Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement
The submission of a manuscript having multiple authors constitutes a representation that all listed authors concur with the submission and approved the final version. The authors are expected to present experimental results accurately. Evidence or allegations of violations of the standard norms for publishing original research — such as publication without approval of all authors, plagiarism, republication of data used previously without acknowledgment, and inappropriate image manipulation — will be investigated. In case of any potential hazards to the animals such as invasive sampling and so on, we require that authors submitting a paper provide the date, approval number, or code and or name of the approving committee on research work submitted to the SRLS. Any experiments involving animals must be demonstrated to be ethically acceptable and where relevant conform to national guidelines for animal usage in research (please refer to the journal conditions for animal research for further information). Please read the following details on different parts of publication ethics and malpractice statement.
Animal rights policies
Authors submitting manuscripts to the Scientific Reports in Life Sciences (SRLS) must state that the protocol for the research project has been approved by a suitably constituted Ethics Committee of the institution within which the work was undertaken and that it conforms to the provisions of the internationally-accepted standards. SRLS retains the right to reject any manuscript on the basis of unethical conduct of animal studies without presenting certificates. All investigations on wildlife (animals in general) must include a statement that the subject gave informed consent. Authors must obtain a written, signed approval from the local or national authorities responsible for biodiversity conservation or their Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and submit a copy of the document to the SRLS Editorial Office. This information should be reported in the manuscript. As a journal that follows the Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments (ARRIVE) guidelines, developed by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), it is expected of authors, reviewers and editors that they follow the best-practice guidelines on ethical behavior contained therein. SRLS emphasis that studies involving animals must be conducted according to internationally-accepted standards and authors must obtain prior certificates from their Institutional Animal Welfare and get necessary equivalent ethics committee(s) permission before starting their researches.
Duties of Editors
Editors of SRLS will be asked to evaluate submitted papers only based on their academic merit (importance, originality, study’s validity, clarity) and its relevance to the SRLS’s scope, without regard to the authors’ race, sexual orientation gender, ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, political philosophy or institutional, affiliation. Decisions to edit and publish are not determined by the policies of governments or any other agencies outside of the journal itself. The Editor-in-Chief has full authority over the entire editorial content of the journal and the timing of publication of that content. Editors and editorial staff will not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, and the publisher, as appropriate.
Conflicts of interest
Authors who submit their papers to SRLS must disclose all sources of institutional, private and corporate financial support for their study. If no funding has been available other than that of the author's institution, this should be specified upon submission. The authors are also required to disclose any potential conflict of interest. These include financial interests (for example patent, ownership, stock ownership, consultancies, speaker's fee) or provision of study materials by their manufacturer for free or at a discount from current rates. Anyway, at the time of submission, authors must state what competing interests are relevant to the submitted research. Names of all funding sources, funder’s role in the study process from defining the research question to the final paper submission should be mentioned. In case of any conflict of interests, as soon as assigning a paper to the editors and reviewers, they kindly asked to declare their own competing interests and declare their unsuitable involvement in the assessment of a manuscript if necessary. Working at the same institution or organization as an author, currently or recently, being coauthors in the already published resources or future unpublished works, having a personal relationship and so on.
Editors and editorial board members will not use unpublished information disclosed in a submitted manuscript for their own research purposes without the authors’ explicit written consent. Privileged information or ideas obtained by editors as a result of handling the manuscript will be kept confidential and not used for their personal advantage. Editors will recuse themselves from considering manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships/connections with any of the authors, companies or institutions connected to the papers; instead, they will ask another member of the editorial board to handle the manuscript.
The editors ensure that all submitted manuscripts being considered for publication to undergo a double-blind peer-review process by at least two reviewers who are experts in the field. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for deciding which of the manuscripts submitted to the journal will be published, based on the validation of the work in question, its importance to researchers and readers, the reviewers’ comments, and such legal requirements as are currently in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism. The Editor-in-Chief may consult with other editors or reviewers in making this decision.
Contribution to editorial decisions
Peer review assists editors in making editorial decisions and, through editorial communications with authors, may assist authors in improving their manuscripts. Peer review is an essential component of formal scholarly communication and lies at the heart of the scientific endeavor. Any invited referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should immediately notify the editors and decline the invitation to review so that alternative reviewers can be contacted.
Any manuscripts received for review are confidential documents and must be treated as such; they must not be shown to or discussed with others except if authorized by the Editor-in-Chief (who would only do so under exceptional and specific circumstances). This applies also to invited reviewers who decline the review invitation.
Standards of objectivity
Reviews should be conducted objectively and observations formulated clearly with supporting arguments so that authors can use them for improving the manuscript. Personal criticism of the authors is inappropriate.
Acknowledgment of sources
Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that is an observation, derivation, or argument that has been reported in previous publications should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also notify the editors of any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other manuscript (published or unpublished) of which they have personal knowledge.
Disclosure and conflicts of interest
Any invited referee who has conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the manuscript and the work described therein should immediately notify the editors to declare their conflicts of interest and decline the invitation to review so that alternative reviewers can be contacted.
Unpublished material disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer’s own research without the express written consent of the authors. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for the reviewer’s personal advantage. This applies also to invited reviewers who decline the review invitation.
