Authors 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. A paper should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.
Authors may be asked to provide the research data supporting their paper for editorial review and/or to comply with the open data requirements of the journal. Authors should be prepared to provide public access to such data, if practicable, and should be prepared to retain such data for a reasonable number of years after publication.
The authors should ensure that they have written entirely original works, and if the authors have used the work and/or words of others, that this has been appropriately cited or quoted and permission has been obtained where necessary.
Plagiarism takes many forms, from ‘passing off’ another’s paper as the author’s own paper, to copying or paraphrasing substantial parts of another’s paper (without attribution), to claiming results from research conducted by others. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical behavior and is unacceptable.
Information obtained in the course of confidential services, such as refereeing manuscripts or grant applications, must not be used without the explicit written permission of the author of the work involved in these services.
Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made substantial contributions should be listed as co-authors. Where there are others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the paper (e.g. language editing or medical writing), they should be recognized in the acknowledgements section.
The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors and no inappropriate co-authors are included on 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.
Authors are expected to consider carefully the list and order of authors before submitting their manuscript and provide the definitive list of authors at the time of the original submission. Only in exceptional circumstances will the Editor consider (at their discretion) the addition, deletion or rearrangement of authors after the manuscript has been submitted and the author must clearly flag any such request to the Editor. All authors must agree with any such addition, removal or rearrangement.
Authors take collective responsibility for the work. Each individual author is accountable for ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in their own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper if deemed necessary by the editor. If the editor or the publisher learn from a third party that a published work contains an error, it is the obligation of the author to cooperate with the editor, including providing evidence to the editor where requested.
Use of Images
It is not acceptable to enhance, obscure, move, remove, or introduce a specific feature within an image. Adjustments of brightness, contrast, or color balance are acceptable if and as long as they do not obscure or eliminate any information present in the original. Manipulating images for improved clarity is accepted, but manipulation for other purposes could be seen as scientific ethical abuse and will be dealt with accordingly.
Authors should comply with any specific policy for graphical images applied by the relevant journal, e.g. providing the original images as supplementary material with the article, or depositing these in a suitable repository.
Copyright related to the images used
You must obtain the necessary permission to reuse third-party material in your article. If you wish to include any images in your article for which you do not hold copyright, and which is not covered by the informal agreement, you will need to obtain written permission from the copyright owner prior to submission.
Results implying working with life subjects
If your work involves live subjects (human or animal) you must provide an appropriate ethical statement when submitting your paper. The editorial team checks if all ethical statements are appropriate for the study being reported. Any manuscript submitted without a suitable ethical statement will be returned to the authors and will not be considered further until an appropriate and explicit statement is included.
Authors should include the following points in the ethical statement (if applicable) when submitting a paper:
- The institutional or national research ethics committee /review board that approved the research must be named. Include the approval number/ID if one was given. If the research received a waiver of approval from the ethics committee/review board or did not require approval for some other reason please state this and explain why.
- Research with cell lines should state the origin of any cell lines. For established cell lines the provenance should be stated and references must also be given to either a published paper or to a commercial source. If previously unpublished de novo cell lines were used, including those gifted from another laboratory, details of institutional review board or ethics committee approval must be given, and confirmation of written informed consent must be provided if the line is of human origin.
- For investigations involving animal experimentation you should state which institutional and/or national animal care and use guidelines were followed.
- For investigations involving human participants authors should state that the research was conducted in accordance with the principles embodied in the Declaration of Helsinki and relevant laws, in accordance with local statutory requirements and that the appropriate institutional committee(s) have approved them. Authors should also state that all participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 16) gave written informed consent to participate in the study.
- Articles relying on clinical trials should quote the trial registration number at the end of the abstract.
Documents that should be considered:
- The Code of Ethics of the World Medical Association (Declaration of Helsinki):
- ARRIVE guidelines:
- U.K. Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and associated guidelines:
- EU Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes:
- U.S. Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and, as applicable, the Animal Welfare Act:
- Convention on Biological Diversity:
- Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora:
- International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines:
Declaration of competing interest
Corresponding authors, on behalf of all the authors of a submission, must disclose any financial and personal relationships with other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence (bias) their work. Examples of potential conflicts of interest include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations, and grants or other funding. All authors, including those without competing interests to declare, should provide the relevant information to the corresponding author (which, where relevant, may specify they have nothing to declare).
Submission declaration and verification
Submission of an article implies that the work described has not been published previously (except in the form of an abstract, a published lecture or academic thesis), that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere in the same form, in English or in any other language, including electronically without the written consent of the copyright-holder.
An author should not in general publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal of primary publication. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical behavior and is unacceptable.