Code of Ethics

Punctum. International Journal of Semiotics is an academic journal published by Hellenic Semiotic Society, devoted to the publication of theoretical and/or empirical peer-reviewed articles in all the various fields of semiotic research. Key priority of the editorial team is to publish quality papers. The integrity of the content published is an essential point and is ensured during the review and the editorial processes. To that purpose, all the involved parties – the publisher, the Editor-in-Chief, the editors, the authors, the reviewers, the members of the Editorial Board and the editorial team, are expected to fully comply to the principles regarding publication ethics and malpractice set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) to which the journal subscribes. See:


1. Editorial Board

The members of the Editorial Board are all scholars of international renown for their expertise in the field of semiotics. Their full names and affiliations are provided on the journal’s Web site. They act as the ambassadors of the journal and are regularly consulted about its progress and policies. They actively encourage but also review submissions to the journal, and advise on issues regarding the good management of the journal and its future development.


2. Editors’ Standards

Fair play and editorial independence

Editors evaluate submitted manuscripts exclusively on the basis of their academic merit (importance, originality, study’s validity, clarity) and its relevance to the journal’s scope, without regard to the authors’ race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, citizenship, religious belief, political philosophy or institutional affiliation. Decisions to edit and publish are not determined by the policies of governments or any other agencies outside of the journal itself.

Quality of reviewing process

The Editor-in-Chief, editors and editorial staff are responsible for safeguarding the reliability and quality of the reviewing process. They collaborate in preparing the lists of the reviewers suitable for each issue, they continuously monitor the performance of peer reviewers and cease using those who consistently produce discourteous, poor quality or late reviews, as well as use every available source (e.g. bibliographic databases) to identify potential new reviewers. They also monitor the appropriateness of the Manuscript Review Form used and take care to update it, to ensure its comprehensiveness and efficacy.


Editors and editorial staff will not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, as appropriate.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest

Editors and Editorial Board members will not use unpublished information disclosed in a submitted manuscript for their own research purposes without the authors’ explicit written consent. Privileged information or ideas obtained by editors as a result of handling the manuscript will be kept confidential and not used for their personal advantage. Editors will recuse themselves from considering manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships/connections with any of the authors, companies or institutions connected to the papers; instead, they will ask another member of the editorial board to handle the manuscript. The same concerns regarding conflict of interest apply to the selection of reviewers for the peer review process. Finally, editors are responsible for ensuring that their own potential contributions, beyond the customary Introduction, which is not peer-reviewed, as well as those from employees or members of the Editorial Board, undergo the same double-blind peer review process, as the rest of the manuscripts submitted for publication.

Publication decisions

The editors ensure that all submitted manuscripts being considered for publication undergo peer review by at least two reviewers of proven expertise. In case of conflicting reviews, the editors refer the manuscript to a third reviewer, preferrably a member of the Editorial Board. Editors are responsible for deciding which of the manuscripts submitted to the journal will be published, based on the validation of the work in question, its importance to researchers and readers, the reviewers’ comments, and such legal requirements as are currently in force regarding libel, copyright infringement, plagiarism and self-plagiarism.

Investigating unethical conduct

Editors encourage reviewers to comment on ethical questions and possible research and publication misconduct raised by submissions e.g. unethical research design, insufficient detail on patent consent or protection of research subjects – human or animals – inappropriate data manipulation and presentation, plagiarism and self-plagiarism. They cooperate with the editorial team in order to promptly respond to ethical concerns raised with regard to a submitted manuscript or a published paper, and follow the COPE flowcharts when dealing with such cases. Due care is taken to investigate thoroughly every reported act of unethical publishing behaviour, even if it is discovered years after publication. In the event that the ethical concern reported is found to be well-founded, an immediate correction, retraction, expression of concern or other appropriate note will be published in the journal.

Intellectual property

Editors are alert to intellectual property issues and work with the publisher (Hellenic Semiotic Society) to handle potential breaches of intellectual property laws and conventions.

Overall quality

The Editor-in-Chief has full authority over the entire editorial content of the journal and the timing of the publication and strives, in collaboration with editors and editorial staff, to constantly improve the journal. To that end the Editor-in-Chief actively seeks the views of authors, readers, reviewers and Editorial Board members about ways of improving the journal’s processes, assess the journal’s quality, ethics and transparency policies and review them accordingly.


3. Duties of Reviewers

Significance for the editorial process

Reviewers play a crucial role in scholarly publishing. The peer review system epitomizes the core values of the academic community and lies at the heart of scientific endeavour. It is designed to assess the validity, quality and originality of published papers, to motivate authors to submit good quality work and help them improve their manuscripts.

Selection and promptness

The reviewers invited to evaluate manuscripts submitted for publication in Punctum are chosen on the grounds of their expertise in the relevant field of semiotic research, as attested by their Phd or other research publications. Any invited referee who feels unqualified to review a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should immediately notify the editors and decline the invitation to review so that alternative reviewers can be contacted.


