Guidelines on Publication Ethics
These guidelines are based primarily on the Guidelines on Good Publication Practice (COPE, 1999), the Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors (COPE, 2011), the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (ICMJE, 2017), and the International Standards for Authors (Wager and Kleinert, 2011).
Duties of Editors
Publication decision: The editors’ decisions to accept or reject a manuscript for publication should be based on the manuscript’s importance, originality, and clarity, as well as the study’s validity and its relevance to the scope of the Journal.
Confidentiality: Editors should treat all submitted manuscripts as confidential. Editors should not share information about manuscripts, including whether they have been received and/or are under review, their content and status in the review process, criticism by reviewers, and their ultimate fate, to anyone other than the authors and reviewers. Editors should also make it clear that reviewers will be expected to keep manuscripts, associated material, and the information they contain strictly confidential.
Conflict 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 manuscripts under consideration. If an editor submits a manuscript to the Journal, another editor will handle the peer-review process of the manuscript independently of the authoring editor.
Corrections: When a published paper is subsequently found to contain flaws or errors, editors should accept responsibility for correcting the record prominently and promptly. In this case, editors should consider retracting a paper, issuing an erratum, or publishing an expression of concern in line with COPE's Retraction Guidelines.
Duties of Reviewers
Contribution to editorial decisions: Reviewers are experts chosen by editors to provide written opinions. Peer review helps editors decide which manuscripts are suitable for the Journal. It also helps authors improve their study.
Promptness: Reviewers are expected to respond promptly to requests to review and to submit reviews within the time agreed.
Standards of objectivity: Reviewers should provide unbiased and justifiable reports. Reviewers' comments should be constructive, honest, and polite.
Confidentiality: Reviewers should keep manuscripts and the information they contain strictly confidential. Reviewers should not publicly discuss the authors’ work and should not appropriate the authors' ideas before the manuscript is published. Reviewers should not retain the manuscript for their personal use and should destroy the copies of any manuscripts they have been provided after submitting their reviews. Reviewers should not use knowledge of the work they are reviewing before its publication to further their own interests.
Conflict of interest: Reviewers should disclose to the editors any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and should recuse themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if the potential for bias exists.
Ethical issues: If reviewers suspect the authors' misconduct, they should notify the editor in confidence.
Duties of Authors
Reporting standards: Authors should report their methods and findings accurately. Authors should provide sufficient detail to permit other researchers to repeat the work. Authors should present their results honestly and without fabrication, falsification, or inappropriate data manipulation.
Data access and retention: Authors may be asked to disclose the research data for the review process. Authors should maintain the primary data and analytic procedures underpinning the published results for at least 10 years after publication.
Authorship of the paper: The award of authorship should balance intellectual contributions to the conception, design, analysis, and writing of the study against the collection of data and other routine work. If there is no task that can reasonably be attributed to a particular individual, then that individual should not be credited with authorship.
Authorship should be based on the following criteria: (1) Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data used for the work; (2) Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; (3) Final approval of the version to be published; (4) Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Contributors who meet fewer than all four of the above criteria for authorship should not be listed as authors, but they should be acknowledged. Those whose contributions do not justify authorship may be acknowledged individually or together as a group under a single heading, and their contributions should be specified.
Conflict of interest: Authors should disclose to editors relevant financial and non-financial interests and relationships that might be considered likely to affect the interpretation of their findings. All sources of research funding, including direct and indirect financial support, the supply of equipment or materials, and other support should be disclosed as well.
Originality and plagiarism: Authors should adhere to publication requirements that submitted work be original. Authors should represent the work of others accurately in citations and quotations. Relevant previous work and publications, both by other researchers and the authors’ own, should be properly acknowledged and referenced. Data, text, figures, or ideas originated by other researchers should be properly acknowledged and should not be presented as if they were the authors' own.
Redundant publication: Authors should not submit the same manuscript, in the same or different languages, simultaneously to more than one journal. Previous publication of an abstract in the proceedings of meetings does not preclude subsequent submission for publication.
Adherence to peer review: Authors should respond to reviewers' comments in a professional and timely manner. Authors should inform the editor if they withdraw their work from review, or choose not to respond to reviewer comments after receiving a conditional acceptance.
Corrections: Authors should alert the editor promptly if they discover an error in any submitted, accepted, or published work. Authors should cooperate with the editors in issuing corrections or retractions when required.
Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) (1999) Guidelines on good publication practice. https://publicationethics.org/files/u7141/1999pdf13.pdf
Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) (2011) Code of conduct and best practice guidelines for journal editors. https://publicationethics.org/files/Code%20of%20Conduct.pdf International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) (2017) Recommendations for the conduct, reporting, editing, and publication of scholarly work in medical journals. http://www.icmje.org/icmje-recommendations.pdf
Wager, E. and Kleinert, S. (2011) Responsible research publication: International standards for authors. A position statement developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, Singapore, July 22-24, 2010. In: Mayer, T. and Steneck, N. (eds) Promoting research integrity in a global environment. Imperial College Press/World Scientific Publishing, Singapore: 309–316