Ethical Principles for Authors, Referees, Associate Editors and Editors

A. Principles for Authors

A1. Plagiarism, including self-transcription. All submitted material must be the authors’ own work, original to the submission, unless specifically stated as having another origin, which must be clearly identified. Here ‘original to the submission’ relates not just to published work, but to unpublished work that the authors have submitted, or are submitting, or plan to submit for publication. This requirement applies not just to the original research on which the submission is based, for example numerical studies or theoretical work. It applies also to matters such as the literature review, to summaries of known aspects of the matters being addressed in the submission (e.g. previously published accounts of known properties of some of the methods studied in the submission), etc. Paragraphs addressing these matters should not be copied from published work, or to-be-published work. (Consider, for example, the copyright issues that would or could be involved.)

Reflecting this principle, the Annals of Statistics generally is not interested in publishing technical material that is closely related to results that have been presented in other publications, including conference proceedings, by one or more of the authors.  It is appreciated that this policy may differ from that in other fields, but it is common among major journals in statistical science.

A2. Corresponding author. The corresponding author must be an author who is familiar with the correct procedures for obtaining permissions from authors, and for submitting a paper. They should share with other authors the responsibility for ensuring that the ethical principles are adhered to. If a relatively inexperienced author is the corresponding author then more experienced colleagues, for example other co-authors or other colleagues, must ensure that that the corresponding author is made fully aware of their responsibilities.

A3. Keeping co-authors informed. All authors of a paper must be fully informed, by the corresponding author, of its submission. For example, all authors must receive copies of relevant correspondence relating to the submission, and the corresponding author must be willing and able to provide evidence to an Editor of the fact that all authors have agreed to the submission of the work, and are fully aware of the contents of the submission. Likewise, all authors of the paper must be kept fully informed by the corresponding author, in a timely fashion, of any editorial decisions that concern the paper.

A4. Literature citation. Authors must cite all closely relevant literature, and in particular they must cite unpublished or recently published work (including conference proceedings) of their own related to the paper that is submitted for publication. This applies even when that work is available only in preprint form. Failure to do so may lead quickly to rejection. Items that are not readily available on the web should be uploaded as supplementary files.

A5. Editorial decisions. Authors should understand that the Annals of Statistics receives many more submissions than it can publish, and therefore many worthy submissions must be rejected. Editorial decisions will sometimes be based in part on subjective criteria, such as timeliness and perceived level of general interest in the subject matter. Although authors might not always agree with the decisions of the editorial board, they should remain professional and cordial in their communications with the editors.

B. Principles for Referees, Associate Editors and Editors

B1. Confidentiality of a paper under review. Both the content of a submitted paper, and the fact that a paper is under review, are confidential and should not be disclosed to individuals who are not part of the review process. Referees who would like to review a submission together with a student or a collaborator, should seek the permission of the associate editor before doing so. Referees, Associate Editors and Editors must not take advantage of any information obtained as a result of their role. After the review is completed, the manuscript and any supplementary material should be destroyed by the referees.

B2. Equal opportunities. Referees, Associate Editors and Editors should ensure that they avoid any bias in the review of manuscripts, e.g. due to gender, age, racial or ethnic origin, affiliation or reputation of authors.

B3. Preparation of reviews. Referees, Associate Editors and Editors are expected to be constructive and polite when writing their reports. Comments must be based solely on the work under review. Defamatory or personal comments must be avoided. Reviewers will be asked to remove unprofessional remarks from their reports.

B4. Confidentiality of identities of reviewers. Editors, Associate Editors and referees must go to all reasonable lengths to ensure confidentiality of the process of handling submissions. In particular, Associate Editors and referees must not knowingly identify, to authors of a submission, their involvement in the review of that work, even after the review process has been completed. If an Associate Editor’s or referee’s identity has been inadvertently revealed to an author, an Editor must be notified immediately of this fact.

B5. Choice of referees. An Associate Editor must take all reasonable precautions to ensure that referees do not have a conflict of interest, for example through personal or professional association with the authors, or through their involvement in work that competes directly with that of the authors and might reasonably be expected to create a conflict of interest. The scientific case for choice of the referees, for example through their knowledge of the field addressed in the submitted work; the absence of conflict of interest; and the willingness and capacity of the referees to provide useful, relevant and timely reviews; must comprise the sole basis for choice of the referees.

B6. Conflicts of interests of associate editors and editors. Editors and Associate Editors must not handle papers of which one or more of the authors is a departmental colleague, or a current close collaborator, or a close personal associate. They should also be aware of potential conflicts of interest when handling papers which compete directly with their own current work and in case of doubt have the manuscript reassigned.

B7. Editors reviewing for other journals. Editors should refrain from reviewing for other statistical journals, first to ensure that the Editors have sufficient time and energy for their IMS editorial work, and secondly, to allow the Editors’ decisions on papers to be made independently of whether the paper was previously submitted elsewhere.