Manuscripts received for review are treated with discretion. They are not shown to or discussed with others except if authorized by the Editor-in-Chief (who would only do so under exceptional circumstances, e.g. in cases of suspected ethical misconduct). This applies also to invited reviewers who either decline the review invitation or recuse themselves from filing their report on the grounds of conflict of interest.


Reviewers submit their reviews in writing, in accordance with the guidelines set out in the Manuscript Review Form provided by the editors. Reviewers should conduct their evaluation fairly and objectively, formulating their comments clearly and analytically, using supporting arguments and avoiding personal criticism. Their comments are sent to authors in their entirety unless they contain offensive or libellous remarks. Authors appreciate reviews which are aimed to help them realize the shortcomings of their work and how to improve it.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest

Any invited referee who has conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies or institutions connected to the manuscript and the work described therein should immediately notify the editors to declare their conflicts of interest and decline the invitation to review so that alternative reviewers can be contacted. Unpublished material disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer’s own research without the express written consent of the authors. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for the reviewer’s personal advantage. This applies also to invited reviewers who decline the review invitation.

Acknowledgment of sources

Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that is an observation, derivation or argument that has been reported in previous publications should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also notify the editors of any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other manuscript (published or unpublished) of which they have personal knowledge.


4. Authors Standards

Originality and plagiarism

Authors are expected to submit works which are entirely original that are not already published in or submitted concurrently to another journal. Duplicate publications of whole or parts of articles are highly discouraged. In addition, authors must take care to cite, in an appropriate fashion, the work of others they have used and acknowledge the influence of publications in determining the nature of their work.

Authorship of the manuscript

The submitted manuscript should list as authors the actual collaborators in their production, and, specifically, those who are accountable for the content, to the extent that they have: (i) made significant contributions to the conception, design, execution, data acquisition, or analsis/interpretation of the work; (ii) contributed in drafting the maniscript or in revising it prior to submission; (iii) read and approved the final version of the paper and agreed to its submission for publication. All persons who offered technical help, writing and editorial assistance, general advice and consultation, do not meet the criteria of authorship and their contribution may be acknowledged in the Acknowledgments section. The corresponding author must ensure that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the manuscript, both in its submitted and its revised form, and agreed to its publication.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest

Authors should disclose any conflicts of interest that might be construed to influence the results or their interpretation in the manuscript, by including an appropriate statement in the manuscript submitted. Such cases include honoraria, educational grants or other funding, membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest, and paid expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements, as well as non-financial ones such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs in the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript. All sources of financial support for the work should be disclosed and include the grant number or other available reference number.

Ethical research design

If the research involves the use of animals or human participants, the authors should ensure that all procedures were performed in compliance with the relevant internationally accepted guidelines (e.g. the Declaration of Helsinki for Clinical Research, Good Clinical Practice, the AERA and BERA guidelines for educational research). Authors should seek assurances that all such research has been approved by an appropriate body (e.g. Research Ethics Committee, Institutional Review Board), or, in the absence of such a body, be prepared to provide evidence of adhering to rules of ethical research design e.g. such as how research participant consent was obtained or what methods were employed to minimize animal suffering. The privacy rights of human participans must always be observed.

Peer review

Authors are obliged to participate in the peer review process and cooperate fully by responding promptly to editors’ requests for raw data, clarifications, and proof of ethics approval, patient consents and copyright permissions. In the case of a first decision of “revisions necessary”, authors should promptly respond to the reviewers’ comments systematically, revise and re-submit their manuscript to the journal by the deadline given.

Appealing an editorial decision

An author may appeal an editorial decision by submitting a letter to the Punctum‘s Editor-in-Chief which clearly explains the basis for an appeal. Specifically, the letter should (i) detail why the author disagrees with the decision (include specific reviewer’s comments that contributed to the reject decision), (ii) provide any new information or data that you would like to be taken into consideration, (iii) provide evidence of the errors made by the reviewers in their assessment of your manuscript, and (iv) include evidence if you believe a reviewer has a conflict of interest. The Editor-in-Chief is obliged to investigate the matter immediately and seek additional review by any member of the Editorial Board is deemed appropriate for the nature of the manuscript concerned. On the basis of this, the Editor-in-Chief may confirm the original editorial decision or invite a revised manuscript.


5. Duties of the Publisher

Access to journal content

The publisher (Hellenic Semiotic Society) is committed to the permanent availability and preservation of the journal’s digital archive.

Editorial independence

The relationship between the editors and the publisher (Hellenic Semiotic Society) is firmly based on the principle of editorial independence, which precludes any interference with the editors’ publication decisions and quality-assurance processes.

Support and resources

The publisher (Hellenic Semiotic Society) provides the appropriate financial and technical resources for the proper maintainance of the journal and its digital archive. It works with the editors and the authors to handle potential breaches of intellectual property laws and conventions, and is prepared to defend author’s rights and pursue offenders (e.g. by requesting retractions or removal of material from websites) irrespective of whether the journal holds the copyright.

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