Ethics Statement

Estoa. Journal's Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement (PEMS)

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1. Estoa. Journal's Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement (PEMS)

Estoa is a journal that aspires to the highest editorial correctness. It is based on the COPE’s Principles of Transparency and Best Practice Guidelines and the COPE Code of Conduct. As such, the journal adheres to COPE’s basic standards of practice, available at

Estoa’s Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement (PEMS) supports combined efforts by the members of the editorial board, authors, reviewers and publishers to produce a responsible research publication.

In addition, Estoa abides by the principles of the University of Cuenca's code of ethics, which encompasses:

  • Integrity and honesty in all aspects of research.
  • Scrupulous care, rigor and excellence in research practice.
  • Transparency and open communication.
  • Care and respect for all research participants and subjects.

Estoa is also a signatory to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). We are committed to promoting best practices in evaluation and academic research.

2.  Editorial Team

Estoa currently has an Editorial Team composed of Editors-in-Chief, Editorial Managers, an Editorial Board and a Scientific Board of recognized experts. It is also supported by an International Board of Reviewers and a Technical Unit.

The Editorial Team is drawn from recognized experts in the subject matter of the journal. The Editor provides the full names and affiliations of the members, as well as up-to-date contact information on the journal's website.

In the Contact section, the email, telephone and postal address of Estoa's head office is provided for any inquiries.

3. Authors and Authors responsibilities

3.1. Fees or charges for authors

No fees or processing charges are involved for manuscripts and/or publication materials.

Publication fees: none.

Submission fees: none.

3.2. Review Policy

Authors are required, for all materials submitted, to participate in a peer review process and to follow the publication conventions.

All authors are obliged to make the requested changes and to correct errors. When changes are requested, authors have a specific deadline to submit their modifications. In each case, the authors and reviewers will reach an agreement on the deadline, depending on the nature and quantity of the requested changes.

All authors are obliged to provide retractions or corrections of errors.

3.3. Originality and Plagiarism

Only original and unpublished research will be accepted. Those who submit their article to Estoa must ensure that it is an original document and that no parts or fragments of publications are usurped from other authors. Authors must also confirm the authenticity of the data provided, ensuring to the Editorial Team that none of the empirical data has been altered to falsely verify hypotheses.

Estoa adheres to the University of Cambridge definition of plagiarism. Plagiarism is defined as "Using someone else’s ideas, words, data, or other material produced by them without acknowledgement".

Plagiarism can occur with respect to all types of sources and media, including:

  • Text, illustrations, musical quotations, extended mathematical derivations, computer code computer code, etc.
  • Material downloaded from websites or extracted from manuscripts or other media.
  • Published and unpublished material, including lectures, presentations and grey literature.

We do not tolerate plagiarism in our publication and reserve the right to check all submissions through appropriate plagiarism checking tools. Submissions containing suspected plagiarism, in whole or in part, will be rejected. If plagiarism is discovered after publication, we will follow the guidance given in the "Guidelines in Case of Retraction or Corrections" section of this statement. We expect our readers and reviewers to raise any suspicions of plagiarism either by contacting the editor or by sending an e-mail to

Estoa uses the URKUND anti-plagiarism system, which reviews similarity levels in the manuscripts. A maximum of 5% similarity is accepted.

3.4. Repetitive or Multiple Publications

Authors should not attempt to publish the same article or an article in which identical or similar results are repeated in more than one journal. An article submitted to Estoa cannot be sent to any other publication during the editorial process (until notification of acceptance or final rejection).

3.5. Sources

Authors must provide a list of references, correctly specifying the sources used in the article and correctly citing the origin of the contributions.

 3.6. Authorship

Authorship is stated considering that all the authors have contributed significantly to the article. The order of the authors should be weighed according to their level of responsibility, involvement, and performance in the preparation of the work.

