Taylor & Francis/Routledge journal editor code of conduct


Taylor & Francis Group’s journal program provides a home for validated, trusted research from the world’s brightest and best minds. The editor of a journal plays a vital role in advancing knowledge within fields of research. To support this role, our code of conduct sets out the minimum standards for all Taylor & Francis/Routledge editors who have responsibility for decisions on journal content to help ensure our journals publish quality, trustworthy content.

The role of a journal editor

Taylor & Francis Group’s journal program provides a home for validated, trusted research from the world’s brightest and best minds.

The editor of a journal plays a vital role in advancing knowledge within fields of research. They do this by:

  1. Maintaining and improving the quality of work the journal publishes and the integrity of its peer review process,
  2. Supporting the journal’s authors and reviewers,
  3. Maintaining and improving the journal’s reputation in collaboration with the journal’s wider editorial team and Taylor & Francis/Routledge.

To support this role, our code of conduct sets out the minimum standards for all Taylor & Francis/Routledge editors who have responsibility for decisions on journal content to help ensure our journals publish quality, trustworthy content.

If you are an existing Taylor & Francis or Routledge editor and have any questions on this code of conduct, please speak to your Taylor & Francis portfolio manager contact.

We expect all editors to comply with this code of conduct, and this obligation will be reflected in future editor agreements.

Editorial ethics

Taylor & Francis is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). All Taylor & Francis/Routledge journals are expected to operate within COPE guidelines and work within all relevant legal and ethical frameworks. Taylor & Francis/Routledge has a legal and ethical responsibility for all submitted works and will work closely with the editor to ensure that papers are dealt with fairly.

An editor will:

  • Follow COPE core practices and guidelines.
  • Ensure the journal maintains a reputation for ethical standards and fair processes.
  • Ensure that intellectual property is respected, and research integrity maintained.
  • Avoid any bias in editorial decision-making.
  • Ensure, as far as possible, that papers meet ethical standards on:
    • authorship
    • originality of content
    • no duplicate publication
    • no redundant publication
    • no fabrication/falsification
    • correctly referencing use of another’s ideas (published or otherwise)
  • Be alert to any instances of potential citation manipulation, making Taylor & Francis/Routledge aware of any concerns immediately. The Editor should never engage in any behaviour that implicitly or explicitly makes citing their journal, or their own published articles in other journals, a prerequisite for acceptance.
  • Declare to Taylor & Francis/Routledge, on at least an annual basis, any relevant competing interests that may influence, or may be perceived to influence, their decisions as Editor.
  • Ensure authors have disclosed sources of funding and any other resources .
  • Maintain confidentiality of Taylor & Francis/Routledge, author, reviewer and any other person (including whistle-blowers) involved in the process of investigating an ethical query.
  • Where required use Crossref Similarity Check to check for potential plagiarism and work with Taylor & Francis/Routledge, following COPE guidelines, when dealing with papers where any significant levels of similarity to other works are detected.
  • Ensure that editorials, while expressing or supporting a particular view or perspective, should aim for balance and fairness and not be defamatory.
  • Be familiar with the official Taylor & Francis appeals process for appeals against editorial decisions and inform the portfolio manager of any appeals as necessary if additional support may be required.
  • Avoid unconstructive criticism in reviews and make all efforts to ensure that all editorial board members and reviewers provide constructive criticism.
  • Create a route for all editorial board members, reviewers and interested parties to raise points of concern about an article or the peer review process.
  • Develop an understanding of relevant copyright rules around sharing of published and unpublished work and the different forms of open access licences.
  • Ensure articles submitted to the journal meet appropriate subject-specific ethical standards and deal with any points of concern appropriately.
  • Keep submission and peer review details confidential, as required. Do not upload files, images or information from unpublished manuscripts into databases or tools that do not guarantee confidentiality, are accessible by the public and/or may store or use this information for their own purposes (for example, generative AI tools like ChatGPT).
  • Act with good faith and without ethical compromise as editor of the Journal. The Editor shall not allow or accept any payments in relation to the Journal that are not specifically authorised by the Publisher in writing. The Editor shall immediately report to the Publisher any unauthorised payments or unethical non-financial incentives that are offered to them or the Editorial Team by any third party in respect of the Journal, or if they become aware of any suspicious activities in relation to the Journal.

