Journal of Academic Ethics

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 111–128 | Cite as

Who Rules the Ruler? On the Misconduct of Journal Editors

  • Aurora A. C. Teixeira
  • Mariana Fontes da Costa


There are very few (published) accounts of editorial misconduct, and those that do exist are almost exclusively focused on medicine-related areas. In the present article we detail a case of editorial misconduct in a rather underexplored domain, the social sciences. This case demonstrates that although legal systems provide different instruments of protection to avoid, compensate for, and punish misconduct on the part of journal editors, the social and economic power unbalance between authors and publishers suggests the importance of alternative solutions before or instead of bringing a lawsuit to court. It puts forward strong arguments in favour of the need for effective regulatory bodies so as to achieve and maintain a culture of research integrity by all involved in the process.


Scientific research Ethics Editorial misconduct Law Regulatory bodies 

JEL Code

Z0 K11 K12 K42 



We would like to express our most sincere gratitude to all the journal editors who thoroughly analyzed the case described here and kindly share their views on the matters and suggested some actions. We also thank the two referees for their comments and pertinent suggestions.

Conflicts of interest

The corresponding author of the present article was one of the three complainant co-authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aurora A. C. Teixeira
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mariana Fontes da Costa
    • 2
  1. 1.CEF.UP; Faculdade de Economia do Porto; INESC Porto; OBEGEF; Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculdade de Economia do Porto; CIJE; OBEGEF; Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.PortoPortugal

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