Ethical standards for publication exist to ensure high-quality scientific publications, to ensure public confidence in scientific findings and to ensure that people receive credit for their work and ideas.
All manuscripts are peer-reviewed and are expected to meet academic standards. If the editor agrees, submitted manuscripts will be peer-reviewed by reviewers whose identities will remain anonymous to the authors.
The Editorial Board will occasionally seek advice outside the normal peer review process, for example on submissions with serious ethical, safety or societal implications. We may consult experts before deciding on appropriate action, including but not limited to recruiting reviewers with specific expertise, assessment by additional editors, or declining further review of a submission.
Authors may not use the words, figures or ideas of others without acknowledging the source. All sources must be cited where used, and reuse of phrases must be limited and cited or referenced in the text. The Journal uses Crossref Similarity Check (iThenticate) and plagiarism prevention service Turnitin to detect submissions that overlap with published and submitted manuscripts. Manuscripts found to have been plagiarized from another author's manuscript, whether published or unpublished, will be rejected and authors may be subject to sanctions. Published articles may need to be corrected or retracted.
Duplicate submission and redundant publication
The journal considers only original content, i.e., articles that have not been previously published, even in a language other than English. Articles based on content previously published only on a preprint server, in an institutional repository or in a dissertation will be considered.
Manuscripts submitted to the journal may not be submitted elsewhere while being considered and must be withdrawn before being submitted elsewhere. Authors whose articles are simultaneously submitted elsewhere may be subject to sanctions.
If authors have used their own previously published work or work under review as the basis for a submitted manuscript, they must cite the earlier articles and indicate how their submitted manuscript differs from their earlier work. Reuse of the authors' own words should be stated or cited in the text. Reuse of authors' own illustrations or extensive wording may require permission from the copyright holder, which authors are responsible for obtaining.
The journal will consider extended versions of articles published at conferences provided this is explained in the cover letter, the earlier version is clearly cited and discussed, there is substantial new content, and all necessary permissions are obtained.
Redundant publication, i.e., inappropriately splitting study results into more than one article (also known as salami slicing), may result in rejection or a request to merge submitted manuscripts and correct published articles. Duplicate publication of the same or a very similar article may result in the later article being withdrawn and authors may be subject to sanctions.
Authors whose submitted manuscripts contain citations whose primary purpose is to increase the number of citations to a particular author's work or to articles published in a particular journal may be subject to sanctions. Editors and reviewers may not ask authors to include citations solely to increase the number of citations to their own work or the work of a colleague, the journal or another journal with which they are affiliated.
Fabrication and falsification
Authors of submitted manuscripts or published articles found to have fabricated or falsified results, including manipulation of images, may be subject to sanctions and published articles may be retracted.
Conflicts of interest
Conflicts of interest (COIs, also known as 'competing interests') occur when issues external to the research could reasonably be seen as affecting the neutrality or objectivity of the work or its evaluation. This may be the case at any stage of the research cycle, including the experimental phase, during the writing of a manuscript, or during the process of turning a manuscript into a published article.
If you are unsure, declare a potential interest or discuss it with the editor. Undeclared interests may result in sanctions. Submissions with undeclared conflicts that are later revealed may be rejected. Published articles may need to be re-evaluated, corrected or, in severe cases, withdrawn.
Conflicts of interest do not always mean that a paper cannot be published or that someone cannot participate in the review process. However, they must be declared. A clear declaration of all possible conflicts - whether or not they actually had an impact - allows others to make informed decisions about the work and the review process.
When conflicts of interest are identified after publication, it can be embarrassing for the authors, the editor and the journal. It may be necessary to publish a corrigendum or re-evaluate the review process.
Conflicts include the following:
Authors must declare all potential interests which should explain why the interest might present a conflict. If there are none, authors should declare by the Authorship Statement that there are no conflicts of interest in relation to the publication of particular article. Submitting authors are responsible for ensuring that co-authors declare their interests.
The involvement of persons other than the authors who 1) have an interest in the outcome of the work, 2) belong to an organization that has such an interest, or 3) have been employed or paid by a funder, in the commissioning, conception, planning, design, conduct or analysis of the work, the preparation or editing of the manuscript, or the decision to publish, must be declared.
Declared conflicts of interest will be considered by the editors and reviewers.
Editors and reviewers
Editors and reviewers should decline to contribute to an article if they:
Reviewers must declare any remaining interests in the 'Confidential' section of the review form, which will be considered by the editor.
Editors and reviewers must declare whether they have previously discussed the manuscript with the authors.
When the Editorial Board learns of violations of our Publication Ethics Policy, whether or not the violation occurred in the journal, the following sanctions may be imposed:
The Editorial Board may impose additional sanctions for serious ethical violations.
Alleged violations of our publication ethics policy, both pre- and post-publication, and concerns about research ethics should be reported to editor-in-chief.
Complainants will remain anonymous if they wish. However, they may use an anonymous email service.
Corrections and retractions
When errors are identified in published articles, the Editorial Board will consider what action is required and may consult with the authors' editors and institution(s).
A correction notice may be published as an Erratum, Correction, Corrigendum or Author’s Correction
If there are errors that significantly affect the conclusions, or if there is evidence of misconduct, this may require retraction or the expression of concerns in accordance with the COPE Retraction Guidelines.
All authors are asked to agree to the content of the communication.