Ethics Code Updates to the Publication Manual

Updates to the 5th Edition

  • Section 1.03 Authorship or Publication Credit

  • Section 1.09 Method

  • Section 5.26 Cover Letter

  • Section 8.05 Ethics of Scientific Publication

  • Section 9.02 References Cited in This Edition

  • Appendix C Ethical Standards for the Reporting and Publishing of Scientific Information

Note: Only the APA Ethics Committee can issue authoritative interpretations of the APA Ethics Code. The discussion herein by the authors of the Publication Manual should not be understood or relied upon as an official interpretation of the Ethics Code.

Publication Manual Section 1.03, Authorship or Publication Credit

On page 6, replace the text of Section 1.03 with the following:

Authorship is reserved for people who make a primary contribution to and hold primary responsibility for the data, concepts, and interpretation of results for a published work (Huth, 1987). Authorship encompasses not only those who do the actual writing but also those who have made substantial scientific contributions to a study. This concept of authorship is discussed in the "Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct" (APA, 2002), Standard 8.12, Publication Credit, which is reprinted in Appendix C and discussed in section 8.05.

To prevent misunderstanding and to preserve professional reputations and relationships, it is best to establish as early as possible in a research project who will be listed as an author, what order of authorship will be, and who will receive an alternative form of recognition (see Section 1.15, 7.01, and 8.05).

Publication Manual Section 1.09 Method

On page 18, replace paragraph 4, line 3 with the following:

(If case studies are included, see Appendix C, Standard 4.07, Use of Confidential Information for Didactic or Other Purposes.)

On page 19, replace main text paragraph 5 with the following:

When you submit your manuscript, indicate to the journal editor that the treatment of subjects (people or animals) was in accordance with the ethical standards of the APA (see Standards 3.10 and 8.01—8.09 in the "Ethical Principles of Psychologist and Code of Conduct," APA, 2002).

Publication Manual Section 5.26 Cover Letter

On page 304, replace the first bulleted paragraph with the following:

  • verification that the treatment of subjects (human or animal) was in accordance with the ethical standards of the APA (see Standards 3.10 and 8.01—8.09 in the "Ethical Principles of Psychologist and Code of Conduct," APA, 2002), and …

Publication Manual Section 8.05 Ethics of Scientific Publication

On page 348, replace paragraphs 3, 4, and 5 with the following:

The "Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct" (APA, 2002) contains a number of principles that address the reporting and publishing of scientific data. Standards 4.01-—4.07, Privacy and Confidentiality, and Standards 8.01-8.15, Research and Publication, are provided in Appendix C, and some are described in this section in greater detail. Please note that the "Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct" is not a static document—it will be revised and updated over time Reporting research results (Standard 8.10). The essence of the scientific method involves observations that can be repeated and verified by others. Hence, psychologists do not make up data or modify their results to support a hypothesis (Standard 8.10a). Errors of omission also are prohibited. Psychologists do not omit troublesome observations from their reports so as to present a more convincing story.

Careful preparation of manuscripts for publication is essential, but errors can still occur. It is the author's responsibility to make such errors public if they are discovered after publication (Standard 8.10b). The first step is to inform the editor and the publisher so that a correction notice can be published (see section 7.11 on wording). The goal of such a correction is to correct the knowledge base so that the error is brought to the attention of future users of the information. Corrections published in APA journals are connected with the original article in the PsycARTICLES database so that the correction will be retrieved whenever the original article is retrieved.

On page 349, replace paragraph 2's heading with the following:

Plagiarism (Standard 8.11). Psychologists do not claim the words and ideas of another as their own; they give credit where credit is due [etc.].

On page 350, replace paragraph 2's heading with the following:

Publication credit (authorship; Standard 8.12, a—c). Authorship is reserved for persons who receive primary credit and hold primary responsibility for a published work [etc.]

On page 351, replace paragraph 5's heading with the following:

Duplicate publication of data (Standard 8.13). Duplicate publication distorts the knowledge base by making it appear there is more information available than really exists [etc.]

On page 354, replace paragraph 2's heading with the following:

Sharing Research Data for Verification (Standard 8.14). Researchers must make their data available to the editor at any time during the review and production process [etc.]

