Authors of reports 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 behaviour and are unacceptable.
Review and professional publication articles should also be accurate and objective, and editorial ‘opinion’ works should be clearly identified as such.
Data Access and Retention
Authors may be asked to provide the research data supporting their paper for editorial review and/or to comply with the open data requirements. 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.
Originality and Acknowledgement of Sources
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.
Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Authors should cite publications that have influenced the reported work and that give the work appropriate context within the larger scholarly record. Information obtained privately, as in conversation, correspondence, or discussion with third parties, must not be used or reported without explicit, written permission from the source.
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 behaviour and is unacceptable.
Multiple, Redundant or Concurrent Publication
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 behaviour and is unacceptable.
In general, an author should not submit for consideration in another journal a paper that has been published previously, except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis or as an electronic preprint.
Publication of some kinds of articles in more than one journal is sometimes justifiable, provided 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.
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 of the Paper
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 recognised 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.
Hazards and Human or Animal Subjects
If the work involves chemicals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use, the author must clearly identify these in the manuscript.
If the work involves the use of animal or human subjects, the author should ensure that the manuscript contains a statement that all procedures were performed in compliance with relevant laws and institutional guidelines and that the appropriate institutional committee(s) have approved them. Authors should include a statement in the manuscript that informed consent was obtained for experimentation with human subjects. The privacy rights of human subjects must always be observed.
Appropriate consents, permissions and releases must be obtained where an author wishes to include case details or other personal information or images of patients and any other individuals in an publication. Written consents must be retained by the author and copies of the consents or evidence that such consents have been obtained must be provided on request.
Declaration of Competing Interests
All authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial and personal relationships with other people or organisations that could be viewed as inappropriately influencing (bias) their work.
All sources of financial support for the conduct of the research and/or preparation of the article should be disclosed, as should the role of the sponsor(s), if any, in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication. If the funding source(s) had no such involvement then this should be stated.
Examples of potential conflicts of interest which should be disclosed include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations, and grants or other funding. Potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed at the earliest possible stage.
Notification of Fundamental Errors
When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in their own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the 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.
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, e.g. providing the original images as supplementary material with the article, or depositing these in a suitable repository.
Use of inclusive language
Inclusive language acknowledges diversity, conveys respect to all people, is sensitive to differences, and promotes equal opportunities. Articles should make no assumptions about the beliefs or commitments of any reader, should contain nothing which might imply that one individual is superior to another on the grounds of race, sex, culture or any other characteristic, and should use inclusive language throughout. Authors should ensure that writing is free from bias, for instance by using 'he or she', 'his/her' instead of 'he' or 'his', and by making use of job titles that are free of stereotyping (e.g. 'chairperson' instead of 'chairman' and 'flight attendant' instead of 'stewardess').
For transparency, we encourage authors to submit an author statement file outlining their individual contributions to the paper using the relevant CRediT roles. Authorship statements should be formatted with the names of authors first and CRediT role(s) following. CRediT offers authors the opportunity to share an accurate and detailed description of their diverse contributions to the published work.
CRediT statements should be provided during the submission process and will appear above the acknowledgement section of the published paper as shown further below.
Term / Definition
Conceptualization - Ideas; formulation or evolution of overarching research goals and aims.
Methodology - Development or design of methodology; creation of models.
Software- Programming, software development; designing computer programs; implementation of the computer code and supporting algorithms; testing of existing code components.
Validation - Verification, whether as a part of the activity or separate, of the overall replication/ reproducibility of results/experiments and other research outputs.
Formal analysis - Application of statistical, mathematical, computational, or other formal techniques to analyze or synthesize study data.
Investigation - Conducting a research and investigation process, specifically performing the experiments, or data/evidence collection.
Resources - Provision of study materials, reagents, materials, patients, laboratory samples, animals, instrumentation, computing resources, or other analysis tools.
Data Curation - Management activities to annotate (produce metadata), scrub data and maintain research data (including software code, where it is necessary for interpreting the data itself) for initial use and later reuse.
Writing Original Draft - Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically writing the initial draft (including substantive translation).
Writing Review & Editing - Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work by those from the original research group, specifically critical review, commentary or revision – including pre-or postpublication stages.
Visualization - Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically visualization/ data presentation.
Supervision - Oversight and leadership responsibility for the research activity planning and execution, including mentorship external to the core team.
Project administration - Management and coordination responsibility for the research activity planning and execution.
Funding acquisition - Acquisition of the financial support for the project leading to this publication.
Copyright / Online license transfer
We use CC BY-NC-ND licence agreement.
As author (s) of the article / contribution I (we) hereby agree to the following: