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Ethical considerations

The Colombian Journal of Horticultural Science (Revista Colombiana de Ciencias Hortícolas – RCCH) has as a reference, the code of conduct and good publishing practices for editors of scientific journals, defined by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Regarding good publishing practices and transparency criteria, the 16 COPE principles have been adopted; below is how the journal reflects these principles in its day-to-day work:

1. Website: The journal works on an Open Journal Systems platform and includes all accurate and up-to-date information on its focus, scope, theme spectrum, editorial structure, policy, and procedures.

2. Journal name: The journal has been consistent in its name since its inception (2007) and does not leave room for misunderstandings with other publications.

3. Peer-review process: The journal thoroughly describes its peer-review process under the double-blind system.

4. Ownership and management: The journal is sponsored by the Colombian Journal of Horticultural Science and Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia.

5. Governing body: The journal has an editorial structure publicly available on its website and comprises a chief editor, associate scientific editors, and an editorial and scientific board. It also has an editorial and production coordinating area that supports journal management and technical and professional publication processes.

6. Editorial team/Contact information: The journal includes complete information on its editorial structure, profiles, ORCID, or information on the online CV of its members.

7. Copyright and licenses: The journal states its relationship with authors regarding the rights of approved manuscripts (©RCCH) and the relationship with its readers through a Creative Commons license (By-NC-SA 4.0).

8. Handling fees: The journal explicitly declares that it operates under the diamond open access model; that is, it has no submission or publication costs for its authors.

9. Process to identify and deal with research misconduct reports: The journal states that it follows COPE flowcharts (procedures) to deal with potential ethical dilemmas or malpractice cases in research and scientific publication.

10. Ethics in publication: The journal has an ethics policy that encourages scientific integrity, which translates into procedures to promote and verify the quality of manuscripts.

11. Publication frequency: The frequency is mentioned in the journal’s policies (three times a year).

12. Access: It has no subscription costs, and its access is open under a Creative Commons license.

13. Archiving: The journal has a preservation policy and discloses it in its guidelines.

14. Sources of income: The journal is fully funded by the Colombian Journal of Horticultural Science and Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia. Moreover, its purpose is scientific; it seeks to advance knowledge of Horticulture.

15. Advertising: The journal does not advertising guideline.

16. Direct marketing: The journal does not carry out direct marketing strategies or is for commercial purposes; it has no interest in this regard or charges handling fees to authors. It intends to create a community of collaborators (authors, reviewers, editors) and an inclusive, diverse audience of readers within the particularities of its area of expertise and theme spectrum.

Criteria that define authorship or co-authorship: Regarding manuscript submission and following the ICMJE recommendations, authors must consider three essential aspects:

  1. An author is a person who makes substantial contributions to conceiving or designing a manuscript or collecting, analyzing, or interpreting the data contained in a manuscript.

  2. An author takes part in writing a manuscript or critically reviewing the contents of a manuscript.

  3. An author participates in the approval of the final version of a manuscript.

  4. An author agrees with all parts of a manuscript and is responsible for their accuracy or completeness to clarify or resolve doubts.

Concerning the primary roles of those participating in the journal, they are briefly outlined below:

Authors are expected not to engage in behaviors such as plagiarism, data fabrication or result manipulation, text recycling, or simultaneous application to other journals or publication media (to list some of the most frequent ethical issues). More importantly, authors who submit papers to the journal must have a genuine interest in publishing and participate continuously throughout the entire process: peer review, corrections, editorial production, and post-publication. The end quality of the work and its impact over time largely depends on the authors’ interest.

Reviewers must have a scientific, academic approach at all times when evaluating manuscripts. The journal evaluates manuscripts, not people, and the opinions must be expressed under this principle, avoiding personal attacks on authors. Reviewers should also avoid the misuse of both manuscripts and research data entrusted to them. Impersonation is also malpractice; the journal selects and convenes reviewers based on their academic training, experience, and publications, thus transferring the responsibility of reviewing a manuscript to a third party (student, resident, colleague), without consulting with the journal’s editor-in-chief, is unacceptable and should be avoided.

Editors or the editorial team must ensure that the principles of transparency and the processes and procedures of the journal are followed in the best possible way, ensuring fair treatment for all parties involved. Rather than serving as “gatekeepers” of knowledge, editors (and their team) must be authors’ “discrete collaborators.” Their intention should be that the journal is a reliable repository of knowledge of Horticulre and that each manuscript reaches a specialized reader in the best possible version.

Conflict-of-interest statement: Authors must declare any conflict of interest that could potentially affect the repercussions or interpretation of the results of their manuscript. Thus, authors must complete and submit, together with their manuscript, a conflict-of-interest statement form provided by the journal.

Ethics and evaluation process: One of the first filters that the Journal will apply upon receiving the postulation of a manuscript is to verify its originality and its probable similarity with other works already published (or gray literature), through an anti-plagiarism tool (Turnitin).

If an inadequate use of other works protected by copyright, reprints of works already published, fabrication or manipulation of data, or any other type of unethical behavior, the Journal can issue a categorical rejection of the submitted manuscript.

Also, if the authors involved in an incident that goes against the ethics or scientific integrity do not give a satisfactory clarification, the Journal, in the future, will no longer receive or process any submission for their part.

About corrections or retractions of articles published in the journal:

Corrections. Corrections on a published article will be made if the error identified can lead to significant mistakes (an error in the affiliation of an author, ORCID, names, among others) or affects its interpretation due to an unintentional omission or error in its writing or format.

Retractions. If it is detected that an article has serious issues that affect the veracity of its results, compromise its scientific quality, or poses a grave ethical problem (plagiarism, data fabrication, manipulation, among others), the journal may retract and prevent access to the full-text manuscript, with the appropriate notice of the reasons for retraction. Such cases will be analyzed by the journal’s Editorial and Scientific Board and the editor-in-chief before reaching a final decision on a retraction.

Each case, then, will be studied by the editor and his team, and actions will be taken accordingly, also under the recommendations of COPE.

Petitions, denunciations complaints and claims: The collaborators of the Journal can contact the editorial coordination, through the official e-mailbox of the Journal (, to expose to the Editor in Chief any type of petition that provides clarity about some process associated with the manuscripts received or published, or to present a complaint, claim or denunciation on possible ethical issues in a work.

All petitions will be processed, offering a probable response schedule, according with their nature and complexity.