In Winter 2019, the American Journal of Schooling (AJE) revealed a press release of ethics to information the work of its editors, reviewers, and contributors. The statement is knowledgeable by the rules of integrity, generativity, respect for human dignity and variety, transparency, and truthfulness. Every principle is defined and then described in relation to the roles of editor, reviewer, and manuscript writer. At a current joint meeting of the AJE senior editorial board and the board of the student-run AJE Forum, the ultimate model of the assertion was introduced. I turned curious concerning the statement’s impetus and improvement process. As the content committee chair of the scholar editorial board, I questioned how the journal’s ethics statement may inform the production and assessment of articles for the AJE Forum. So as to study more, I reached out to Dr. Doris Santoro, who chaired the committee that developed the assertion. In February 2019, Dr. Santoro graciously shared some of her time to talk with me concerning the ethics assertion. In this article, I current frivolously edited highlights of our conversation to offer a behind-the-scenes take a look at the committee’s work.
Dr. Doris Santoro is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Schooling Department at Bowdoin School, a liberal arts school in Brunswick, Maine. She is a thinker of schooling who additionally serves as a Senior Affiliate Editor with the American Journal of Schooling (AJE). Dr. Santoro describes herself as a instructor educator whose analysis focus is “the ethics of teaching and teachers’ moral concerns about their work.” Given her areas of expertise, in 2018, Dr. Gerald LeTendre (co-editor of AJE with Dr. Dana Mitra) asked her to facilitate the work of an ad hoc committee he had convened for the aim of creating a press release of ethics for the journal. Members of the staff included senior associate editors of AJE as well as members of the AJE Forum scholar editorial board. Dr. Santoro reflected on the significance of doctoral students being a part of the method. She famous, “One of the things that distinguishes AJE from other top journals in education is that it has a student board, so there’s a function of mentoring and scholar development that is distinct to the purposes of AJE that we also wanted to capture.” In response to Dr. Santoro, Dr. LeTendre’s cost to the committee was that the statement was not meant to be a detailed determination tree addressing attainable ethics violations, corresponding to how one can deal with an allegation of plagiarism. As an alternative, the assertion was to set out the moral rules guiding the work of editors, reviewers, and contributors to AJE. Accordingly, the committee started its work by discussing Dr. LeTendre’s charge and reflecting on the necessity for a press release of ethics.
I requested Dr. Santoro why the assertion of ethics wanted to be written in any respect. In her understanding, “There were more questions coming up when [AJE’s reviewers were] looking at manuscripts in terms of seeing a manuscript that they’d felt like they’d seen before, or seeing a manuscript that seemed to be a vehicle primarily for self-citation, or even ways in which questions were raised about the kinds of feedback that reviewers were giving.” Whereas a few of these are perennial questions faced by journal editors, based on Dr. Santoro, “What was new was that there [have been] more and more international submissions coming in, and there were questions about what constitutes a reasonable submission to the journal. This was one of the principles we chose to guide us: to be as plain-spoken and straightforward as possible for an international audience, not using terms that might work well with a North American or English-speaking audience but that when translated might cause confusion.” This strategy units AJE aside from different journals, which Dr. Santoro stated typically have multi-page statements which might be more procedural than principled. Dr. Santoro provided the time period “conflict of interest” for instance of a word for which the committee offered more specific detail within the statement by explaining what it means for reviewers as well as for authors. Reviewers are to declare once they feel they’re unable to assessment a bit in an unbiased manner, while authors are to declare funding sources or different financial interests related to their work.
I requested concerning the process for creating the assertion. Dr. Santoro stated that she had chaired the committee but that the method was a highly collaborative one. No single individual was the first writer of the assertion. The committee members met on five events over the course of six months using Zoom video conferencing software, they usually represented establishments across the USA. The committee’s variety was a big asset for engaging in its charge. Based on Dr. Santoro, “Another piece that was really important was that folks were coming from different research traditions into the conversation. One of the things that guided us was the fact that AJE is not a disciplinary-specific journal, and we wanted to honor the multiple kinds of submissions so that [evaluation] is based on the criteria relevant to the kind of work, not [the criteria of a] single methodology or perspective that would fare better in this ethical schema.” This strategy is constant with AJE’s writer tips, which search a wide variety of submissions including unique analysis, theoretical or philosophical pieces, analysis syntheses, and different papers that blend analysis with policy and follow.
