We fully adhere to the COPE‘s “Core Practices” and to its “Guidelines“, as well as the Policies of “Open Research Europe“. The purpose is to remind authors, reviewers, and editors of the basic tenants of academic integrity that should be followed in all interactions of academic publishing. We hope that all Authors, Reviewers, and Editors keep these tenants in mind as an absolute baseline in all their interactions with the journal. We hope that on top of these basic tenants, those interacting with others in the name of the journal try to maintain a basic level of respect for their counterparts, and for the work of their counterparts.
To be considered for publication in this journal, all articles must be original and not previously published or under review elsewhere. If there is any significant overlap with another article, proper citation must be included. Plagiarism, including self-plagiarism, will result in rejection. However, articles that have been previously posted on preprint servers like ArXiv are eligible for submission.
If an article contains copyrighted content, it may be rejected if the problematic sections cannot be removed. If authors wish to reproduce a figure or table from a copyrighted publication, they must obtain permission from the copyright holder and clearly reference the original source. Figures published under a creative commons license may be reused according to the specific license terms.
All published articles require a clear contribution from each author. Individuals who have contributed but do not meet the criteria for authorship, such as those providing technical or writing assistance, must be acknowledged in the ‘Acknowledgments’ section. Any assistance provided by professional scientific or medical writers must be disclosed. Permission from all individuals named in the Acknowledgments section must be obtained prior to publication. For further information on authorship policies, refer to the relevant COPE guidelines.
A competing interest can be either financial or non-financial. Examples of competing interests include, but are not limited to: Individuals who receive funding, salary, or other types of payment from an organization, or who hold stocks or shares in a company that could benefit or lose financially from the publication of the findings. Individuals or their funding organization or employer holding or applying for related patents. Official affiliations or memberships with interest groups related to the content of the publication. Political, religious, or ideological competing interests.
Authors who work for commercial organizations that sponsor research studies must declare these as competing interests during submission. Reviewers are also required to declare any competing interests.
Inappropriate Image Manipulation
All images published in this journal must accurately reflect the original image. Therefore, figures and uploaded data must not be manipulated in a way that could mislead readers. While it is standard practice to use software to modify images to enhance clarity and interpretation, such modifications must be minor and uniform across the entire image.
Modifications that change the scientific meaning of the image are not allowed, whether applied to specific regions or the whole image, unless they are a necessary and fundamental part of an interpretation presented in the publication. In such cases, the modifications must be explained and justified in the Methods section of the article.
Authors must disclose all modifications made to figures or uploaded data, including the software used, in the Methods section. Furthermore, the original, unprocessed, uncropped, and unannotated versions of all scientific images must be deposited in an approved online repository as underlying data.
To ensure compliance, the Editorial Team will randomly select figures and data for checks using Adobe Photoshop and forensic image analysis software developed by the US Office of Research Integrity. If improper manipulation is suspected, the authors will be contacted for clarification. If the reasons for the manipulation are unsatisfactory, the article may be rejected, and the authors’ institution may be notified, in line with COPE guidelines.
This journal requires open access to research data supporting articles under the principle “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”. Failure to provide the research data underlying the publication without appropriate justification will result in the article being rejected. Authors should also provide via the repository any information needed to replicate, validate, and/or reuse the results/your study and analysis of the data. This includes details of any software, instruments and other tools used to process the results. Where possible, the tools and instruments themselves should also be provided. If you think that any of these exceptions apply to your article, please let the editorial team know at the submission stage, as we have policies in place to allow the publication of papers associated with such data, while maintaining the appropriate level of security. We expect all qualitative and quantitative data to be shared in English. If your dataset is not currently available in English, please contact the editorial team.
The journal is published under Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International, which means that all papers are freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any lawful and non-commercial purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher.
Permanency of Content
All articles published in this journal are assigned a DOI and are permanently published. Articles that successfully pass peer review are also permanently archived. Authors are able to revise and update their articles by publishing new versions, which are added to the article’s history. However, once an individual version is published, it cannot be altered or withdrawn and remains permanently available on the journal website.
This journal is committed to maintaining the content it publishes and ensuring its accuracy. In the event that published content requires correction, policies informed by current best practices in the scholarly publishing and library communities will be implemented to maintain the integrity and completeness of the scholarly record.
Allegations of Misconduct
If we are made aware of a suspected case of research or publication misconduct, we will follow the guidelines and procedures recommended by COPE. Typically, this will involve reaching out to the individual(s) in question to request an explanation. We may also need to contact their research institution, an ethics committee, or other third parties.
Research misconduct includes cases where data has been fabricated or falsified, or where research involving animals or humans has not been conducted in an appropriate ethical framework. Publication misconduct includes clear cases of plagiarism or the duplicate publication of articles. Honest errors or differences of opinion are not considered to be misconduct.
If you suspect potential misconduct in an article published in this journal, please contact the editorial office. A member of the editorial team will contact you to confirm the details you have provided and to ask any additional questions that may be needed for us to investigate. Please note that we may not be able to provide updates throughout the investigation process, but we will inform you of the outcome where appropriate.
