We believe and adhere to ethical publishing, which leads to a better science community, to ensure high-quality scientific publications, public trust in scientific findings, and that people receive credit for their ideas, to prevent scientific misuse and abuse, and where everyone is valued and everyone is responsible for the work they do.
Towards this, authors are asked to
We adhere to the recommended core practices of Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and other resources that are applicable to all involved in publishing scholarly literature viz., editors and journal teams, publishers and institutions.
We encourage academic debate in our site through letters to the editor. We have mechanisms for correcting, revising and retracting articles after publication. We encourage correspondence and constructive criticism of the work we publish. If an item of correspondence discusses a specific article, the journal invites the authors of the work to respond before the correspondence is published. When possible, the correspondence and the authors’ response are published at the same time.
We have a mechanism for authors to appeal editorial decisions, to facilitate genuine appeals, and to discourage repeated or unfounded appeals. Editors allow appeals to override earlier decisions following appropriate reconsideration of the editorial process and decision making (for example, additional factual input by the authors, revisions, extra material in the manuscript, or appeals about conflicts of interest and concerns about biased peer review). Author protest alone will not affect decisions. Editors mediate all exchanges between authors and peer reviewers during the peer-review process. Editors may seek comments from additional peer reviewers to help them make their final decision. The editor’s decision following an appeal is final. We welcome comments from authors and others to comment on aspects of the journal’s editorial management.
Authorship gives recognition and credit for work done, accountability for reported research, confers moral and legal rights (copyright) and plays an important role in shaping academic careers. We require authors to confirm, on submission, that they and their co-authors meet the requirements for authorship and typically provide an ORCID (Open Researcher Contributor ID), which provides a persistent digital identifier to distinguish individuals from others with similar names and links individuals to their research outputs.
The authors should explain how each author contributed to a piece of work. An individual who does not meet authorship criteria for a specific piece of work but has contributed in some capacity should be acknowledged, with their approval.
If a manuscript is submitted with a deceased author listed, or an author passes away while the manuscript is being peer reviewed, then a footnote or similar should be added by the corresponding author to the published article to indicate this. Often we use a dagger symbol (†) with a footnote explaining the situation. A co-author should vouch for the contribution made by the deceased author and their potential conflicts of interest. If the deceased author was a corresponding author then another co-author should be nominated.
In cases where authors wish to change their name following publication, we will update and republish the paper and redeliver the updated metadata to indexing services. Authors should contact the journal’s Editorial Office with their name change request.
Editors cannot police author or contributor listings for every submission but may sometimes have suspicions that an author list is incomplete or includes undeserving (guest or gift) authors. Authorship disputes will often need to be referred to institutions if the authors cannot resolve the dispute themselves.
Editors or board members shall not involve in editorial decisions about their own scholarly work. We have established mechanisms and clearly defined policies for handling submissions from editors, members of their editorial boards, and employees. Editors and editorial team members are excluded from publication decisions when they are authors or have contributed to a manuscript.
Citation and reference to appropriate and relevant literature is an essential part of scholarly publishing and is a shared responsibility among all involved (authors, editors, peer reviewers). Authors should not engage in excessive self-citation of their own work. Editors and peer reviewers should not ask authors to add citations to their papers when there is no strong scholarly rationale for doing so. The issue of inappropriate citation (including citation stacking and citation cartels) have been addressed by COPE’s document on “citation manipulation” with recommendations for best practice.
We follow established policies and principles that minimize the risk of editorial decisions being influenced by commercial, personal, or political factors. Editors are free to judge all submissions on their scholarly merit and on their potential importance to the community that the journal serves, remain separate from the sale of advertising, to publish special issues, supplements, or similar material that is funded by third-party organizations ie.,the funding organization shall not be allowed to influence the selection or editing of submissions, and all funded items shall be clearly identified, and editorial decisions are not influenced by payment of an open-access-article publication charge or other type of payment made by authors. The editorial independence is ensured by following the Council of Science Editors in their white paper on research integrity and in COPE’s Core Practices.
