The number of rheumatology journals, and papers related to this specialty, is expanding every day. Careful consideration for ethical aspects of such published work is mandatory for authors, readers, reviewers, editors, and all stakeholders. Recent instances of lack of appropriate research ethics committee overview, or participant consent for inclusion in the research study, or a case report, resulting in retractions, emphasize the need for greater awareness regarding these ethical aspects. Authors should strive to avoid redundancy, especially for review articles, both systematic and narrative. Clinical trial registration before commencing enrolment is mandatory as per contemporary norms. Transparent declaration of authorship contributions as well as appropriate attribution of authorship are recommended, since these may help avoid subsequent authorship conflicts. Authors, reviewers, and editors should disclose conflicts of interest, both financial and non-financial. Unbiased peer review is a critical part of editorial decision making; recent instances of peer review fraud have resulted in numerous retractions of scientific papers. Any reproduction of text, figures, or tables should be with due attribution to source, and after seeking permission of the copyright holder. Citations to published work should be relevant and diverse. Research assessment should rely on the assessment of quality of published work, rather than mere citation analyses. Authors should beware predatory, low-quality journals, and utilize social media channels to ethically promote their research with due consideration to privacy and copyright. Rheumatology societies should collaborate to develop guidelines for ethical research reporting, and educate young scientists regarding these principles.
Keywords: Citation analysis; Conflicts of interest; Ethics; Peer review; Plagiarism; Retractions.
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