Journal editorial management

Peer review and manuscript handling

Ethical, timely, effective peer review is fundamental to a journal and, in conjunction with Taylor & Francis/Routledge, the editor is responsible for managing and assuring the integrity of the peer review process.

An editor will:

  • Ensure that a journal’s aims and scope are kept up-to-date.
  • Give unbiased consideration to each manuscript submitted and judge each on its merits, without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex, gender, seniority, or institutional affiliation of the author(s).
  • Comply with and uphold the journal’s peer review policy (e.g. single-anonymous, double-anonymous) and ensure that reviewers’ identities are protected as stated in that policy.
  • Ensure that rigorous peer review is conducted on each article, where detailed & constructive peer review reports have been obtained from at least two independent peer reviewers, or the expected number of reviewers as stated in the peer review policy on the journal’s website.
  • Respect and maintain confidentiality throughout the peer review process.
  • Maintain and assure the integrity of the peer review process, alerting Taylor & Francis/Routledge to any concerns straight away.
  • Not set barriers to submission or publication other than the quality of the work.
  • Confidently use the submission and peer review system provided by Taylor & Francis/Routledge, taking advantage of the training offered, to ensure all submissions can be tracked and managed.
  • Ensure peer review and editorial decision processes are auditable by ensuring that peer review reports are uploaded via the peer review system (where available), or storing digital copies in a secure location where there is no peer review system available.
  • Ensure that any editorial board members, or other members of the editorial team (including any guest editors) involved in the peer review process, are working in an ethical, timely and effective manner.
  • Provide guidance for peer reviewers which is in line with the journal’s peer review policy, Taylor & Francis/Routledge’s guidance for reviewers and COPE guidelines.
  • Comply with data protection regulations (including GDPR) and ensure all user data is kept secure and is maintained as required in accordance with the editor agreement.
  • Verify the contact details of reviewers suggested by authors or other third parties.
  • Develop and maintain a consistent and fair policy around returning, rejecting and withdrawing papers.
  • Work closely with the production editor and other editorial office staff at Taylor & Francis/Routledge to keep the journal production to timetable and page budget (where applicable).
  • Collaborate with Taylor & Francis/Routledge editorial office staff to resolve any issues or queries regarding submissions or published articles, using COPE guidance where appropriate.
  • Aim to provide a positive experience for all prospective authors regardless of peer review decisions.

Managing the editorial board

An active, engaged, and diverse editorial board with a shared vision is essential for journal success and provides invaluable support to the editor.

In order to achieve this, an editor will:

  • Work in conjunction with Taylor & Francis/Routledge to appoint and manage a diverse and effective editorial board.
  • Regularly communicate with all decision-making editors on the journal and meet as often as necessary (virtually if necessary).
  • Actively involve editorial board members in the peer review process where appropriate.
  • Mentor and support other editors and editorial board members when required, including management and oversight of any guest editors.
  • Engage with all editorial board members so they are confident in advocating for the journal’s aims and scope.
  • Work with Taylor & Francis/Routledge to keep editorial board members informed of the strategic direction for the journal, its performance and development plans.
  • With support from Taylor & Francis/Routledge, supply guidelines to ensure that all editorial board members understand their role and are active contributors to the journal.
  • Discuss and agree strategic objectives with decision-making editors on the journal, with the support of Taylor & Francis/Routledge.
  • Work with Taylor & Francis/Routledge to review the editorial board regularly, preferably annually, and refresh the board as required to ensure and maintain an active, diverse and engaged editorial board.
  • Work with Taylor & Francis/Routledge to ensure diversity of voices and experience on the editorial board.

