IJTARP Procedures for Handling Ethics Charges

Introduction

1.  It is hoped that this procedure may never need to be used.

2.  It is recognised that a request to invoke an ethics charge is indicative of the highest level of professional intent.

3.  In the event of such a charge being made, the IJTARP Editor will constitute an Ethics Committee to provide a structure for confrontation in a professional and respectful manner. This will consist of a Chairperson and at two other individuals drawn from the IJTARP Editorial Board,.

4.  This procedure is devised with the awareness that it will only ever be applied when the person complained about has breached the IJTARP Code(s) in a way that is so significant that it cannot be resolved by agreeing with that person to make an amendment to an article that has already been published. For this reason, there is no additional Appeal Process after the Editor and/or the Ethics Committee have considered the evidence.

5.  A significant function of this procedure, and of an Ethics Committee, is to provide a mechanism whereby TA professionals, IJTARP readers, and those involved within activities described in IJTARP articles, in the past, present and future, may be protected.

6.  Although this Code mainly refers to Authors, similar procedures will apply if complaints are received about Reviewers, Translators or Editors. Amendments are indicated paragraphs 12, 36 and 37.

Standards of Behaviour

7.  It is expected that all persons taking part in IJTARP Complaints Procedure shall act in a manner that does not breach confidentiality. Individuals who breach confidentiality may face an ethics charge in respect of their behaviour.

8.  It is also expected that no person will attempt to influence the outcome of any complaint at any stage during the process. In the event that attempts are made to influence the process or outcome, the Chairperson of the Ethics Committee will have the power to terminate the proceedings, or to order an immediate meeting of those involved, or to dispose of the complaint in any other way they consider appropriate. Individuals who attempt to influence the outcome of a complaint may face an ethics charge in respect of their behaviour.

9.  Failure of a complainant to follow the procedures outlined in this document will mean that the complaint will be regarded as withdrawn, the person complained against will be automatically exonerated, any documentation will be held confidentially by IJTARP Editor and no further action will be taken unless the complainant raises another complaint in the future.

10.  Failure of an individual complained against to follow the procedures outlined in this document, without good reason or due notice, may result in the Ethics Committee recommending the termination of publication within IJTARP of material by the individual.

Initiation of a Complaint

11. Any individual having a concern that a individual's professional behaviour is not consistent with IJTARP Code(s) is required to confront the individual involved directly and invite the desired change in behaviour, which is likely to include a relevant amendment or retraction of material submitted and/or published.

12.  In the event that such a confrontation or facilitation fails to produce the desired result, or is deemed impractical for any reason, the concerned person may file a formal written complaint with IJTARP Editor, accompanied by any substantiating evidence. Should the complaint be about the Editor, it can be addressed to any one of the Reviewers who will then take on the responsibilities of the Editor within this Procedure.

13.  Complaints will not be considered if the alleged violation took place too long ago for there to be any reasonable prospect of ascertaining the facts or of arriving at a meaningful solution.

14.  A complainant can withdraw their complaint at any time. A withdrawn complaint cannot be resubmitted at a later date. A confidential record of any withdrawn complaint will be maintained by IJTARP Editor for a period of five years and will only be accessed if the same complainant submits another complaint about the same person.

15.  Complaints made anonymously will not be considered and all material relating to them will be destroyed.

Making a Formal Complaint

16.  The written complaint should detail the nature of the alleged violation and indicate the section(s) of the Code(s) of Publication or Research that are believed to have been breached. The complaint should be accompanied by any substantiating evidence, and should include details of any approach that may have been made by the complainant to the person complained about and the results of that approach.

17.  The complaint should be submitted by email to IJTARP Editor, headed as Confidential – Ethics Complaint, but with the details of the complaint and the substantiating evidence enclosed in an attachment(s) and not stated in the body of the email.

18.  The complaint should clearly detail who is making the complaint, who is being complained about, and the names of anyone else who should not be involved in considering the complaint. Reasons should be given for those to be excluded.

19.  On receipt of a complaint, IJTARP Editor will review the complaint as it has been submitted and will determine whether:

a)  There is reason to believe that there may be a breach of the Code(s) and the complaint should be progressed, in which case the Editor will advise the individual complained about of the complaint and give them an opportunity to respond in a way that will lead to the complaint becoming unnecessary; or

b)  There is no evidence of a breach of the Ethics Code and the charge should not be progressed, in which case the Editor will advise the complainant of the rationale for not progressing the complaint; should the complainant not accept the rationale then the Editor will ask two members of the Editorial Board to confirm that the complaint lacks merit. If they disagree the Editor will progress the complaint; or#

c)  The actions of the person complained about should more accurately be dealt with under the Ethical Procedures of some other professional body with responsibility for the professional behaviour of the person complained about, in which case IJTARP Editor will advise the complainant and the person complained about of this and will maintain contact with such other professional body so that appropriate publication of results will occur within IJTARP in the future.

Progressing the Complaint

20.  To progress the complaint within this IJTARP Procedure, the IJTARP Editor will invite three members of the Editorial Board to form an Ethics Committee. When they have indicated their agreement, the Editor will advise the parties involved in the complaint of their names. Both parties have the right to ask one individual of the Committee to stand down and a replacement will then be appointed by the Editor.

21.  This Ethics Committee will appoint their own Chairperson, whose role will include making such decisions as may be required in terms of this Procedure and will also include overseeing the practicalities of the progression of the complaint, including record-keeping.

22.  The Ethics Committee will examine the complaint and associated evidence in a formal manner to determine the validity, and decide whether to dismiss the complaint or arrange a meeting with those involved.

23.  Where there is more than one complaint against an individual they shall be determined at the same meeting. Should there be more than one complaint against an individual from different complainants they may be heard separately or together, at the discretion of the Ethics Committee Chairperson.

24.  A formal Ethics Committee online meeting will be scheduled to take place within thirty (30) days of the appointment of the Ethics Committee. The date of the Meeting will, whenever possible, be agreed by all parties before being confirmed. In the event that the parties to the complaint are unable to agree a date, then the Ethics Committee Chairperson shall have the final decision in setting the date and time of the meeting.

25.  The complainant and person complained against will attend the meeting, usually at the same time. In certain circumstances it may be considered desirable that the complainant and the person complained against have no direct communication. This is at the discretion of the Ethics Committee Chairperson.

26.  The complainant and person complained against may involve a 'designated friend' in the meeting for help and support, as and when required, whilst the complaint is in progress. This 'designated friend' may speak to the Ethics Committee on behalf of the party but may not engage in communication with the other party. Each party has the right to legal representation should they so choose and in so doing will be responsible for the costs.

27.  Any additional evidence must be submitted not less than fifteen days before the meeting date, and such papers will be circulated by the person submitting them to the Ethics Committee members, the complainant and the person complained against.

28.  The only evidence to be admitted on the day of the meeting will be in the form of short oral submissions.

Ethics Committee Meeting Procedure

29.  A summary of the complainant's case is given by the complainant (or their designated friend or legal representative).

30.  A summary of the case of the person complained against is presented by the person complained against (or their designated friend or legal representative).

31.  The complainant or their supporter puts questions to the person complained against.

32.  The person complained against or their supporter puts questions to the complainant.

33.  Ethics Committee individuals then seek clarification through questions to the complainant and the person complained against.

34.  When the Ethics Committee has gained all the clarification required or possible, the other parties are asked to leave the meeting by the Ethics Committee Chairperson.

Ethics Committee Decision

35.  The Ethics Committee then determines whether or not a breach of the designated Code(s) has occurred or whether it is probable that a breach has occurred. A majority vote is required for dismissal of the complaint or for sanctions to be applied, although it is expected and hoped that a unanimous decision will be reached.

36.  Possible sanctions may include but are not limited to the following:

a)  publication of amended material, either as a new article or as an announcement of the amendment of a previously published item, such amendment being credited to the complainant or to the original author, or both.

b)  withdrawal of any article where the Ethics Committee have determined that the content should no longer be available, such withdrawal to be announced in the next issue of IJTARP and to be annotated within the Contents list of the issue in which the original article was published.

c)  either of the above may include an explanation about the actions undertaken by reviewers, translators or editors.

d)  a ban on publication within IJTARP of any future material from the same author

e)  a ban on involvement of the individual as a Reviewer, Translator EDITOR with IJTARP, with the length of the band being determined by the Ethics Committee.

f)  notification to other organisations of the details of the unethical behaviours engaged upon by the person complained against (e.g. the raising of ethical charges against someone within their own professional context, such as a TA association or a university)

37.  Within fourteen (14) days of the meeting, the Ethics Committee Chairperson will advise the conclusions of the Ethics Committee in writing to the complainant, the person complained against, and the IJTARP Editor or the Reviewer who is fulfilling this role within this procedure.

38.  If the complaint has been upheld, the notification will include the recommendations of the Ethics Committee as to sanctions to be applied.

Actions to be Taken

39.  The IJTARP Editor will initiate and complete any action that may need to be taken by the Journal, in conjunction with the person complained against when appropriate. This will include making public relevant aspects of the complaint although it will not normally include making public the identity of the complainant.

40.  Confidential records of the progressing of any complaints will be maintained by IJTARP Editor for a period of five years from the date of the formal complaint and will be accessed only in the event of any further complaint against the same individual.