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Publishing Policy

1. Mandate

The National Research Council Act confers on the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) the mandate to publish scientific and technical information.

The objective of NRC Research Press is to publish high-quality scientific and engineering journals and monographs. The research journals and monographs published by NRC provide scientists and engineers in Canada and around the world with a means to communicate with their peers in the international research community. The Editors and NRC Research Press are committed to producing high-quality international publications, thereby making a Canadian contribution to the world's research literature.

2. Rationale

Since NRC began the publication of research journals in 1929, numerous editorial practices and procedures have been developed on the basis of time-honoured traditions of the various disciplines. NRC Research Press follows the best current practices, and where possible, improves on them. This document reviews and formalizes the editorial and production policies and defines ethical publication guidelines for NRC Research Press journals and monographs. Adherence to these policies will protect the integrity of the publication process and the reputation of NRC as a publisher.

3. Scope

The policies outlined in this document are intended to cover all aspects of the NRC Research Press.

This document begins with a description of editorial and ethical principles, followed by the responsibilities of authors, editors, the Editor-in-Chief, referees, and the publisher. The section on publishing policy treats areas such as copyright, language of publication, the use of SI units (Système international d'unités), and advertising policy.

4. Editorial and Ethical Responsibilities

Editorial Autonomy

Editors are responsible for the content of articles and monographs published. In cases where Editors are concerned about the publication of specific content, they should consult with, and accept guidance from, the Editor-in-Chief. The Publisher may call to the attention of Editors and the Editor-in-Chief specific content that causes concern. However, the final decision and responsibility to publish any content rests with the Editors and the Editor-in-Chief.

Appropriate Content

Notwithstanding the foregoing, Editors should avoid publishing content that is not relevant to scientific inquiry or the scientific community, or content that would bring the NRC Research Press into disrepute.

Scientific Misconduct

Referees and Editors should use all means at their disposal to ensure that manuscripts involving scientific misconduct are discovered before publication. If such misconduct is discovered after publication, Editors should investigate allegations of misconduct, and take appropriate action, including but not limited to publishing retractions, informing the authors, and informing the authors' institution (see Editors, below).

Falsification of Data

Data published in the journals and monographs of NRC Research Press should be obtained according to the methods indicated, and reported accurately and completely, so that the experiments or observations can be replicated by another conscientious researcher. Alteration of methods, incomplete reporting, fabrication of data, and any other measures that would lead to erroneous conclusions, are unethical.

Duplicate Publication and Plagiarism

It is unethical for authors to publish a substantial portion of their own previously published research results in another paper or monograph without acknowledgement of such republication. This may also infringe the copyright of the original publisher.

It is also unethical to use work published by another author without attribution in a paper or monograph submitted for publication; this includes not only republication of an entire paper, but also reproduction of any portion of text, equations, figures, or tables without full attribution or permission, as appropriate. Plagiarism is a serious offence, infringing the copyright of the original publisher and the moral rights of the original author.


Any person listed as an author of a paper or monograph should have contributed substantially to the conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; should be involved in drafting the paper or monograph or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and should have approved the version to be published. Further, anyone contributing substantially to the research (as outlined above) should appear as an author. Including people who do not meet the criteria for authorship on the list of authors is unethical, as is omission of a person who meets the criteria for authorship.

All authors should be aware of submissions and decisions concerning papers and monographs of which they are authors.

All additional contributions to a paper or monograph should be indicated in Acknowledgements published with the paper.

Conflict of Interest

Referees and editors should recuse themselves from evaluation of papers or monographs concerning which they may have a conflict of interest. Conflicts of interest may include financial interests in any aspect of a product or method under discussion, personal relationships (positive or negative) with authors, interest in competing research, or bias concerning the research.


Any paper or monograph submitted for publication that raises concern because of the potential misuse of methods, technologies or agents reported for nefarious purposes may be subject to editorial review to determine the risks and benefits to the scientific community and the public at large that may result from publication. Such review will be taken into account by the Editor(s) in making a final decision concerning publication.

5. Responsibilities


1. Authors have an obligation to present an accurate account of the research performed and are responsible for complete reporting of the observations made and data collected.

2. Authors must relate their work to that of others, clearly attributing any and all statements, equations, figures, and tables derived from others' work to their original source, and provide complete and accurate citations so that the readers can objectively evaluate the paper.

3. Authors should describe the safeguards used to meet both formal and informal standards of ethical conduct of research (approval of a research protocol by an institutional committee, procurement of informed consent, adherence to codes of ethical conduct for the treatment of human or animal subjects, and maintenance of confidentiality of personal data on patients, etc.).

4. Authors must ensure that papers accepted for publication are free of any kind of prejudice, especially gender and racial stereotyping.