Reporting standards and proper citations
Authors of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed and the results, followed by an objective discussion of the significance of the work. The manuscript should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others 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 access and retention
Authors may be asked to provide the raw data of their study together with the manuscript for editorial review and should be prepared to make the data publicly available if practicable. In any event, authors should ensure accessibility of such data to other competent professionals for at least 10 years after publication (preferably via an institutional or subject-based data repository or other data center), provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected and legal rights concerning proprietary data do not preclude their release.
Originality and plagiarism
SRLS uses software to screen for plagiarism such as http://crosscheck.scitech.info/. Authors should ensure that they have written and submit only entirely original works, and if they have used the work and/or words of others, that this has been appropriately cited. Publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the work reported in the manuscript should also be cited. Plagiarism takes many forms, from "passing off" another's paper as the author's own, 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 publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Proper acknowledgments to other works must be given (this includes material that is closely copied, summarized, and/or paraphrased), quotation marks are used for verbatim copying of material, and permissions are secured for material that is copyrighted. Authors should provide transparency on the reuse of previously published material to avoid self-plagiarism. Scientific Reports in Life Sciences follows the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines. As such, this journal follows the COPE Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and the Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers.
Duplicate, redundant or concurrent submission/publication
Papers describing essentially the same research should not be published in more than one journal or primary publication. Hence, authors should not submit for consideration a manuscript that has already been published in another journal. Submission of a manuscript concurrently to more than one journal is unethical publishing behavior and unacceptable. The publication of some kinds of articles (such as clinical guidelines, translations) in more than one journal is sometimes justifiable, provided that 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.
Only persons who meet these authorship criteria should be listed as authors in the manuscript as they must be able to take public responsibility for the content: (i) made significant contributions to the conception, design, execution, data acquisition, or analysis/interpretation of the study; and (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. All persons who made substantial contributions to the work reported in the manuscript (such as technical help, writing and editing assistance, general support) but who do not meet the criteria for authorship must not be listed as an author, but should be acknowledged in the "Acknowledgements" section after their written permission to be named as been obtained. The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate coauthors (according to the above definition) and no inappropriate co-authors are included in the author list and verify that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the manuscript and agreed to its submission for publication.
Conflicts of interest
Authors should—at the earliest stage possible (generally by submitting a disclosure form at the time of submission and including a statement in the manuscript)—disclose any conflicts of interest that might be construed to influence the results or their interpretation in the manuscript. Examples of 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 ones 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 disclosed (including the grant number or other reference number if any).
Acknowledgment of sources and citations
Authors should ensure that they have properly acknowledged the work of others, and should also cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work. Information obtained privately (from the conversation, correspondence or discussion with third parties) must not be used or reported without explicit, written permission from the source. Authors should not use information obtained in the course of providing confidential services, such as refereeing manuscripts or grant applications unless they have obtained the explicit written permission of the author(s) of the work involved in these services.
Experiments on human or animal subjects
If the work involves chemicals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use, the authors must clearly identify these in the manuscript. If the work involves the use of animals or human participants, the authors should ensure that all procedures were performed in compliance with relevant laws and institutional guidelines and that the appropriate institutional committee(s) has approved them; the manuscript should contain a statement to this effect. 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 process
Authors are obliged to participate in the peer-review process and cooperate fully by responding promptly to editors’ requests for raw data, clarifications, and proof of ethics approval, patient consents, and copyright permissions. In the case of a first decision of "Minor or Major revisions", authors should respond to the reviewers’ comments systematically, point by point, and in a timely manner, revising and re-submitting their manuscript to the journal by the deadline given. If authors don’t respond in due time to the journal notifications or don’t explain their delay in sending the manuscript revised version, SRLS will remove the submitted paper and no more papers will be accepted from the corresponding author in the future.
Fundamental errors in published works
When authors discover significant errors or inaccuracies in their own published work, it is their obligation to promptly notify the journal’s editors or publishers and cooperate with them to either correct the paper in the form of an erratum or to retract the paper. If the editors or publisher learns from a third party that a published work contains a significant error or inaccuracy, then it is the authors’ obligation to promptly correct or retract the paper or provide evidence to the journal editors of the correctness of the paper
Handling of unethical publishing behavior
In cases of any scientific misconduct, plagiarism or fraudulent publication in any time, the publisher, will take all appropriate measures to clarify the situation and to amend the article in question. This includes the prompt publication of an erratum, clarification or, in the most severe case, the retraction of the affected work. The publisher, together with the editors, shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, and under no circumstances encourage such misconduct or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place. Publishers will take responsive measures when ethical concerns are raised with regard to a submitted manuscript or published paper. Every reported act of unethical publishing behavior will be looked into, even if it is discovered years after publication. If on the investigation, the ethical concern is well-founded, a correction, retraction, expression of concern or other note as may be relevant, will be published in the journal.
Copyright and License
As a completely open-access journal, SRLS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to the works we publish (https://creativecommons.org/). This license was developed to facilitate open access – namely, free immediate access to, and unrestricted reuse of, original works of all types. Under this license, authors agree to make articles legally available for reuse, without permission or fees, for virtually any purpose. Anyone may copy, distribute, or reuse these articles, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) after publication in SRLS, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as greater citation of published work.