- Instructions for Authors
- Sections and Section Editors
- Special Issue Submission
- Book Review Submission
- Reviewing Procedure
- Thank you to Reviewers
- Manuscript Details
- Manuscript Presentation
- General information about Abstract and Keywords
- Ethical Responsibilities of Authors
- Authorship principles
- Compliance with Ethical Standards
- Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest
- Research involving human participants, their data or biological material
- Informed consent
- After Acceptance
- Open Choice
- Research Data Policy
- Color Illustrations
- Social Media
- Online First
- English Language Editing
Instructions for Authors
Springer provides authors, editors and reviewers of the Journal of Business Ethics the use of our fully web-enabled online manuscript submission and review system. Our online manuscript submission and review system offers authors the option to track the progress of the review process of manuscripts in real time. Manuscripts should be submitted to:
Submit online (Link: http://www.editorialmanager.com/busi/default.aspx)
Submission of a manuscript to the Journal of Business Ethics implies the following:
• that the work described has not been published before; that it is not under consideration for publication anywhere else;
• that the paper has not been previously rejected or withdrawn after review by the Journal of Business Ethics;
• that its publication has been approved by all co-authors;
• that its publication has been approved by the responsible authorities – tacitly or explicitly – at the institute where the work has been carried out.
The Journal of Business Ethics takes scholarly integrity very seriously. We expect that our authors do not engage in unethical behavior. Unethical behavior includes but is not limited to (1) not acknowledging all sources of the ideas in their work (2) reproducing the work of others, (3) reproducing their own work without proper citation and credit, and (4) resubmitting papers already rejected at the journal.
Any variation from this approach may result in rejection, authors not being allowed to submit future papers and/or increased scrutiny of authors in future submissions. The publisher and/or editors will not be held legally responsible should there be any claims for compensation.
During the submission process it is important that you enter the names of anyone who has contributed to your manuscript (this is not possible at a later stage) by clicking 'Add Author'. The order of the authors may be changed by clicking the arrows. The first author of the manuscript may be indicated. To change the corresponding author, enter the new corresponding author's name in the text boxes, and click the check box labeled 'Please select if this is the corresponding author'.
Sections and Section Editors
Accounting and Business Ethics
Charles H. Cho
This section seeks submissions that address ethical issues as they relate to accounting. It has a broad focus in terms of methodology and subject matter. Authors are encouraged to submit theoretical and/or empirical work. Recent topics have included issues of auditor independence, financial reporting fraud, ethical management and adjustments, state of accounting ethics research, accountability in the public sector, morality and the accounting profession, behavioural choices, and studies of ethics, social and environmental accounting disclosures. Submissions are welcome in new and emerging areas of accounting ethics research that challenge familiar boundaries of knowledge.
Behavioral Business Ethics
David M. Wasieleski
Katherina G Pattit
This section of the journal focuses on research in the business ethics subfield—behavioral business ethics. Rooted in social scientific as well as natural science research, behavioral business ethics utilizes insights from behavioral psychology, neuroscience, behavioral economics, and cognition to examine the antecedents of human behavior in ethical situations, and the forces that influence organizational stakeholders’ decisions. Of interest to this section is scholarly work that provides insights into what affects the last stage of the ethical decision-making model, behavior. Institutional and organizational pressures, individual cognitive biases and naturally formed tendencies all play a role in determining both commission and omission decisions in business. Conceptual and empirical studies (including laboratory studies) submitted to this section should contribute to the field’s understanding of human behavior associated with business ethics issues.
The Journal of Business Ethics is introducing a new Book Review section for the journal. The purpose of the Book Review section is to provide a forum for new ideas, critical reflection and debate with the overall objective of publishing high-quality book reviews pertaining to the field of business ethics, broadly defined. In principle, we expect reviews to fit either of the following formats:
• A multiple book review that is comparative of several new works in a specific area or an in depth review several works by the same author (peer reviewed).
• A regular book review of a single volume of relevance and interest (editorial review)
A Multiple book review will be around 6,000+ words in length, and regular book reviews approximately 2,000-6,000 words.
We invite all authors to actively consider a contribution to a vibrant culture of ideas and intellectual exchange to further increase the impact of the Journal of Business Ethics as the journal of choice in its domain and a force majeure in the pursuit of positive futures!
Scott J. Vitell
This section seeks submissions that focus on the scope and ethical nature of consumption. Articles are welcomed which explore consumer ethics from conceptual, positivist, interpretivist and cross-disciplinary perspectives, which may include, but are not restricted, to the psychological, cultural and/or socio-economic factors pertinent to advancing our understanding of consumer ethics and ethical theory. Consumer ethics may include consideration of (non)purchase, use and disposal of goods and services by consumers, ethical, green, political, activist and anti consumer identities, the nature and role of influencers, barriers and enablers in (non)ethical decisions by consumers and unethical consumer practices. Conceptual papers may be grounded in any ethical theory, whereas empirical manuscripts from a broad range of quantitative or qualitative methodologies are welcomed.
Corporate Governance and Business Ethics
This section welcomes papers on corporate governance. Corporate governance encompasses the whole set of legal, cultural and institutional arrangements that determine what corporations can do, who controls them, how control is exercised, and how risks and returns are allocated. In this context, the finance model of the firm in which the central problem is seen as how to construct rules and incentives to align the behavior of managers with the interests of shareholders, needs to be supplemented with other models of corporate control including stewardship, stakeholder and political and cultural models. Central to this will be the analysis of business values and ethics exercised in the endeavour to create responsible business. Submissions of conceptual papers grounded in an established theory as well as empirical manuscripts dealing with quantitative or qualitative methodology are welcomed both from academics and practitioners.
Corporate Responsibility: Theoretical/Qualitative Issues
Benjamin A. Neville
This section seeks submissions that explore issues concerned with business ethics and corporate responsibility through the use of theoretical or qualitative methodological approaches. Authors are encouraged to submit theoretically informed qualitative research that examines the antecedents, processes, and impacts of corporate social responsibility and business ethics. Examples of relevant research include qualitative studies of ethical decision making, corporate social performance, corporate reputation, and philanthropic and community involvement programs.
Corporate Responsibility: Quantitative Issues
This section seeks submissions that explore issues concerned with ethical and socially responsible corporate behaviors through the use of quantitative methodological approaches. Authors are encouraged to submit theoretically informed empirical research that examines the antecedents, processes, and impacts of corporate social responsibility and ethical decision making. Corporate social responsibility is defined broadly and includes philanthropy, cause-related marketing, community involvement, responsible business practices, responsible innovation, and so on. Examples of relevant research include, but are not limited to, stakeholder influence on and reactions to CSR, linkages between cultural, institutional, and organizational characteristics and CSR, CSR communication, socially responsible and green innovation, characteristics of effective CSR strategy/program. Submissions that examine the relationships between CSR and financial/accounting outcomes should be directed to other relevant sections.
Corporate Sustainability and Business Ethics
This section welcomes submissions that address the theoretical or applied aspects of corporate sustainability. Research on the challenges and opportunities of embedding a commitment to sustainability into corporate governance structures is particularly encouraged. Examples of relevant research include studies focused on sustainability reporting, sustainability performance, or supply chain management. Authors are encouraged to address the short- and long-term implications of corporate sustainability initiatives. Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research approaches are welcomed.