5. Authors should avoid dividing research results into many papers, or submitting trivial reports. This practice not only multiplies the effort of Editors and referees, but it also requires readers to search for several publications instead of one.

6. The corresponding author must warrant that all co-authors have read and approved the manuscript as submitted. When dealing with manuscripts with more than one author, the Editor assumes that the corresponding author is authorized to respond on behalf of the group.

7. Authors are responsible for obtaining any formal or informal approval or clearance of the paper from their institution or company before it is submitted to NRC Research Press.

8. Authors must identify the sources of all information and material obtained privately by including citations to personal communication and unpublished data.

9. When a paper contains material (tables, figures, charts, etc.) that is protected by copyright, it is the obligation of the author to secure written permission from the copyright holder (usually the publisher). Letters of permission must be sent to the Editorial Office before final acceptance of the paper.

10. Authors are responsible for disclosing any information that may affect the acceptance or rejection of the paper. This includes indicating whether the work has been previously presented in any format (conference proceedings, abstract publication, etc.) and submitting a list of related manuscripts that the author has in press or under consideration by another journal. The paper will be considered for publication only with the understanding that it has not already been submitted to, accepted by, or published in another journal.


1. The Editor(s) is (are) responsible for the content of their journal, its scientific calibre, and its adherence to ethical standards in scientific publishing.

2. The Editor appoints an editorial board for the journal, subject to review by the Editor-in-Chief. The form and functioning of this board is at the discretion of the Editor, but it is usually composed of Associate Editors, who assist the Editor in assessing articles submitted for publication and act as an advisory group for the Editor as required.

3. Editors are appointed for a fixed renewable term by the Editor-in-Chief, normally 5 years.

4. The Editor may appoint one or more Assistant Editors, who may assume the Editor's responsibilities during an absence. If this absence is expected to be prolonged, an Editor pro tem may be appointed by the Editor-in-Chief.

5. It is the responsibility of the Editor to ensure that papers accepted for publication meet the guidelines established for authors.

6. The Editor is responsible for ensuring that proper review procedures are followed and for making the final decision on acceptance or rejection of a paper. The Editor may delegate some duties to Assistant or Associate Editors, or to a temporary Editor appointed to oversee a special issue or section, but the final responsibility remains with the Editor.

7. The peer review process is carried out under the direction of the Editor. When a paper is deemed appropriate for consideration for publication, arrangements are made for it to be reviewed by, typically, two referees.

8. Referees are advisory to the Editor and do not make decisions on acceptance or rejection of a paper. The name of a referee will only be conveyed to an author with the explicit consent of the referee.

9. The Editor must ensure that submitted papers are dealt with promptly, and that corresponding authors are notified of the receipt of the paper. The Editorial Office will ensure that the corresponding author is notified of all decisions that follow.

10. The Editor is responsible for ensuring that the contents of an author's paper are not divulged to anyone other than those necessarily involved in reading the paper in the Editorial Office, referees, and those assisting in these functions.

11. The Editor should give unbiased consideration to all manuscripts and should declare any potential conflict of interest, in which case the Editor or Editor-in-Chief should delegate the consideration of the manuscript to another Editor or to a member of the Editorial Board.

12. After acceptance of a manuscript, if further information that seems to warrant investigation is received, the Editor will regard it as an obligation to reconsider the decision.

13. All files regarding an individual manuscript are the property of the Editorial Office and are to be retained by the Editor or disposed of in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief.

14. The Editor is responsible for carrying out and enforcing the copyright policy set by the Publisher.

15. When notified of errors in facts or conclusions in a paper subsequent to its publication, the Editor, after notifying the corresponding author, is responsible for initiating publication of an erratum or a report pointing out the changes.

16. If the Editor receives convincing evidence of plagiarism, duplicate publication, or falsification of data, the Editor must initiate publication of a retraction. The Editor must notify the Editor-in-Chief as soon as possible of any serious breaches of ethical behaviour.


1. Referees are advisors to the Editor and should serve only in their areas of expertise. A referee who feels inadequately qualified to evaluate a paper should decline to review the paper.

2. A referee who cannot give an unbiased opinion about a paper because of personal relationships, competing research, financial interests, etc., should declare this bias or conflict of interest to the Editor and decline to review the paper.

3. Referees must treat the paper as a confidential communication. If a referee wishes to seek expert advice from an associate, he/she should consult the appropriate Editor or Associate Editor before proceeding. The associate must also honour the confidentiality of the document.

4. A referee who is unable to complete the review of a paper in an appropriate time frame should notify the Editorial Office and agree on a new deadline, or decline to review the paper.

5. All statements made by the referee must be adequately supported so that the Editor may make a well-informed decision regarding the paper.