After its preliminary discussion of its cost, the committee reviewed present statements of ethics from different journals. They met to talk about what they appreciated most concerning the samples in addition to what they thought have been features they needed to include in AJE’s assertion. They began discussing what the rules can be and how they might be defined. Subsequent, they thought-about what each of the rules may mean in follow for every stakeholder in the submission, evaluate, and publication processes. This process generated the final document revealed by AJE.
“I think it’s a beautiful statement, and I hope it can be a model for other organizations that have review processes. I would love for it to be in the public domain.”
I asked Dr. Santoro whether there have been any rules or issues that provoked more discussion than others through the committee’s discussions. She noted that the committee “frequently turned to considerations about how to be as clear as possible in cross-cultural situations.” Another fascinating dialogue was what the rules mean in follow for reviewers. Ideally, the statement seeks reviewers who “treat the work as an end in itself and not say, ‘Well, you didn’t cite me,’ or ‘I have a different perspective on this whole realm of inquiry.’” In relation to those sorts of ethical pitfalls for reviewers, I discussed that I was notably appreciative of the worth of respect for human dignity and diversity. Dr. Santoro stated that there was a lot discussion of ideological, methodological, and disciplinary traditions that shape research, in addition to culture and language. The rules of human dignity and integrity are additionally meant to offer steerage to reviewers, acknowledging the price of research agendas that will not align with reviewers’ own views. Nevertheless, the rules dig deeper than openness to differing perspectives. In response to Dr. Santoro, the value of dignity and variety was “a way to retain as much openness as possible while also saying that…human beings are respected within the research. If the research itself suggests a lack of respect for the dignity and value of human life, then that is grounds to look more critically or to raise serious questions about it. [The value of respect] is about the author and also about the content.”
I concluded my interview with Dr. Santoro by asking for any further reflections she needed to share concerning the assertion of ethics. She stated, “I think our biggest conversations were about who are the stakeholders that we need to address. In a post-truth era, it’s interesting that our description of truthfulness didn’t cause more of a kerfuffle, but I like the idea of aiming to offer the most accurate information available and addressing errors when necessary. It’s really important to recognize our fallibility.” The committee’s work on truthfulness is reflected within the assertion, which addresses truthfulness not solely when it comes to authors submitting unique scholarship with correct info but in addition when it comes to editors’ and reviewers’ obligation to think about their experience and skill to offer well timed, thorough, and clear suggestions to authors. Dr. Santoro concluded, “I’m delighted with the outcome. I think it’s a beautiful statement, and I hope it can be a model for other organizations that have review processes. I would love for it to be in the public domain.”
The AJE statement of ethics is freely obtainable for the general public to learn on the website of the American Journal of Schooling. The statement offers a plain-language and transparent basis for AJE’s continued work. As famous in this article, graduate college students have been involved all through the development and publicization of the assertion. In the coming months, the AJE Forum and scholar editorial board might be contemplating how the statement of ethics will shape the publications on ajeforum.com. The scholar editorial board needs to extend particular appreciation to Dr. Doris Santoro, Dr. Gerald LeTendre, Dr. Dana Mitra, and Dr. Mindy Kornhaber for their help and mentoring during this undertaking.
Logan Rutten is a Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum and Supervision at Penn State University. A classicist and musician, he has taught grades Okay-12 in public, constitution, and cyber faculties. Logan’s current analysis examines the pedagogy of instructor inquiry, preservice academics’ motivations, shared expertise and instructor learning in school-university partnerships, and the democratic context for schooling. He earned a B.A. at Concordia School and an M.Ed. from Penn State