Ethical Requirements

Following ethical guidelines is required in scientific publishing. Understand IEEE’s publishing guidelines and concepts to ensure ethical requirements are met. Learn about authorship, how to cite sources appropriately, plagiarism, how to report your data accurately, and the importance of publishing original research.

Definition of Authorship

Who should be listed as an author on your paper? The IEEE definition of authorship will help you answer that question and clarify each author’s responsibilities.

IEEE considers individuals who meet all of the following criteria to be authors:

  1. made a significant intellectual contribution to the theoretical development, system or experimental design, prototype development, and/or the analysis and interpretation of data associated with the work contained in the paper;
  2. contributed to drafting the paper or reviewing and/or revising it for intellectual content;
  3. approved the final version of the paper as accepted for publication, including references.

Contributors who do not meet all of the above criteria may be included in the Acknowledgment section of the paper. 

Source: IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual, Section 8.2.1.A.1.

IEEE author name change policy

IEEE supports the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) initiative and guidelines on an inclusive approach to author name changes.

Learn more about href=””>IEEE’s author name change policy.

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Proper Citation Practices

You can improve research reproducibility with proper citation practices. Always cite your sources. Citation is required in several instances. Follow these guidelines:

Note that the same rules apply to your own previously published work. When in doubt, include a citation.

Inappropriate use of citations

Citing an irrelevant source for the purpose of artificially inflating citation metrics is considered a breach of ethics. Only cite relevant sources that legitimately contribute to your paper according to the criteria outlined above.

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What Is Plagiarism?

Learn how to avoid plagiarism. IEEE defines plagiarism as the use of another’s ideas, processes, results, or words without explicitly acknowledging the original author and source.

Plagiarism in any form is unacceptable and is considered a serious breach of professional conduct, with potentially severe ethical and legal consequences ( href=””>IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual, Section 8.2.1.B.7.). Follow proper citation practices noted above to avoid plagiarism.

All papers are checked for plagiarism before publication in the href=””>IEEE Xplore® Digital Library.

Publish Original Research

When submitting your paper for publication, it should:

IEEE recognizes that technical research often follows an evolutionary publishing process. For example, research may be published first as a conference paper with preliminary findings, and then as a journal article with fully developed research and conclusions. IEEE supports this process provided that:

  1. The paper undergoes standard peer review every time it is submitted to a conference or publication.
  2. The later version of the article contains substantially more technical information than the earlier version.
  3. The later version cites the earlier version and clearly indicates how the two versions differ.

Source: IEEE Publication Services and Products Board Operations Manual, Section 8.1.7.E.

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Report Data Accurately

Readers of your paper rely on you to communicate your research findings fully and report your data accurately. Ensure you are showing the full picture by avoiding fabrication, falsification, and image manipulation during your research and when you are writing or revising your paper. 


¹The Office of Research Integrity, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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