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Complaints and Appeals

Appealing the Editorial Decision

Editors have very broad discretion in determining whether a submission is an appropriate fit for their journal. Many submissions are declined without external review with a very general statement of the rejection decision. These decisions are not eligible for formal appeal.

If the author believes the decision to reject the submission was not in accordance with journal policy and procedures, the author may appeal the decision by providing the Editor with a detailed point by point response to reviewer and editor comments. The Editor will review the peer review process undertaken for the submission. If the decision was made in line with editorial criteria, the Editor’s decision to reject is final.

If the author is dissatisfied with the way the Editor has handled their appeal, they may contact SAGE at publication_ethics@sagepub.com.

Appealing Corrective Action taken Post Publication

If concerns are raised on a published article, the Editor, in line with guidance published by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), including COPE’s retraction guidelines and in consultation with SAGE, will determine whether a published article needs to be retracted or that other corrective action or notification needs to be made to the published article. As referenced in the authorship agreement, the journal and SAGE reserve the right to take corrective action as they deem necessary in the interest of their responsibility for maintaining a transparent and accurate academic record.

The authors can appeal this decision if new evidence impacting the underlying decision comes to light prior to the specified deadline for comment. Appeals will be considered by SAGE and may be discussed with the journal Editor, journal Editorial Board and/or external scientific advisors. Decisions on retraction and expression of concern appeals are final.  

General Concerns or Complaints

Anybody wishing to raise a concern or make a complaint about any aspect of being published in a SAGE journal, or working with SAGE or our publishing partners may email publication_ethics@sagepub.com

Handling Complaints and Appeals

Principles

We will abide by the following principles when investigating complaints and appeals:

  • Fairness: we will endeavour to treat all parties involved in a complaint fairly and to avoid bias either in process or outcome. We will avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Confidentiality: we will only disclose information necessary to resolve a complaint, and in accordance with GDPR regulations. 
  • Clarity: we will seek to be clear in all our communication, taking into account the needs of those we are communicating with
  • Speed: we will endeavour to resolve complaints as quickly as possible.  It should be noted that some investigations are complex and take time to resolve equitably (for example, allowing reasonable time for multiple parties to respond).

Process

SAGE will acknowledge receipt of an email sent to publication_ethics@sagepub.com within 5 business days. Our Research Integrity and Inclusion Manager will then lead the investigation following COPE guidelines. The investigation will establish whether the correct procedures have been followed and assess whether the author’s concerns have been addressed fairly and without prejudice. SAGE will review the paper’s peer review history and any correspondence between the author, Editor and reviewers. SAGE may also contact the parties involved to obtain further information where necessary and in accordance with GDPR regulations.

The author will be advised of the outcome in writing. We aim to resolve issues as swiftly as possible or within six weeks, though please note sometimes investigations can take several weeks or more depending on the nature of the concern or complaint, the availability of relevant data and information, whether multiple authors and papers are involved, and possible involvement of the author’s institution or other external parties.

In the interest of allowing due process to take place, and investigations to proceed without prejudice, we respectfully request that anyone raising a concern or complaint allow the process to conclude before publicly commenting on the case.

If the author wishes to pursue their complaint further, they may contact COPE directly. Information can be found on the COPE website: Facilitation and Integrity Subcommittee | COPE: Committee on Publication Ethics