Editors of scientific journals are ethically bound to provide a fair and impartial peer-review process and to protect the rights of contributing authors to publish research results. If, however, a dispute arises among investigators regarding data ownership and the right to publish, the ethical responsibilities of journal editors become more complex. The editors of Human Brain Mapping recently had the unusual experience of learning of an ongoing dispute regarding data-access rights pertaining to a manuscript already accepted for publication. Herein the editors describe the nature of the dispute, the steps taken to explore and resolve the conflict, and discuss the ethical principles that govern such circumstances. Drawing on this experience and with the goal of avoiding future controversies, the editors have formulated a Data Rights Policy and a Data Rights Procedure for Human Brain Mapping. Human Brain Mapping adopts this policy effective immediately and respectfully suggests that other journals consider adopting this or similar policies.
- Data ownership
- Research ethics
- Responsible conduct of research
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging