Editors-in-Chief and the owners of their publications both want the publication to succeed but they each have different roles.

The editors-in-chief's primary responsibilities are to inform and educate readers, with attention to the accuracy and importance of the publication's articles, and to protect and strengthen the integrity and quality of the publication and its processes.

Owners (whether professional associations or for-profit companies) support the core values and policies of their organization and are ultimately responsible for all aspects of publishing the publication, including its staff, budget, and business policies.

The relationship between owners and editors-in-chief should be based on mutual respect and trust, and recognition of each other's authority and responsibilities. Conflicts can damage both the intellectual integrity and reputation of the publication as well as its financial success.

Guidelines for Dental Editors and Sponsoring Organizations (Publication Owners)


The following are guidelines for protecting the responsibility and authority of both editors-in-chief and owners:

The conditions of the editors-in-chief's employment, including authority, responsibilities, term of appointment, reporting relationships, and mechanisms for resolving conflict, should be explicitly stated in writing and approved by both editor and owner before the editor is appointed. Editors should be provided with a written job description, specifically detailing components of editorial freedom. Those conditions bearing on editorial freedom should be shared with readers by publication in the journal and/or on its website.

Editors-in-chief should have full authority over the editorial content of the journal, generally referred to as "editorial independence." Editorial content includes original research, opinion articles and news reports, both in print or electronic format, and regardless of how and when this information is published. Owners should not interfere in the evaluation, selection, or editing of individual articles, either directly or by creating an environment in which editorial decisions are strongly influenced.

The parent association, or publisher owner, should establish the publication's mission statement and offer sufficient support in both funding and staff to carry out the publication's stated mission.

The parent association/ publication owner is the exclusive owner of all copyrights of all editorial content, as well as any published work product of the editor. 

Editorial decisions should be based mainly on the validity of the work and its importance to readers, not the policies or commercial success of the owner. Editors should be free to publish critical but responsible views about all aspects of dentistry without fear of retribution, even if these views might conflict with the goals of the owner. To maintain this position, editors should seek input from a broad array of advisors such as reviewers, editorial staff, an editorial board, and readers.

Editors should have the right to review and refuse advertisements and advertising placement, as well as work with the publication's owner in establishing that publication's advertising guidelines. Advertising considerations should not influence editorial decisions.

Editors-in-chief should establish procedures that guard against the influence of commercial, organizational, and personal self-interest on editorial decisions and should make these procedures clear and transparent to all interested parties.

Editors should annually disclose any non-editorial, scientifically related activities in which they are engaged to the publisher, sponsoring society, or journal owner, regardless of whether the editor is a volunteer or employed on a part- or full-time basis.

Peer review and other publication assignments should be undertaken by qualified specialists as necessary. These specialists should disclose any conflicts of interest with the editor, submitting authors, publisher, sponsoring association, or publication owner. The publication should institute procedures that guard against potential conflicts involving the editor or the publication's owner.

The publisher or sponsoring organization should provide a mechanism for regular and objective evaluation of editor performance based on predetermined and agreed-on measures of success.

Owners have the right to hire and fire editors-in-chief but they should dismiss them only for substantial reasons such as a pattern of bad editorial decisions, disagreement with the long-term editorial direction of the journal, or personal behavior (such as criminal acts) that are incompatible with a position of trust. It may also be appropriate to end the editor's service if, for whatever reason, owners and editors find they are unable to work together in a spirit of mutual trust and collaboration. Termination of an editor's appointment should be a deliberate process, involving open discussion at the highest level of the organization, and should not be precipitous, except for egregious wrongdoing. There should be a mechanism for resolving conflicts between the editor and the publisher, sponsoring society, or publication owner. A publication oversight committee for performance review and evaluation and for conflict resolution should be

The limits of editorial freedom are difficult to define in the general case. Editors should be receptive to articles representing all legitimate points of view and should be free to publish any responsible positions. However, owners cannot be expected to retain editors who take strong, consistent, one-sided positions against the core values and policies of their parent organization.

Editors-in-chief should report to the highest governing body of the owning organization, not its administrative officers. Major decisions regarding the editor's employment should be made by this body with open discussion and time to hear from all interested parties. Some organizations have found it useful to establish an independent oversight committee to advise them on major decisions regarding their editor and publication. Both owners and editors should have a meaningful role in appointment of members, since both are stakeholders in the committee's effectiveness. The work of such committees should be transparent and publicly available. Editors should resist any actions that might compromise these principles in their publications, even if it places their own position at risk. If major transgressions do occur, all editors should participate in drawing them to the attention of the international dental, academic, and lay