Ethical guidelines


Ethical Obligations of Authors

Authors are expected to adhere to the following ethical guidelines; infractions may result in the application of sanctions by the editor(s), including but not limited to the suspension or revocation of publishing privileges.

1. An author's central obligation is to present an accurate and complete account of the research performed, absolutely avoiding deception, including the data collected or used, as well as an objective discussion of the significance of the research. Data are defined as information collected or used in generating research conclusions. The research report and the data collected should contain sufficient detail and reference to public sources of information to permit a trained professional to reproduce the experimental observations.

2. When requested, the authors should make every reasonable effort to provide data, methods to other researchers. Authors are encouraged to submit their data to a public database, where available.

3. An author should cite those publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work and that will guide the reader quickly to the earlier work that is essential for understanding the present investigation. Except in a review, citation of work that will not be referred to in the reported research should be minimized. An author is obligated to perform a literature search to find, and then cite, the original publications that describe closely related work.

4. Fragmentation of research reports should be avoided. A scientist who has done extensive work on a system or group of related systems should organize publication so that each report gives a well-rounded account of a particular aspect of the general study. Fragmentation consumes journal space excessively and unduly complicates literature searches. The convenience of readers is served if reports on related studies are published in the same journal, or in a small number of journals.

5. In submitting a manuscript for publication, an author should inform the editor of related manuscripts that the author has under editorial consideration or in press. Copies of those manuscripts should be supplied to the editor, and the relationships of such manuscripts to the one submitted should be indicated.

6. It is improper for an author to submit manuscripts describing essentially the same research to more than one journal of primary publication, unless it is a resubmission of a manuscript rejected for or withdrawn from publication. It is generally permissible to submit a manuscript for a full paper expanding on a previously published brief preliminary account (a "communication" or "letter") of the same work. However, at the time of submission, the editor should be made aware of the earlier communication, and the preliminary communication should be cited in the manuscript.

7. An author should identify the source of all information quoted or offered, except that which is common knowledge. Information obtained privately, as in conversation, correspondence, or discussion with third parties, should not be used or reported in the author's work without explicit permission from the investigator with whom the information originated. Information obtained in the course of confidential services, such as refereeing manuscripts or grant applications, should be treated similarly.

8. An experimental or theoretical study may sometimes justify criticism, even severe criticism, of the work of another scientist. When appropriate, such criticism may be offered in published papers. However, in no case is personal criticism considered to be appropriate.

9. The co-authors of a paper should be all those persons who have made significant scientific contributions to the work reported and who share responsibility and accountability for the results. Authors should appropriately recognize the contributions of technical staff and data professionals. Other contributions should be indicated in a footnote or an "Acknowledgments" section. An administrative relationship to the investigation does not of itself qualify a person for co-authorship (but occasionally it may be appropriate to acknowledge major administrative assistance). Deceased persons who meet the criterion for inclusion as co-authors should be so included, with a footnote reporting date of death. No fictitious name should be listed as an author or coauthor. The author who submits a manuscript for publication accepts the responsibility of having included as co-authors all persons appropriate and none inappropriate. The submitting author should have sent each living co-author a draft copy of the manuscript and have obtained the co-author's assent to co-authorship of it.

10. The corresponding author must reveal to the editor and to the readers of the journal any potential and/or relevant competing financial or other interest (of all authors) that might be affected by publication of the results contained in the authors' manuscript. Conflicts of interest and sources of funding of the research reported must be clearly stated at the time of manuscript submission and will be included in the published article. The corresponding author must advise the editor at the time of submission either that there is no conflict of interest to declare, or should disclose potential conflicts of interest that will be acknowledged in the published article.

11. Plagiarism is not acceptable in the journal. Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit. Authors should not engage in plagiarism - verbatim or near-verbatim copying, or very close paraphrasing, of text or results from another's work. Authors should not engage in self-plagiarism (also known as duplicate publication) - unacceptably close replication of the author's own previously published text or results without acknowledgement of the source. If one or two identical sentences previously published by an author appear in a subsequent work by the same author, this is unlikely to be regarded as duplicate publication. Material quoted verbatim from the author's previously published work must be placed in quotation marks. In contrast, it is unacceptable for an author to include significant verbatim or near-verbatim portions of his/her own work, or to depict his/her previously published results or methodology as new, without acknowledging the source.

12. Images should be free from misleading manipulation. When images are included in an account of research performed or in the data collection as part of the research, an accurate description of how the images were generated and produced should be provided.

 

Ethical Obligations of Reviewers of Manuscripts

1. A reviewer should disclose real or perceived conflict of interests to the Editor before agreeing to write a review. Examples include, but are not restricted to, past (within the last 5 years) or current collaboration, personal friend, employer or employee, family relationship, institutional relationship, past or present graduate advisor or advisee, someone with whom the reviewer has had a past or on-going scientific controversy, or situations where the reviewer could stand to gain economically by publication or rejection of the manuscript. The Editor will decide if the conflict is severe enough to prevent the reviewer from writing a fair, objective review.

2. A reviewer should decline to review a manuscript if she/he feels technically unqualified, if a timely review can't be done, or if the manuscript is from a scientific competitor with whom the reviewer has had an acrimonious professional relationship, or a conflict of interest as defined above.

3. Reviewers should be encouraged, but not required, to sign reviews. The Editor will preserve anonymity of reviewers should a reviewer elect to remain anonymous.

4. Reviewers should treat the manuscript as confidential.

5. Reviewers should ask the Editor for permission to discuss the paper with others for specific advice, giving names and reasons for such consultation.

6. Reviewers should not pass the manuscript to another to carry out the review without permission from the Editor.

7. Reviewers should not use information, data, theories, or interpretations of the manuscript in their own work until that manuscript is in press or published unless the author has given permission to do so.

8. Reviewers should clearly support and justify the basis for their review analysis.

9. Reviewers should alert the Editor to similar manuscripts published or under consideration for publication elsewhere in the event they are aware of such. However, it is the responsibility of the Editor, not the reviewer, to decide on the proper course of action once so informed.