Table 1 Mean ratings of editors’ perceptions of the severity and frequency of various ethical issues at their journals, and their confidence in handling these issues
Redundant publication1.190.701.393.43
Duplicate submission0.790.791.013.28
Undisclosed author conflicts of interest0.730.730.903.28
Undisclosed reviewer conflicts of interest0.690.710.943.08**
Gift authorship0.670.511.08*3.17
Disputed authorship0.58*0.90*0.813.00**
Falsified or fabricated data0.560.620.583.12**
Reviewer misconduct0.56*0.620.803.00**
Unethical research design or conduct0.550.83*0.702.98
Undisclosed commercial involvement0.520.660.623.24
Ghost authorship0.370.610.483.32
Image manipulation0.300.690.473.34
Concerns over supplements0.24**1.08*0.30**2.97**
Concerns over advertising0.13**1.01*0.20**3.00**
Editorial interference by journal owner0.051.51*0.092.95**
  • Respondents who stated that they did not know were excluded from calculations of the mean. Editors were asked to base their replies on their perceptions of the situation at their own journal rather than their perceptions of problems in the literature in general.

  • †Severity was graded on a 4-point scale ranging from 0, “not a problem”, to 3, “a very serious problem”.

  • ‡Editors’ confidence in handling issues was graded on a 4-point scale ranging from 0, “not at all confident”, to 3, “highly confident”.

  • §Frequency was graded on a 4-point scale ranging from 0, “never”, to 3, “very often (at least once a month)”.

  • ¶Editors who stated that an issue occurred “sometimes (more than once a year)” or “very often (at least once a month)” were asked whether they thought the problem was decreasing a lot (1), decreasing slightly (2), occurring to the same extent as before (3), increasing slightly (4) or increasing a lot (5).

  • *Kurtosis less than −1.0, indicating a wide spread of opinions (curve flatter than normal distribution). **Kurtosis more than +3.0, indicating a high degree of consensus (curve sharper than normal distribution). Kurtosis of 0 indicates that responses followed a normal distribution.