Publication Ethics

Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement

The editorial team of Plant Ecology and Evolution adheres to academic standards to ensure quality and integrity of the content published, and monitors the peer review and production process to that purpose. External contributors, such as authors and reviewers, are expected to strictly comply with the following policy on publication ethics and malpractice.


General information

COPE guidelines
All members of the editorial team fully adhere to the code of conduct and the best practice guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics. Editors are particularly encouraged to use COPE’s flowcharts when they suspect an ethical issue.

Distribution of published contributions
Since 1 January 2019, authors retain the copyright of their paper, and all content is published as open access, under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0). For full information, consult our Copyright and Open Access policy.
The journal is published both online and in print. For a list of the libraries that receive printed copies, contact the editorial office.

Privacy statement
The names, affiliations, and email addresses collected during the editorial process will be exclusively used for the purposes stated in our privacy statement and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.



Any manuscript submitted must be original. Authors should aim at high quality, both for scientific content and format (language, illustrations, etc.).
For taxonomic papers, authors should follow the rules of the most recent edition of the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants.

Material studied
For taxonomic papers, authors must ensure that nomenclatural types are deposited in a public herbarium. For other studies, authors are strongly encouraged to deposit voucher specimens in public herbaria. Authors should undertake all necessary steps to obtain permits prior to collecting, and are expected to comply with all legal obligations regarding access and benefit sharing of the biological collections used in their study.
To prevent taxon extinction and to respect biodiversity resources of the country where specimens are collected, it is strongly recommended that authors comply with the IUCN Policy Statement on Research Involving Species at Risk of Extinction and the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Copyright and Open Access
Authors submitting their manuscript to Plant Ecology and Evolution agree with our copyright and open access policy. After peer review and upon acceptance of the manuscript, authors will be asked to sign a publication agreement detailing the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License and giving the publishers primary right to publish the paper.

Upon submission, authors are requested to use the cover letter template available on the website. By completing the form, the corresponding author engages their responsibility and that of their co-authors. If the form is not complete, the manuscript will be rejected without review.

Peer review
Our review model is single-blind peer review: reviewers are aware of the authors’ identities, while authors are not informed of the reviewers’ identities. Any reviewer can choose to reveal their identity by including their name in the review report.

Plagiarism, text recycling, and salami slicing
Authors are expected to contribute to their research field by publishing original and relevant results and data. The following elements are considered essential for an ethical publication:
- Data integrity;
- Sound presentation of methodologies, sources and techniques used;
- Reproducibility of results;
- Acknowledgement of contributors to data collection and research;
- Acknowledgement of funding agencies/sponsors and institutions where the work (or some parts) was carried out.

As a consequence, authors must cite appropriate and relevant literature in support of the results presented in their manuscript. Authors who already published papers on the same topic are expected to include citation of these papers when relevant. However, they must avoid any excessive or inappropriate self-citation.
Plagiarism is unacceptable; if plagiarism is suspected, the editorial team will thoroughly investigate, and the submission will be suspended during the investigation.
Self-plagiarism (also known as text recycling) should be avoided as much as possible; however, when text duplication from previous works is necessary, it is then reported transparently (e.g., using quotes) and these previous works are fully cited in the publication itself.
Whenever possible, data and results gathered in the same framework (e.g., a single research project) should not be broken up into smaller publishable units. This behaviour must be strictly avoided when the data and results share common hypotheses, methods and material. “Salami slicing” not only distorts the way a reader sees the paper (considered as a single original unit when it is only a subset of a more substantial study), it also causes cross-referencing issues.

Research misconduct
Invention of data and malicious manipulation of data or images are unacceptable. Authors are expected to keep accurate records of the data and to have a proactive and ethical attitude on data management (data availability, quality checks). Data omission or intentional manipulation of parts of the dataset to fit the desired study’s hypotheses will be considered as fraud.
Illustrations that present data should not be manipulated unless for clarity purposes (e.g., adjustment of the contrast, colours, etc.). When doing so, the author must ensure that the manipulation does not lead to loss or misinterpretation of data. Methods or techniques used to enhance images must be described in the Material and Methods, or at least in the caption accompanying the illustration.