When publishimg supplements, special issues, or similar publications that are funded by a third party (for example, a company, society, or charity), we present readers with the names of the organizations that provided funding, and any conflict of interest statements. Journals shall not permit the funding organizations to make decisions beyond which publications they choose to fund. Decisions about the selection and editing of contents to be published will be solely be made by the editor (or co-editors) of the funded publication. Sometimes the journal editor may elect to use “guest” or external editors to support the publishing of supplements, special issues, or similar publications and the editor will ensure the journal policy and ensure it is implemented by those external editors. We reserve the right not to publish any funded publication that does not comply with our journal requirements. Our sales teams are not permitted to become involved with peer review and the editorial decision-making process. Decisions about what can be sold are agreed in consultation with the journal publisher and editor (for example, the positions available for journal advertising within or adjacent to an article, collected in specific positions within the journal, and online, and whether it is permissible to sell reprints of papers published online prior to print).
With regard to editorial independence the Council of Science Editors’ discussion of editorial independence in its White Paper on “Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications” is followed. The relationship between the editor and the journal owner and publisher is set out in a formal contract to establish a mechanism to resolve disputes before one is needed in order to help resolve any disagreements speedily. Journal owners (the BVG Trust) shall avoid influencing or pressurizing editorial decisions about whether to publish individual manuscripts submitted to the journal, except if legal or ethical issues arise with respect to an article.
Editors, authors, and peer reviewers should disclose interests that might appear to affect their ability to present or review work objectively. These might include relevant financial interests (for example, patent ownership, stock ownership, consultancies, or speaker’s fees), or personal, political, or religious interests.
It is a legal requirement for an author to sign a copyright agreement before publication.
Corrections: The Journal encourages readers and authors to notify them if they find errors, and work with authors and our publisher to correct significant published errors. A published error is significant when, important content is incorrect, the error affects the interpretation of data or information presented in the article, the article’s funders are not acknowledged in compliance with their rules, or the article’s metadata (author list, title, etc.) is wrong, thereby affecting its discoverability on third-party abstracting and indexing sites. Minor copy editing or typesetting errors that do not affect the meaning or interpretation of an article are generally not corrected after publication, nor is content added to an article that is beyond its original scope, such as additional references or updates to the text based on information not available at the article’s time of publication. The journal’s editor and publisher will determine whether an error is significant enough to merit correction.The Journal shall consider retraction if errors are so fundamental that they invalidate the findings.
Expressions of concern: Expressions of Concern will be published if editors have well-founded concerns or suspicions and feel that readers should be made aware of potentially misleading information and shall explain the editor’s concerns about the contents of the article in a form that enables indexing and abstracting services to identify and link to original publications and be free to access.
Retractions: The Journal is committed to playing its part in maintaining the integrity of the scholarly record, therefore on occasion, it may be necessary to retract articles. In this regard, we follow COPE’s published guidelines for retracting articles which suggest that journals should consider publishing retractions for articles when there is clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of major error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error), or as a result of fabrication (e.g. of data) or falsification (e.g. image manipulation), it constitutes plagiarism, the findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper attribution to previous sources or disclosure to the editor, permission to republish, or justification (i.e., cases of redundant publication), it contains material or data without authorization for use, Copyright has been infringed or there is some other serious legal issue (e.g. libel, privacy), it reports unethical research, it has been published solely on the basis of a compromised or manipulated peer review process, the author(s) failed to disclose a major competing interest or conflict of interest that, in the view of the editor, would have unduly affected interpretations of the work or recommendations by editors and peer reviewers.
All retractions are reviewed and approved by our Publisher. The title of a Retraction will include the words “Retraction” as well as information to identify the article that it refers to. It will enable the reader to identify and understand why the article is being retracted. It will be in a form that enables indexing and abstracting services to identify and link to original publications and be free to access.
Withdrawals: There may be circumstances under which an article may be withdrawn following publication in line with COPE’s guidelines.
Data sharing: Open research initiatives, such as sharing “FAIR” data (data that is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable), bring many benefits, including increased transparency and reproducibility of research outputs. We therefore follow explicit policies on data availability statements and any requirements for sharing data. Editors, working with peer reviewers, should ensure that authors provide the information readers need to evaluate the methods and results, so that readers can reach their own conclusions. We endorse the “FORCE11 Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles”, a set of guiding principles for data within scholarly literature, another dataset, or any other research object.