On page 354, replace paragraph 3, line 6 with the following:

Authors are expected to comply promptly and in a spirit of cooperation with such requests (Standard 8.14). Sometimes [etc.]

On page 354, replace paragraph 5's heading with the following:

Reviewers (Standard 8.15). Editorial review of a manuscript requires that the editors and reviewers circulate and discuss the manuscript [etc.].

On page 355, replace paragraph 2's heading with the following:

Research participants (Standards 8.02—8.09). Standards 8.02—8.09 specify the standards psychologists are to follow in conducting research with humans and animals [etc.].

Publication Manual Section 9.02 References Cited in this Edition

On page 364, replace the reference to APA (1992a) with the following:

American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57, 1060—1073.

Also on page 364, replace the reference to APA (1992b) with the following:

American Psychological Association. (1992). PsycINFO user manual. Washington, DC: Author.

Publication Manual, Appendix C, Ethical Standards for the Reporting and Publishing of Scientific Information*

Starting on page 387, appendix C should be wholly replaced with the following:

The following ethical standards are reprinted from the "Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct," which appeared in the December 2002 issue of the American Psychologist (Vol. 57, pp. 1060—1073). Standards 4.01—4.07 deal with privacy and confidentiality and Standards 8.01—8.15 address research and publication. For the complete list of the standards, you may view the entire 2002 code.

4.01 Maintaining Confidentiality

Psychologists have a primary obligation and take reasonable precautions to protect confidential information obtained through or stored in any medium, recognizing that the extent and limits of confidentiality may be regulated by law or established by institutional rules or professional or scientific relationship. (See also Standard 2.05, Delegation of Work to Others.)

4.02 Discussing the Limits of Confidentiality

(a) Psychologists discuss with persons (including, to the extent feasible, persons who are legally incapable of giving informed consent and their legal representatives) and organizations with whom they establish a scientific or professional relationship (1) the relevant limits of confidentiality and (2) the foreseeable uses of the information generated through their psychological activities. (See also Standard 3.10, Informed Consent.)

(b) Unless it is not feasible or is contraindicated, the discussion of confidentiality occurs at the outset of the relationship and thereafter as new circumstances may warrant.

(c) Psychologists who offer services, products, or information via electronic transmission inform clients/patients of the risks to privacy and limits of confidentiality.

4.03 Recording

Before recording the voices or images of individuals to whom they provide services, psychologists obtain permission from all such persons or their legal representatives. (See also Standards 8.03, Informed Consent for Recording Voices and Images in Research; 8.05, Dispensing With Informed Consent for Research; and 8.07, Deception in Research.)

4.04 Minimizing Intrusions on Privacy

(a) Psychologists include in written and oral reports and consultations, only information germane to the purpose for which the communication is made.

(b) Psychologists discuss confidential information obtained in their work only for appropriate scientific or professional purposes and only with persons clearly concerned with such matters.

4.05 Disclosures

(a) Psychologists may disclose confidential information with the appropriate consent of the organizational client, the individual client/patient, or another legally authorized person on behalf of the client/patient unless prohibited by law.

(b) Psychologists disclose confidential information without the consent of the individual only as mandated by law, or where permitted by law for a valid purpose such as to (1) provide needed professional services; (2) obtain appropriate professional consultations; (3) protect the client/patient, psychologist, or others from harm; or (4) obtain payment for services from a client/patient, in which instance disclosure is limited to the minimum that is necessary to achieve the purpose. (See also Standard 6.04e, Fees and Financial Arrangements.)

4.06 Consultations

When consulting with colleagues, (1) psychologists do not disclose confidential information that reasonably could lead to the identification of a client/patient, research participant, or other person or organization with whom they have a confidential relationship unless they have obtained the prior consent of the person or organization or the disclosure cannot be avoided, and (2) they disclose information only to the extent necessary to achieve the purposes of the consultation. (See also Standard 4.01, Maintaining Confidentiality.)

4.07 Use of Confidential Information for Didactic or Other Purposes

Psychologists do not disclose in their writings, lectures, or other public media, confidential, personally identifiable information concerning their clients/patients, students, research participants, organizational clients, or other recipients of their services that they obtained during the course of their work, unless (1) they take reasonable steps to disguise the person or organization, (2) the person or organization has consented in writing, or (3) there is legal authorization for doing so.

