The Journal is following of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and endorses the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals as well as the GPP3 guidelines regarding authorship.
Submission of a manuscript to the journal implies that all authors have read and agreed to its content and that the manuscript conforms to the journal’s policies.
You and your co-authors must list all relevant affiliations to attribute where the research or scholarly work was approved and/or supported and/or conducted.
- For non-research articles, you must list your current institutional affiliation.
- If you moved to a different institution before the article has been published, you should list the affiliation where the work was conducted and include a note to state your current affiliation.
- If you do not have a current relevant institutional affiliation, you should state your independent status.
Appeals and complaints
The journal follows Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines on appeals to journal editor decisions and complaints about a journal’s editorial management of the peer review process.
We welcome genuine appeals to editor decisions. However, you will need to provide strong evidence or new data/information in response to the editor’s and reviewers’ comments.
All complaints, concerns, or appeals regarding authorship issues or the peer-review process, including concerns raised post-publication, should be addressed to the Editors-in-Chief, who shall investigate the claims by first, requesting information from all parties involved and second, proposing a course of action in line with academic ethical principles as outlined by the Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE; https://publicationethics.org/). Submissions can be halted in the review or publication process until the issue are resolved. In situations, when Editors-in-Chief are involved in the complaint, the Editorial Board members, led by the most senior member, investigate the claims and propose a course of action.
Any individuals who have contributed to the article (e.g. general supervision, acquisition of funding, study design, data collection, data analysis, technical assistance, formatting-related writing assistance, scholarly discussions which significantly contributed to developing the article, etc), but who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed by name and affiliation in an ‘Acknowledgments’ section. It is the responsibility of the authors to notify and obtain permission from those they wish to identify in this section. The process of obtaining permission should include sharing the article so that those being identified can verify the context in which their contribution is being acknowledged.
Groups of persons who have contributed materially to the article but whose contributions do not justify authorship may be listed under such headings as “clinical investigators” or “participating investigators,” and their function or contribution should be described - for example, “served as scientific advisors,” “critically reviewed the study proposal,” “collected data,” or “provided and cared for study patients.” Because readers may infer their endorsement of the data and conclusions, these persons must give written permission to be acknowledged. Organizations that provided support in terms of funding and/or other resources should also be acknowledged.
Any assistance from AI tools for content generation (e.g. large language models) and other similar types of technical tools which generate article content, must be clearly acknowledged within the article. It is the responsibility of authors to ensure the validity, originality, and integrity of their article content. Authors are expected to use these types of tools responsibly and in accordance with our editorial policies on authorship and principles of publishing ethics.
Listing authors’ names on an article is an important mechanism to give credit to those who have significantly contributed to the work. It also ensures transparency for those who are responsible for the integrity of the content.
Authors listed in an article must meet all of the following criteria:
- Made a significant contribution to the work reported, whether that’s in the conception, study design, execution, acquisition of data, analysis, and interpretation, or in all these areas.
- Have drafted or written, substantially revised, or critically reviewed the article.
- Have agreed on the journal to which the article will be submitted.
- Reviewed and agreed on all versions of the article before submission, during revision, the final version accepted for publication, and any significant changes introduced at the proofing stage.
- Agree to take responsibility and be accountable for the contents of the article and to share the responsibility to resolve any questions raised about the accuracy or integrity of the published work.
Any changes in authorship before or after publication must be agreed upon by all authors, including those being added or removed. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to obtain confirmation from all co-authors and to provide a full explanation about why the change was necessary. Changes of authorship by adding or deleting authors, and/or changes in Corresponding Authors, and/or changes in the sequence of authors are not accepted after acceptance of a manuscript. Adding and/or deleting authors at the revision stage is generally not permitted, but in some cases, it may be warranted. The reasons for these changes in authorship should be explained. Approval of the change during revision is at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief. To request such a change, the Editor-in-Chief must receive the following from the corresponding author: (a) the reason for the change in the author list and (b) written confirmation (e-mail, letter) from all authors that they agree with the addition, removal or rearrangement. In the case of the addition or removal of authors, this includes confirmation from the author being added or removed.
