Press Ethics Policy

Wesleyan University Press Ethics Policies

The Press is committed to the highest standards of quality and integrity in the review, publication and promotion of its books. All Wesleyan University Press employees, board members, peer reviewers, editors and authors are expected to conduct themselves with the highest standards of honesty, fairness, and personal integrity, with adherence to all applicable laws and avoidance of impropriety or conflict of interest.

Wesleyan University Press reserves the right to curtail or terminate its relationship with any party whose behavior, in the sole determination of the Press, fails to meet its standards.

Avoiding Conflict of Interest in Peer Review

Scholarly publishing must be able to depend on the strict fairness and objectivity of the peer review system.  As this system begins with the relationship of series editors and outside readers to Wesleyan University Press (hereinafter referred to as “the Press”), the following policy is designed to protect against conflicts of interest and apparent conflicts of interest, and to offer guidelines for their resolution when presented.   We note that professional collaborations and personal relationships that precede or operate in tandem with involvement or potential involvement in prospective book projects are to be expected and may not necessarily by themselves constitute a conflict. “Author” is understood to mean any current or prospective author.

The Press obtains two outside reports before a project is presented to the editorial board. The only exceptions are for projects that go to the board for information or as a director’s prerogative. Director’s prerogatives are selected completely at the discretion of the press and the number of such projects does not exceed two in any given year.

The Press generally will not undertake more than two sets/rounds of readings for the same version of a single project.

Readers are selected at the discretion of the press. All communications regarding proposals and manuscripts under consideration and all discussions among Press staff, series editors, authors, and outside readers are regarded as confidential, and their contents will be disclosed only to persons directly involved in the publication process.  Exceptions may be made only with explicit written permission from the Director.

The press will share its ethics policy with all outside readers and series editors and expects that readers and series editors will adhere to this policy.

(1) The Press assumes that each person charged with or solicited for the duty of supplying an objective viewpoint on matters of editorial quality shall at all times act in a manner consistent with his/her responsibility for the well-being and reputation of the Press, and will exercise particular care to avoid conflicts between his/her interests and those of the Press. 

(2) All series editors and readers will be asked, on the project review form, to sign and affirm that there exists no conflict of interest or perceived conflict of interest regarding their review of the project in question.

(3) Any reader or series editor who feels that s/he may have a conflict of interest on any matter involving the Press, he/she shall promptly disclose the potential conflict to the acquisitions editor and Press director, as well as the other series editors, if applicable.  

(4) When a conflict of interest is present, the series editor or reader shall refrain from participating in the review of the project.

(5) The Press may also determine independently that a potential conflict prohibits the involvement of a reader, and when such conflicts are discovered by the Press, the Press shall have the right to disregard the reader’s review.

(6) The following individuals are prohibited from participating in the press’s review process of relevant projects:

a. family members of prospective author;

b. any member of the Wesleyan University Advisory Committee or the Wesleyan University Review and Appeals Board with respect to a work involving an author who is or might be a candidate for tenure or promotion at Wesleyan University; and any member of the author’s department.

(7) Other examples of potential conflict include, but are not limited to: friendship with the author; spousal relationship; service as professional or scholarly adviser; service on the author’s tenure or promotion committee; co-author relationship on a separate project; any business-related or employment-related collaboration, whether or not directly related to the project in question.

(8) Any reader or series editor having a duality of interest or possible conflict of interest on any Press matter shall not use his/her personal influence on the matter, and may not be a party to discussions regarding the matter.

(9) A series editor who has a conflict or perceived conflict may briefly stating his/her position on the project, and may answer pertinent questions related to the project.

(10) When there is ambiguity in applying this policy, it is preferred to err on the side of disclosure, and leave the Press to adjudicate whether conflict attaches and, if it does, to judge whether the conflict is sufficient to require measures including possible cancellation of the project in question.

(11) Final determination regarding what measures may be taken to resolve or otherwise avoid a conflict of interest or perceived conflict of interest will be left to the Press.

The University’s statement on Conflict of Interest is here: