1. Duties of Editors
a. Fair play and independence
Journal Editors are responsible for the single blind peer-review process, and ultimately for all content published within their Journal. They will appraise manuscripts based upon scientific merit (ingenuity, accuracy, importance, etc.) and with no bias. Recommendations to revise, reject and accept for publication are made by Reviewers, however ultimate responsibility for any publication decision lies with the Editor in Chief. There are no external policy makers, advertisers or sources of commercial revenue that influence the decisions of the Editor in Chief.
Editors and editorial staff will not disclose information regarding a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding Author, Reviewers, potential Reviewers, other editorial advisers, and the Publisher, when appropriate.
c. Disclosure and conflicts of interest
Editors and Editorial Board Members will not use any unpublished information within a submitted manuscript for their own research purposes without the Authors’ written consent. They will keep information they are privy to during the course of the review process confidential. Should they be faced with a situation where there is a potential conflict of interest emerging with any of the authors, companies or institutions associated with the submitted manuscript, they will inform the Journal who will find another Editor to oversee the review process.
d. Editorial decisions
Editors will ensure that any submitted manuscript being evaluated for publication in the Journal will undergo a minimum of two reviews by experts working in the sphere. The Editor in Chief is ultimately responsible for deciding which manuscripts are published in the Journal, based upon scientific importance/quality, interest to readers, Reviewer comments and any legal requirements (i.e. plagiarism, breach of copyright etc.). The handling Editor may discuss with other Editors or Reviewers any situation which may arise, if they feel it is required to ensure a fair and unbiased evaluation.
e. Ethical issues
Every report of ethical concern will be investigated by the Editors, Publisher and/or Society. They will take guidance from the COPE Code of Conduct flowcharts when faced with cases of suspected misconduct (i.e. plagiarism, duplicate submission, fabricated data, change in authorship, conflict of interest etc.). Once all investigations are complete and should suspect behavior be established, the appropriate action will be taken (i.e. correction, retraction, expression of concern or another note published in the Journal).
2. Duties of Reviewers
a. Support of editorial decision-making process
The work of Reviewers in the editorial process is of paramount importance, and their constructive editorial feedback provides Editors with support for their decision-making process and Authors with an opportunity to improve the overall quality and integrity of their submitted manuscript. Peer review is a vital part of scholarly publishing, and through their analytical editorial feedback to Editors they support the publication’s decision-making process. They will appraise manuscripts based upon scientific merit (ingenuity, accuracy, importance, etc.) and with no bias, and then will recommend the Editor to revise, reject or accept for publication.
Any Reviewer who receives a request to review a paper that is outside of their sphere of expertise, or is unable to conduct the review within the permitted time frame, should inform the inviting Editor immediately by declining the invitation to conduct a review. This will enable the inviting Editor to invite an alternative Reviewer and the peer review process can continue in a timely manner. If a Reviewers’ circumstances change after accepting to conduct a review, they should contact the Journal with an accurate estimate of when they can supply the review.
Both Reviewers who agree to conduct a review and who decline to conduct a review must respect the confidentiality of the review process and will not disclose any details of the submitted manuscript or its review, either during or after the review process, beyond the final published paper. They will not discuss the process with others unless specifically authorized by the Editor in Chief (who will permit this in extraordinary cases).
Reviewers will conduct their reviews in an objective manner, and their recommendations will be clearly articulated, with supporting comments so Authors are able to take the opportunity to improve the overall quality and integrity of their manuscript. Reviewers will refrain from being hostile, libellous and making inappropriate personal comments; this constitutes unethical behavior and is unacceptable.
e. Acknowledgement of relevant sources
Reviewers should advise of any relevant additional investigations (along with the published citation details) that have not been cited by the Authors and which are essential to support and strengthen claims made in the submitted manuscript. Reviewers should notify the Editors immediately of any irregularities, if they have concerns regarding ethical aspects or if they are aware of any substantial similarity/overlap with the submitted manuscript and any other manuscript, or if they suspect misconduct during either the research or writing of the manuscript. They will keep their concerns confidential and allow the Journal to investigate, and supply further information when requested.
f. Disclosure and conflicts of interest
Any Reviewers who have a potential conflict of interest in the form of collaborative, competitive, or other relationships with or connections to any of the Authors, companies or institutions declared or connected to the manuscript, or to the work described within it, should contact the Editors immediately to declare these and reject the invitation. The Reviewer should contact the Journal immediately should they be unsure whether something constitutes a relevant conflict of interest. Both Reviewers who conduct a review or decline to conduct a review should respect the confidentiality of the review process and not use any unpublished information within a submitted manuscript for their own research purposes without the Authors’ written consent. They will keep all information they are privy to during the course of the review process confidential.
g. Ethical issues
Reviewers should share any ethical concerns promptly with the Editor or the Publisher.
3. Duties of Authors
a. Accurate reporting
Authors of original research articles should present a precise account of the work performed, an objective discussion of the importance of the results of their work, and a balanced conclusion. The submitted manuscript should have sufficient detail and relevant references to enable replication of the work. Review articles should be clear, factual, objective and detailed. Data should be represented accurately, and all data in the article should be real and authentic. Articles which outline opinions or personal perspectives should be marked as such, e.g. editorials. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and is unacceptable.
b. Originality and plagiarism
Authors must write and submit original works; if they have used the work or words of others then these works must be cited appropriately. Plagiarism in any form constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.
c. Simultaneous submission/publication
All submitted manuscripts must be an original contribution not previously published in any language or country (except as an abstract or preliminary report), and must not be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Submission of a manuscript concurrently to more than one Journal is unethical and unacceptable.
Each person listed as an Author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the submitted manuscript, and agree to be accountable for all aspects related to its accuracy or integrity. This participation must include conception and design of the manuscript, data acquisition or data analysis and interpretation, drafting of the manuscript and/or revising it for critically important intellectual content, revision and final approval of the manuscript and statistical analysis, obtaining funding, administrative, technical, or material support, or supervision. Any person(s) who made substantial contributions to the work reported in the manuscript (i.e. technical help, writing/editing assistance) but do not meet the criteria for authorship should not be listed as an Author, but should instead be acknowledged in the "Acknowledgments" section, after their written permission to be named as been obtained. The corresponding Author should ensure that all applicable Authors are included in the Author list, and should validate that they have all seen and approve the final submitted manuscript and agree to it being submitted for potential publication to the Journal.
e. Acknowledgement of relevant sources
Authors are required to acknowledge relevant sources of information that have affected the outcome of the submitted works. Information which has been obtained from private correspondence or conversation should not be included without written permission from the source. Should any content within the submitted manuscript require permission for use, it is the Author’s responsibility to obtain relevant permission from the copyright holder.
f. Peer review process
Authors must participate in the peer review process and respond promptly to requests for data, clarity of information, proof of ethics approval, patient consent and copyright permissions. Should a revision decision be made on a submitted manuscript, the Author must respond to the Reviewer’s comments in a systematic and timely manner. Revised manuscripts should be submitted by the deadline given.
4. Duties of the Publisher
a. Safeguards against unethical behavior
The Publisher uses a number of safeguards against unethical behavior, as well as responding to queries and concerns from Authors, Reviewers and Editors. The Publisher systematically employs turnitin, a plagiarism detection and prevention software designed to ensure originality of submitted manuscripts. All submissions will also undertake a duplicate submission check to prevent handling of non-original manuscripts. Plagiarism in any form constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.
b. Handling of unethical publishing behavior
In cases of alleged or proven misconduct, fraudulent publication or plagiarism, the Publisher and Editors will take action to seek clarity on the situation and to amend the article. This can be anything from the publication of an erratum to in the most severe cases retraction.