[Purposes] This paper aims to summarize the research outcome on publishing ethics of scientific journals abroad, which is expected to serve as a reference for the research on related topics in China. [Methods] Literature review method and content coding method were adopted to systematically sum up related research abroad. Then, the status quo and development trend were analyzed. [Findings] There are five main research topics: anomy of publishing ethics, elements of publishing ethics norms, status quo of publishing ethics implementation, knowledge of authors and editors on publishing ethics and their attitudes, and management of publishing ethics. [Conclusions] Foreign research on publishing ethics of scientific journals has achieved fruitful results with obvious characteristics, but there is a lack of research scope definition and systematic analysis of ethical norms. Chinese scientific journals should take international research outcome as a reference and strengthen the research on ethical norms to enhance the development of publishing ethics.