Ethical Policies and Procedures

Publications and Presentations

The Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons (SLS) expects every faculty member, presenter, and author associated with SLS to uphold its ethical policies and procedures. SLS also expects every presenter and author to have made an important scientific contribution to the topics being presented and to be thoroughly familiar with the original data. All presenters and authors must affirm that they are the creator(s) and sole owner(s) of the work; that the work is original and has not been published elsewhere in print or electronic format; that the work is not being considered for publication by another journal; that the work has been seen and approved by all authors; that the work has not been previously transferred, assigned, or otherwise encumbered; and that the presenter(s) or author(s) have full power to grant such rights.

Any copyrighted material must be accompanied by a release authorizing duplication and display for educational purposes at meetings of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons. Any identifiable individuals in videos must have signed releases permitting medical videography. Please provide assurance that releases are available, if relevant.

Conflict of Interest

Authors or presenters of research and other materials are required to disclose at the time of submission any potential conflict of interests (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interests, patent-licensing arrangements). Failure to do so may jeopardize future ability to present at SLS CME activities. If disclosures are to be made, the author(s) or presenter(s) will be asked to fill out a Conflict of Interest Disclosure form. Information on the potential conflict of interest must be disclosed before any presentation and will be included in all SLS printed material.

Plagiarism, Falsification, and Fabrication

SLS accepts only presentations, papers, posters, and videos that are original work, no part of which has been submitted for publication elsewhere. When submitting a presentation, paper, poster, or video, the corresponding author or presenter should include copies of related manuscripts submitted or in press elsewhere. Taking material from another’s work (written or presented) and submitting or presenting it as one’s own is considered plagiarism. Taking material (including tables, figures, and data; or extended text passages) from the author’s own prior publications is considered redundant publication or self-plagiarism, and is not permitted. Falsification is manipulating data or experimental procedures to produce a desired outcome or to avoid a complicating or inexplicable result. Fabricating a report of research or suppressing or altering data to agree with one’s conclusions is considered fraud. This includes altering figures in such a way as to obscure, move, remove, or introduce information or features. Authors and presenters are required to minimize and specify the extent of photo (image) manipulation when a items are submitted for consideration. The following manipulations are not allowed:

  • splicing different images to represent a single image
  • changing contrast and brightness of only part of an image
  • any change that conceals information
  • showing only a very small part of an image so that important information is not visible

Prior Publication

Material published by the author or presenter before submission in the following categories is considered prior publication and is not acceptable for publication or presentation: (1) articles published in any publication, even online-only, non-peer reviewed publications; (2) articles, book chapters, and long abstracts containing original data in figures and tables, especially, in proceeding publications; and (3) widely circulated, copyrighted, or archival reports.

Doctoral dissertations are not considered prior publication. Data portions of submitted papers that have appeared on a Web site are permitted, with the provision that the author informs the conferences office at the time of the submission that such material exists so that SLS can determine the suitability of such material for publication or presentation. Failure to do so will result in automatic rejection of the presentation, paper, poster, or video.

Authors or presenters concerned with possible prior publication that does not clearly fall into one of these categories should contact the conferences office (Email:Conferences@SLS.org; Tel: 305.665.9959) and forward the material for examination.

Ethical Procedures

All SLS members have a responsibility to report suspected duplicate publication, fraud, plagiarism, or concerns about animal or human experimentation to the Chairman of SLS. A reviewer may recognize and report that they have refereed a similar or identical paper for another institution by the same authors or presenters. Readers or attendees of presentations may report that they have seen the same article or presentation elsewhere, or authors or presenters may see their own work being plagiarized. In all cases, the Chairman will inform the SLS Board of Trustees by supplying copies of (1) the relevant material and (2) a draft letter to the corresponding author asking for an explanation in a nonjudgmental manner. If the author’s explanation is unacceptable and it seems that serious unethical conduct has taken place, the matter is referred to the Board of Trustees. After deliberation, a decision is made whether the case is serious enough to warrant a ban on future submissions and presentations and/or the offending author’s institution should be informed. The decision has to be approved by the Board of Trustees, and the author or presenter has the right to appeal a sanction, with the opportunity to present their position to the Board of Trustees.

If the infraction is less severe, the Chairman, upon advice of the Board of Trustees, will send the author or presenter a letter of reprimand and remind them of SLS ethical policies. If the information has already been published, the Board of Trustees may require the author to publish an apology to correct the record. If, through the author or presenter’s actions, SLS has violated the copyright of another institution, a letter of apology will be written to the other institution.

In serious cases of fraud that result in retraction of the poster, presentation, paper, or video, a retraction notice will be published on the SLS website and will be linked to the article or presentation abstract in the online version. The online version will be marked “retracted” with the retraction date.1,2

References:

  1. The American Physiological Society. Ethical policies and procedures. Available at: http://www.the-aps.org/publications/journals/apsethic.htm. Accessed February 2008.
  2. The Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons. Ethical Policies and Procedures. Available at: http://www.sls.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3701. Accessed September 2010.