6.02 Maintenance, Dissemination, and Disposal of Confidential Records of Professional and Scientific Work

(a) Psychologists maintain confidentiality in creating, storing, accessing, transferring, and disposing of records under their control, whether these are written, automated, or in any other medium. (See also Standards 4.01, Maintaining Confidentiality, and 6.01, Documentation of Professional and Scientific Work and Maintenance of Records.)

(b) If confidential information concerning recipients of psychological services is entered into databases or systems of records available to persons whose access has not been consented to by the recipient, psychologists use coding or other techniques to avoid the inclusion of personal identifiers.

(c) Psychologists make plans in advance to facilitate the appropriate transfer and to protect the confidentiality of records and data in the event of psychologists' withdrawal from positions or practice. (See also Standards 3.12, Interruption of Psychological Services, and 10.09, Interruption of Therapy.)

8.01 Institutional Approval

When institutional approval is required, psychologists provide accurate information about their research proposals and obtain approval prior to conducting the research. They conduct the research in accordance with the approved research protocol.

8.02 Informed Consent to Research

(a) When obtaining informed consent as required in Standard 3.10, Informed Consent, psychologists inform participants about (1) the purpose of the research, expected duration, and procedures; (2) their right to decline to participate and to withdraw from the research once participation has begun; (3) the foreseeable consequences of declining or withdrawing; (4) reasonably foreseeable factors that may be expected to influence their willingness to participate such as potential risks, discomfort, or adverse effects; (5) any prospective research benefits; (6) limits of confidentiality; (7) incentives for participation; and (8) whom to contact for questions about the research and research participants' rights. They provide opportunity for the prospective participants to ask questions and receive answers. (See also Standards 8.03, Informed Consent for Recording Voices and Images in Research; 8.05, Dispensing With Informed Consent for Research; and 8.07, Deception in Research.)

(b) Psychologists conducting intervention research involving the use of experimental treatments clarify to participants at the outset of the research (1) the experimental nature of the treatment; (2) the services that will or will not be available to the control group(s) if appropriate; (3) the means by which assignment to treatment and control groups will be made; (4) available treatment alternatives if an individual does not wish to participate in the research or wishes to withdraw once a study has begun; and (5) compensation for or monetary costs of participating including, if appropriate, whether reimbursement from the participant or a third-party payor will be sought. (See also Standard 8.02a, Informed Consent to Research.)

8.03 Informed Consent for Recording Voices and Images in Research

Psychologists obtain informed consent from research participants prior to recording their voices or images for data collection unless (1) the research consists solely of naturalistic observations in public places, and it is not anticipated that the recording will be used in a manner that could cause personal identification or harm, or (2) the research design includes deception, and consent for the use of the recording is obtained during debriefing. (See also Standard 8.07, Deception in Research.)

8.04 Client/Patient, Student, and Subordinate Research Participants

(a) When psychologists conduct research with clients/patients, students, or subordinates as participants, psychologists take steps to protect the prospective participants from adverse consequences of declining or withdrawing from participation.

(b) When research participation is a course requirement or an opportunity for extra credit, the prospective participant is given the choice of equitable alternative activities.

8.05 Dispensing With Informed Consent for Research

Psychologists may dispense with informed consent only (1) where research would not reasonably be assumed to create distress or harm and involves (a) the study of normal educational practices, curricula, or classroom management methods conducted in educational settings; (b) only anonymous questionnaires, naturalistic observations, or archival research for which disclosure of responses would not place participants at risk of criminal or civil liability or damage their financial standing, employability, or reputation, and confidentiality is protected; or (c) the study of factors related to job or organization effectiveness conducted in organizational settings for which there is no risk to participants' employability, and confidentiality is protected or (2) where otherwise permitted by law or federal or institutional regulations.

8.06 Offering Inducements for Research Participation

(a) Psychologists make reasonable efforts to avoid offering excessive or inappropriate financial or other inducements for research participation when such inducements are likely to coerce participation.

(b) When offering professional services as an inducement for research participation, psychologists clarify the nature of the services, as well as the risks, obligations, and limitations. (See also Standard 6.05, Barter With Clients/Patients.)

8.07 Deception in Research

(a) Psychologists do not conduct a study involving deception unless they have determined that the use of deceptive techniques is justified by the study's significant prospective scientific, educational, or applied value and that effective nondeceptive alternative procedures are not feasible.

