Governance Standards

Governance and Editorial Standards for Critical Gambling Studies

The everyday operations of CGS are guided by the Committee on Publication Ethics, an international and interdisciplinary organization committed to fostering academic integrity and transparency in Open Access Journal publishing.  

Review of journal scope and documentation
Every 12 months the editors will extend an invitation to Editorial Board Members (EBMs) to review the journal’s scope and documentation.  The editors will respond to constructive criticisms and concrete suggestions by making appropriate revisions as required.    

Election of editors
Every three years an election will be held allowing EBMs to vote for a new editorial team.  To have a significant impact on the field of academic gambling studies, the journal must remain on sustainable footing.  Editorial teams standing for election must provide evidence of editorial experience and a combined record of published research on gambling over at least 15 years. This could include editorial teams where senior members with established publication records mentor one or more early careers in the field.  Editorial teams must also demonstrate access to time and funds that will enable them to publish at least two issues per year over the period of their editorship. 

Ethical Standards and Conflict of Interest Policies
Academic integrity is a core value of CGS.  The independence of researchers should be demonstrable at every level of study: from design and data collection through to analysis and interpretation of results.  Each participant in the peer-review and publication process—including, authors, editors, editorial board members, and reviewers—must consider their conflicts of interest when participating in the process of article review and publication, disclosing all relationships that could be viewed as actual or potential conflicts of interest. 

To guide us towards academic independence and transparency we have developed a set of basic ethical standards.  These are necessitated by the unique character of regulated gambling provision and consumption in most jurisdictions whereby governments are direct beneficiaries of gambling revenue through taxation and gambling corporations work closely with governments to establish policies that facilitate profitable operations.  We believe that gambling research must be disconnected from individuals or organizations that directly or indirectly profit from the growth of gambling.  In addition to government agencies and private businesses which benefit from the expansion of commercial gambling, this includes pharmaceutical companies and other private organisations that profit from the diagnosis and treatment of problem gambling.  

 For example, provision of free medications by pharmaceutical companies for testing by academic researchers and medical practitioners can be perceived as putting at risk the integrity of their results.  Provision of speakers’ fees and hospitality at events sponsored by gambling businesses or dependence on gambling funds to sustain gambling information and treatment can make recipients less inclined to be critical of social, community and individual harms related to gambling.  Similarly, when access to venues and ‘big data’ is dependent on ‘partnerships’ with gambling industries or the governments which support their operations directly or indirectly, the independence of research is easily compromised.  In view of the challenges outlined above, the following ethical standards have been developed.

  1. Members of the editorial board will not accept funds or in-kind support from gambling industry actors in exchange for access to data or research participants. They will not accept funding, hospitality or gifts to participate in events sponsored or co-sponsored by gambling industry actors or the charities or organisations they fund, either directly or indirectly;
  2. Submissions to the journal must include a full statement of financial and other support from all sources for the previous three years. Where funding or support from gambling industry actors has been received within that period, the paper will not normally be accepted for consideration. However, authors may make a case to the editors (to be published as an addendum to any published articles) that the submitted paper is based on research that is distinct and independent from these sources, and demonstrate how research findings have not been affected by a history of such support. If such papers are accepted for peer-review, peer-reviewers will be asked to consider the case as a key item in determining their view of the merits of the paper;
  3. Where financial or other support derived from hypothecated gambling industry levies or taxation has been obtained, EBMs and authors making submissions to the journal must fully disclose the source of such support and provide evidence of processes in place to prevent influence on decisions of the administering body.  These processes might include independent peer-review of research funding applications and other mechanisms to ensure arms-length distancing from government and corporate agendas;
  4. Sometimes authors may collaborate with researchers who have, in the past, accepted funding from gambling industry actors, or undertaken commissioned research for governments without peer-review or other processes to guarantee academic integrity. In such cases, authors must make a case to the editors (to be published as an addendum to any published articles) that the submitted paper is based on research that is distinct and independent from these funding sources and that the contribution of collaborators with a history of receiving funding or support from gambling industry actors is not affected by a history of such support, as for (2.), above.

Conflicts of Interest
Editors who make final decisions about manuscripts should recuse themselves from editorial decisions if they have conflicts of interest or relationships that pose potential conflicts related to articles under consideration.  There are at least three categories of potential conflicts.