Critical Studies and Business Ethics
Sara Louise Muhr
A critical approach to ethics has the potential to re-orient the field from “business as usual” approaches. Critical approaches to organizational studies are ontologically reflexive, epistemologically dynamic and methodologically heterodox; to that end, critical researchers have advanced the idea that traditional research business ethics and corporate social responsibility can function to normalize questionable business practices, by bestowing upon them the imprimatur of reflective self-regulation. Such an approach deflects questions of organizational oversight by other institutional actors, and legitimizes existing business practices without adequate oversight.
A variety of broad research questions can be asked of business ethics from a critical perspective. For example, what are the historical conditions under which the existing regimes of business ethics and corporate social responsibility emerged? What purposes do such approaches serve, and what purposes do they subvert? What are the different ways in which they can be contested and transformed? What regions of the world lie within the shadows of current ethics literature? How can ethics research become more sensitive to the aspirations of marginalized organizational subjectivities? What are the philosophical concerns about ethics that have been under-represented in our discussion of business ethics? In this section, we invite papers that explore these (and related) issues empirically as well as conceptually.
Cross-cultural Management and Business Ethics
This section focuses on the ethical dimension of cross-cultural management, broadly understood as managing across differences based on the intersection of values, cultures, but also ethnicity or religion. It encourages theoretical and empirical research addressing how, but especially why, ethicality may differ across contexts. A variety of research questions can be asked touching on (but not limited to) issues such as management of multicultural teams, expatriation and mobile professionals, international clients, communication, decision making and leadership, when tensions arise between different norms, institutions and stakeholders. In addition to works addressing interpersonal interactions, this section also encourages analyses taking historical and geopolitical contexts into consideration of the power dimensions at play in ethicality. Studies of ethical issues in the discipline of cross-cultural management are also welcome. These works can focus on the ethical concerns that have been under-represented in our theorizing, teaching, and research methods.
Economics and Business Ethics
This section invites discussions of the relationship between economics and business ethics. Conventional economic theories about firms and the people involved in them encourage a very narrow focus on profit and monetary incentives. Yet the reality of business is far more complex, and the consequences of ethical or unethical economic behaviour are far-reaching. How can the discipline of economics—and the teaching of economics within business schools--more adequately address issues of business ethics? Are there concerns of economists, either conventional or critical, that business ethicists should take more seriously? Authors submitting to this section are welcome to explore these questions from philosophical or historical perspectives, offer conceptual insights, and/or use quantitative or qualitative methods of empirical analysis.
Feminisms and Business Ethics
This section welcomes submissions that address the complexities of the relationship between business ethics and feminisms. We are interested in receiving a wide range of research that examines feminist approaches to an ethical analysis of, or an ethical analysis of feminist approaches to, business and business-related phenomena. Gender remains a central organizing principle of societal structures; women are (and have historically been) disadvantaged by these structures. Feminisms are concerned with unpacking the embedded power relations and the ways in which they perpetuate ongoing inequalities and hierarchies faced by women and other marginalized groups in the context of business, management or organizing for daily life.
Papers that include women as a demographic category only (e.g., women on boards, women CEOs, etc.) without a clear feminist analysis are not appropriate for this new section. Instead, we encourage analyses of the forces and dynamics perpetuating material examples and symbolic accounts of gendered organization within the realm of business from anywhere in the world. This work might analyze, for example, the ways that different forms of business-related knowledge and practices work to privilege some groups over others. Alternatively, it may explore feminist mobilizing, infrapolitics and solidarity movements, or transform dominant business ethics conceptions and practices of knowledge attribution, acquisition, and justification to challenge traditional gender and other social hierarchies such as race and class. Topics may include exploration of hegemonic masculinities, patriarchal societal and organizational structures, materialities of local gendered contexts, sexism and misogyny, or invisible ramifications of normalized patterns of care-work and the ideologies of everyday life. Larger, nationalist or transnational politico-economic structures and dynamics of globalizing capitalism, entanglement of gendered social relations with technology, and the manifestations of gendered geographies of power are some other possible topics of inquiry.
This section also illuminates the potential of feminist foundations for business ethics, thereby facilitating both the building of feminist frameworks of business ethics and, as importantly, challenging the very assumptions upon which feminist business ethics are made possible. To this end, we encourage research drawing from different paradigms, such as those grounded in realist ontologies and empiricism or those in social constructionist ontology and postmodern epistemologies. We welcome consideration of a wide spectrum of feminisms including, but not limited to, liberal, psychoanalytic, radical, socialist, womanist, poststructuralist, postmodern, theology, spiritual, Islamic, transnational, postcolonial, techno/cyber, eco and other feminist approaches. We hope that submissions to the section will generate new questions, employ innovative methodologies, and articulate novel theoretical insights, thereby contributing to different research agendas and different kinds of knowledge about what is being done, for whom, and to what end in business ethics theory and practice.
Finance and Business Ethics
This section seeks submissions that address ethical issues as they relate to finance. It has a broad focus in terms of methodology and subject matter. Authors are encouraged to submit theoretical and/or empirical work. Recent topics have included issues of moral investment decisions, socially responsible investing, capital structure, and case studies of corporate failure and ethical decision making.
Global Issues and Business Ethics
Contemporary economic, social and political developments often have important global dimensions. This should come as no surprise since we inhabit the same planet and our lives across the globe are increasingly intertwined. Current issues suggest this trend, such as those related to the global financial crisis, inequality, global value chains, global movement of humans including refugees, war and violence, political extremism, natural resources and natural environment, and sustainability.
In this section, we welcome articles on ethical aspects of global issues, particularly as related to business, management or organizing. The issues listed above are simply illustrative examples and submissions are welcome on any issues whose global dimensions need attention.
As befits a global issues space, submissions may engage with global issues drawing on a wide variety of ethical theories and analyses from anywhere in the world. We specially encourage studies highlighting non-elite perspectives that often do not find equal opportunities to have a voice on global issues.
Humanities and Business Ethics
This section of the journal seeks contributions that utilize humanities and arts objects and methods to yield creative, insightful, and high-quality business ethics research. The humanities include anthropology, architecture, arts, classics, design, drama, film, history, language, literature, and music, among other disciplines that explore human values and culture. Business ethics, too, can be studied as a humanity, when it investigates, for example, how our economic lives are shaped by underlying cultural values – and how those values are influenced by our market systems. Authors are invited to submit contributions to the study of business ethics, including but not limited to those that do the following: Study (a) work(s) of the arts of humanities with relevance to business ethics; interpret the works of an artist, author, composer, genre, etc., that put that oeuvre into correspondence with conventional scholarship; examine an art form to yield findings about the ethical values of business; apply arts and humanities theories to generate insights about business ethics; explore how ethical characterizations of business have evolved in the humanities across time and place; and, synthesize other research involving business ethics and humanities.
Human Resource Management and Development and Business Ethics
We encourage the submission of papers to this section that explore the ethics of managing and developing people within and across business entities, networks, and systems as they exist and function anywhere in the world. Although the papers we seek must clearly ground their work in an ethical analysis of business-related phenomena, these phenomena may be broad ranging. Relevant HR topics are likely to include an ethical analysis of three areas. The first relates to traditional HRM functions (e.g., performance appraisal, recruitment and selection, compensation and benefits, labor relations, health and safety) and HRD activities (e.g. learning and development, career development, talent management, coaching and mentoring, performance management systems, etc.). The second relates to within-organizational HRM/D issues (e.g., fairness and equity, motivation and empowerment, diversity and inclusion, compliance and risk management, retention and attrition, workplace flexibility, data security and data-driven HR practices, etc.). The third relates to national or supranational HRM/D concerns (e.g., socio-political unrest, limited statehood, economic and institutional uncertainties, complex business-society interactions, global climate change, growing North-South or developed-developing inequalities, national and regional human resource development strategies, gendered structures, demographic shifts and migration patterns, competition for talent, HRD standards and standardization, MNC dominance and its externalities, etc.). We invite manuscripts that bring strong empirical contributions, that extend theory, and/or that adopt a disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspective. Especially desired are papers that critique and reimagine HRM/D to broaden our understanding of the ethical dynamics and to bring to light different insights upon which we can build new HR perspectives and narratives that make “the institution of business a greater servant of humanity” (Greenwood & Freeman, 2017: 1).