(b) Psychologists do not deceive prospective participants about research that is reasonably expected to cause physical pain or severe emotional distress.

(c) Psychologists explain any deception that is an integral feature of the design and conduct of an experiment to participants as early as is feasible, preferably at the conclusion of their participation, but no later than at the conclusion of the data collection, and permit participants to withdraw their data. (See also Standard 8.08, Debriefing.)

8.08 Debriefing

(a) Psychologists provide a prompt opportunity for participants to obtain appropriate information about the nature, results, and conclusions of the research, and they take reasonable steps to correct any misconceptions that participants may have of which the psychologists are aware.

(b) If scientific or humane values justify delaying or withholding this information, psychologists take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of harm.

(c) When psychologists become aware that research procedures have harmed a participant, they take reasonable steps to minimize the harm.

8.09 Humane Care and Use of Animals in Research

(a) Psychologists acquire, care for, use, and dispose of animals in compliance with current federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and with professional standards.

(b) Psychologists trained in research methods and experienced in the care of laboratory animals supervise all procedures involving animals and are responsible for ensuring appropriate consideration of their comfort, health, and humane treatment.

(c) Psychologists ensure that all individuals under their supervision who are using animals have received instruction in research methods and in the care, maintenance, and handling of the species being used, to the extent appropriate to their role. (See also Standard 2.05, Delegation of Work to Others.)

(d) Psychologists make reasonable efforts to minimize the discomfort, infection, illness, and pain of animal subjects.

(e) Psychologists use a procedure subjecting animals to pain, stress, or privation only when an alternative procedure is unavailable and the goal is justified by its prospective scientific, educational, or applied value.

(f) Psychologists perform surgical procedures under appropriate anesthesia and follow techniques to avoid infection and minimize pain during and after surgery.

(g) When it is appropriate that an animal's life be terminated, psychologists proceed rapidly, with an effort to minimize pain and in accordance with accepted procedures.

8.10 Reporting Research Results

(a) Psychologists do not fabricate data. (See also Standard 5.01a, Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements.)

(b) If psychologists discover significant errors in their published data, they take reasonable steps to correct such errors in a correction, retraction, erratum, or other appropriate publication means.

8.11 Plagiarism

Psychologists do not present portions of another's work or data as their own, even if the other work or data source is cited occasionally.

8.12 Publication Credit

(a) Psychologists take responsibility and credit, including authorship credit, only for work they have actually performed or to which they have substantially contributed. (See also Standard 8.12b, Publication Credit.)

(b) Principal authorship and other publication credits accurately reflect the relative scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved, regardless of their relative status. Mere possession of an institutional position, such as department chair, does not justify authorship credit. Minor contributions to the research or to the writing for publications are acknowledged appropriately, such as in footnotes or in an introductory statement.

(c) Except under exceptional circumstances, a student is listed as principal author on any multiple-authored article that is substantially based on the student's doctoral dissertation. Faculty advisors discuss publication credit with students as early as feasible and throughout the research and publication process as appropriate. (See also Standard 8.12b, Publication Credit.)

8.13 Duplicate Publication of Data

Psychologists do not publish, as original data, data that have been previously published. This does not preclude republishing data when they are accompanied by proper acknowledgment.

8.14 Sharing Research Data for Verification

(a) After research results are published, psychologists do not withhold the data on which their conclusions are based from other competent professionals who seek to verify the substantive claims through reanalysis and who intend to use such data only for that purpose, provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected and unless legal rights concerning proprietary data preclude their release. This does not preclude psychologists from requiring that such individuals or groups be responsible for costs associated with the provision of such information.

(b) Psychologists who request data from other psychologists to verify the substantive claims through reanalysis may use shared data only for the declared purpose. Requesting psychologists obtain prior written agreement for all other uses of the data.

8.15 Reviewers

Psychologists who review material submitted for presentation, publication, grant, or research proposal review respect the confidentiality of and the proprietary rights in such information of those who submitted it.

*Only the APA Ethics Committee can issue authoritative interpretations of the APA Ethics Code. The language herein is offered as guidance from the authors of the Publication Manual but should not be understood or relied upon as an official interpretation of the Ethics Code.