same guidelines when sharing information regarding possible misconduct in a submitted (but as yet unpublished) manuscript and a published article

Allegations made by Whistleblowers:

  • All allegations of misconduct by whistleblowers will be taken seriously according to the regular allegation policy.  Allegation receipt will be acknowledged by Editorial Office Manager or EiC and will be investigated further.

Research Ethics

The following sections have been adopted from policy statements previously published by the British Ecological Society, with only minimal changes in wording. This reflects that papers published in Frontiers of Biogeography are generally similar to those published in the BES journals in their nature and in the forms of data employed by authors.

Ethical approval and consent 

Research involving human data or subjects must have been performed in accordance with the declaration of Helsinki and appropriate ethical approval must have been obtained before research is carried out. A statement giving the name of the committee that approved the study and any reference number must be included in the Methods section of the manuscript. If exemption from requiring ethical approval has been granted this should be stated in the manuscript. The Editorial office may request proof of exemption. Manuscripts may be rejected if the Editors feel that the ethical framework of the study is not appropriate.

Informed consent to participate in the study must be obtained from all human subjects (or their parents or legal guardian in the case of children under 16), and a statement to this effect should appear in the manuscript.

Animal research 

All research involving animals must have proper regard for conservation and animal welfare considerations. Papers published in Frontiers of Biogeography will rarely involve animal experiments, but in so far as they are applicable, researchers should refer to the PREPARE guidelines when[1]  planning animal experiments and the ARRIVE Guidelines[2]  when reporting on research.

Studies that involve manipulation of animals in the field or the lab should comply with all relevant legislation and guidelines and have the appropriate ethical approval. Details of how the work complied with ethical standards must be included in the methods section of the manuscript, including the name of the institution that approved the study and all relevant approval and license numbers. 

We understand that procedures for granting ethics approval for animal research and research ethics standards differ across regions. If there is no local research ethics committee for your research, or if your study was exempt from requiring approval, or you can show that ethics approval was not required, you must describe how you ensured that your research met appropriate ethical standards in your methods section. This will be assessed by the journal editorial board. The final decision on whether to consider a submission lies with the journal Editors. Manuscripts may be rejected if the Editors consider that the ethical framework of the study is not sufficient, whether or not you have ethical approval. We may request documentary evidence of ethical approval.

More details on good practice in the carrying out and reporting of research using animals can be found in the Association for the Study of Animal Behavior / Animal Behavior Society Guidelines for the use of animals in behavioural research and teaching [3] (Animal Behaviour, 2020, 159, I-XI).    

Adherence to this policy will be checked by the editorial office in consultation with journal Senior Editors and subject to guidance from the Board of the International Biogeography Society, as required.

Plant research

Experimental plant research must adhere to institutional, national, and/or international guidelines. Field research must also adhere to institutional, national, and/or international guidelines, and appropriate licences and/or permissions should be obtained before work commences.

Field studies

Field studies, whether they are interventional or observational, or involve collecting specimens (organisms, DNA, etc) must have appropriate licenses and permits from the relevant jurisdiction or organization, and details of these should be given in the methods section of the manuscript, including details of the body that granted them and relevant licence and permit numbers. If you did not need permission for field work, please state this. Specimen collection must be in compliance with all international (CITES) and location-based regulations.

Publication Ethics

Duplicate submission/publication

Any manuscript that has been submitted or published in a scientific journal, book or similar entity, in whole or in part, will not be considered for publication. Any potential overlap with a published or submitted work should be declared to the editorial office on submission.  However, in principle, we will consider manuscripts which have previously been posted on personal websites or preprint servers such as ArXiv, BiorXiv and PeerJ PrePrints, or which have been previously published in an author’s academic thesis.