Publication Ethics and Policy

These guidelines are based on the Best Practice Guidelines for journal editors put forward by Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

It is important to agree upon standards of expected ethical behavior for all stakeholders involved in publishing manuscripts: that is the authors, the journal editor, the peer reviewers, and the publisher.

Publication decision

Final publication of the manuscript is by the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief.  The editor-in-chief will be guided by the journal's editorial board and constrained by legal requirements, such as copyright infringement and plagiarism.  The editor may confer with other editors or reviewers in making this decision.

Impartiality

The reviewing process and publication decision will occur without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors.

Confidentiality

The editor-in-chief and the editorial board will not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, and the publisher, as appropriate.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest

Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in an editor or reviewers own research without the express written consent of the author of such work.

Duties of Reviewers

Contribution to editorial decisions

Peer review assists the editor-in-chief in making editorial decisions, and communication between the editor-in-chief and the author may also assist the editor-in-chief approving the final manuscript.

Promptness

Any reviewer who feels unqualified to review the manuscript or knows that prompt review will be impossible, should notify the editor-in-chief and be excused from the reviewing process.

Confidentiality

Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to, or discussed with, others except as authorized by the editor-in-chief.

Standards of objectivity

Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Reviewers should express their views clearly and constructively, with supporting arguments where appropriate.

Acknowledgement of sources

Where possible, reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. A reviewer should also call to the editor-in-chief’s attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript and any other published article of which they are aware of.

Disclosure and conflict of interest

Privileged information or ideas obtained through the reviewing process must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the manuscript.

Duties of Authors

Reporting standards

Authors of manuscripts of should present an accurate account of the work undertaken as well as objectively and unbiasedly discuss its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the manuscript, and should contain sufficient detail and references to allow others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable. Authors must ensure that comments arisen from the reviewing process of the manuscript by the reviewers and editor-in-chief have been appropriately addressed and/or responded to.

Data access and retention

If requested, authors should be prepared to provide the raw data in connection with the manuscript to editorial review panel, if this is not in conflict with the ethical approval criteria of the research.

Originality, plagiarism, and acknowledgement of sources

The authors should ensure that the written work is entirely original. If the authors refer to or use the work and/or words of others, it must be appropriately cited or quoted. Any statement that is an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. Authors should cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature or direction of the reported work.

Multiple, redundant, or concurrent publication

An author should not in general publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.

Authorship of the manuscript

Authorship should list all, and be limited only to, those that have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported work. Where there are others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the work, they should be acknowledged. The corresponding author should ensure that all coauthors have seen and approved the final version of the manuscript, and agreed to its submission for to the journal for review and publication.

Research involving human participants

If the work involves data collection from human participants, authors must ensure that appropriate ethical approval was obtained from the relevant institutional committee(s) prior to data collection. The authors must ensure that the research has been conducted according to the restraints of the ethical approval and any relevant laws. Authors should also include a statement in the manuscript that ethical approval was granted and informed consent was obtained from any human participants. The privacy rights of human participants must always have been observed.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest

All authors should disclose in their manuscript the external sources of financial support and any substantive conflict of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of the work reported in the manuscript.

Fundamental errors in published articles

When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in their own published article, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal’s editor-in-chief or publisher, and cooperate with them to correct, or retract, the article.

Ownership, Copyright, and Exclusive Rights

The journal does not require authors to assign copyright of the final manuscript to the journal. Instead, by submitting the manuscript, the author(s) grant the journal exclusive right of first publication of the final manuscript and, subsequently, non-exclusive full rights of publication. The author(s) of the final manuscript will also hold non-exclusive full rights of publication. In as such, once the journal has published the final manuscript for the first time (in this case uploaded onto the journal webpage), the journal and the authors can produce and distribute an unlimited number of printed and electronic copies of the unaltered final manuscript, as first published by the journal.

Any copies of the final published manuscript must be made freely available and cannot be used for commercial gain unless by permission of the editor-in-chief.

To protect the author’s work, manuscript cannot be published verbatim elsewhere (duplicate publication), nor any figures or data reproduced in another publication without permission of the editor-in-chief. Verbatim reproduction is limited to quotations with appropriate citations.

Authors are encouraged to archive the final unaltered published manuscript in their institutional repositories, distribute directly to a third party, and, if they wish, on their personal websites.