Personal Conflicts
Editors will not make decisions on manuscripts submitted from their own institution, or by research collaborators, co-authors, or authors with whom the editor has a history of public or private conflict. To avoid the possibility of conflict, editors should recuse themselves if they have published with, have collaborated with, or have been in a mentoring or hostile relationship with any author or contributor to the manuscript within the past three years.

Financial Conflicts
The most apparent type of conflict of financial interest occurs when an editor or affiliated organization may benefit financially from a decision to publish or to reject a manuscript. All financial interests of authors should be disclosed. In addition to national and international research funding bodies, these include:

- the name of all granting bodies

- the source of any commissioned research

- past and current investments in gambling and/or problem gambling treatment businesses

Non-financial Conflicts
Other nonfinancial conflicts of interest should also be avoided or disclosed. Editorial decisions should be based on an objective and impartial consideration of the suitability and quality of the manuscript, exclusive of personal or professional bias. Non-financial conflicts involve consideration of:

Whether the reviewer has a history of research collaboration with the author/s  
Whether the reviewer has a history of public or private conflict with the author/s

Specific Conflict of Interest Policies
Editors are responsible for recognizing the potential for conflicts of interest and to take appropriate action when these are likely. These are the policies we follow to address potential conflicts of interest:

Submission by an Editor
A paper submitted by an editor will be handled by a member of the editorial board who does not have a potential conflict with the review and who is not at the same institution as the submitting editor. The nominated editor will select referees and make all decisions on the paper. In such circumstances, full masking of the process must be ensured so that the anonymity of the peer reviewers is maintained. Therefore, the editor submitting the paper will not have access to the review records of their own manuscript.

Submission from the Same Institution
A paper submitted by an author at the same institution as one of the editors will be handled by a member of the editorial board who is at another institution. The nominated editor will select referees and make all decisions on the paper.

Once all editorial decisions have been finalized, we encourage all reviewers to identify themselves to the author of manuscripts reviewed and to the readers of the journal through acknowledgement in the published manuscript. However, we recognise that in some circumstances this is not possible and this will not prejudice our choice of reviewers.

For Authors
Authors may nominate authors in the field of gambling studies who they do not wish to review the manuscript.  They must provide a brief rationale for excluding potential reviewers. 

Authors may also nominate authors in the field of gambling studies they judge to have relevant expertise in the topic their manuscript addresses.

Conflict of Interest Statement for Authors and Reviewers
Do you have financial interests that may be related to the topic or viewpoint expressed in this manuscript? (e.g. you have received funding from related businesses or agencies or invested in businesses that deliver gambling or treatment for problem gambling)

Do you have non-financial interests that may be related to the topic or viewpoint expressed in this manuscript (e.g. you have collaborated professionally or have a history of public or private conflict with the author). 

In order to make the reviewing process as transparent as possible, you should know that your paper will be reviewed according to the following standards.  These standards can also be used as a checklist for authors prior to submission. 

1. Research

This rating should reflect the quality of research in relation to the aspect of gambling under consideration.  The paper should also aim to make a valuable contribution to existing knowledge in the field. Appropriate academic and grey literature sources should be used to introduce the topic and demonstrate the research's contribution.

1 Insufficient research.
2 Very weak research, but some of value.
3 Adequate research but value to the field is not clear.
4 Aspects of the research are clearly of value to the field.
5 Most of the research clearly contributes to the field.
6 Overall research makes an original contribution to the field.
7 Excellent and original research which makes a significant contribution to the field. 

2. Methodology

This rating should reflect how clearly the author/s convey the methodology behind the research, keeping in mind that people from different disciplines – as well as potentially an interested public – might be reading the paper.

1 Absent methodology.
2 Incomplete methodology.
3 Methodology is present but lacks some important details.
4 Methodology is sufficient.
5 Methodology is well fleshed out.
6 Methodology is detailed and well applied.
7 Methodology is meticulously explained and skilfully applied. 

3. Argument

This rating reflects the extent to which the reader can follow and potentially be persuaded by the author/s argument in the context of existing arguments in the literature.  There should not be obvious contradictions, unfounded generalisations or other flaws in the argumentation.

