Foundation of Scholarly Excellence
In the realm of academic discourse and knowledge dissemination, the publication of articles in a peer-reviewed journal is not just a mere transfer of information. It is, fundamentally, a building block in the development of a coherent, respected network of knowledge. The Geomatics and Environmental Engineering journal, through its diligent publication practices, contributes significantly to this academic edifice. Each article we publish stands as a testament to the quality and impact of the research work, reflecting the dedication and scholarly rigor of its authors and the institutions that support them.
Our commitment extends beyond the mere facilitation of scientific dialogue. We embody and champion the scientific method, underpinning the evolution and integrity of environmental engineering and geomatics. Recognizing the profound implications of our role, it becomes imperative for all involved in the act of publishing - authors, journal editors, reviewers, and publishers - to uphold the highest standards of ethical behaviour. This ethical pursuit is fundamental to fostering an environment of respect, dignity, and fairness, free from any form of discrimination, harassment, bullying, or retaliation.
In adherence to these principles, our journal’s ethical guidelines are meticulously aligned with the recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). This alignment ensures that all manuscripts submitted to our journal comply with rigorous ethical standards, safeguarding the credibility and integrity of our scientific discourse. While these guidelines are tailored primarily for primary research journals, they hold equal relevance for our review articles and other professional publications. Moreover, in our ongoing efforts to uphold and enhance ethical standards, we actively engage with and incorporate discipline-specific standards and participate in standard-setting bodies pertinent to our field, such as the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT).
Through this comprehensive ethical framework, the Geomatics and Environmental Engineering journal aspires not just to disseminate knowledge but to elevate the standards of scholarly publishing, reflecting our unwavering commitment to the advancement of science and the betterment of society.
Responsibilities of the Publisher
Guardianship of the Scholarly Record
As the publisher of Geomatics and Environmental Engineering, we uphold a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity and reliability of the scholarly record. Our commitment extends beyond mere publication; we are guardians of scientific accuracy and trustworthiness. This involves supporting the substantial efforts of our journal editors and recognizing the critical, often voluntary, work undertaken by peer reviewers. While ethical codes primarily address potential infractions, our focus is equally on celebrating the robustness and reliability of the scholarly system, which operates effectively with rare occurrences of issues.
Supporting the Editorial Process
Our role is multifaceted - supporting, investing in, and nurturing the scholarly communication process, while ensuring adherence to the highest standards of publishing ethics. We provide robust support to our editors, reviewers, and authors in fulfilling their ethical obligations. This includes facilitating communication with other journals and publishers and providing specialized legal review and counsel as necessary.
Commitment to Ethical Best Practices
We actively collaborate with industry associations and other publishers to establish and adhere to best practices in ethical matters, errors, and retractions. This commitment ensures that our practices not only comply with but also contribute to the advancement of ethical standards in scholarly publishing.
Safeguarding Editorial Independence
It is our fundamental principle to ensure that potential commercial interests, such as advertising, reprint revenues, or other financial incentives, do not influence editorial decisions. We uphold the autonomy of our editors to make unbiased decisions based solely on scholarly merit.
Educational Initiatives in Publishing
Ethics Recognizing the importance of awareness and understanding of publishing ethics, especially among early-career researchers, we are dedicated to providing education and advice. This initiative aims to enhance the ethical standards across the scientific community.
Managing Conflicts of Interest
We require transparency and management of any competing or conflicting interests among our editorial staff, including financial and non-financial interests. This approach ensures that editorial decisions are made without bias and upholds the integrity of the publication process.
Responsibilities of Editors
Reinforce the editor’s sole and independent responsibility for deciding which articles are published, ensuring decisions are grounded in the work’s validity and significance to the field. Decisions should be guided by journal policies, legal requirements, and the advice of the editorial board, other editors, and reviewers.
Peer Review Oversight
Ensure the peer review process is fair, unbiased, and timely. Assign at least two external and independent reviewers for each research article, seeking additional opinions as needed. Reviewers must be selected based on their expertise and potential conflicts of interest should be carefully managed.
Commitment to Fair Play
Emphasize evaluating manuscripts based on intellectual content alone, without regard to the authors’ race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy. Strive for diversity and inclusivity in both the editorial board and reviewer selection.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Maintain confidentiality of all submitted materials and communications with reviewers, only sharing information when necessary and with appropriate consent. Ensure the identities of reviewers are protected, unless in the case of an open peer-review system.
Editorial Independence and Integrity
Safeguard the journal’s editorial independence, ensuring no conflict of interest influences manuscript decisions. This includes not allowing advertising, reprint, or other commercial interests to influence decisions.
Vigilance Over the Published Record
Remain vigilant in upholding the integrity of the published record. Promptly investigate reports of misconduct or ethical breaches in conjunction with the publisher, and take appropriate actions like publishing corrections or retractions.
Conflict of Interest Management
Regularly disclose any potential conflicts of interest and abstain from decision-making on manuscripts where a conflict exists. This includes papers written by themselves, family members, colleagues, or those relating to products or services in which the editor has an interest.