Labour Relations and Business Ethics
Globalization, intensive competition and technological advancement are redefining the world of work, raising new economic, social, legal and ethical considerations. In this context, papers in this section should focus issues on ethical aspects in labour relations and workers’ rights such as the consequences of outsourcing, flexibility, deregulation, migration, digitization and artificial intelligence for labour relations and workers’ rights. Of particular interest will be ethical issues that deal with workers in relation to precariousness, the gig economy, public and private regulation, workers’ sense of agency, surveillance, privacy, collective and individual resistance and alternative forms of organizing.
Law, Public Policy, and Business Ethics
Joshua E. Perry
The purpose of this section is to encourage scholarly research and analysis that charges full steam into the intersection of complex (often interdisciplinary) topics and issues involving civil, constitutional, or judicial law and/or matters of public policy, legislative action, public choice theory, or regulatory concern as they collide with and contribute to ethical issues facing businesses and industries around the world. Authors focusing on country-specific trends and developments are encouraged to extrapolate application and analysis of their examples and case studies as broadly as possible, so as to be helpful to as wide a spectrum of global readers as possible - keeping in mind the dramatic differences in legal, regulatory, and governing regimes around the world. Both theoretical and empirical work is encouraged and will be given full consideration, as well as business ethics-infused scholarship that might traditionally appear in the legal literature.
Leadership and Ethics: Philosophical Perspectives and Qualitative Analysis
This section seeks submissions that explore the intersection of ethics with leadership, leading, and leaders, from any theoretical perspective, through any qualitative methodology. An eclectic understanding of philosophical perspective and qualitative analysis is taken, including for example both secular and sacred metaphysics and innovative research approaches such as visual or performative methodologies. Articles may relate to any aspect of ethics and leadership, including education, from individual, group, organizational, cultural, social or political perspectives. All theoretical perspectives are welcome. Finally, as in other sections of the journal, authors should seek clarity of writing to enable communication across the range of intellectual communities to which the journal speaks.
Leadership and Ethics: Quantitative Analysis
Michael E. Palanski
This section seeks manuscripts that explore issues concerned with leadership and ethics through the use of quantitative methodological approaches. Articles examining the impact of leadership on follower behaviour and attitudes, the role played by leaders in incorporating ethics into organizational culture, and the factors which drive leaders to adopt ethical values are especially welcome. Studies on leadership theories other than ethical leadership, such as servant leadership, authentic leadership and paternalistic leadership are encouraged, on the proviso they deal with ethical issues within the organization.
This section welcomes conceptual and empirical manuscripts on the ethics of marketing practitioners (e.g., salespeople, product managers) and non-consumer stakeholders’ marketing-related attitudes, actions, plans, decision models, and codes of conduct. Especially encouraged are descriptive and/or prescriptive manuscripts on ethics and profitability, marketing research, social marketing, political marketing, direct marketing, marketing segmentation, non-profit entities, and the endogenous and exogenous causes of problematic behavior. Scholarship may be grounded in any normative ethical theory (e.g., utilitarianism, justice, virtue), marketing theory (e.g., relationship marketing, social marketing), or economic theory (e.g., neo-classical, Keynesian). Empirical manuscripts in any quantitative or qualitative methodological tradition may summarize studies that are cross-sectional or longitudinal, single- or multi-cultural, single- or multi-industry, and societal- or industry/firm level.
Organizational Behavior and Business Ethics
Dawn R. Elm
Frank D. Belschak
The purpose of this section is to establish a forum for the discussion and analysis of complex managerial challenges and problems related to business ethics in both systematic and creative ways, applying various tools and techniques. Particularly important is that submitted manuscripts explore the connection between organizational behavior and ethics. Thus, scholarship is sought that engages holistic and inclusive thinking on such issues as cultural differences in the workplace and CSR, regional gender role challenges and decision-making, race relations in the workplace as related to ethics, population migration issues and their effects in the workplace, as well as addressing diversity and differences in expectations towards local and global organizations and their leaders. The section editor encourages articles that represent a wide-range of perspectives on behavior in organizations, especially stimulating critical reflection and questions relating to ethics, stakeholder decision-making and CSR.
Philosophy and Business Ethics
Alejo Jose G. Sison
Boudewijn de Bruin
This section is concerned with the ontological, epistemological and ethical foundations of business ethics (utilitarianism, deontology, social contract theory, virtue ethics, and so forth) and the methods that reflect on these foundations (hermeneutics, structuralism and phenomenology, among others). Papers may be concerned with the application of ethical theory and principles to the framing and analysis of problems arising in business practices and their possible solutions. Contributions may explore the concepts, structures, processes and routines through which business actors relate to each other, and the entrepreneurial or managerial ethos they constitute. Submissions may deal with these topics both historically and systematically, from the perspective of analytical and continental philosophies as well as other wisdom traditions. The emphasis of this section will be on conceptual papers and theoretical discussions rather than on empirical studies. Thus it hopes to contribute to the knowledge, development and renewal of the foundations of business ethics.
Practice in Business Ethics
This section seeks submissions that focus on ethics in practice and encourages academic authors to work with organisations and practitioners in the development and writing of articles. The section aims to advance the interaction of research and practice and in doing so improve ethics at work and working lives. While case based analyses are encouraged, articles may relate to any aspect of organisational ethics and adopt any suitable theoretical perspective and methodology, as long as a practical ethical issue is central to the theoretical development, empirical research, discussion or practical implications of the article. Importantly, articles are also expected to focus on the development of implications for policy and practice and their effective assessment and evaluation.
Psychology and Business Ethics
This section highlights the relation of psychology to business in terms of individual, interpersonal and social psychological processes. Papers are encouraged from a wide array of conceptual paradigms and methodological positions, and are assessed by the extent to which they formulate novel psychological insights on ethical and moral processes related to business contexts. Papers may be conceptual or empirical; empirical papers may be qualitative or quantitative.
While some relation to other psychologically-oriented sections (for example, Organizational Behavior, Behavioral Ethics) exists, the Business Ethics and Psychology section encourages broad questions about how business operates as a factor within moral psychology and vice versa. Thus, the section is not limited to ethical processes of managing people within organizational contexts, but may include such topics as how business practices ethically shape and are shaped by personal and interpersonal dynamics, how notions of moral selfhood and ethical subjectivity emerge from and relate to business practice, and how business contexts form backgrounds for moral development and reflection at individual or interpersonal levels. Also encouraged are studies of the shifting roles, boundaries, and practices of business in their implications for the ethical lives of those in and around organizations.
