Scientific Ethics for Authors and Reviewers

AGU is committed to upholding the highest level of scientific integrity and professional ethics in all of its activities in order to preserve and enhance its position as a global authority in the scientific community. To this end, AGU has established a set of guidelines for scientific integrity and professional ethics for the actions of the members and the governance of the union, including in the research and peer review processes of its scientific publications. In general, AGU follows the standards of the Committee on Publication Ethics.

Per these guidelines, scientific research, and the preparation of the results, must be free of any impropriety or undisclosed conflicts of interest.  Intentional plagiarism, fabrication, or falsification are serious examples of scientific misconduct and as such are inappropriate actions that will discredit the union and compromise the integrity of science.

 Reviewers are expected to follow the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers.

To contribute the highest quality science to AGU publications, authors are expected to do the following:

1. Present a precise and accurate account of the research performed and a clear, objective discussion of its significance.

2. Include sufficient detail and reference to sources of information in a manuscript to permit the author’s peers to repeat the work. Limitations on use of or access to data must be clearly identified.

3. Identify sources of all information and cite those publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work and that guide the reader quickly to the primary and other earlier work essential for understanding the present investigation. Information obtained privately, as in conversation or correspondence, should not be used or reported without explicit permission from the source.

4. Carefully document methodology, assumptions, and uncertainty.

5. Follow the appropriate procedures in force in their countries that govern the ethics of work done with human or animal subjects.

6. Never plagiarize the work or ideas of others or your own work. Always provide appropriate citation. [Please see below for additional information on avoiding plagiarism of your own work or that of others.]

7. Avoid unnecessary fragmentation or redundant publication of research reports to artificially increase the number of publications.

8. Never include personal criticism in a written piece of work.

9. Report to the Editor any changes made to the manuscript after acceptance.

10. Include as coauthors only those persons who have made significant scientific contributions to the work, and determine order of authorship in a manner appropriate to the contribution. All coauthors share responsibility for the quality and integrity of the submitted and published manuscript.

11. Reveal to the Editor any potential conflict of interest for any author that might be affected by publication of the results contained in a manuscript or in the development of the research.

12. List all funding sources and sources of data or other in-kind support for all authors in the acknowledgments.

13. In the role of corresponding author, ensure that all coauthors are fully cognizant of the steps and changes in the manuscript during the peer review process.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person or that person’s work. This includes using text, figures, tables, or ideas, and includes not just duplicating any of these items but also close paraphrasing of text that still represents someone else’s ideas or work.

Plagiarism is unacceptable in AGU journals and all AGU publications.

Self-plagiarism, the act of reproducing your own work without changes for the current science and submission, is also a violation of our plagiarism standards. It potentially constitutes dual publication or prior publication. Including one or two identical sentences from your own previous paper is not likely to be considered plagiarism; however, material quoted verbatim should be placed within quotation marks with appropriate citation. However, including significant portions of your own work without acknowledging the source is unacceptable and could also violate copyrights. AGU journals use plagiarism detection software from iThenticate upon submission to identify any such duplication.

To avoid potential plagiarism:

  • Ensure that permission (in writing) has been obtained for reuse of any text, figures, or tables from the author and copyright holder
  • Learn the journal’s usage permission policy and proper citation
  • Remember that self-plagiarism is still plagiarism


AGU ethics policy

Office of Research Integrity ethics page

Committee on Publication Ethics