Take an active role in educating the community about ethical publishing practices, particularly focusing on early career researchers.
Legal and Ethical Compliance
Adhere to legal standards and ethical practices in all editorial processes, ensuring compliance with national and international regulations.
Use of AI and Emerging Technologies
With the advent of generative AI and AI-assisted technologies, it is crucial to establish clear guidelines for their use in the editorial process of our journal. This policy is designed to ensure transparency, and integrity, and maintain confidentiality standards. Editors are responsible for treating manuscripts as confidential documents. Therefore, uploading any part of a submitted manuscript into a generative AI tool is prohibited, as it could violate the authors’ confidentiality and proprietary rights. This is particularly important when manuscripts contain personally identifiable information, which could lead to breaches of data privacy rights.
The requirement for confidentiality also extends to all communications about the manuscript, including notifications or decision letters. These documents often contain sensitive information and should not be fed into AI tools for purposes such as language improvement or readability enhancement.
The editorial evaluation of scientific manuscripts is a process that fundamentally relies on human judgment and responsibility. While AI technologies can provide valuable support, they are not suitable for making evaluative or decision-making judgments about manuscripts. Editors are accountable for ensuring that the evaluation process remains human-centric, guarding against potential biases or incorrect conclusions that AI might inadvertently introduce. As the field of AI technology is rapidly evolving, our journal’s policies will be regularly reviewed and adjusted to stay aligned with emerging best practices and ethical standards. We are committed to adopting AI-driven technologies that support the editorial process while respecting the confidentiality and privacy rights of authors, reviewers, and editors.
This approach allows us to embrace the benefits of technological advancements while upholding the high standards of integrity and confidentiality essential to scholarly publishing.
Responsibilities of Reviewers
Contribution to Editorial Decisions
Reviewers play a vital role in assisting editors with editorial decisions. Their input can also be instrumental in helping authors improve their papers. Reviewers should approach each manuscript with the same rigour and dedication they would expect of reviews of their work and observe good reviewing etiquette.
Manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. Reviewers must not disclose any information about the paper or its review process to third parties or contact authors directly without the editor’s permission.
Reviewers should be alert to potential ethical issues in the manuscript, such as plagiarism, data fabrication, or conflicts of interest, and report these to the editor. They should also be aware of any substantial similarity between the manuscript under review and other published papers.
Standards of Objectivity
Reviews should be conducted objectively, free from personal bias. Reviewers should express their views clearly with supporting arguments and avoid personal criticism of the authors.
Reviewers should inform the editor if they have any conflicts of interest that may affect their review, such as competitive, collaborative, or other relationships with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.
Alertness to Citation Manipulation
Reviewers should ensure that any citation suggestions are made for genuine scientific reasons and not for personal gain, such as increasing citation counts or enhancing the visibility of their work.
Use of AI and AI-Assisted Technologies in Review
In light of the increasing use of generative AI and AI-assisted technologies in the academic realm, our journal has established definitive guidelines for their application in the peer-review process. This policy aims to uphold the utmost standards of transparency, integrity, and confidentiality.
Reviewers have a responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of manuscripts. Consequently, uploading any portion of a manuscript under review into a generative AI tool is strictly prohibited. Such actions may breach the authors’ confidentiality and proprietary rights, especially when the manuscript includes personally identifiable information.
The principle of confidentiality extends beyond the manuscript to encompass all forms of communication pertaining to it. This includes the peer review report itself. Reviewers are therefore advised against using AI tools to enhance language or readability in their reports or any other related communications, as these may contain confidential details about the manuscript or authors.
Peer review, a cornerstone of the scientific method, depends fundamentally on human discernment and judgment. While AI technologies can offer support in various aspects, they are not equipped to supplant the critical thinking and nuanced assessment required in peer review. Reviewers should be aware of the limitations of these technologies and refrain from relying on them for making evaluative judgments about the manuscripts. The responsibility for a thorough and unbiased review rests solely on human reviewers.
As AI technology continues to evolve, we commit to regular reviews and updates of our policies to align with the latest developments and ethical standards in scholarly publishing. Our goal is to leverage the benefits of AI-driven technologies in supporting the review process while safeguarding the confidentiality and privacy rights of all involved parties.
This approach enables us to embrace technological advancements in a manner that adheres to the high standards of integrity and confidentiality that are pivotal in scholarly publishing.
Responsibilities of Authors
Authors should provide an accurate account of the work performed, including an objective discussion of its significance. The paper should present underlying data accurately and include sufficient detail and references for replication. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements are unethical and unacceptable.
Data Access and Retention
Authors should be prepared to provide public access to their research data if practicable and retain such data for a reasonable number of years after publication, in compliance with journal policies.
Originality and Acknowledgment of Sources
Ensure that all works are original and properly cite or quote the work and words of others. Acknowledge all influences on the reported work.