If author affiliation changes between the time that the research is conducted or the paper is written and the time of publication, the author's current affiliation should be listed, and where appropriate, the previous affiliation acknowledged in the Acknowledgments section at the copy-editing stage.
Authorship credit should be based only on substantial contributions to each of the three components mentioned below:
- Concept and design of study or acquisition of data or analysis and interpretation of data;
- Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and
- Final approval of the version to be published.
Participation solely in the acquisition of funding or the collection of data does not justify authorship. General supervision of the research group is not sufficient for authorship. Each contributor should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content of the manuscript. The order of naming the contributors should be based on the relative contribution of the contributor towards the study and writing the manuscript. Once submitted the order cannot be changed without the written consent of all the contributors. The journal prescribes a maximum number of authors for manuscripts depending upon the type of manuscript, its scope, and the number of institutions involved (vide infra). The authors should provide a justification if the number of authors exceeds these limits.
Contributors should provide a description of contributions made by each of them toward the manuscript. The description should be divided into the following categories, as applicable: concept, design, definition of intellectual content, literature search, clinical studies, experimental studies, data acquisition, data analysis, statistical analysis, manuscript preparation, manuscript editing, and manuscript review. The authors' contributions will be printed along with the article. One or more authors should take responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole from inception to published article and should be designated as 'guarantors'.
Research and non-research articles must cite relevant, timely, and verified literature (peer-reviewed, where appropriate) to support any claims made in the article.
You must avoid excessive and inappropriate self-citation or prearrangements among author groups to inappropriately cite each other’s work, as this can be considered a form of misconduct called citation manipulation. Read the COPE guidance on citation manipulation.
If you’re the author of a non-research article (e.g. a Review or Opinion) you should ensure the references you cite are relevant and provide a fair and balanced overview of the current state of research or scholarly work on the topic. Your references should not be unfairly biased toward a particular research group, organization, or journal.
If you are unsure about whether to cite a source you should contact the journal editorial office for advice.
Conflicts of Interest/ Competing interests
You and all of your co-authors must declare any competing interests relevant to, or which can be perceived to be relevant to the article.
- A competing interest can occur where you (or your employer, sponsor or family/friends) have a financial, commercial, legal, or professional relationship with other organizations, or with the people working with them which could influence the research or interpretation of the results.
- Competing interests can be financial or non-financial in nature. To ensure transparency, you must also declare any associations which can be perceived by others as a competing interest.
Examples of financial competing interests include (but are not limited to):
- Employment or voluntary involvement
- Collaborations with advocacy groups relating to the content of the article
- Grants from an entity paid to the author or organization
- Personal fees received by the author/s as honoraria, royalties, consulting fees, lecture fees, testimonies, etc
- Patents held or pending by the authors, their institutions or funding organizations, or licensed to an entity whether earning royalties or not
- Royalties being received by the authors or their institutions
- Stock or share ownership
- Benefits related to the development of products as an outcome of the work
Examples of non-financial competing interests include (but are not limited to):
- Receipt of drugs, equipment, or access to data by an entity that might benefit or be at an advantage financially or reputationally from the published findings.
- Holding a position on the boards of industry bodies or private companies that might benefit or be at an advantage financially or reputationally from the published findings.
- Writing assistance or administrative support from a person or organization that might benefit or be at an advantage from the published findings.
- Personal, political, religious, ideological, academic, and intellectual competing interests are perceived to be relevant to the published content.
- Involvement in legal action related to the work.
All authors of a manuscript submitted to the journal will be required to complete a competing interest declaration which will be listed in the Disclosure section at the end of the article. If an author is in doubt over whether they need to disclose a competing interest, they should consult with their institution or the journal Editor, who can guide them on the right course of action.
If there are no competing interests to declare, the following statement will be added to the article “The authors declare that they have no competing interests.”
Sponsorship of clinical trials
Authors employed by pharmaceutical companies or other organizations which sponsor clinical trials must declare this as a competing interest.
Authors should adhere to the Good Publication Practice guidelines for pharmaceutical companies (GPP3), which guides to ensure responsible and ethical standards are maintained.
