I am asking about some kind of standard well known and complete ethical codex with versions of strictness (a list of rules comparable to the creative commons licenses in the field of software/art publishing).

It seems to me that every journal has its own ethical codex stated, although all of the codexes seem to be almost the same (with minor differences). It seems a little bit silly to me.

I would like to know about something usable like:

  • to tell my team: "all publishing should be done according to the ethical codex XY v1.x", or
  • I would like to state in my hypothetical journal: "the journal complies with the ethical codex XY v2.x"

What am I missing? Where I can find it? Does some open ethical codex standard exist? If not, why not?

  • 1
    What is a codex? I assume here it does not mean an ancient manuscript but it would be really interesting if that was the case. If this is a standard term in academia, perhaps there is a reference I have missed. Dec 1, 2020 at 21:02
  • 1
    Pretty sure "codex" is the wrong word. Dec 2, 2020 at 7:22
  • @TerryLoring You are correct, I am wrong. Feel free to edit my question to clarify it.
    – matousc
    Dec 2, 2020 at 12:29
  • @matousc I don't think you are wrong here, just a bit unclear. I found a secondary meaning of codex (derived from Codex Justinianus) which fits here. Dec 2, 2020 at 15:44

2 Answers 2


The Committee on Publication Ethics (https://publicationethics.org/) "is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to define best practice in the ethics of scholarly publishing and to assist editors, publishers, etc. to achieve this."

They have many documents; you can probably start with their core practices. These cover:

  1. Allegations of misconduct
  2. Authorship and contributorship
  3. Complaints and appeals
  4. Conflicts of interest / Competing interests
  5. Data and reproducibility
  6. Ethical oversight
  7. Intellectual property
  8. Journal management
  9. Peer review processes
  10. Post-publication discussions and corrections

(Note that this focuses on publication ethics. If you want research ethics then that would be a separate question.)


The German national funding association "DFG" publishes a codex of good scientific practice that is legally binding for all research funded by DFG. You can find an English translation online. Switzerland has a similar document. You can try the US "NSF" site next for further search.

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