Western Historical Quarterly Plagiarism Policy
Updated 31 March 2009
The most recent version of the American Historical Association’s (AHA) “Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct” (http://www.historians.org/pubs/Free/ProfessionalStandards.cfm) shall be the Western Historical Quarterly’s (WHQ) criteria for defining plagiarism.
The WHQ and the Western History Association (WHA) recognize that gray areas exist in identifying plagiarism and research fraud, and that reasonable individuals can arrive at different judgments of the same materials. In such situations the WHQ editor or president of the WHA may attempt to mediate a solution in lieu of a formal review or sanctions. The WHQ staff will take steps to ensure confidentiality during both informal and formal review processes. In all procedures and discussions involving accusations or suspicions of plagiarism or fraud, the WHQ staff will give priority to the professional interests and scholarly reputation of the WHA, WHQ, and their sponsoring institutions.
When the editorial staff or peer reviewers suspect plagiarism or research fraud in a manuscript submitted to the journal but not yet published, the WHQ editor will decide on a case-by-case basis whether to (1) work with the author to clear up limited instances of oversight or omission, (2) return the manuscript to the author with minimal or no explanation, or (3) in egregious cases or at the request of reviewer or author, submit the manuscript to three members of the journal’s editorial board to assess the allegation and evidence provided by the reviewer. After considering the relevant materials and consulting together, the committee will produce a written evaluation. Their findings will be forwarded to both author and reviewer. If plagiarism or fraud is determined, the manuscript will be formally withdrawn from consideration by the editor.
PUBLISHED ARTICLES: BOOK REVIEWS:
When an editor, the author of a published work, or a third party suspects research fraud or plagiarism of an author’s work in an article already published in the WHQ, and brings that suspicion to the attention of the WHQ editor, the editor will ask the accuser to provide specific documentation of the material allegedly plagiarized. The editor will forward that documentation and all other relevant information to the WHA president who will decide whether the charge merits dismissal, mediation, or formal review.
When a formal review is deemed necessary, the president of the WHA shall forward all relevant documentation to the accused author, who shall have the opportunity to provide a written response. The WHA president shall appoint a committee of three people—specialists in the topical field, with no conflict of interest in relation to the contending parties—to evaluate the relevant documentation, including any materials presented by accuser and accused. The committee will evaluate all materials, deliberate as necessary, and produce a written report in a timely manner.
If the committee determines there has been plagiarism or research fraud in a published WHQ article, the WHA president, in consultation with the WHQ’s editor, editorial board, and legal counsel (if deemed necessary) will determine the appropriate action to be taken. Such action could include disclosure of the committee’s conclusions in the journal, barring the author from again publishing in the journal or participating in the WHA, notifying the author’s home institution, or other appropriate sanction. If the committee determines there was no fraud or plagiarism, the WHA president will notify the WHQ editor, the accused author, and the accuser of that finding.
When allegations of plagiarism arise during preparation of a book review, the WHQ editor will ask the accuser to provide specific documentation of the material in the book allegedly plagiarized and make an initial assessment. If mediation with the accusing reviewer is not possible or warranted, the editor will select a committee of three members of the journal’s editorial board to assess the allegation and evidence. After considering the relevant materials and consulting together, the committee will produce a written evaluation. Depending on their findings and recommendations, the journal's editor will determine on a case-by-case basis whether or how to publish the book review, look for ways to mediate the review’s wording, or advise the accuser to take the matter to another venue.