Corrections, expressions of concern, and retractions
Sometimes after an article has been published it may be necessary to make a change to the published article.
This will be done after careful consideration by the Editor to ensure any necessary changes are done in accordance with guidance from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
Corrections may be made to a published article with the authorization of the editor of the journal. Editors will decide the magnitude of the corrections. Minor corrections are made directly to the original article. However, in cases of major corrections, the original article will remain unchanged, while the corrected version will also be published. Both the original and corrected version will be linked to each other. A statement indicating the reason for the major change to the article will also be published. When necessary, the retraction of articles will be done according to to COPE retraction guidelines.
Authors and institutions may also request the retraction of their articles if their reasons meet the criteria for retraction.
All retractions issued at the journal will ensure:
- The retraction and original article are linked in both directions
- The retracted article is clearly identified
- The original HTML version will remain, with both the HTML and PDF of the original article digitally watermarked ‘Retracted’
- A clear explanation giving the reason for the retraction is provided
- The person(s), for example, the authors and/or the Editor, who requested the retraction is clearly stated
The journal recognizes the purpose of a retraction is to correct the literature and ensure the integrity of the publication record. They are not intended as a means of punishment for authors.
Retractions will not normally be issued to resolve authorship disputes. The preferred option in this situation is to issue a corrigendum. This is provided the authors can justify the change in authorship, and this usually requires the support of their respective institutions.
To help minimize the impact of incorrect or misleading publications, all efforts will be made to issue retractions as soon as possible.
In some cases, an Expression of Concern notice may be considered where concerns of a major nature have been raised (e.g. serious research or publication misconduct), but where the outcome of the investigation is inconclusive or where due to various complexities the investigation will not be complete for a considerable time. When the investigation has been completed a Retraction or Correction notice may follow the Expression of Concern, and alongside the original article, all will remain part of the permanent published record.
A Removal notice will be issued in very rare circumstances where the problems cannot be addressed by a Retraction or Correction notice. Examples include where the content in the article is defamatory or infringes on other legal rights or is subject to a court order. In the rare case of an article being removed from the journal Online, a removal notice will be issued in its place.
Consent for Publication
For all manuscripts that include details or images relating to an individual person, written informed consent for the publication of these details must be obtained from that person (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 18). The consent must be for publication of their details under the Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International — CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (such that they will be freely available on the internet). If the person has died, consent for publication must be obtained from their next of kin. The manuscript must include a statement that written informed consent for publication was obtained.
Authors can use a consent form from their own institution or region if appropriate. The consent form must state that the details/images will be freely available on the internet and may be seen by the general public. The consent form must be made available to the Editor if requested and will be treated confidentially.
A submitted manuscript is a confidential material. Academic Journals will not disclose submitted manuscripts to anyone except individuals who partake in the processing and preparation of the manuscript for publication (if accepted). These individuals include editorial staff, corresponding authors, potential reviewers, actual reviewers, and editors. However, in suspected cases of misconduct, a manuscript may be revealed to members of the Academic Journals’ ethics committees and institutions/organizations that may require it for the resolution of the misconduct. Academic Journals shall follow the appropriate COPE flowcharts wherever necessary.
For more information, please see the Aims and Scope page.
Who Can Submit?
Anyone may submit an original article to be considered for publication in the RPS provided he or she owns the copyright to the work being submitted or is authorized by the copyright owner or owners to submit the article. Authors are the initial owners of the copyrights to their works (an exception in the non-academic world to this might exist if the authors have, as a condition of employment, agreed to transfer copyright to their employer).
The RPS is an Open Access journal. Users have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles under the following conditions: Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International — CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Copyright statement stated here and embedded in each published article
Authors will retain copyright alongside scholarly usage rights and Publisher will be granted publishing and distribution rights.
Where deliberate action has been taken to inappropriately manipulate or fabricate data. This is considered a serious form of misconduct and is designed to mislead others and damage the integrity of the scholarly record with wide-reaching and long-term consequences.