Religion, Spirituality and Business Ethics
Harry Van Buren
K. Praveen Parboteeah
This section focuses on how religion and spirituality are and can be related with business practice and management. We encourage articles regarding how religion and theology focus on moral aspects of business, including specific issues and dilemmas, religion and spirituality as inspirational source for management, leadership and organizational life. Similarly, we welcome research related to the integration of religion and spirituality into management; religious virtues and spirituality in organizational life, the influence of religion and spirituality in managing people within organizations, the relationship between spiritual or religious growth and performance, convergence and divergence between different religions on business ethics, religious and spiritual motivations in organizations, evaluation of business practices from religious, theological or spiritual perspectives, workplace spirituality, spiritual and religious capital, the relationship between religious and spiritual bonds and social capital in the business context, and religious freedom in business.
Small Business, Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise and Business Ethics
Articles submitted to this section should focus on expanding our understanding beyond the multinational enterprise to include organisations of different, clearly defined, organisational size and those with primarily social objectives. Research articles which focus on (social) entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial process are also invited as are articles addressing small businesses within supply chains. All submissions are expected to draw from and build on relevant literatures from across disciplinary divides, for example the small business, social enterprise and entrepreneurship literature as well as business ethics and social responsibility. High quality empirical papers (both quantitative and qualitative) and theoretical pieces are all welcome.
Mary F. Sully de Luque
It is a hallmark of the Journal of Business Ethics (JBE) to publish high-quality, thematically focused Special Issues. Special Issues are subject to the same criteria of scholarly excellence as regular issues. Proposals concerning any topic in the field of business ethics and/or corporate responsibility, broadly defined, will be welcome for consideration. In line with the Journal’s aim they may reflect a wide variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives. Special Issues provide the platform for scholars to focus on novel and important areas of concern and unique and specific sub-themes to advance the discourse in the field. The core criteria for consideration are originality and relevance. Specifically, we seek proposals that may lead to a better understanding of current problems, new vistas on specific topics, and to agenda setting for emerging streams of research.
Instructions on how to submit a proposal can be found in the Special Issue Guidelines on the journal’s homepage.
Sociology and Business Ethics
This section encourages and provides space for boundary spanning, interdisciplinary work that transends the specialization and boundaries common to schools of management and departments of sociology in order to consider issues of common interest to the discipline of sociology and business ethics. Are there sociological concerns, of either a conventional or a more critical bent, which business ethicists should take more seriously? Can business ethics illuminate the interconnected worlds of consumption, production and reproduction where these meet in individual behaviors, group dynamics, organizational life and state practices? Do the sociological classics and subsequent social science writers of the 20th and 21st centuries illuminate ethical issues in ways which other disciplines do not? Theoretical and empirically driven pieces are of equal interest as are those drawing upon the widest variety of philosophical, meta-theoretical, methodological and political positions.
Strategy and Business Ethics
Jeffrey S. Harrison
All business strategies have ethical implications because they influence the well being of stakeholders and society. This section welcomes papers that explore these implications from the perspective of the firm, its purpose and strategy, or the perspective of the firm’s stakeholders. Of particular interest is research that explains how firm characteristics, processes, norms, values, history, or the institutions or industries to which a firm belongs, influence the manner in which strategies are formulated and implemented, and the ethical implications. In addition, this section invites research regarding the impact of particular strategies on a firm’s ethical reputation, on the way stakeholders respond to those strategies, or on the value that is created or destroyed for stakeholders as strategies are implemented. In this regard, research that measures stakeholder outcomes in non-financial terms is most welcome. Also of interest is research on the way corruption, greed, deceit, coercion, and the desire for power influence firm strategies, outcomes, and stakeholder responses. In addition, we encourage papers that look at how a sense of purpose, respect and responsibility also influences a firm's strategy. Theory papers are welcome, as are rigorous case studies, field studies, simulations, and empirical studies based on archival data or content analyses. Experiments are also welcome, but because of the topic area the use of test subjects with no business experience is probably not appropriate. All papers should be based on ethical analyses; however, any particular point of view in ethics may be invoked.
Teaching Business Ethics
This section is dedicated to publishing conceptual, empirical research and practice oriented articles that propose new ideas and seek to expand our current level of knowledge in the field of business ethics education. Conceptual articles must offer revolutionary approaches to recognized problems in the field, while building on existing theories and concepts. Empirical research articles must utilize strong methodology, appropriate theoretical bases, and offer significantly more than a duplication of prior research findings. Practice articles must offer new and insightful approaches to formal, informal and non-formal education and training processes, in academic institutions, business or other organizational settings. Articles on the strategic development of business ethics education in academic institutions are also welcome.
Technology and Business Ethics
This section seeks submissions that focus on the ethical dimensions of technology and the associated corporate responsibilities of firms as either producers and designers of technology for societal use or implementers of technology within the firm. Technology is defined broadly to include all material actors from more recent advances, such as machine learning and information and communications technology (ICT), as well as drones, phones, and bicycles. The ethical implications are broadly considered to include autonomy, privacy, responsibility, harms, fairness, targeting of vulnerable populations, surveillance, cyber security, etc. This section focuses on how firms should engage in the ethical choices in deploying technologies, should recognize, negotiate, and govern the values, biases, and power of technology, should be held responsible for developing and implementing technology. Theory papers are welcome as are rigorous case studies, simulations, and empirical studies. All papers must be grounded in ethical theory and make a contribution to business ethics.
Special Issue Submission
Information about current and future special issues at the Journal of Business Ethics are available at
Book Review Submission
Journal of Business Ethics has a dedicated book review section and book review editor, details available at the journal home page under “Sections and Section Editors”. The journal will consider the publication of book reviews. These should be approximately 2000 – 6000 words maximum. The manuscript should clearly be flagged as a book review.
The Journal of Business Ethics follows a double-blind reviewing procedure. Authors are therefore requested not to put their name(s) in the manuscript. Self identifying citations and references in the article text should either be avoided or left blank when manuscripts are first submitted. Authors are responsible for reinserting self-identifying citations and references when manuscripts are prepared for final submission.
Thank you to Reviewers
If you review for the journal, your name will be published in the “Thank you to Reviewers” page which the journal may publish yearly.
The online manuscript submission and review system for the Journal of Business Ethics offers easy and straightforward log-in and submission procedures. This system supports a wide range of submission file formats: for manuscripts – Word, WordPerfect, RTF, TXT, and LaTex; for figures – TIFF, GIF, JPEG, EPS, PPT and Postscript. Authors should indicate on submission of their manuscript under which of the sections at the journal their paper would fit best for reviewing purposes, details available at the journal home page under “Sections and Section Editors”.
In case you encounter any difficulties while submitting your manuscript online, please get in touch with the responsible Editorial Assistant by clicking on “CONTACT US” from the tool bar.
The journal is an English language journal and all submissions must be intelligible in this language as a prerequisite to consideration for publication.
British or American English spelling and terminology may be used, but either one should be followed consistently throughout the article.
The Journal of Business Ethics follows a double-blind reviewing procedure. Authors are therefore requested not to put their name(s) in the manuscript. Self-identifying citations and references in the article text should either be avoided or left blank when manuscripts are first submitted. Authors are responsible for reinserting self-identifying citations and references when manuscripts are prepared for final submission.
Authors must submit their manuscripts online via the Journal of Business Ethics Editorial Manager
website at: https://www.editorialmanager.com/busi/.
Authors are required to upload a title page with the author identifying information and a blinded manuscript with no author details.
The title page should include:
• A concise and informative title
• Running head (short title)
• The name(s) of the author(s)
• The affiliation(s), address(es) and e-mail address (es) of all the author(s)
• The institutional e-mail address, and telephone number(s) of the corresponding author
Please include the acknowledgements and any other author identifying information in the title page.