1 Argument is difficult to discern.
2 Argument is broadly unconvincing.
3 Argument is persuasive in parts but its relevance to existing arguments is unclear.
4 Argument is somewhat convincing but fails to substantially engage with existing arguments.
5 Argument is fairly convincing and demonstrates a basic engagement with existing arguments. 
6 Argument is convincing and thoroughly engaged with existing arguments.
7 Argument is informed, careful, clearly articulated and makes an important contribution to current arguments.

4. Use of qualitative and/or quantitative evidence

This rating should reflect how the evidence marshalled supports and informs the claims and arguments of the paper. This includes citation of appropriate academic and grey literature sources in addition to new research evidence presented.

1 Evidence is barely used or does not support the paper in any real way.
2 Little evidence is deployed to supports the paper’s claim.
3 Evidence is adequate but does not convincingly support the claims made in the paper.
4 Evidence mostly support’s the paper’s claims.
5 Evidence is more than sufficient, but could be used better to support claims.
6 Evidence clearly supports most assertions and arguments in the paper.
7 Evidence is extensive and clearly supports all the claims and arguments in the paper.

5. Theoretical Frameworks

This rating should reflect how theoretical frameworks are used, with a particular focus on providing a comprehensive and convincing grounding for the rest of the paper.

1 There is no theoretical foundation.
2 There are only a handful of ideas in lieu of a full theoretical background.
3 There is some theory, but it is poorly developed or applied.
4 Theoretical foundation just about makes clear the paper’s orientation.
5 Theoretical foundation is convincing, but needs a lot more detail.
6 The theoretical foundation is strong, but needs a little more detail.
7 The theoretical framework used is detailed, and productively applied.

6. Quality of writing and intelligibility

This rating should reflect the clarity and quality of the writing, keeping in mind a diverse range of disciplinary readers. Authors should avoid typographic errors, unnecessary field-specific terminology, poor sentence construction and over-reliance on the passive voice (eg. ‘it was demonstrated’ rather than ‘our team demonstrated’) 

1 Writing is extremely unclear.
2 Writing is mostly unclear.
3 Writing is unclear in several parts of the paper.
4 Writing is mostly adequate, but areas need significant revision.
5 Writing is mostly good, but some parts need editorial attention.
6 Writing is strong throughout, with only a few typos or unclear passages.
7 Writing is of very high quality throughout.

7. Originality

This rating should reflect the originality of the research – to what extent is this a genuinely new contribution to our critical understanding of gambling and related phenomena?

1 There is nothing or almost nothing new in this paper.
2 There are very few new ideas in this paper.
3 This paper has some new ideas, but not enough for a complete paper.
4 While there is some originality in this paper, it is not significant, or needs to be made more explicit.
5 This is an original piece of research.
6 This is a significantly original piece of research.
7 This is an exceptionally original piece of research.

8. Organization and Structure

This rating should reflect the organisation and structure of the paper – how well are the elements of the paper (argument, methodology, theoretical framework and supporting evidence) tied together, from the introduction through to the conclusion?

1 There is no structure to organise the paper.
2 The structure is difficult to discern.
3 There is a structure but it is sometimes unclear.
4 The paper’s structure is adequate but lacks signposting.
5 The structure is mostly clear throughout.
6 The structure provides a very strong support for the paper’s content.
7 The paper is organised exceptionally well.

9. Figures, tables and supplementary data (if relevant)

This rating should reflect how well figures, tables and supplementary data is presented.  Are these clear, easy to read, and an important aspect of the paper as a whole?

1 The figures/tables/supplementary data are unnecessary.
2 The figures/ tables/ supplementary data seem tangential to the paper.
3 The figures/ tables/ supplementary data are not clearly relevant and/or poorly presented.
4 The figures/tables/supplementary data are relevant but inadequately or poorly presented.
5 The figures/tables/supplementary data are important and adequately presented.
6 The figures/tables/supplementary data are necessary, clear and enhance the paper.
7 The figures/tables/supplementary data are important, clear and extremely well presented.

The point system is designed to help you assess the article. Please total the points awarded to the article (56 is the total number of points available; please do not include question 9 in your total) and share your assessment of the article for the Editor.

Rough guide to cut off points:

38-43 points for revise and resubmit
43-50 points for accept with minor revisions
50-56 recommend publication without revision

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