When submitting a manuscript to the journal, authors must ensure all data contained within their manuscript is accurate and correctly represents their work. To help assist the journal with manuscript evaluation, authors are expected to retain all raw data represented in their manuscripts.
If the original data cannot be produced on request, acceptance of a manuscript or published paper may be declined or retracted.
Desk rejection policy
- The topic / scope of the study is not relevant to the field of the Journal.
- There are publication ethics problems, non-adherence to international standard guidelines, and plagiarism (set at a similarity index of higher than 30 percent).
- The topic does not have a sufficient impact, nor does it sufficiently contribute new knowledge to the field.
- There are flaws in the study design.
- The objective of the study is not clearly stated.
- The study of the organization is problematic and/or certain components are missing.
- There are problems in writing or series infelicities of in the style of grammar.
- The manuscript does not follow the submission guideline of the Journal.
Authors are required to declare upon submission that the manuscript is not under consideration elsewhere, and as such the detection of a duplicate submission or publication is typically considered to be a deliberate act. This includes articles previously published in another language. For acceptable forms of secondary submissions or publications (e.g. an article translated into English), in accordance with ICMJE guidance, authors must seek permission from the publisher and copyright holder of the original article and must inform the Editor of the receiving journal about the history of the original article. It must also be made clear to readers that the article is a translated version, with a citation provided to the original article.
The journal requires that authors declare all the sources of funding including financial support in their manuscript. The authors should describe the role of the sponsor(s), if any, in any of the stages from study design to submission of the manuscript for publication. They should also state if the sponsor(s) had no such involvement. Please ensure that this information is accurate and in accordance with your funder’s requirements.
Images and figures
As a warranty in the Journal Author Publishing Agreement, you make with us, you must obtain the necessary written permission to include material in your article that is owned and held in copyright by a third party, including – but not limited to – any proprietary text, illustration, table, or other material, including data, audio, video, film stills, screenshots, musical notation, and any supplemental material.
Photographs, video, or audio recordings which can reveal the identity of patients or study participants can only be included if they (or their next of kin if participants are deceased; parents or guardians if they are underage or considered to be vulnerable) have provided 'Journal Publishing Agreement'..
Authors should be aware of any cultural sensitivities or restrictions associated with any images included in their manuscripts. For example, images of human remains or deceased humans is restricted in some cultures, and appropriate ethical guidelines should be adhered to by considering the views and approval processes of the affiliated communities.
Experimental photographic images including microscopy should accurately reflect the original image. Where images have been modified or enhanced in any way this must be stated with a full explanation within the manuscript as well as in the figure legend so as not to mislead readers about what the images show. Authors should be prepared to share the original, uncropped, unannotated, and unprocessed images with the journal editorial office upon request.
Please note that any modifications are only acceptable if these are minor in nature and have been applied to the whole image. Authors are required to include details of image-gathering methods and details of processes for any modifications made to images, including the name of the software (with version number) used. Any modifications which can alter the scientific interpretation of the image are not allowed.
Any images or figures which have been obtained from another published source can only be re-used if the authors have obtained the appropriate permissions for re-use from the copyright owner. A statement to confirm this must be included within the figure legend. The original source of the image must be cited, even in cases where the image or figure is not under copyright, or if re-use is allowed under a license that permits unrestricted re-use.
The journal takes all forms of misconduct seriously and will take all necessary action, in accordance with COPE guidelines, to protect the integrity of the scholarly record.
Examples of misconduct include (but are not limited to):
- Affiliation misrepresentation
- Breaches in copyright/use of third-party material without appropriate permissions
- Citation manipulation
- Duplicate submission/publication
- “Ethics dumping”
- Image or data manipulation/fabrication
- Peer review manipulation
- Undisclosed competing interests
- Unethical research
Manuscripts that are found to have been published elsewhere, or to be under review elsewhere, will incur duplicate submission/publication sanctions. If authors have used their own previously published work, or work that is currently under review, as the basis for a submitted manuscript, they are required to cite the previous work and indicate how their submitted manuscript offers novel contributions beyond those of the previous work.