We consider the corresponding author to be the person in charge of the manuscript and correspondence during the editorial process. We request that the corresponding author confirm that he or she has the authority to act on behalf of all co-authors in all matters related to the publication of the manuscript. The corresponding author is responsible for obtaining such agreements and for informing the co-authors of the status of the manuscript throughout the submission, review, and publication process. In addition, the corresponding author also acts as the main point of contact for any queries once the article is published. 

Authors should have made substantial contributions in the following areas: 1) conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting of the article or critical revisions of key intellectual content; and 3) final approval of the version to be submitted.

For transparency, authors are asked to provide a statement via the platform that summarises their contributions to the paper using the relevant CRediT roles (Contributor Roles Taxonomy).

Once the blind peer-review process begins, changes in authorship on the submitted manuscript will not be permitted. If a change in authors, or the addition or deletion of authors, is requested after the evaluation stage, the Estoa Editorial Team will proceed according to the procedure specified in the COPE Code of Ethics.

Only in very exceptional circumstances will the Editorial Team consider the addition, deletion, or reordering of authors after the manuscript has been accepted. While the request is being considered, publication of the manuscript will be suspended.

3.7. Conflict of Interest

Authors must explicitly declare the non-existence of any conflict of interest that may have affected the achieved results. To do so, they must accept the guideline included in the checklist for the preparation of submissions, which appears in the section, “Submissions” on the journal's website.

Failure to declare conflicts of interest will result in a rejection of the manuscript. If a conflict of interest is discovered after publication, Estoa will act according to COPE guidelines.

3.8. References and Sources of Financing

All authors should submit a list of references and financial support if requested by the editorial board. All sources of research funding, including direct and indirect financial support, should be disclosed.

Authors should clearly indicate any source of funding they received from organisations and/or projects that sponsored their research. Information regarding financial support is provided by the authors.

3.9. Responsibility

Authors accept intellectual and ethical responsibility for what they have written and submitted. They must also ensure that they have reviewed the most relevant and up-to-date scientific literature on the subject under consideration.

All authors are obliged to provide retractions or corrections of errors upon detection.

3.10. Freedom of Expression and False Statements

Freedom of expression is fundamental to us as academic publishers, but we do not support the publication of false statements that damage the reputation of individuals, groups or organizations.

4. Peer-review Process

4.1. Editorial Review and Decision Process

The manuscript evaluation system used is Peer-Review, which is defined as obtaining advice on individual manuscripts from reviewers who are experts in the field.

Estoa applies double-blind peer review: the reviewers do not know the identity of the authors, the authors do not know the identity of the reviewers, and the editors mediate between the two groups. This selection system helps the editors to decide on the proposed originals and makes it possible for the author to improve the contribution submitted for publication prior to publication. Estoa manages its own database of high-level reviewers, which is based on the journal’s own policy on criteria for the identification, selection, evaluation, debugging, and updating of the database of reviewers.

The reviewers are academics at the doctoral level that have acquired scientific prestige and are selected based on the affinity of their lines of research to the area of knowledge of the article. The reviewers are committed to carrying out an objective, critical, reasonable, and constructive evaluation, providing truthful and unbiased commentary regarding the scientific quality of the original and pointing out necessary corrections to the authors to improve the manuscript’s quality.

Following their evaluation of the manuscript, the reviewers will submit the corresponding evaluation forms, clearly stating their reasons for accepting or rejecting the original submission. Likewise, they will warn the Estoa Editorial Team if they detect or suspect instances of duplicate or repetitive publications, conflicts of interest, unrealistic data, or any other ethical dilemma.

The Editorial Team will act impartially on the decisions made by the reviewers. If an original submission is accepted by one reviewer and rejected by another, it will be referred to a third reviewer, whose decision will be the final determining factor.

Estoa is committed to editorial independence, and we strive in all cases to prevent this principle from being undermined by conflicts of interest, or any other corporate, financial or political influence. Our editorial processes reflect this commitment to editorial independence.

We do not discriminate against authors, editors, or reviewers on the basis of their personal characteristics or identity.