Please provide a short abstract of 100 to 250 words. The abstract should not contain any undefined abbreviations or unspecified references.
The average length of an article is approximately 8,000 - 10,000 words (including references). Articles should be no longer than 12,000 words. Exemption may be made for studies based on qualitative data.
Please double-space all material, including notes and references. Quotations of more than 40 words should be set off clearly, either by indenting the left-hand margin or by using a smaller typeface. Use double quotation marks for direct quotations and single quotation marks for quotations within quotations and for words or phrases used in a special sense. Number the pages consecutively.
Figures and Tables
Lines should not be thinner than 0.25pts and in-fill patterns and screens should have a density of at least 10 percent. For bitmap graphics, TIFF is the preferred format.
The following resolutions are optimal:
Black-and-white line figures – 1200 dpi; line figures with some gray or colored lines – 600 dpi; photographs – 300 dpi; screen dumps – leave as is. The letter size of any text in the figures must be large enough to allow for reduction. If a figure contains color, make absolutely clear whether it should be printed in black-and-white or in color.
Each figure and table should be numbered and mentioned in the text.
The approximate position of figures and tables should be indicated in the margin of the manuscript. Figures and tables should be accompanied by an explanatory legend. The figures legends should be grouped and placed on a separate page. In tables, footnotes are preferable to long explanatory material in either the heading or body of the table. Such explanatory footnotes, identified by superscript letters, should be placed immediately below the table.
First-, second-, third-, and fourth-order headings should be clearly distinguishable.
Supplementary material should be collected in an Appendix and placed before the Notes and Reference sections.
Please use endnotes only. Notes should be indicated by consecutive superscript numbers in the text and listed at the end of the article before the References. A source reference note should be indicated by an asterisk after the title. This note should be placed at the bottom of the first page.
In the text, a reference identified by means of an author’s name should be followed by the date of the reference in parentheses and page number(s) where appropriate. When there are more than two authors, only the first author’s name should be mentioned, followed by “et al”. In the event that an author cited has had two or more works published during the same year, the reference, both in the text and in the reference list, should be identified by a lower case letter like “a” and “b” after the date to distinguish the works.
Winograd (1986, p. 204)
(Winograd, 1986a, 1986b)
(Flores et al. 1988; Winograd 1986)
(Bullen and Bennett, 1990)
References to books, journal articles, articles in collections and conference or workshop proceedings, and technical reports should be listed at the end of the paper in alphabetical order. Articles in preparation or articles submitted for publication, unpublished observations, personal communications, etc. should not be included in the reference list but should only be mentioned in the article text (e.g., T. Moore, personal communication).
References to books should include the author’s name; year of publication; title; page numbers where appropriate; publisher; place of publication, in the order given in the example below.
Kotler, P. (1980). Marketing management: Analysis, planning and control. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, pp. 5-11.
References to articles in an edited collection should include the author’s name; year of publication; article title; editor’s name; title of collection; first and last page numbers; publisher; place of publication, in the order given in the example below.
Newton, L. (1988). The hostile takeover: An opposition view. In T. Beauchamp & N. Bowie (eds.), Ethical theory and business, 3rd edition, (pp. 501-510). Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
References to articles in conference proceedings should include the author’s name; year of publication; article title; editor’s name (if any); title of proceedings; first and last page number; place and date of conference; publisher and/or organization from which the proceedings can be obtained; place of publication, in the order given in the example below.
Chan, C. F. and Lee, K. H. (1986). Organisational culture and salesperson’s ethical position. In R. T. Hsieh and S. Scherling (eds.), Proceedings of the Academy of International Business SEA Regional Conference (pp. 3-9). National Chiao Tung University, Tapei.
References to articles in periodicals should include the author’s name; year of publication; article title; full title of periodical; volume number (issue number where appropriate); first and last page number, in the order given in the example below.
Sims, R. R. (1992). The challenge of ethical behaviour in organizations. Journal of Business Ethics 11(7), 505-513.
References to technical reports or doctoral dissertations should include the author’s name; year of publication; title of report or dissertation; institution; location of institution, in the order given in the example below.
Glover, S. H. (1991). The influences of individual values on ethical decision making, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.
The Journal of Business Ethics supports the use of non-sexist language. The British Sociological Association provide valuable guidance on this which should be followed: See Language in the BSA: Sex and Gender, accessible here https://www.britsoc.co.uk/equality-diversity/.Some key guidance in the guide is as follows. In addition, a particularly common problem in business and management studies is the assumption that managers and other senior business people are men. Please do not perpetuate this by using the pronoun ‘he’ or ‘businessmen’ when talking about businesspeople in generic terms – use ‘he or she’, or ‘s/he’, or ‘businesspeople’. If you need to refer to a particular gender, it is preferable to use woman/man rather than female/male, gentleman/ladies, guys/boys/girls. Please do not respond to reviewers or editors with the generic Dear Sirs, use Dear Sir/Madam. A rule of thumb is that the masculine option does not equate to a generic option (in some languages it does grammatically speaking, but not in the English language, and is not acceptable for the Journal of Business Ethics).
General information about Abstract and Keywords
Abstract and Keywords
The Abstract is:
• A summary of the content of the journal manuscript
• A time-saving shortcut for busy researchers
• A guide to the most important parts of your manuscript’s written content
Many readers will only read the Abstract of your manuscript. Therefore, it has to be able to stand alone. In most cases the abstract is the only part of your article that appears in indexing databases such as Web of Science or PubMed and so will be the most accessed part of your article; making a good impression will encourage researchers to read your full paper.
A well written abstract can also help speed up the peer-review process. During peer review, referees are usually only sent the abstract when invited to review the paper. Therefore, the abstract needs to contain enough information about the paper to allow referees to make a judgement as to whether they have enough expertise to review the paper and be engaging enough for them to want to review it.
Your Abstract should answer these questions about your manuscript:
• What was done?
• Why did you do it?
• What did you find?
• Why are these findings useful and important?
Answering these questions lets readers know the most important points about your study, and helps them decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Make sure you follow the proper journal manuscript formatting guidelines when preparing your abstract.
Keywords are a tool to help indexers and search engines find relevant papers. If database search engines can find your journal manuscript, readers will be able to find it too. This will increase the number of people reading your manuscript, and likely lead to more citations.
However, to be effective, Keywords must be chosen carefully. They should:
• Represent the content of your manuscript
• Be specific to your field or sub-field
Manuscript title: Direct observation of nonlinear optics in an isolated carbon nanotube
Poor keywords: molecule, optics, lasers, energy lifetime
Better keywords: single-molecule interaction, Kerr effect, carbon nanotubes, energy level structure
Manuscript title: Region-specific neuronal degeneration after okadaic acid administration
Poor keywords: neuron, brain, OA (an abbreviation), regional-specific neuronal degeneration, signaling
Better keywords: neurodegenerative diseases; CA1 region, hippocampal; okadaic acid; neurotoxins; MAP kinase signaling system; cell death
Ethical Responsibilities of Authors
This journal is committed to upholding the integrity of the scientific record. As a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) the journal will follow the COPE guidelines on how to deal with potential acts of misconduct.
Authors should refrain from misrepresenting research results which could damage the trust in the journal, the professionalism of scientific authorship, and ultimately the entire scientific endeavour. Maintaining integrity of the research and its presentation is helped by following the rules of good scientific practice, which include*:
- The manuscript should not be submitted to more than one journal for simultaneous consideration.