Submitted manuscripts that are found to include citations whose primary purpose is to increase the number of citations to a given author’s work, or to articles published in a particular journal, will incur citation manipulation sanctions.
Data Fabrication and Falsification
Submitted manuscripts that are found to have either fabricated or falsified experimental results, including the manipulation of images, will incur data fabrication and falsification sanctions.
Improper Author Contribution or Attribution
All listed authors must have made a significant scientific contribution to the research in the manuscript and approved all its claims. It is important to list everyone who made a significant scientific contribution, including students and laboratory technicians.
Redundant publications involve the inappropriate division of study outcomes into several articles.
Where deliberate action has been taken to inappropriately manipulate or fabricate an image. This is a serious form of misconduct as is designed to mislead others and damage the integrity of the scholarly record with wide-reaching and long-term consequences.
The journal expects all images contained within manuscripts to be accurate and free from manipulation. Specific features within an image may not be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced without adequate notification of what the alteration is. Adjustments to the brightness, contrast, or color balance of an image are acceptable if they do not obscure, eliminate or misrepresent information present in the original. Grouping images from different parts of gels, western blots or microscope images must be made explicit in the arrangement of the figure or the text of the figure legend.
If the original, unedited images cannot be produced on request, acceptance of a manuscript or paper may be declined or retracted.
Open Access Policy
Every peer-reviewed research article appearing in this journal will be published open access. This means that the article is universally and freely accessible via the internet in perpetuity, in an easily readable format immediately after publication. A CC user license manages the reuse of the article. All articles will be published under the following license:
The journal publishes its articles under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license (CC BY NC ND). This allows for the non-commercial reuse of the published paper so long as the published paper is fully attributed. Commercial re-use can only be undertaken with the permission of the publisher.
Authors who submit papers to the journal under a CC BY NC ND license do so under the Open Access facility and pay to have their paper freely available online. Authors will be asked to sign an Open Access license agreement prior to publication, details of which are:
Articles published under this arrangement are made freely available online upon publication without subscription barriers to access. Users of such published articles are entitled to use, reproduce, disseminate, or display these articles provided that:
- The original authorship is properly and fully attributed;
- The journal and publisher are attributed as the original place of publication with correct citation details given;
- If an original work is subsequently reproduced or disseminated not in its entirety but only in part or as a derivative work this is clearly indicated;
- No articles are reproduced for commercial use without the prior consent of the journal and payment to the journal of any appropriate fee.
Authors are also entitled to deposit the final electronic version of the article into an institutional or centrally organized subject repository upon publication. This is provided that they include a link to the published version of the article on the journal's website and that the journal is attributed as the original place of publication, with correct citations given.
This broad license has been developed to facilitate open access to, and free use of, original works of all types for personal, research, and educational use but not commercial use.
Commercial use of papers published under the Open Access model CC BY NC ND license
No papers published under a CC BY NC ND copyright license on the journal website may be reproduced, in any media or format, or linked to for any commercial purpose (eg. product support, etc) without the prior written consent of the journal and payment to the journal of an appropriate fee. For further information on commercial use of published.
The journal and its editorial board fully adhere to and comply with the policies and principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
Duties of Editors
The editorial board of the journal is responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published. Members of the board confer and refer to reviewer recommendations in making this decision, constrained by legal requirements related to libel, copyright infringement, and plagiarism. Editorial decisions are not affected by the origins of the manuscript, including the nationality, ethnicity, political beliefs, race, or religion of the authors.
Confidentiality, disclosure, and conflicts of interest
During the review process, editors must not disclose information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, and other editorial advisers. Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in an editor's, reviewer’s, or any other reader’s own research without the express written consent of the author. Readers should be informed about who has funded the research or other scholarly work and whether the funders had any role in the research and its publication and, if so, what this was.
Editors strive to ensure that peer review at the journal is fair, unbiased, and timely. The journal has established policies for handling submissions from editorial board members to ensure unbiased review. Author instructions provide guidance about the criteria for authorship.
