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Complaints and Appeals

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. Please note, Sage staff do not provide oversight or comment on editorial decision making on any of our journals.  

Sage aim to 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. Sage will review the submission 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 complainant 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 

Complaints about our Publications 

All concerns raised on our published content are investigated confidentially and in accordance with COPE guidelines regardless of their status or identity. In many instances, an internal review will be carried out to determine if a full investigation is required. All investigations into our published content will be undertaken in collaboration with the author and the Journal Editor. In many cases, it may be necessary for us to contact third parties such as independent experts, author institutions or their funding bodies which will be carried out in accordance with GDPR regulations.  

We will preserve the anonymity of the complainant to the best of our ability, though we recognise that certain complaints may reveal the identity of the person raising the concern. We will update all our complainants once an investigation has been completed and an appropriate action has been determined. We are unable to give regular updates to our complainants to preserve confidentiality. 

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.

Please note in accordance with our policy to uphold Editorial Independence, Sage staff do not adjudicate between an author and editor when there is a difference of opinion on the final decision. 

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.