- The submitted work should be original and should not have been published elsewhere in any form or language (partially or in full), unless the new work concerns an expansion of previous work. (Please provide transparency on the re-use of material to avoid the concerns about text-recycling (‘self-plagiarism’).
- A single study should not be split up into several parts to increase the quantity of submissions and submitted to various journals or to one journal over time (i.e. ‘salami-slicing/publishing’).
- Concurrent or secondary publication is sometimes justifiable, provided certain conditions are met. Examples include: translations or a manuscript that is intended for a different group of readers.
- Results should be presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification or inappropriate data manipulation (including image based manipulation). Authors should adhere to discipline-specific rules for acquiring, selecting and processing data.
- No data, text, or theories by others are presented as if they were the author’s own (‘plagiarism’). Proper acknowledgements to other works must be given (this includes material that is closely copied (near verbatim), summarized and/or paraphrased), quotation marks (to indicate words taken from another source) are used for verbatim copying of material, and permissions secured for material that is copyrighted.
Important note: the journal may use software to screen for plagiarism.
- Authors should make sure they have permissions for the use of software, questionnaires/(web) surveys and scales in their studies (if appropriate).
- Research articles and non-research articles (e.g. Opinion, Review, and Commentary articles) must cite appropriate and relevant literature in support of the claims made. Excessive and inappropriate self-citation or coordinated efforts among several authors to collectively self-cite is strongly discouraged.
- Authors should avoid untrue statements about an entity (who can be an individual person or a company) or descriptions of their behavior or actions that could potentially be seen as personal attacks or allegations about that person.
- Research that may be misapplied to pose a threat to public health or national security should be clearly identified in the manuscript (e.g. dual use of research). Examples include creation of harmful consequences of biological agents or toxins, disruption of immunity of vaccines, unusual hazards in the use of chemicals, weaponization of research/technology (amongst others).
- Authors are strongly advised to ensure the author group, the Corresponding Author, and the order of authors are all correct at submission. Adding and/or deleting authors during the revision stages is generally not permitted, but in some cases may be warranted. Reasons for changes in authorship should be explained in detail. Please note that changes to authorship cannot be made after acceptance of a manuscript.
*All of the above are guidelines and authors need to make sure to respect third parties rights such as copyright and/or moral rights.
Upon request authors should be prepared to send relevant documentation or data in order to verify the validity of the results presented. This could be in the form of raw data, samples, records, etc. Sensitive information in the form of confidential or proprietary data is excluded.
If there is suspicion of misbehavior or alleged fraud the Journal and/or Publisher will carry out an investigation following COPE guidelines. If, after investigation, there are valid concerns, the author(s) concerned will be contacted under their given e-mail address and given an opportunity to address the issue. Depending on the situation, this may result in the Journal’s and/or Publisher’s implementation of the following measures, including, but not limited to:
- If the manuscript is still under consideration, it may be rejected and returned to the author.
- If the article has already been published online, depending on the nature and severity of the infraction:
- an erratum/correction may be placed with the article
- an expression of concern may be placed with the article
- or in severe cases retraction of the article may occur.
The reason will be given in the published erratum/correction, expression of concern or retraction note. Please note that retraction means that the article is maintained on the platform, watermarked “retracted” and the explanation for the retraction is provided in a note linked to the watermarked article.
- The author’s institution may be informed
- A notice of suspected transgression of ethical standards in the peer review system may be included as part of the author’s and article’s bibliographic record.
Authors have an obligation to correct mistakes once they discover a significant error or inaccuracy in their published article. The author(s) is/are requested to contact the journal and explain in what sense the error is impacting the article. A decision on how to correct the literature will depend on the nature of the error. This may be a correction or retraction. The retraction note should provide transparency which parts of the article are impacted by the error.
Suggesting / excluding reviewers
Authors are welcome to suggest suitable reviewers and/or request the exclusion of certain individuals when they submit their manuscripts. When suggesting reviewers, authors should make sure they are totally independent and not connected to the work in any way. It is strongly recommended to suggest a mix of reviewers from different countries and different institutions. When suggesting reviewers, the Corresponding Author must provide an institutional email address for each suggested reviewer, or, if this is not possible to include other means of verifying the identity such as a link to a personal homepage, a link to the publication record or a researcher or author ID in the submission letter. Please note that the Journal may not use the suggestions, but suggestions are appreciated and may help facilitate the peer review process.
These guidelines describe authorship principles and good authorship practices to which prospective authors should adhere to.
The Journal and Publisher assume all authors agreed with the content and that all gave explicit consent to submit and that they obtained consent from the responsible authorities at the institute/organization where the work has been carried out, before the work is submitted.
The Publisher does not prescribe the kinds of contributions that warrant authorship. It is recommended that authors adhere to the guidelines for authorship that are applicable in their specific research field. In absence of specific guidelines it is recommended to adhere to the following guidelines*:
All authors whose names appear on the submission
1) made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data; or the creation of new software used in the work;
2) drafted the work or revised it critically for important intellectual content;
3) approved the version to be published; and
4) agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
* Based on/adapted from:
Disclosures and declarations
All authors are requested to include information regarding sources of funding, financial or non-financial interests, study-specific approval by the appropriate ethics committee for research involving humans and/or animals, informed consent if the research involved human participants, and a statement on welfare of animals if the research involved animals (as appropriate).
The decision whether such information should be included is not only dependent on the scope of the journal, but also the scope of the article. Work submitted for publication may have implications for public health or general welfare and in those cases it is the responsibility of all authors to include the appropriate disclosures and declarations.
All authors are requested to make sure that all data and materials as well as software application or custom code support their published claims and comply with field standards. Please note that journals may have individual policies on (sharing) research data in concordance with disciplinary norms and expectations. Please check the Instructions for Authors of the Journal that you are submitting to for specific instructions.
Role of the Corresponding Author
One author is assigned as Corresponding Author and acts on behalf of all co-authors and ensures that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately addressed.
The Corresponding Author is responsible for the following requirements:
- ensuring that all listed authors have approved the manuscript before submission, including the names and order of authors;
- managing all communication between the Journal and all co-authors, before and after publication;*
- providing transparency on re-use of material and mention any unpublished material (for example manuscripts in press) included in the manuscript in a cover letter to the Editor;
- making sure disclosures, declarations and transparency on data statements from all authors are included in the manuscript as appropriate (see above).
* The requirement of managing all communication between the journal and all co-authors during submission and proofing may be delegated to a Contact or Submitting Author. In this case please make sure the Corresponding Author is clearly indicated in the manuscript.
In absence of specific instructions and in research fields where it is possible to describe discrete efforts, the Publisher recommends authors to include contribution statements in the work that specifies the contribution of every author in order to promote transparency. These contributions should be listed at the separate title page.
Examples of such statement(s) are shown below:
• Free text:
All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by [full name], [full name] and [full name]. The first draft of the manuscript was written by [full name] and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
• Conceptualization: [full name], …; Methodology: [full name], …; Formal analysis and investigation: [full name], …; Writing - original draft preparation: [full name, …]; Writing - review and editing: [full name], …; Funding acquisition: [full name], …; Resources: [full name], …; Supervision: [full name],….
For review articles where discrete statements are less applicable a statement should be included who had the idea for the article, who performed the literature search and data analysis, and who drafted and/or critically revised the work.