Competing interests

  • Ensure that all necessary declarations of interest have been made (by authors, reviewers and any decision-making editors, including the editor-in-chief) and consent of any research participants has been acquired by authors, as necessary.
  • Abstain from the peer review process and editorial decisions for any papers authored by the editor, or where they have a competing interest. In such instances, the editor must delegate responsibility of the peer review, and editorial decision process of any of their own work submitted to the journal (excluding editorials), to another suitable editor on the journal (e.g. deputy Editor, advisory or editorial board member), or nominate a suitable guest editor who will be given the responsibility for assessment, peer review and for making the final editorial decision.

What can an editor expect from Taylor & Francis/Routledge?

A publisher and editor both bring unique contributions to their working partnership, and this facilitates the achievements of the journal. Taylor & Francis/Routledge are committed to making a success of these partnerships. Taylor & Francis/Routledge are part of Informa, and as such all employees are subject to the Informa Code of Conduct. Editors can expect the following from us:

  • Provision of an online submission and peer review system with support available to assist in its operation, including managing author queries.
  • A production service for accepted material which prioritises a commitment to timely and high-quality publications,
  • Journal performance data, support, and guidance to assist generation and implementation of an editorial strategy for the journal,
  • General guidance on publication ethics (including COPE resources and eLearning modules, as well as ethics training session provided by Taylor & Francis/Routledge) and specific support should questions concerning this arise,
  • Global dissemination, via Taylor & Francis Online, marketing and promotion for all published journal content.

Publisher relationship

The editor is expected to work in partnership with Taylor & Francis/Routledge and our supplier partners for the success of the journal and to create a professional, positive, inclusive and safe environment.

Both parties will:

  • Develop an effective, collaborative, transparent, honest, and respectful working relationship together and with our supplier partners, where all parties maintain a high standard of professional conduct.
  • Ensure that they work together and with our supplier partners to maintain an environment free of bullying, discrimination, and harassment.
  • Understand our contract and adhere to its terms.
  • Communicate regularly with the mode and frequency to be agreed between us.
  • Work closely together to set editorial strategy.
  • Raise any problems or concerns as soon as they arise, working together to address any legal or ethical challenges.

Conduct for online communications

As part of our joint commitment to acting in a way which creates a professional, positive, inclusive and safe environment, journal Editors are expected to ensure that their conduct during online communications (including their use of social media platforms such as Twitter) with authors, readers, reviewers etc. in respect of their Journal, the Publisher or in relation to their role as Editor are professional and respectful.

This is because content uploaded to social media is not private. Even where it is restricted to ‘friends’/ ‘followers’, there is still capacity for it to be re-posted or distributed beyond the intended recipients. Therefore, it is important all parties using social media in their role as Editor or editorial team member for the Journal to conduct themselves with professionalism and respect.

What do we mean by acceptable conduct?

Content posted on to a social media site which is in respect of their Journal, the Publisher or in relation to their role as Editor should not:

  • be anything which was shared confidentially with the Editor in relation to the journal and/or the Publisher
  • amount to bullying, discrimination, harassment or victimisation
  • bring the journal/Publisher into disrepute
  • contain lewd, sexually explicit, threatening or similarly inappropriate or offensive comments, images or video clips
  • undermine the reputation of the journal/ Publisher and/or authors
  • breach copyright
  • be defamatory or in any other way unlawful.

In cases where the conduct on a social media platform has been found to be unacceptable and not in accordance with this policy Taylor & Francis reserves the right to remove the relevant social media/ Twitter account link from the journal homepage.

In regard to responding online to controversial messages, while legitimate academic debate is positive, when it comes to trolls and any offensive posts, our advice is that it is best not to engage on a public platform. Instead, any such concerns about controversial social media posts should be raised in the first instance to Taylor & Francis through an email to the journal’s Portfolio Manager (or the main journal contact at Taylor & Francis). As the Publisher, we’re here to support Editors in this and provide Editors with guidelines, assistance and ongoing support in cases of online harassment.