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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

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Ethics Statement

The Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition is a semiannual, refereed journal providing current research on the first college year and other significant student transitions. The primary purpose of the Journal is to share empirical research findings on student transition issues that inform practice in all sectors of postsecondary education. The Journal publishes quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods empirically based studies.

Before being forwarded for peer review, manuscripts undergo an initial review by the editor, who determines their appropriateness for the Journal using three broad criteria: (a) Does the research focus on a topic or issue related to the content of the Journal? (b) Is the manuscript a report of empirical research? and (c) Does an initial review of the quality of the manuscript warrant moving forward to peer review? Manuscripts moved forward by the editor are sent to 2-3 review board members (at least one of whom will have related methodological expertise) for a double-blind review process. Members of the editorial review board hold advanced degrees (Ph.D. or equivalent required); have a minimum of five years’ experience in higher education; are affiliated with an accredited college or university, and have expertise in quantitative and/or qualitative research design and analysis. The National Resource Center is committed to fostering diverse representation on the editorial review board, with respect to institutional role and type, methodological and topical areas of expertise, and identity areas.

Publication decisions. The editor is responsible for deciding which of the manuscripts submitted to the journal will be published. The editor will evaluate manuscripts without regard to the authors' race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, national origin, or political philosophy. The decision will be based on the merits of the manuscript including importance, originality, clarity, validity, and relevance to the journal's scope. Current legal requirements regarding libel, copyright infringement, and plagiarism will also be considered. Authors can expect the initial disposition of manuscripts will be made within three months of submission.

Confidentiality. The editor and editorial staff of the National Resource Center will not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, and other editorial advisors, as appropriate.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest. Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript will not be used by the editor, the members of the editorial board, or the staff of the National Resource Center for their own research purposes without the author's explicit written consent.

Internal submissions. Manuscripts submitted by staff members of the National Resource Center, its fellows, or current advisory board members will undergo the same editorial review process as other manuscripts submitted to the journal and will be subject to the same criteria for evaluation. To maintain objectivity within the review and disposition process, a guest editor from among the current members of the editorial review board will be assigned to manage these manuscript submissions.

Originality, plagiarism, and acknowledgment of sources. Authors will submit only original works and will appropriately cite or quote the work and/or words of others, including their own prior publications. Publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work should also be cited.

Reporting standards. Authors of original research reports should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as a methodologically appropriate interpretation of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the manuscript. The manuscript should contain sufficient detail and references to establish trustworthiness, validity, and reliability of the findings. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.

Data access and retention. Authors could be asked to provide the raw data of their study together with the manuscript for editorial review if questions about discrepancies in the data arise during the review process. Authors should ensure accessibility of such data to other competent professionals for a period of time consistent with professional and legal standards of practice (preferably via an institutional or subject-based data repository or other data center), provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected and legal rights concerning proprietary data do not preclude their release.

Ethical research practices. Educational research frequently involves work with human subjects. Authors should go through the appropriate Institutional Review Board(s) or regulatory body approval process before conducting their study. Authors should also consider acknowledging this process and approval for the study within the cover letter accompanying the manuscript and the manuscript itself.

Authorship of the manuscript. Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. The corresponding author ensures that all contributing co-authors and no uninvolved persons are included in the author list. The corresponding author also verifies that all co-authors have approved the final version of the manuscript and have agreed to its submission for publication. Individuals who contributed to the manuscript in a meaningful way but who fall short of the requirements for authorship may be listed in a separate acknowledgment.

Multiple, redundant, or concurrent publications. Manuscripts describing essentially the same research should not be published in more than one journal. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Manuscripts which have been published as copyrighted material elsewhere cannot be submitted. In addition, manuscripts under review by the journal should not be simultaneously submitted for review to other copyrighted publications.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest. All authors should include a statement disclosing any financial or other substantive conflicts of interest that may be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed.

Inclusive language. Authors should refer to the latest edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for guidance on avoiding bias in their writing. In accordance with our commitment to inclusion, the National Resource Center believes it is unacceptable to use constructions that might imply prejudicial beliefs or perpetuate biased assumptions against persons on the basis of age, disability, gender, racial and ethnic identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or some combination of other personal factors. Instead, authors should use affirming and inclusive language. For example, first-year student rather than freshman should be used to describe a student in the first year of postsecondary study.

Fundamental errors in published works. When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in their published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and to cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the manuscript in form of an erratum.

Contribution to editorial decisions. The peer-review process assists the editor in making disposition decisions. Reviewers provide clear, specific, and actionable feedback to help author(s) improve the manuscript, regardless of the specific recommendation for editorial disposition.

Response to invitations to review. All editorial board members are appointed based on a minimum level of experience within the student transition field. Reviewers may be invited to review manuscripts that do not align with their methodological areas of expertise. Any selected referee may exercise the right to withdraw from the review of a manuscript for cause, including conflict of interest or commitment, concerns about their methodological qualifications, or timeline. The initial disposition of manuscripts will be made within 3 months of submission.

Confidentiality. Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be disclosed to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor.

Standards of objectivity. The journal seeks to publish high-quality manuscripts relying on a range of empirical methods by authors situated in a variety of personal and institutional contexts. To support these goals, reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Reviewers should clearly express constructive feedback with supporting arguments.

Acknowledgment of sources. Reviewers should identify cases in which relevant published work referred to in the manuscript has not been cited in the reference section. They should point out whether observations or arguments derived from other publications are accompanied by the respective source. Reviewers will notify the editor of any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published manuscript of which they have personal knowledge.

Disclosure and conflict of interest. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, institutions, or organizations associated with the manuscript.


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