Ethical guidelines

Author’s Responsibilities

Authors should present a precise and brief report of their research followed by an impartial description of its significance. Manuscripts should contain sufficient detail and references to permit readers to replicate the work. Review articles should be accurate, objective, and comprehensive, while editorial “opinion” or perspective pieces should be clearly identified as such. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.

Data and reproducibility

Authors should gather and interpret their research data honestly. Publishers, editors, and reviewers are entitled to request from the author the raw data for the study for convenience of editorial review and public access if practicable. Authors should retain such data for at least 10 years for any possible use after publication (preferably via an institutional or subject-based data repository or other data centre), provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected and legal rights concerning proprietary data do not preclude their release.

Originality and plagiarism

Authors should guarantee that the works they have submitted are original. If the author has used work and/or words by others, appropriate citations are required. Publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the work reported in the manuscript should also be cited. Plagiarism in all its forms (“passing off” another’s paper as the author’s own, copying or paraphrasing substantial parts of another’s paper without attribution, claiming results from research conducted by others, etc.) constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.

Concurrent submission and secondary publication

Submission of a manuscript concurrently to more than one journal is unethical publishing behaviour and unacceptable. Authors should not submit concurrent manuscripts (or manuscripts essentially describing the same subject matter) to multiple journals. Likewise, authors should not submit any paper previously published anywhere to the journals for consideration.

The publication of articles on specific subject matter, such as clinical guidelines and translations, in more than one journal is acceptable if certain conditions are met. The authors and editors of the journals concerned must agree to the secondary publication, which must reflect the same data and interpretation of the primary document. The primary reference must be cited in the secondary publication.

Authorship and contributor ship

Authors must be able to take public responsibility for the content. Only persons who meet the following authorship criteria should be listed as authors in the manuscript: those who (i) made significant contributions to the conception, design, execution, data acquisition, or analysis/interpretation of the study; (ii) drafted the manuscript or revised it critically for important intellectual content; and (iii) have seen and approved the final version of the paper and agreed to its submission for publication.

The persons who made substantial contributions to the work reported in the manuscript (such as technical help, writing and editing assistance, and general support) but who do not meet the criteria for authorship must not be listed as authors but should be acknowledged in the “Acknowledgements” section after their written permission to be named has been obtained.

Corresponding authors should ensure that the author list is appropriately determined according to the above definition and that all coauthors have approved the final version of the manuscript and its submission for publication.

Conflicts of interest and disclosure

Authors should include a statement to disclose any conflicts of interest that might be construed to influence the results or their interpretation on the first stage of the paper submission. The potential conflicts of interest that should be disclosed include financial ones, such as honoraria, educational grants, or other funding; participation in speakers’ bureaus, membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and paid expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements, as well as non-financial conflicts of interest, such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge, or beliefs in the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript. All sources of financial support for the work should be clearly stated (including the grant number or other reference number if any).

Acknowledgement of sources

If the author has used work and/or words by others that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work, appropriate acknowledgement and citations are required. Information obtained privately (from conversation, correspondence, or discussion with third parties) must not be used or reported without explicit, written permission from the source. Information obtained in the course of providing confidential services, such as refereeing manuscripts or grant applications, should not be used unless the explicit written permission of the author(s) of the work involved in these services has been obtained.

Hazards and human or animal subjects

If the work involves chemicals, procedures, or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use, the authors must state so clearly in the manuscript. If the work involves live subjects (human or animal), the authors should ensure that all procedures conform to relevant laws and institutional guidelines. The manuscript should contain a statement that the appropriate institutional committee(s) has approved it. Authors should also include a statement in the manuscript that informed consent was obtained for experimentation with human participants. The privacy rights of human participants must always be observed.

Peer review

Authors have a duty to take part in the peer review process and cooperate actively by responding promptly to editors’ requests for raw data, clarifications, proof of ethics approval, patient consents, and copyright permissions. In the case of a decision of “revisions required,” authors should respond to the reviewers’ comments timely and systematically, point by point, revising and re-submitting the manuscript to the journal by the deadline given.

Correction or retraction of published works

Authors should promptly inform the journal editor or publisher of any obvious error(s) in their published paper and cooperate earnestly with the editor in the correction or retraction of the paper. If the editors or publisher learns from a third party that a published work contains an obvious error or inaccuracy, it is the obligation of the authors to promptly correct or retract the paper or provide evidence to the journal editors of the correctness of the paper.