We do not tolerate abusive behavior or correspondence toward our staff, or toward others involved in the publishing process. If anyone involved in the editorial process engages in such behavior, we have the right to take action to protect others from this abuse. These measures may include, for example, not considering a manuscript at all or challenging abusive comments during peer review.

4.2. Respect of Evaluation Deadlines

The reviewers pledge to carry out the requested review within the maximum time limits established by the Estoa Editorial Team, scrupulously respecting the deadlines.

If the reviewer does not believe that he/she is competent to review the assigned manuscript, or if he/she finds it impossible to complete the review in time, he/she shall immediately notify the Editorial Team.

4.3. Confidentiality

The original manuscripts to be reviewed will not present any identifying data on the authors or the institutions to which they belong. The reviewer will examine the original submission that has been sent to him/her with total confidentially and will refrain from discussing the document with third parties without the clear consent of the Estoa Editorial Team.

4.4. Objectivity

Peer review will be conducted objectively. Peer reviewers will not make personal judgements about authors or original submissions. They will have to reflexively justify their evaluations and submit the evaluation form in compliance with the rules established therein, especially if the manuscript is to be rejected. It should be noted that a grade lower than 70 points implies a rejection.

4.5. Responsible Publication of Research: Reviewers' Responsibilities

All reviewers must be familiar with and take into account the editorial policy and the Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement (PEMS).

The journal requires that potential reviewers have scientific expertise or significant work experience in a relevant field. They should have recently conducted research and/or work and have acquired peer-recognized expertise. Potential reviewers should provide personal and professional information that is accurate and gives a fair representation of their expertise.

Likewise, all reviewers should withdraw if they know that they are not qualified to evaluate a manuscript, if they feel that their evaluation of the material will not be objective, or if they feel that they have a conflict of interest.

The reviewers and members of the editorial board and the international scientific committee treat the reviewed articles confidentially.

Reviewers should point out relevant published work that has not yet been cited in the reviewed material. If necessary, the editor may issue a correction request to that effect.

Reviewers are asked to identify articles in which research misconduct has occurred or appears to have occurred and inform the editorial board, which will deal with each case accordingly.

Estoa has taken as a model the best ethical practices found in the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers: Ethical guidelines for peer reviewers

4.6. Disclosure

The information related to the double-blind peer-review process may not be used for personal purposes, nor may it be shared with persons outside the editorial process.

4.7. Conflict of Interest of Reviewers

Reviewers should have no conflict of interest.

Reviewers should immediately inform the Editorial Team if they suspect that the original manuscript has undeclared conflicts of interest.

A reviewer should refuse to complete the review if he/she has a possible conflict of interest with respect to the assigned manuscript. For example, if he/she:

  • has collaborated or currently collaborates with one or more of the alleged authors;
  • is a competitor or holds a scientific rivalry;
  • expresses an antipathy with one or more of the alleged authors;
  • maintains a close relationship with one or more of the alleged authors and therefore cannot evaluate the original objectively; or
  • may profit in some way if the work is published or rejected.

5. Publication Ethics

5.1. Opinion

The Estoa Editorial Team certifies the selection of trained and expert reviewers that will give a scientific and critical opinion of the original manuscript, avoiding bias, discrimination, or favoritism of any kind.

Once the editorial process is completed, the Editorial Team selects articles of the highest quality and contributions for publication based on the reviewers’ scientific evaluations.

The Estoa Editorial Team will take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers in which research misconduct has occurred. In no case shall the journal or its editors encourage such misconduct, or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place.  In the case that the Estoa Editorial Team becomes aware of any allegations of research misconduct, the allegations will be dealt with appropriately.

The Estoa Editorial Team will not encourage or tolerate malpractice such as plagiarism, fabricated data, duplicity, fragmented publication, or any type of fraud or misconduct in research. If any such breaches are discovered, they will be evaluated by members of the Editorial Team and appropriate action will be taken.