Multiple, Redundant, or Concurrent Publication
Avoid publishing manuscripts describing the same research in more than one journal. Submitting the same manuscript concurrently to multiple journals is unethical.
Confidentiality in Services
Respect confidentiality in peer-reviewing manuscripts or grant applications, not using information obtained during such processes without explicit written permission.
Authorship of the Paper
Limit authorship to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. Acknowledge others who participated in substantive aspects of the research in the acknowledgements section.
Hazards and Human or Animal Subjects
Authors must clearly identify any unusual hazards associated with chemicals, procedures, or equipment used in their research. For studies involving animal or human subjects, authors should confirm that all procedures complied with relevant laws and institutional guidelines, including obtaining appropriate institutional approvals. Where human subjects are involved, a statement confirming that informed consent was obtained should be included, and their privacy rights must be observed.
Declaration of Competing Interests
Authors should disclose any financial or personal relationships that could inappropriately influence their work. This includes all sources of financial support for the research and/or article preparation, specifying the role of any sponsors in the research.
Notification of Fundamental Errors
Upon discovering significant errors in their published work, authors are obligated to promptly inform the journal editor or publisher and cooperate in retracting or correcting the paper as necessary.
Authors should avoid manipulating images in a way that misrepresents the original data. Enhancements for clarity are permissible, but alterations that obscure or introduce features are unethical. Compliance with journal-specific policies on graphical images, such as providing original images as supplementary material, is required.
Clinical Trial Transparency
For studies involving clinical trials, authors are expected to adhere to standards like the CONSORT guidelines, ensuring transparency and ethical reporting of clinical trials.
We are committed to fostering inclusivity and respect in scientific communication. We encourage the use of inclusive language that acknowledges diversity, conveys respect to all individuals, and promotes equality. Our content should not assume any specific beliefs or commitments of the reader. It must avoid implying the superiority of one individual over another based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, disability, or health condition.
Authors are advised to ensure their writing is free from bias, stereotypes, and references to dominant culture or cultural assumptions. We recommend employing gender-neutral terms and avoiding descriptors related to personal attributes unless they are relevant and valid to the content. In contexts where terminology is important, we advise against using terms that could be considered offensive or exclusionary. Examples include replacing terms like
’master’ and ’slave’ with ’primary’ and ’secondary’ or ’blocklist’ and ’allowlist’ instead of
’blacklist’ and ’whitelist’. These guidelines are intended as a reference to help identify and use appropriate language, understanding that they are neither exhaustive nor definitive.
Sex- and Gender-based Analysis
In the Geomatics and Environmental Engineering journal, we recognize the importance of integrating sex and gender-based analyses (SGBA) into research, particularly for studies involving humans, animals, or eukaryotic cells. This integration should be aligned with the requirements of funders or sponsors and adhere to the best practices within the respective field. Authors are encouraged to address the dimensions of sex and/or gender in their research explicitly. If sex and/or gender analyses are not applicable or have not been conducted, this should be acknowledged as a limitation affecting the generalizability of the research findings.
Authors must provide clear definitions of ’sex’ and ’gender’ as applied in their research to avoid ambiguity. Sex typically refers to biological attributes linked to physical and physiological characteristics, while gender relates to socially constructed roles, behaviours, and identities. These constructs are not binary but exist along a spectrum, encompassing a variety of identities and categorizations.
We advise authors to familiarize themselves with the Sex and Gender Equity in Research (SAGER) guidelines and the SAGER checklist guidelines, which offer comprehensive approaches for the inclusion and review of sex and gender information in study design, data analysis, reporting outcomes, and interpreting research. This adherence not only enhances the precision and rigor of the research but also ensures inclusivity and relevance in scientific inquiry.
Use of Generative AI and AI-Assisted Technologies in Writing
The rise of generative AI and AI-assisted technologies in scientific writing prompts our journal to offer clear guidelines for authors. These technologies should be used responsibly to enhance the readability and language of the work under human oversight. Authors are responsible for reviewing and ensuring the accuracy and integrity of AI-assisted output, as it may produce results that are incorrect, incomplete, or biased.
It is important to note that AI tools should not be listed as authors or co-authors, as authorship entails responsibilities and tasks that only humans can fulfil. Authors are accountable for the work’s content, ensuring its originality, and resolving any accuracy or integrity issues.
Use of Generative AI and AI-Assisted Tools in Figures, Images, and Artwork
Our journal does not permit the use of generative AI or AI-assisted tools to create or alter images in submitted manuscripts unless it is an integral part of the research design or methods. This includes the prohibition of AI tools for enhancing, obscuring, moving, removing, or introducing features within an image. However, standard adjustments like brightness, contrast, or colour balance are acceptable as long as they do not obscure any original information.
In cases where AI tools are part of the research methodology (e.g., AI-assisted imaging in biomedical research), their use must be clearly described in the manuscript’s methods section, including detailed information on the tools and models used. Authors may be required to provide original images for editorial assessment in such cases.
The production of artwork, such as graphical abstracts using generative AI tools, is not permitted.