Our journals follow the guidelines as set out in the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) on handling potential conflicts of interest of editors, authors, and reviewers. Submissions from editors or members of the editorial board are assigned to other unrelated editors or editorial board members to ensure unbiased reviews and decisions. Editors-in-chief or handling editors, with the assistance of editorial board, are fully responsible for the peer-review process, decisions, and selection of articles. Some of the issues or information described here may already be present in the "Instructions for Authors" page of each journal.
Editors and editorial board members are expected to be aware of, and comply with, the guidelines set up by Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) for the best practice in publication ethics. Editorial board members should be aware of their roles and responsibilities in the journals.
Our journals follow the COPE guidelines in dealing with cases of potential publication misconduct.
Reports of publication misconduct can be sent to the chief editors of the journal directly or to editorial office by email or by completing a feedback form, as indicated in journal's "Contact us" page.
Ethical issues, complaints, or allegations of research misconduct or complaints, either reported by anonymous or by non-anonymous individuals, are handled very seriously and investigations are carried out by the editors, editors-in-chief, and/or editorial office. The editors/editorial office reserve the right to contact authors' universities and institutions for investigation and verification. Depending on the nature of the misconducts after investigation, actions may be taken including rejection, withdrawal, issuance of a correction or expression of concern, or retraction of the article, according to COPE guidelines.
There is a zero-tolerance policy towards plagiarism (including self-plagiarism) in our journals. Manuscripts are screened for plagiarism before or during publication, and if found they are rejected at any stage of processing. We use Crossref Similarity Check by iThenticate for plagiarism screening of manuscripts for publication.
Our journal is fully open-access with articles freely available in the journal website including PDF, xml, and supplementary materials if applicable. All published articles of our journal are permanently archived by PubMed Central of US National Library of Medicine and Europe PMC. Authors are also encouraged to self-archive the published articles in their own or institutional websites as well as governmental websites, library websites, without permissions required.
Data deposit: Authors are expected to deposit any data and related metadata arising from the research in an appropriate public repository (for example, GenBank for gene sequences), if they are not already provided as part of the submitted manuscript or in its supplementary materials.
Experimental research involving human or animals should have been approved by author's institutional review board or ethics committee. This information should be mentioned in the manuscript including the name of the board/committee that gave the approval. Investigations involving humans will have been performed in accordance with the principles of Declaration of Helsinki. And the use of animals in experiments will have observed the Interdisciplinary Principles and Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Research, Testing, and Education by the New York Academy of Sciences, Ad Hoc Animal Research Committee.
For research involving human subjects: informed consent from each patient or participant should be obtained. Patient or participant's identities and privacy must be fully protected in the manuscript. Please follow the guidelines from ICMJE on Protection of Research Participants. The information of whether informed consent has been obtained should be written in the manuscript, either in the Methods section, Acknowledgement, or in a separate section. If informed consent was obtained orally only or not obtained, the authors must clearly explain the reasons with a statement in the manuscript and this should have been approved by author's institutional review board or ethics committee.
Conflict of interests (also called "competing interest") that might interfere with the objective presentation of the research findings contained in the manuscript should be declared in a paragraph heading "Competing interests" (after Acknowledgment section and before References).
According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors: Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership or options, honoraria, patents, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable, the ones most often judged to represent potential conflicts of interest and thus the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself. Other interests may also represent or be perceived as conflicts, such as personal relationships or rivalries, academic competition, and intellectual beliefs. Authors should avoid entering in to agreements with study sponsors, both for-profit and non-profit, that interfere with authors’ access to all of the study’s data or that interfere with their ability to analyze and interpret the data and to prepare and publish manuscripts independently when and where they choose. Policies that dictate where authors may publish their work violate this principle of academic freedom. Authors may be required to provide the journal with the agreements in confidence.
Authors should fully disclose their conflicts of interest. If there is no conflict of interest, please use the statement "The authors have declared that no competing interest exists".