5.2. Confidentiality

The Estoa Editorial Team pledges not to disclose any information about the original submissions received except to the authors, reviewers, or editors of the journal. Likewise, the anonymity of authors and reviewers will be kept all times.

5.3. Conflict of Interest

The Editorial Team pledges not to make use of the content of the articles submitted for evaluation without the prior consent of the authors. Likewise, any conflict of interest between authors and editors will be avoided.

The editor and members of the Editorial Management Teamst immediately inform the Editorial Team if there are conflicts of interest before receiving an article. If an individual states a conflict of interest, he/she will be prevented from taking part in the editorial process of the original manuscript.

The submission of original manuscripts by members of the Estoa Editorial Team will not be permitted.

5.4. Respecting Deadlines for Publication

The Estoa Editorial Team is committed to meeting the deadlines for the evaluation and publication of the original manuscripts. When an original submission is accepted for publication, the authors will be contacted and informed of the date and number of the journal in which it will be published.

5.5. Errors in Published Articles

The Estoa Editorial team is willing to make corrections and publish clarifications, retractions, and apologies if necessary. To do so, the editors will follow the guidelines outlined in the Post-publication Discussions and Corrections section, as well as study the case studies provided by COPE.

In the event that unethical conduct is suspected, either in relation to the submission of an original manuscript or to the publication of an article, the actions of the Estoa Editorial Team will be determined through the framework established by COPE.

Listed below are the most common cases of unethical conduct and the corresponding course of action as specified by COPE:

  1. Suspicion of plagiarism in an original manuscript.
  2. Suspicion of plagiarism in a published article.
  3. Suspicion of duplicity in an original manuscript.
  4. Suspicion of duplicity in a published article.
  5. Reviewer suspects undisclosed conflict of interest in an original manuscript.
  6. Reader suspects a conflict of interest in a published article.
  7. Suspicion of an ethical problem in an original manuscript.
  8. Suspicion of fabricated data in an original manuscript.
  9. Suspicion of fabricated data in a published article.
  10. Request to add additional authors prior to publication.
  11. Request to add additional authors after publication.
  12. Request to remove authors prior to publication.
  13. Request to remove authors after publication.

5.6. Guidelines in Case of Retraction or Corrections

  • Responsibilities of the editors

In case of misconduct, the journal editor is responsible for resolving the problem. He or she may work in conjunction with the other co-editor, members of the editorial board and scientific committee, peer reviewers and experts in the field.

  • Documentation

The problem will be documented accordingly.

All factual questions must be documented: who, what, when, where, why.

All relevant documents, in particular the items in question, should be retained.

  • Due process for authors

The journal editor shall contact the author or publication involved, either the author submitting to Estoa or another publication or author. In this way, the author has the opportunity to respond or comment on the complaint, allegation or dispute.

  • Appropriate corrections

In the event that misconduct has occurred or appears to have occurred, or in the case of necessary corrections, the Estoa Editorial Team deals with the various cases following the appropriate COPE recommendations. Great care will be taken to distinguish cases of honest human error from deliberate intent to defraud.

COPE states that:

Journal editors should consider retracting a publication if they have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (e.g., data fabrication) or honest error (e.g., miscalculation or experimental error). Retraction is also appropriate in cases of redundant publication, plagiarism, and unethical research.

Journal editors should consider issuing an expression of concern if : 1) they have reason to believe that there has been research or publication misconduct by the authors but have insufficient evidence, 2) there is evidence that the findings are unreliable but the authors’ institution will not investigate the case, 3) they believe that an investigation into alleged misconduct related to the publication either has not been, or would not be, fair, impartial or conclusive, 4) or an investigation is underway but a judgement will not be available for a considerable time.

Journal editors should consider issuing a correction if a small portion of an otherwise reliable article proves to be misleading (especially because of honest error), or the author / contributor list is incorrect (i.e., a deserving author has been omitted or somebody who does not meet authorship criteria has been included).