Reporting guidelines: Accurate and complete reporting enables readers to fully appraise research, replicate it, and use it. Our Editors encourage authors to follow their discipline’s guidelines for accurate and complete reporting of research. Editors, working with peer reviewers, ensure that authors provide the information readers need to evaluate the methods and results, so that readers can reach their own conclusions. The authors are advised to follow the “EQUATOR Network” that promotes useful reporting tools in health research, “Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship (FORCE11)” in life sciences, the “ARRIVE guidelines” for animal experiments, the “National Research Council’s Institute for Laboratory Animal Research guidelines”, the “Gold Standard Publication Checklist from Hooijmans and colleagues,” “Landis and colleagues” for Standards for reporting animal studies, the “Minimum Information Guidelines from Diverse Bioscience Communities (MIBBI)” and “FAIRsharing” for guidelines and standards in bioscience and for reporting guidelines the “REFLECT statement”.
Data protection legislation: Our Journals complies with data protection legislations.
We foster and are committed to advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the research communities, ensuring diverse representation and an equitable and inclusive experience for all involved. The Journals endeavors to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the editorial processes and policies, including, but not limited to, ensuring diversity, equity and inclusivity within journals’ editorial team, reviewer pool and authorship base and we do not tolerate harassment or discrimination against an individual on the grounds of age, ancestry, color, religious creed, physical or mental disability, marital status, medical condition, genetic information, military and veteran status, national origin, race, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or any other category protected by law.
Data fabrication is the intentional misrepresentation of research data by making-up findings, recording, or reporting of results. Data falsification is the manipulation of research materials, equipment, or processes, including omitting and changing data, with the intention of giving a false impression. Changes to images can create misleading results when research data are collected as images. Inappropriate image manipulation is one form of fabrication or falsification that journals can identify. It may, however, be legitimate and even necessary to edit images. For example, the selective enlargement of part of an artwork may be needed to reveal features that would not otherwise be visible and editing of video data may be needed to protect the privacy of participants. We ask authors to declare where manipulations have been made and to supply original images or be able and ready to supply them on request. The following information are the guidelines for authors in this regard.
Authors are responsible to identify any unusual inherent hazards or risks in a manuscript such as products, chemicals, operations, or technologies posing a threat to public health and safety, the environment, plants, animals, or equipment, include appropriate warnings, and refer to relevant safety precautions. Authors should inform us at the time of manuscript submission if their study has potential for both benevolent and malevolent application ( “dual use research.”). Authors are asked to conform to the “National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB)” guidelines for Dual Use Life Sciences Research.
Our Journal publishing team, which includes the publisher, the editorial team and the trust, address potential cases of data fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, image manipulation, unethical research, biased reporting, authorship issues, redundant or duplicate publication, and potential conflicts of interest. Cases of suspected questionable research practices are handled following established processes, such as, those presented in the “COPE Flowcharts”, and by “Council of Science Editors”. Investigations may lead to Retractions, Withdrawals, Expressions of Concern, or other outcomes.
The journal has a well defined Peer Review Policy.
Plagiarism: We prevent plagiarism by screening submitted manuscripts for duplicated text. Submitted manuscripts are screened for duplicated text and possible plagiarism. Crossref Similarity Check is used for this purpose.
Duplicate or redundant publication: Duplicate publication which is reproducing verbatim content from their other publications should be avoided by authors. The Journal has an established processes to avoid duplicate and redundant publication, including Screening submitted manuscripts for duplicated text, Reminding authors in the journal’s guidelines that duplicate publication is not acceptable, Requiring that any previously published results, including numerical information and figures or images, are labeled to make it clear where they were previously reported, Papers, particularly medical research papers, that present new analyses of results that have already been published (for example, subgroup analyses) should identify the primary data source, and include a full reference to the related primary publications, Ensuring that the Copyright Transfer Agreement which includes a warranty that the manuscript is an original work, has not been published before, and is not being considered for publication elsewhere in its final form is signed by the corresponding author before publication. If a manuscript is published and later found to be redundant, the editor shall take action to retract the duplicate paper.
Duplicate submission: If concurrent or multiple submissions are detected, the editor shall take action based on COPE’s guidelines.