Reproducibility of results
We strongly encourage authors to submit the datasets used in the study, alongside the manuscript, as supplementary files.
Novel sequences for proteins or nucleotides are deposited within one of the main databases (e.g., European Nucleotide Archive, GenBank), and accession numbers are included in the paper.
Sequence matrices are preferably provided as supplementary file(s); this is mandatory when alignment information is critical to the message of the paper.
Molecular trees and alignments: independently from the submission files, authors are strongly encouraged to submit their data to TreeBase or Dryad.
To facilitate data reuse, datasets can also be hosted on the authors’ personal/institutional website(s), ingested in relevant databases and repositories (e.g., Zenodo, GBIF).

Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest is a situation in which a person can be influenced or corrupted in their decisions or actions because they are involved in multiple interests (financial, emotional, social), and that at least one of these interests can oppose to another.
Authors are expected to disclose any conflict of interest prior to submission, by using the appropriate field in the cover letter accompanying the manuscript.



Review process
When a manuscript is considered suitable for peer review, it is assigned to a communicating editor. The manuscript is sent to at least two reviewers (members of the Board or external).
Reviewers invited by the communicating editor can accept or decline the invitation. The journal provides reviewing guidelines with general criteria for judging a submission’s suitability for publication in the journal.
Please note that our review model is single-blind peer review: reviewers are aware of the authors’ identities, while authors are not informed of the reviewers’ identities. Any reviewer can choose to reveal their identity by signing the review report. Reviewers can contact the editorial office to receive technical advice on anonymity of documents.

Responsibilities of reviewers
Reviewers are expected to inform the communicating editor of any potential conflict of interest.
It is the responsibility of reviewers to maintain the confidentiality of the manuscript, and not to disclose information about the manuscript to other persons, even close colleagues. Reviewers are also expected not to use for themselves (or in their own work) any information or result gained from the manuscript, unless they obtain explicit consent from the authors of the manuscript.



Editorial decision
The final decision on acceptance or rejection is made by the editor in chief, upon recommendation of the communicating editor. The editorial office will communicate this final decision by e-mail to the corresponding author. Reviewers who participated in the process will be informed of the final decision separately.
If there is any conflict of interest between an editor and an author, the editor in question will not be involved in the review and decision processes.

Reviewer anonymity
Our review model is single-blind peer review: reviewers are aware of the authors’ identities, while authors are not informed of the reviewers’ identities. Any reviewer can choose to reveal their identity by including their name in the review report. Reviewers can contact the editorial office to receive technical advice on anonymity of documents.


Ethical issues and response from the editorial team

Notification of ethical issues
Anyone suspecting an ethical issue is encouraged to contact the editorial office.

Investigation of ethical issues
The editor in chief will conduct the investigation, and contact all persons potentially involved.
All members of the editorial team, as well as reviewers and authors, are encouraged to provide feedback during the treatment of ethical issues.
Based on the responses of persons involved, the editor in chief will determine if there are sufficient proofs before taking any action.
The editorial process (peer review, production in view of publication) is suspended during the investigation.

Resolving ethical issues
During peer review, the manuscript will be rejected if the investigation concludes on the non-respect of element(s) provided in this statement.
If the manuscript has been already published in Plant Ecology and Evolution, the editor in chief will take a decision based on the nature of the problem:
- Divergent scientific views between persons involved: a right to reply is granted to the person incriminated and to the person who made the complaint.
- Minor ethical issues: all persons involved are informed, and encouraged to publish a joint corrigendum to the paper.
- Serious ethical issues (e.g., plagiarism): the editor in chief can decide to retract the paper and publish an editorial; all persons involved or whose interests are involved will be informed, including direct chief executive/manager in charge with the person(s) responsible of the issue.

The editorial team will always take each case separately, look for the most appropriate solution, and will involve every person or institution implicated by the problem in the investigation.