Source: COPE Retraction Guidelines, Retraction Guidelines

In summary, the Estoa Editorial Team will consider retracting a publication in case of misconduct; issuing an expression of concern in case of inconclusive proof of misconduct; or issuing a request for correction of a misleading segment.

Estoa has taken as a model the best ethical practices found in COPE's Responsible Research Publication: International Standards for Publishers: Responsible research publication: international standards for editors

6. Copyright and Access

6.1. Copyrights

Documents published in Estoa are subject to the following conditions.

The University of Cuenca, as the publishing entity, reserves the copyright of the published documents, while consenting to and encouraging their reuse through the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 license, so that their copying, use, dissemination, transmission and public exhibition is possible on condition that:

1. Authorship and original sources are cited (name of publication, publisher, URL and DOI).

2. Are not used for commercial or for-profit purposes.

3. Reference is made to the validity and details of this Creative Commons license.

The full text, metadata and citations of articles can be tracked and accessed with permission. Our open social policy also allows the readability of the archives and their metadata, enabling interoperability under the open data and open source OAI-PMH protocol. The archives, both of the complete publications and their segmentation by articles, are available in PDF and XML format.

Each article published by Estoa has a Digital Object Identifier (DOI).

6.2. Readers' Rights

The contents of Estoa are presented in open format and readers are entitled to access them free of charge from the moment of publication. The journal does not charge the reader.

6.3. Censorship

We will never be complicit in censorship. Estoa is fully committed to the principle and promotion of freedom of expression. Our aim is to disseminate knowledge to the widest possible audience and to serve the academic community in all countries of the world. Estoa adheres to the COPE Statement on Censorship.

7. Archiving

Estoa, like the e-journals of the University of Cuenca managed through OJS (Open Journal Systems), uses the LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) system for digital preservation. The LOCKSS system allows a journal, with permission from the publisher, to collect, preserve and disseminate to its users a copy of the materials to which it has subscribed, as well as open access material for preservation and restoration purposes.

In addition, the University of Cuenca has daily automatic backup processes that maintain the integrity of the journals and their stored data. These backups are performed in different geographic locations, so that the data is not lost in the event of a serious physical event.

Finally, Estoa adheres to databases that act as open access repositories, preserving articles in PDF and XML formats independently of the journal. For example, the Dialnet and SciELO databases. As a result, there is permanent external support for the journal's articles and greater visibility for them.

For complete information, see the Content Preservation section.

7.1. Authors' Self-archiving

In relation to self-archiving, authors are allowed to reuse published articles. That is, the post-print can be archived as long as it is not for commercial purposes, and can be deposited in thematic or institutional repositories.

Further principles of transparency and best practice:

8. Ownership and Management

Complete information on Estoa's ownership and management can be found in the About the Journal section.

Estoa is owned by the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of Cuenca and is managed by the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of Cuenca, which will always be clearly indicated on the journal’s Web site. The publisher does not use names of organizations that would mislead potential authors and editors as to the nature of the owner of the journal.

9. Web Site

Estoa is a journal managed entirely through OJS (Open Journal Systems). The publisher, through the Estoa journal website ( will always demonstrate that care is taken to ensure high ethical and professional standards.  Special care has been given to the internal management of the OJS, so that the rigorousness of the evaluation processes is transparent.

In addition to the editorial managers, who manage the web, Estoa is supported by a professional technical team from the Technical Service of the University of Cuenca, with whom we have worked together to install the most current version of the OJS system.

10. Publishing Schedule

Estoa journal publishes two issues annually on a semiannual basis, corresponding to the months of January and July. The Open Call for article submissions is open throughout the year.

11. Name of Journal

Estoa. Journal of the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Cuenca, is the full name of the journal. The name of the journal Estoa is and will be unique and univocal, and not easily confused with another journal or mislead potential authors and readers about the origin of the journal or its association with other journals.

A stoa (estoa, in Spanish) is a classical architectural construction whose covered space, in Athens, was the place of debate of the Stoic philosophers.

Updated: January 2024