Ethical Considerations

The leadership of To Improve the Academy, its authors, reviewers, and other contributors are bound by the POD Network’s Ethical Guidelines for Educational Developers. Along with other considerations listed below, these guidelines help ensure that all published work is consistent with the organization’s core values, that it meets the highest standards for rigorous, ethical scholarship, and that all authors and contributors are treated equitably and humanely throughout the complete publication process.


Review Considerations

Manuscripts submitted to TIA undergo a rigorous double blind peer-review process. This means neither authors nor reviewers know each other’s identities. Editors know the identities of both parties but never disclose this information.

Upon receiving a manuscript, the primary editor checks whether it is blinded properly, ensuring there are no direct references to the authors, the authors’ institution, their educational development programs, or other published work. The editor also removes all metadata from submitted files.

In cases where invited reviewers are still able to determine the identity of authors, they must decline the review.

If at any time the integrity of the blind review process is compromised, the process is halted, any review information received is destroyed, and an entirely new review process with new reviewers is initiated.


Scholarship and Access Considerations

Protecting Human Subjects

To ensure researchers act in good faith, all human subject research studies published in TIA require approval through a formal Institutional Review Board (IRB). Authors should include the IRB protocol number in the main body text or in a footnote.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism “is a term used to describe a practice that involves knowingly taking and using another person’s work and claiming it, directly or indirectly, as your own” (Neville, 2007). TIA takes all forms and degrees of plagiarism—intentional or unintentional—seriously. This includes copying words, images, or ideas without giving credit; failing to use quotation marks; providing incorrect citations to source information; exceeding fair use standards (plagiarism.org); among others. In most cases, plagiarism is easily avoided by providing readers with unambiguous citations to other’s work or ideas. Be sure to cite your own published work to avoid instances of self-plagiarism.

All claims of plagiarism and self-plagiarism are thoroughly investigated by the editorial board. When confirmed, work that is plagiarized will be immediately removed from TIA. In less serious cases, offending author(s) may be asked to revise their work to remove plagiarized text. In more egregious cases, author(s) risk banishment from publishing in TIA and membership in the POD Network.

Neville, C. (2007). The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism. New York; Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Avoiding & Disclosing Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest (COIs) occur when “a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity” (Oxford Dictionary). COIs can occur when, for example, authors benefit financially from published work, when reviewers have competing research agendas, or when journal editors seek to publish in their own journal. All COIs should be avoided whenever possible and disclosed to TIA leadership once known. Published work with known COIs should clearly identify the conflict. Failure to cite COIs may result in removal of published work from TIA, and offending author(s) risk banishment from publishing in TIA and membership in the POD Network.

Submitting Work to Multiple Journals

Authors should submit manuscripts to TIA that are original work and are not concurrently submitted to other journals. It is permissible for authors to simultaneously submit different pieces of a study/idea to different journals for different audiences.

Ensuring Data Access

TIA strongly encourages all authors to make any research objects associated with their publications openly available, including any methodologies, data sets, computer code, and supporting information. This allows reviewers and other researchers to confirm claims, and it builds trust with educational development and broader research communities. All access to data should align with authors’ institutional policies for ethical human subjects research.