The Journal encourages reviewers to comment on ethical questions and possible misconduct raised by submissions (e.g. unethical research design, and inappropriate data manipulation), and to be alert to redundant publication and plagiarism. Reviewers’ comments should be sent to authors in their entirety unless they contain offensive or libelous remarks. Contributions of reviewers to the journal are regularly acknowledged and cease to use reviewers who consistently produce discourteous, poor quality, or late reviews.
Editors should take all reasonable steps to ensure the quality of the material they publish, recognizing that different sections have different aims and standards. Editors should seek assurances that the research they publish has been approved by an appropriate body (e.g. research ethics committee, institutional review board) where one exists. Editors should be alert to intellectual property issues and work with their publishers to handle potential breaches of laws and conventions. Errors, inaccurate, or misleading statements must be corrected promptly and with due prominence.
Duties of Reviewers
Contribution to editorial decisions
Reviewers assist the editorial board in making editorial decisions. Reviews should be conducted objectively, and observations should be formulated clearly with supporting arguments so that authors can use them for improving the paper. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate.
Qualification of reviewers
Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself from the review process. 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 papers.
Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage.
Acknowledgment of sources
Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. References to the ideas of others should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also call to the editor's attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.
Duties of Authors
Authors of reports of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the paper. Authors should be prepared to provide public access to raw data in connection with a paper and retain such data for at least two years after publication. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.
Originality, plagiarism, and concurrent publication
Authors should ensure their work is entirely original and that any work and/or words of others have been appropriately acknowledged. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Submitting essentially the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.
Disclosure and conflicts of interest
All authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or other substantive conflicts of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed.
Authorship of the paper
The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors and no inappropriate co-authors are included in the paper and that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. Others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the research project should be acknowledged or listed as contributors.
Fundamental errors in published works
When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in the published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editor and work with the editor to retract or correct the paper.
Peer review process
All manuscripts are subjected to peer review and are expected to meet the standards of academic excellence. If approved by the editor, submissions will be considered by peer reviewers, whose identities will remain anonymous to the authors and vice versa, identities of authors will remain anonymous to the reviewers (Double-blind peer review). The decision regarding the acceptance or rejection of a manuscript is the responsibility of the editorial board and is based on the recommendations of the reviewers (peer-reviewed process).
Our Research Integrity team will occasionally seek advice outside standard peer review, for example, on submissions with serious ethical, security, biosecurity, or societal implications. We may consult experts and the academic editor before deciding on appropriate actions, including but not limited to recruiting reviewers with specific expertise, assessment by additional editors, and declining to further consider a submission.
The journal has a strict policy against plagiarism, where the journal does not tolerate using others’ ideas, words, or work without acknowledgment. Submissions containing plagiarism in whole or part, duplicate and redundant publication, or self-plagiarism (same or a different language), will be rejected. The Preprint archive will not be considered a duplicate publication. The corresponding author is responsible for the manuscript through and after the evaluation and publication process with the authority to act on behalf of all co-authors. All submitted manuscripts are checked for plagiarism using professional plagiarism-checking software. Submitted manuscripts with an unacceptable similarity index resulting from plagiarism are rejected immediately.
This applies to data, images, words or ideas taken from any materials in electronic or print formats without sufficient attribution. This can include abstracts, seminar presentations, laboratory reports, thesis or dissertation, research proposals, computer programs, online posts, grey literature, and unpublished or published manuscripts.
The use of any such material either directly or indirectly should be properly acknowledged in all instances and the source of content must always be cited.
The journal uses plagiarism-checking to screen all submitted manuscripts and will deal with cases of plagiarism according to COPE guidelines. Any manuscript found to contain plagiarized material will not be considered for publication.
Authors can share their preprint anywhere at any time. If accepted for publication, we encourage authors to link from the preprint to their formal publication via its Digital Object Identifier (DOI). Authors can update their preprints on arXiv or RePEc, etc. with their accepted manuscript.
Protection of Patients' Rights to Privacy
Identifying information should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, sonograms, CT scans, etc., and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian, wherever applicable) gives informed consent for publication. Authors should remove patients' names from figures unless they have obtained informed consent from the patients. The journal abides by ICMJE guidelines:
1) Authors, not the journals nor the publisher, need to obtain the patient consent form before the publication and have the form properly archived. The consent forms are not to be uploaded with the cover letter or sent through email to editorial or publisher offices.