The underlying responsibility of the authors it to submit only original work, and to properly acknowledge academic ideas borrowed from others.
Submissions will be checked with the Turnitin service to find similarities to published articles.
Authors should ensure that all submitted work is original— adding significantly to known works— and should not published or submitted in other journals. Known works that are similar should be acknowledged with proper referencing and proofs that are standard or are only slight variations of known proofs should be acknowledged as such. If the authors know that the same results have been obtained simultaneously but independently by other authors this should be acknowledged.
All listed authors should have contributed substantially to both the content of the paper and to its drafting and revision.
All listed authors should have approved the final version of the manuscript.
All listed authors agree to be accountable for the content of the work and to ensure that questions related to its accuracy are resolved.
Authors should disclose to the editors any outstanding authorship disagreements regarding the submitted article.
Figures or data included in a submission should be free of copyright or be of open copyright. For any copyrighted material that the authors intend to include, they should have written permission for reuse by the copyright holders. (The main place this is an issue is when authors try to re-use a figure from a paper of theirs that is published in another journal. Often the journal then holds the copyright for the figure.)
Authors should remain available, and respond in a reasonably timely manner, to the editors for communications regarding the processing of the article. (Authors should also be able to expect the same courtesy of the editors.)
Once an article has been reviewed and accepted, authors should not withdraw it without sufficient reason.
The underlying responsibility of the reviewer is to give an objective and timely review, based solely on the merits of the paper, without regard to who the authors are or how the reviewer may benefit from the article’s publication.
Reviewers should only accept a reviewing assignment if they are confident, they will be able to read (the majority of) the review article and give an informative review in a timely manner.
Reviewers should disclose to the editors any conflict of interest they may have with the authors or the subject of the article under review that may make it difficult for them to be objective. Examples of this may be close ties, or enmity, with some of the authors. It would also be a conflict of interest if the reviewer has reason to delay the publication of the article, say, if the reviewer is working on similar results and publishing precedence is desirable.
If reviewers gain ideas for results of their own from reading a review article, such ideas should not be used until the article is published or posted on an archive, so that it may be properly referenced without compromising the reviewer’s anonymity.
Reviewers should keep reviews anonymous. They should not contact authors directly about the article but send all communications through the editors. There should be no identifying information in communications or reviews.
Reviews should avoid suggesting references without specific reasons and be especially wary of suggesting references to their own articles of articles of those close to them.
In their initial quality check editors should accept or reject the article based on its quality relative to other submitted articles and with knowledge of the percentage of articles that the journal can publish. In assessing the quality of the article, the editor should follow the guidelines of reviewers, and make their assessment solely on the article’s merits, without regard to how the editor may benefit from the article’s publication.
For articles that pass an initial editorial quality check, the underlying responsibility of the editors is to (try to) obtain timely, thorough, confidential and unbiased reviews of the article, and use these reviews to assess the article for publication in the journal.
Editors should take due diligence in finding appropriate reviewers for the article who can review the article within a reasonable period.
If editors have trouble finding reviewers for the article, authors should be advised of this and given the opportunity to suggest appropriate reviewers. (Editors should keep in mind though that the reviewers should be confidential, so suggestions must be handled with care.)
Editors should respond to author queries, or if unsure how to respond, pass them on to the managing editor.
Editors should use respectful language in communications with authors and reviewers and encourage the same of reviewers in their reviews.
Editors should respect the integrity of reviews, but may, if necessary, edit them to either maintain the anonymity of the reviewer or to be more respectful or helpful to the authors.
Guardianship of the scholarly record.
Safeguard editorial independence.
Collaborate to set industry best practice.
Provide editors with technical, procedural & legal support.
Post Publication Corrections
Corrections will be considered when there is an error in the published article that affects the scientific content, such as data errors, incorrect calculations, or other inaccuracies.
The correction policy will only apply to substantial errors and not editing or formatting changes requested by the author after publication.
Corrections will be published in the next available issue of the journal, where they will be linked to the original article. The correction will clearly state the nature of the error and the corrected information.
The correction will be subject to the same peer review process as the original article, and may be accompanied by a comment from an independent expert.
The author of the original article will be notified of the correction and given the opportunity to respond.
If an error is discovered in the author’s data, the author will be asked to provide additional data to support the results and conclusions of the original article for re-evaluation.
If the correction is significant enough to alter the conclusions of the article, the journal will consider retraction or a partial retraction of the article.
The journal encourages authors to proactively review their own articles and make corrections before publication.
The journal reserves the right to refuse publication of corrections that are fraudulent, defamatory, or malicious in intent.
Reasons for retraction of an article includes:
honest errors reported by the authors
duplicate or overlapping publication
fraudulent use of data
The reasons for retraction are usually so serious that the whole study, or large parts of it, are not appropriate for being published elsewhere. The reason for reasons would be clearly stated on the latest version.
Appeals and Complaints
We follow the COPE guidelines in relation to complaints and appeals. If the author wish to make a complaint, please contact the editorial office. In the instance that your issue cannot be resolved by the editorial office, the publisher should be contacted via the editorial office.
We do not publish advertorial articles or any other types of advertisements.