For articles that are based primarily on the student’s dissertation or thesis, it is recommended that the student is usually listed as principal author:
The primary affiliation for each author should be the institution where the majority of their work was done. If an author has subsequently moved, the current address may additionally be stated. Addresses will not be updated or changed after publication of the article.
Changes to authorship
Authors are strongly advised to ensure the correct author group, the Corresponding Author, and the order of authors at submission. Changes of authorship by adding or deleting authors, and/or changes in Corresponding Author, and/or changes in the sequence of authors are not accepted after acceptance of a manuscript.
- Please note that author names will be published exactly as they appear on the accepted submission!
Please make sure that the names of all authors are present and correctly spelled, and that addresses and affiliations are current.
Adding and/or deleting authors at revision stage are generally not permitted, but in some cases it may be warranted. Reasons for these changes in authorship should be explained. Approval of the change during revision is at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief. Please note that journals may have individual policies on adding and/or deleting authors during revision stage.
Authors are recommended to use their ORCID ID when submitting an article for consideration or acquire an ORCID ID via the submission process.
Deceased or incapacitated authors
For cases in which a co-author dies or is incapacitated during the writing, submission, or peer-review process, and the co-authors feel it is appropriate to include the author, co-authors should obtain approval from a (legal) representative which could be a direct relative.
Authorship issues or disputes
In the case of an authorship dispute during peer review or after acceptance and publication, the Journal will not be in a position to investigate or adjudicate. Authors will be asked to resolve the dispute themselves. If they are unable the Journal reserves the right to withdraw a manuscript from the editorial process or in case of a published paper raise the issue with the authors’ institution(s) and abide by its guidelines.
Authors should treat all communication with the Journal as confidential which includes correspondence with direct representatives from the Journal such as Editors-in-Chief and/or Handling Editors and reviewers’ reports unless explicit consent has been received to share information.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
To ensure objectivity and transparency in research and to ensure that accepted principles of ethical and professional conduct have been followed, authors should include information regarding sources of funding, potential conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial), informed consent if the research involved human participants, and a statement on welfare of animals if the research involved animals.
Authors should include the following statements (if applicable) in a separate section entitled “Compliance with Ethical Standards” when submitting a paper:
- Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest
- Research involving Human Participants and/or Animals
- Informed consent
Please note that standards could vary slightly per journal dependent on their peer review policies (i.e. single or double blind peer review) as well as per journal subject discipline. Before submitting your article check the instructions following this section carefully.
The corresponding author should be prepared to collect documentation of compliance with ethical standards and send if requested during peer review or after publication.
The Editors reserve the right to reject manuscripts that do not comply with the above-mentioned guidelines. The author will be held responsible for false statements or failure to fulfill the above-mentioned guidelines.
Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest
Authors must disclose all relationships or interests that could influence or bias the work. Although an author may not feel there are conflicts, disclosure of relationships and interests affords a more transparent process, leading to an accurate and objective assessment of the work. Awareness of real or perceived conflicts of interests is a perspective to which the readers are entitled and is not meant to imply that a financial relationship with an organization that sponsored the research or compensation for consultancy work is inappropriate. Examples of potential conflicts of interests that are directly or indirectly related to the research may include but are not limited to the following:
- Research grants from funding agencies (please give the research funder and the grant number)
- Honoraria for speaking at symposia
- Financial support for attending symposia
- Financial support for educational programs
- Employment or consultation
- Support from a project sponsor
- Position on advisory board or board of directors or other type of management relationships
- Multiple affiliations
- Financial relationships, for example equity ownership or investment interest
- Intellectual property rights (e.g. patents, copyrights and royalties from such rights)
- Holdings of spouse and/or children that may have financial interest in the work
In addition, interests that go beyond financial interests and compensation (non-financial interests) that may be important to readers should be disclosed. These may include but are not limited to personal relationships or competing interests directly or indirectly tied to this research, or professional interests or personal beliefs that may influence your research.
The corresponding author collects the conflict of interest disclosure forms from all authors. In author collaborations where formal agreements for representation allow it, it is sufficient for the corresponding author to sign the disclosure form on behalf of all authors. Examples of forms can be found
The corresponding author will include a summary statement on the title page that is separate from their manuscript, that reflects what is recorded in the potential conflict of interest disclosure form(s).
See below examples of disclosures:
Funding: This study was funded by X (grant number X).
Conflict of Interest: Author A has received research grants from Company A. Author B has received a speaker honorarium from Company X and owns stock in Company Y. Author C is a member of committee Z.
If no conflict exists, the authors should state:
Conflict of Interest: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Research involving human participants, their data or biological material
When reporting a study that involved human participants, their data or biological material, authors should include a statement that confirms that the study was approved (or granted exemption) by the appropriate institutional and/or national research ethics committee (including the name of the ethics committee) and certify that the study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration or comparable standards, the authors must explain the reasons for their approach, and demonstrate that an independent ethics committee or institutional review board explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. If a study was granted exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the reasons for the exemption).
Retrospective ethics approval
If a study has not been granted ethics committee approval prior to commencing, retrospective ethics approval usually cannot be obtained and it may not be possible to consider the manuscript for peer review. The decision on whether to proceed to peer review in such cases is at the Editor's discretion.
Ethics approval for retrospective studies
Although retrospective studies are conducted on already available data or biological material (for which formal consent may not be needed or is difficult to obtain) ethics approval may be required dependent on the law and the national ethical guidelines of a country. Authors should check with their institution to make sure they are complying with the specific requirements of their country.
Ethics approval for case studies
Case reports require ethics approval. Most institutions will have specific policies on this subject. Authors should check with their institution to make sure they are complying with the specific requirements of their institution and seek ethics approval where needed. Authors should be aware to secure informed consent from the individual (or parent or guardian if the participant is a minor or incapable) See also section on Informed Consent.
If human cells are used, authors must declare in the manuscript: what cell lines were used by describing the source of the cell line, including when and from where it was obtained, whether the cell line has recently been authenticated and by what method. If cells were bought from a life science company the following need to be given in the manuscript: name of company (that provided the cells), cell type, number of cell line, and batch of cells.
It is recommended that authors check the NCBI database for misidentification and contamination of human cell lines. This step will alert authors to possible problems with the cell line and may save considerable time and effort.
Further information is available from the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC).
Authors should include a statement that confirms that an institutional or independent ethics committee (including the name of the ethics committee) approved the study and that informed consent was obtained from the donor or next of kin.
Research Resource Identifiers (RRID)
Research Resource Identifiers (RRID) are persistent unique identifiers (effectively similar to a DOI) for research resources. This journal encourages authors to adopt RRIDs when reporting key biological resources (antibodies, cell lines, model organisms and tools) in their manuscripts.
Organism: Filip1tm1a(KOMP)Wtsi RRID:MMRRC_055641-UCD
Cell Line: RST307 cell line RRID:CVCL_C321
Antibody: Luciferase antibody DSHB Cat# LUC-3, RRID:AB_2722109
Plasmid: mRuby3 plasmid RRID:Addgene_104005
Software: ImageJ Version 1.2.4 RRID:SCR_003070
RRIDs are provided by the Resource Identification Portal. Many commonly used research resources already have designated RRIDs. The portal also provides authors links so that they can quickly register a new resource and obtain an RRID.
Clinical Trial Registration
The World Health Organization (WHO) definition of a clinical trial is "any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes". The WHO defines health interventions as “A health intervention is an act performed for, with or on behalf of a person or population whose purpose is to assess, improve, maintain, promote or modify health, functioning or health conditions” and a health-related outcome is generally defined as a change in the health of a person or population as a result of an intervention.
