Brepols is a leading publisher of academic book series and journals. In order to maintain the highest possible standards of publication ethics and to ensure the research integrity of our publications, we follow guidelines set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). We encourage and will support all authors, Editorial Boards, and peer reviewers to adhere to these core principles. We outline the best practice guidelines in key areas below, but for further clarification or in cases of doubt, please check the COPE website.
All book series and journals published by Brepols have a unique name that is clearly differentiated from other book series and journal titles to ensure that potential authors and readers cannot be confused or mislead.
Brepols guarantees the provision of a web page for every book series and journal, which will be made available on its website www.brepols.net. Each web page will clearly indicate the name of the general editor or else the research centre under whose auspices the book series or journal is published, together with the names and affiliations of all members of the Editorial Board, as well as any Advisory Board, if applicable. In cases of distribution, we will also indicate the name of the publisher of the book series or journal.
Other information that will be published on the individual web page of each book series or journal comprises: the frequency of publication (in the case of journals), the peer review policy, contact information for the editorial office, information regarding any fees that may apply to manuscript processing and/or publishing, copyright and licensing information, and price models for journal subscriptions.
The attribution of a contribution to one or more author(s) should reflect the reality. It is unethical to omit names of scholars who contributed to the research. All researchers who made a significant contribution should be listed as co-authors. Crediting as an author any person who did not make a substantial contribution to the conception, execution, or interpretation of the research reported in the publication is also a breach of publication ethics. Scholars who have a lesser involvement in the research should thus be listed as contributors or identified in the acknowledgements.
Conflicts of Interest
When submitting a text for publication, authors should disclose any possible conflict of interest that could affect their objectivity in a cover letter and/or footnote to the manuscript. Conflicts of interest can be personal, commercial, political, academic, or financial. The funding body of the research and/or any other source of (financial) support, including funding for open access publication and for writing, indexing, or editorial assistance, should be mentioned here as well, or else indicated in the acknowledgements section.
All forms of plagiarism — which might range from literally copying someone else’s work to paraphrasing another researcher’s ideas or copying their research methods without giving due credit — is considered unacceptable. All sources, direct or indirect, should be fully acknowledged. When a passage is copied word for word from a previously published work, it should be identified as a citation, either by placing it between quotation marks or else by formatting it as a block quotation, and its source should be cited correctly. These rules also apply when an author makes use of their own work, which has previously been published elsewhere; the author is required to correctly cite and refer to the original source to avoid self-plagiarism and text recycling.
Submitting papers or volumes that do not contain original, hitherto unpublished research, is considered dishonest and therefore unethical.
We ask authors not to submit their paper or volume to us if it is currently under review elsewhere. Resubmitting or offering for publication identical or near-identical content to that found in a prior publication, ‘salami slicing’, and other forms of redundant publication are likewise considered a breach of publication ethics. Re-publication of a translation of a paper in another language is acceptable, provided that full reference is given to the original, and that the first publisher has granted approval.
Errors and Retractions
Authors who discover any significant mistakes or inaccuracies in their work must promptly notify the editor of the book series or journal, as well as the publisher, and must provide them with a correction or erratum as soon as possible. When the error is such that it renders the entire work or parts of it invalid, the paper, chapter, or volume should be retracted, and a public explanation of the reason for this retraction given.
For Editorial Boards and Peer Reviewers
Responsibility for deciding which material to accept for publication rests with the general editor or wider Editorial Board of a book series or journal. Editorial Boards should have quality control mechanisms in place as a key part of the decision-making process, both to ensure the excellence of the published material, and to encourage accuracy, completeness, and clarity of research. All content submitted to the book series or journal should therefore be subjected to peer review. Submitted volume proposals or journal papers can be rejected without peer review when the content, publication language and/or type of paper do not match with the scope of intended series or journal. Non-peer reviewed sections of a volume or journal, if any are included, should clearly be identified as such.
Peer Review for Series and Journal Editors
Editorial Boards for book series and journal should adopt policies and procedures to guarantee an unbiased, objective, and timely peer review process. Papers and volumes should be reviewed strictly on academic merit, based on reports prepared by referees who have been commissioned by their specialism in the appropriate field. Editors have a duty to ensure that the screening is done fairly and independently, without regard to the author’s race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy, and without any conflicts of interest. All journals and book series should adopt specific procedures for ensuring a fair peer review of submissions made by editors, members of the editorial or advisory board, and other editorial staff. It is obvious that they can never be involved in editorial decisions about their own work.
Journal and series editors guarantee that all material under review is treated confidentially. No information about the submitted paper can be distributed to anyone other than the corresponding author, (candidate) referees, the Editorial Board, and the publisher. Neither members of an Editorial Board, nor peer reviewers, may use any unpublished content disclosed in submitted work for their own research purposes without the explicit written consent of the author.
Peer Reviewing as an External Expert
Peer reviewers are expected to assess the originality and quality of the research, to draw attention to any redundant publication and plagiarism, and to point out relevant literature that is not yet referred to. Prior to accepting a peer review request, selected referees should report any conflicts of interest that might influence their opinion. They should also notify the Editorial Board of the journal or book series when a prompt review (as agreed between Editorial Board and reviewer) would be impossible or when they feel unqualified to assess the paper.
All comments offered by referees in the peer review report should be passed on in their entirety to the author. Unless otherwise stated in the description of the book series or journal’s peer review process, Editorial Boards will ensure reports are sent in an anonymous form to protect the identity of the peer reviewer.
Journal editors should not force authors to cite articles from their journal for non-scholarly reasons, to artificially increase the journals metrics and to inappropriately influence the journal’s ranking and impact factor.
Errors and Retractions
When authors or readers point out genuine errors in published material to the editors of the journal or book series, the editors must be willing to publish a correction or clarification, or else to initiate the process of retracting the flawed publication. Journal editors should also offer authors the opportunity to respond to critics.
Scientific research should be conducted according to international standards, and scholarly engagement with cultural material must always be lawful and ethical. Brepols aligns with the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, and will therefore not publish cultural material knowingly obtained illegally from unprovenanced sources, unless it is the view of the Editorial Board that such publication will directly contribute to discussions concerning the loss of archaeological or historical context, or acquisition history. Work dealing with human remains must have been carried out in line with national legislation, and informed by professional standards.
Statement on the cooperation with Russian universities following the invasion of Ukraine
Following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, Brepols has aligned itself with the Association of European Universities in suspending any institutional cooperation with or endorsement of Russian universities supporting the invasion. At the same time, cooperation on an individual basis with Russian academics who do not support the invasion remains possible in order to keep open communication with Russian academics and civil society, as set out by the independent COPE-guidelines.