6. The referee should call to the attention of the Editor any failure by an author to cite relevant work by other scientists, as well as any published or unpublished papers the referee is aware of that would constitute plagiarism or duplicate publication.

7. Unpublished information, arguments, or interpretations disclosed in a submitted paper should not be used for the referee's own research except with the consent of the author.


1. The Editor-in-Chief has overall responsibility for the scientific and editorial integrity of the journals and monographs published by the NRC Research Press program.

2. The Editor-in-Chief is appointed by the National Research Council Canada for fixed renewable terms (normally 5 years).

3. In cases where the Editor-in-Chief is not fulfilling his/her obligations as outlined in this policy, the National Research Council Canada has the authority to terminate his/her appointment.

4. The Editors' and Publisher's questions or concerns regarding the scientific quality of the publications, as well as ethical questions (e.g., reporting of fraudulent data, duplicate publication, submission of inappropriate material), should be referred to the Editor-in-Chief.

5. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for selecting Editors for the journals and the Editor and Editorial Board for the monograph program. The Editor-in-Chief consults broadly and may seek advice from other Editors, from the affiliated scientific and engineering societies, and from relevant Editorial Boards regarding selection of a new Editor.

6. In cases where Editors are not fulfilling their obligations as outlined in this policy, the Editor-in-Chief has the authority to terminate appointments.

7. The Editor-in-Chief has the right of access to all files maintained by the Editors of NRC Research Press' publications. The Editor-in-Chief may exercise this right when necessary to ensure that the policies and procedures of the Editorial Offices conform to the requirements outlined in this policy.


1. The Publisher, represented by the Director of the NRC Research Press, is responsible for setting policies, procedures, and guidelines, as well as for production of the journals through the Publishing Office.

2. The Publisher is responsible for all financial and legal aspects of journal and monograph publication, including but not limited to copyright policy, liability, budgeting, costs, and revenue. Hence, the Publisher is responsible for decisions and policies affecting access to publications (subscriptions and sales) and prices for such access.

3. The Publishing Office must ensure the confidentiality of all papers at all stages of the publishing process. Information must not be given to persons unauthorized by the author before the publication of the paper. (News media reporters may be given information a short period before publication, under embargo.)

4. After a paper has been accepted for publication, the Editor or copy editor may make redactional changes as required but must not make changes to the content of a paper without consultation with the author and the Editor.

5. The staff of the Publishing Office must alert the Editor or Editor-in-Chief concerning any substantive changes requested by an author after acceptance of the paper, including changes in authorship or deletion or insertion of substantial amounts of material.

6. The Publisher accepts no responsibility for statements or opinions expressed by a contributor, and a statement to this effect will appear in all publications.

6. Editorial and Ethical Responsibilities


Once an author's paper is accepted for publication, the author transfers copyright to the National Research Council Canada. (For papers authored by public servants in Commonwealth countries, including Canada, Crown copyright cannot be transferred, and a license to publish is granted instead. For papers authored by US federal government employees, no copyright exists, and a publishing agreement is signed in lieu of copyright transfer.) As the holder of copyright on all original material published by NRC Research Press, NRC exercises the right to grant permission to copy or republish articles or portions thereof, provided that the source of such material is fully acknowledged.

NRC reserves the right to charge for all forms of copying or publishing, such as copying for general distribution, for advertising or promotional purposes, for creating new collective works, or for resale.

Publishing in Both Official Languages

The NRC Research Press of the National Research Council of Canada publishes articles and monographs in their original language (either English or French). Articles are preceded by an abstract in both English and French. Monographs may be translated in their entirety and published separately in the second official language.

Standard Units

In the NRC Research Press, SI metric units are used or the SI metric equivalents given, and the use of SI units is encouraged, as outlined in the Canadian Metric Practice Guide (CAN/CSA-Z234.1-00) and the Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (US National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 811).

Advertising is accepted subject to approval by the Director or his/her delegate. All advertising must be consistent with the editorial policy, and no advertisement that is detrimental to the NRC or NRC Research Press will be accepted. The following types of advertising are accepted:

(i) Advertisements submitted by other scholarly journals may be accepted free of charge where benefit is expected for NRC publications in exchange.

(ii) Advertisements announcing upcoming conferences and symposia may be accepted free of charge, subject to approval by the Editor of the publication concerned. Such advertisements will be accepted only when the event is of interest to a significant proportion of the Canadian scientific community served by that publication. The event need not take place in Canada.

(iii) Paid advertisements may be accepted providing they are consistent with the editorial policy of the publication. No advertising that implies endorsement of a product or service by the publication, the Editorial Board, or the NRC will be accepted. Inserts are considered to be paid advertisements.