To ensure the integrity of the reporting of patient-centered trials, authors must register prospective clinical trials (phase II to IV trials) in suitable publicly available repositories. For example www.clinicaltrials.gov or any of the primary registries that participate in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform.
The trial registration number (TRN) and date of registration should be included as the last line of the manuscript abstract.
For clinical trials that have not been registered prospectively, authors are encouraged to register retrospectively to ensure the complete publication of all results. The trial registration number (TRN), date of registration and the words 'retrospectively registered’ should be included as the last line of the manuscript abstract.
Purely observational trials will not require registration.
Standards of reporting
Springer Nature advocates complete and transparent reporting of biomedical and biological research and research with biological applications. Authors are recommended to adhere to the minimum reporting guidelines hosted by the EQUATOR Network when preparing their manuscript.
Exact requirements may vary depending on the journal; please refer to the journal’s Instructions for Authors.
Checklists are available for a number of study designs, including:
Observational studies (STROBE)
Case reports (CARE)
Animal pre-clinical studies (ARRIVE)
Quality improvement studies (SQUIRE)
Economic evaluations (CHEERS)
Summary of requirements
The above should be summarized in a statement and placed in a “Declarations” section before the reference list under a heading of ‘Ethics approval’.
Please see the various examples of wording below and revise/customize the sample statements according to your own needs.
Examples of statements to be used when ethics approval has been obtained:
• All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the Bioethics Committee of the Medical University of A (No. ...).
• This study was performed in line with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. Approval was granted by the Ethics Committee of University B (Date.../No. ...).
• Approval was obtained from the ethics committee of University C. The procedures used in this study adhere to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.
• The questionnaire and methodology for this study was approved by the Human Research Ethics committee of the University of D (Ethics approval number: ...).
Examples of statements to be used for a retrospective study:
• Ethical approval was waived by the local Ethics Committee of University A in view of the retrospective nature of the study and all the procedures being performed were part of the routine care.
• This research study was conducted retrospectively from data obtained for clinical purposes. We consulted extensively with the IRB of XYZ who determined that our study did not need ethical approval. An IRB official waiver of ethical approval was granted from the IRB of XYZ.
• This retrospective chart review study involving human participants was in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The Human Investigation Committee (IRB) of University B approved this study.
Examples of statements to be used when no ethical approval is required/exemption granted:
• This is an observational study. The XYZ Research Ethics Committee has confirmed that no ethical approval is required.
• The data reproduced from Article X utilized human tissue that was procured via our Biobank AB, which provides de-identified samples. This study was reviewed and deemed exempt by our XYZ Institutional Review Board. The BioBank protocols are in accordance with the ethical standards of our institution and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Authors are responsible for correctness of the statements provided in the manuscript. See also Authorship Principles. The Editor-in-Chief reserves the right to reject submissions that do not meet the guidelines described in this section.
All individuals have individual rights that are not to be infringed. Individual participants in studies have, for example, the right to decide what happens to the (identifiable) personal data gathered, to what they have said during a study or an interview, as well as to any photograph that was taken. This is especially true concerning images of vulnerable people (e.g. minors, patients, refugees, etc) or the use of images in sensitive contexts. In many instances authors will need to secure written consent before including images.
Identifying details (names, dates of birth, identity numbers, biometrical characteristics (such as facial features, fingerprint, writing style, voice pattern, DNA or other distinguishing characteristic) and other information) of the participants that were studied should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and genetic profiles unless the information is essential for scholarly purposes and the participant (or parent or guardian if the participant is incapable) gave written informed consent for publication. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve in some cases. Detailed descriptions of individual participants, whether of their whole bodies or of body sections, may lead to disclosure of their identity. Under certain circumstances consent is not required as long as information is anonymized and the submission does not include images that may identify the person.
Informed consent for publication should be obtained if there is any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of participants is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic profiles, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning.
Exceptions where it is not necessary to obtain consent:
• Images such as x rays, laparoscopic images, ultrasound images, brain scans, pathology slides unless there is a concern about identifying information in which case, authors should ensure that consent is obtained.
• Reuse of images: If images are being reused from prior publications, the Publisher will assume that the prior publication obtained the relevant information regarding consent. Authors should provide the appropriate attribution for republished images.
Consent and already available data and/or biologic material
Regardless of whether material is collected from living or dead patients, they (family or guardian if the deceased has not made a pre-mortem decision) must have given prior written consent. The aspect of confidentiality as well as any wishes from the deceased should be respected.
Data protection, confidentiality and privacy
When biological material is donated for or data is generated as part of a research project authors should ensure, as part of the informed consent procedure, that the participants are made what kind of (personal) data will be processed, how it will be used and for what purpose. In case of data acquired via a biobank/biorepository, it is possible they apply a broad consent which allows research participants to consent to a broad range of uses of their data and samples which is regarded by research ethics committees as specific enough to be considered “informed”. However, authors should always check the specific biobank/biorepository policies or any other type of data provider policies (in case of non-bio research) to be sure that this is the case.
Consent to Participate
For all research involving human subjects, freely-given, informed consent to participate in the study must be obtained from participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 16) and a statement to this effect should appear in the manuscript. In the case of articles describing human transplantation studies, authors must include a statement declaring that no organs/tissues were obtained from prisoners and must also name the institution(s)/clinic(s)/department(s) via which organs/tissues were obtained. For manuscripts reporting studies involving vulnerable groups where there is the potential for coercion or where consent may not have been fully informed, extra care will be taken by the editor and may be referred to the Springer Nature Research Integrity Group.
Consent to Publish
Individuals may consent to participate in a study, but object to having their data published in a journal article. Authors should make sure to also seek consent from individuals to publish their data prior to submitting their paper to a journal. This is in particular applicable to case studies. A consent to publish form can be found
Summary of requirements
The above should be summarized in a statement and placed in a “Declarations” section before the reference list under a heading of ‘Consent to participate’ and/or 'Consent to publish’.
Please see the various examples of wording below and revise/customize the sample statements according to your own needs.
Provide “Consent to participate” as a heading
Sample statements for consent to participate:
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Informed consent was obtained from legal guardians.
Written informed consent was obtained from the parents.
Verbal informed consent was obtained prior tothe interview.
Sample statements for “Consent to publish”:
The authors affirm that human research participants provided informed consent for publication of the images in Figure(s) 1a, 1b and 1c.
The participant has consented to the submission of the case report to the journal.
Patients signed informed consent regarding publishing their data and photographs.
Sample statements if identifying information about participants is available in the article:
Additional informed consent was obtained from all individual participants for whom identifying information is included in this article.
Additional informed consent was obtained from all individual participants for whom identifying information is included in this article.
Authors are responsible for correctness of the statements provided in the manuscript. See also Authorship Principles. The Editor-in-Chief reserves the right to reject submissions that do not meet the guidelines described in this section.
Images will be removed from publication if authors have not obtained informed consent or the paper may be removed and replaced with a notice explaining the reason for removal.
Upon acceptance of your article you will receive a link to the special Author Query Application at Springer’s web page where you can sign the Copyright Transfer Statement online and indicate whether you wish to order Open Choice, offprints, or printing of figures in color. Once the Author Query Application has been completed, your article will be processed and you will receive the proofs. This applies in case of both regular online and Special Issue submission.
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*) Within the first three years of publication. Springer Nature hybrid journal OA impact analysis, 2018.
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