2) If the manuscript contains patient images that preclude anonymity or a description that has an obvious indication of the identity of the patient, a statement about obtaining informed patient consent should be indicated in the manuscript.
Research ethics and consent
Studies in Humans, and Animals
All original research papers involving humans, animals, plants, biological material, protected or non-public datasets, collections, or sites, must include a written statement under an Ethics Approval section including the following:
- The name of the ethics committee(s) or institutional review board(s) involved.
- The number or ID of the ethics approval(s).
- A statement that human participants have provided informed consent before taking part in the research.
- Research involving animals must adhere to ethical standards concerning animal welfare. All original research papers involving animals must:
- Follow international, national, and institutional guidelines for the humane treatment of animals.
- Receive approval by the ethics review committee at the institution or practice at which the research was conducted and provide details on the approval process, names of the ethics committee(s) or institutional review board(s) involved, and the number or ID of the ethics approval(s) in the Ethics Approval section.
- Provide justification for use of animals and the species selected.
- Provide information about housing, feeding, and environmental enrichment, and steps taken to minimize suffering.
- Provide mode of anesthesia and euthanasia.
- Research that does not meet the above-listed requirements regarding ethical approval and animal welfare will be rejected.
Research involving humans
If the work involves the use of human subjects, the author should ensure that the work described has been carried out in accordance with The Code of Ethics of the World Medical Association (Declaration of Helsinki) for experiments involving humans. The manuscript should be in line with the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals and aim for the inclusion of representative human populations (sex, age, and ethnicity) as per those recommendations. The terms sex and gender should be used correctly.
Approval must have been obtained for all protocols from the authors’ institutional or other relevant ethics committee (Institutional Review Board, IRB) to ensure that they meet national and international guidelines. Details of this approval must be provided when submitting an article, including the institution, review board name, and permit number(s). Ethics approval must be obtained before the research is conducted; retrospective approval can usually not be obtained and it may not be possible to publish the study.
Authors should include a statement in the manuscript that informed consent was obtained for experimentation with human subjects. The privacy rights of human subjects must always be observed.
Research involving animals
All animal experiments should comply with the ARRIVE guidelines and should be carried out in accordance with the U.K. Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 and associated guidelines, EU Directive 2010/63/EU for animal experiments, or the National Research Council's Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and the authors should clearly indicate in the manuscript that such guidelines have been followed. The sex of animals must be indicated, and where appropriate, the influence (or association) of sex on the results of the study.
Experiments involving vertebrates or regulated invertebrates must be carried out within the ethical guidelines provided by the authors’ institution and national or international regulations. Where applicable, a statement of ethics permission granted or animal licenses should be included. In all cases, a statement should be made to confirm that all efforts were made to ameliorate any suffering of animals, and details of how this was achieved should be provided.
Patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent. Identifying information, including names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, or pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that an identifiable patient be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should disclose to these patients whether any potentially identifiable material might be available via the Internet as well as in print after publication. Patient consent should be written and archived either with the journal, the authors, or both, as dictated by local regulations or laws. Nonessential identifying details should be omitted. Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance, and editors should so note, that such alterations do not distort scientific meaning. When informed consent has been obtained, it should be indicated in the published article.
Standards of reporting
Research should be communicated in a way that supports verification and reproducibility, and as such, we encourage authors to provide comprehensive descriptions of their research rationale, protocol, methodology, and analysis.
Use of third-party material
You must obtain the necessary permission to reuse third-party material in your article. These materials may include – but are not limited to – text, illustration, photographs, tables, data, audio, video, film stills, screenshots, or musical notation.
The use of short extracts of text and some other types of material is usually permitted, on a limited basis, for the purposes of criticism and review without securing formal permission. If you wish to include any material in your paper for which you do not hold copyright, and which is not covered by this informal agreement, you will need to obtain written permission from the copyright owner prior to submission.