Text recycling:. Our journal’s policy follows COPE’s “Text Recycling Guidelines” about how much, if any, and under what circumstances, we consider it acceptable to recycle text and results between manuscripts.
Translations: The Journal shall publish materials that have been accurately translated from an original publication in a different language provided that they have appropriate permission, indicate clearly that the material has been translated and re-published and identify the original source of the material.
The journal folloes COPE’s guidelines for preprints.
Animals in research: Our policy is that research involving animals should be conducted with the same rigor as research in humans and we encourage authors to implement the 3Rs principles of replacement (approaches which avoid or replace the use of animals), reduction (methods which minimize the number of animals used) and refinement (methods which minimize animal suffering and improve welfare). Authors are advised to adhere to the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS)’s ethical guidelines for researchers, editors, and reviewers and to animal research reporting standards, such as the “ARRIVE reporting guidelines”, which describe the details journals should require from authors regarding Study design and statistical analysis, Experimental procedures, Experimental animals, and Housing and husbandry. Authors to confirm that ethical and legal approval was obtained prior to the start of the study and state the name of the body giving the approval and also should state whether experiments were performed in accordance with relevant institutional and national guidelines and regulations. The authors should describe in their manuscript how discomfort, distress, and pain were avoided and minimized, and to confirm that animals did not suffer unnecessarily at any stage of an experiment. We seek the reviewers’ comment on the standard of experimental reporting, experimental design, or any other aspects of the study reported that may cause concern and if concerns are raised or clarifications are needed, the authors will have to answer.
Bias-free language: For research which includes, or refers to, human participants,it is important that the language and descriptors used to describe research populations are bias-free by following the recommendations of the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2009), which provides recommendations for eliminating bias in language in relation to gender, age, racial and ethnic background, sexual orientation, disability status, and socioeconomic status.
Cultures and heritage: The journal adheres to the recognition of increasing innovation in the management of joint copyright in relation to intercultural research, to enable appropriate legal acknowledgment of intellectual property in attribution and acknowledgment and is aware of sensitivities when publishing images of objects that might have cultural significance or cause offence (for example, religious texts or historical events).
Human studies and subjects: We require a statement from authors for manuscripts reporting studies involving human participants, including but extending beyond medical research, to confirm that the appropriate ethical approval has been received, along with details of the approving ethics committee, and that the study conforms to recognized standards. The journal shall only consider publishing research which includes individual participants’ information and images where the authors’ have obtained the prior informed consent from all participants. Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. In cases where manuscripts may involve potentially vulnerable groups and, therefore, where informed consent may have required particular attention should be given by study authors and the institution where the work took place, and to ensure expected standards have both been met and are described in the articles. CARE guidelines are followed in this regard by the journal.
Jurisdictional neutrality: The geographical designations and institutional affiliations in published materials do not represent our Journal’s opinion about the legal status of any country or region.
Local laws and regulations: We comply with the local laws and regulations related to published works.
Registering clinical trials: Clinical trials should be registered prospectively, before participants are enrolled. Clinical trial registration numbers should be included in all papers that report their results. We require that clinical trials are prospectively registered in a publicly accessible database. Authors should include the name of the trial register and their clinical trial registration number at the end of their abstract. If their trial is not registered, or was registered retrospectively, the authors should explain the reasons for this.
Research on plants and geological samples: Research on plants and geological samples, including their collection, must comply with the appropriate institutional, national, or international guidelines. The authors should confirm that field research has been conducted in accordance with local legislation, with evidence that the appropriate licences and/or permissions have been obtained.
Authors should list all funding sources in their manuscript, for example, in the Acknowledgments section. The role of the research funder beyond providing funding itself i.e., if a commercial organization funded the study, designed the study, and also recruited the investigators, should also be described. Other sources such as funding for open access publication derived from a grant or from an author’s institution, or funding for writing, in the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript.
Sanctions imposed for questionable practices: On rare occasions after careful considerations it may be necessary for us to impose sanctions on researchers who have engaged in questionable research practices or publishing ethics malpractice, with provision for appeal and which will be reviewed at the end of the allotted time period.
Sanctions imposed by governments: We welcome contributions from all over the world. However, with regard to sanction laws and regulations imposed by various countries, we shall act in accordance with legal advice.