Objectives and Scope

This policy covers complaints and appeals that authors may have related to editorial decision or the publication process.

This includes, but is not limited to, appealing a decision to reject a manuscript, concerns about conflicts of interest during review, or excessive time to review a manuscript.

This policy does not apply to grievances or disciplinary proceedings covered by the constitution of Episteme Health Inc. (e.g. between a member and another member, the committee, or association).

Grounds for Complaints

Concerns and complaints must have reasonable grounds, including but not limited to:

  1. An editorial decision that does not have a reasonable scientific basis,

  2. An editorial decision that did not follow journal or publisher policy,

  3. Unprofessional conduct by anyone involved in the publication process, such as a peer reviewer or editor.

Complaints that do not have reasonable grounds or are assessed to be vexatious complaints may be dismissed without taking further action. A vexatious complaint may be characterised by any of the following characteristics, as assessed in accordance with this policy:

  1. Is motivated by malice or vindictiveness,

  2. Is intended solely or primarily to damage the reputation of a person, the journal, or the publisher,

  3. Is otherwise intended to harass, bully, annoy, or waste the time of a person, the journal, or the publisher, and/or

  4. Could not reasonably be expected to be resolved by an editor, the journal, or the publisher.

In assessing whether a complaint is groundless or vexatious, a complainant’s history of groundless or vexatious complaints (where applicable), may be considered. Because groundless or vexatious complaints may be intended to waste time, these complaints may be dismissed without response.

Procedure for Complainants

To appeal an editorial decision begin by emailing the editor who made the decision or appeals@epistemehealth.com.

For other procedural and conduct complaints, contact the Editor-in-Chief or complaints@epistemehealth.com.

If the Editor-in-Chief is the subject of the complaint, contact the Secretary of Episteme Health Inc.

Complaint Screening

Complaints and appeals will be screened for a reasonable basis and, if required, forwarded to the editor who handled the manuscript and/or the Editor-in-Chief. Complaints about the Editor-in-Chief will be handled by the publisher.

Appeals on Scientific Grounds

An appeal against an editorial decision on scientific grounds will be referred to the editor who made the original decision. They must consider the authors' arguments and decide how to proceed based on the complaint, their knowledge of the paper, and in consultation with other editors.

Complaints About Process

Procedural complaints will be handled by the Editor-in-Chief and, where appropriate, with the editor who handled the manuscript. They will investigate the procedures followed with the manuscript against journal and publisher policy and decide how to resolve the complaint.

Complaints About Conduct

Conduct complaints will be handled by the Editor-in-Chief and, where appropriate, with the editor who handled the manuscript. They will investigate the alleged conduct and consider whether it breached expected standards of professional conduct. In considering the expected standards of professional conduct, the editor(s) will pay regard to standards of academic conduct, as outlined by the Australian code for the responsible conduct of research 2018 and Victorian anti-discrimination and workplace bullying guidelines.

Possible Outcomes

At the conclusion of the complaint process, complainants and (if applicable) respondents will be notified of the outcome and reasons for them. Possible outcomes include:

  1. Complaint dismissal, where no further action is required or justified,

  2. Reversing or substituting one editorial decision (e.g. rejection) with another (e.g. to send to review),

  3. Removing individuals from the editorial board or reviewer pool.

All Decisions are Final

Unless an obvious error or omission has occurred during the complaints or appeals process, all decisions are final.


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