We encourage the best standards of publication ethics, in accordance with guidelines of the COPE – Committee on Publication Ethics, and take all possible measures against publication malpractices. The integrity of the content published is an essential point and should be ensured during the review and the edition processes and when publishing papers. To that purpose, all the actors involved i.e. authors, reviewers, members of the editorial team and editors are expected to fully adhere to our policy regarding publication ethics and malpractice and respect the rules described below.
The journal does not consider contributions under consideration or published elsewhere. All manuscripts undergo the anti-plagiarism procedure using special software. Unethical practices (e.g. ghostwriting, guest authorship or plagiarism) are not accepted. If appropriate, funding acknowledgements should be always added. Publishing in the journal is based on the non-exclusive license agreement, signed with authors of approved articles.
Guest authorship has been defined as authorship based solely on an expectation that the inclusion of a particular name will improve the chances that the study will be published or increase the perceived status of the publication. The “guest” author makes no discernible contributions to the study, so this person meets none of the criteria for authorship.
Honorary or gift authorship. Honorary or gift authorship has been defined as authorship based solely on a tenuous affiliation with a study. A salient example would be “authorship” based on one’s position as the head of a department in which the study took place.
Ghost authorship Ghost authors participate in the research, data analysis, and/or writing of a manuscript but are not named or disclosed in the author byline or Acknowledgments. Examples of ghost authors include undisclosed contributors who are marketing and public relations writers, and junior staff writing for elected or appointed officials. Any person who makes a substantial contribution to a manuscript should be listed in the author byline, if appropriate, or in the Acknowledgments, along with the individuals’ institutional affiliations, if relevant.
Anonymous Authorship Because authorship should be transparent and requires public accountability, it is not appropriate to use pseudonyms or to publish scientific reports anonymously. In extremely rare cases, when the author can make a credible claim that attaching his or her name to the document could cause serious hardship (e.g., a threat to personal safety or loss of employment), a journal editor may decide to publish anonymous content.
Piracy is defined as the unauthorized reproduction or use of ideas, data, or methods from others without adequate permission or acknowledgement. Deceit plays a central role in this form of misconduct. The intent of the perpetrator is the untruthful portrayal of the ideas or methods as his or her own.
Plagiarism is a form of piracy that involves the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language (figures images or tables) and thoughts of others and the representation of them as one’s own original work without permission or acknowledgement by the author of the source of these materials. Plagiarism generally involves the use of materials from others but can apply to researchers’ duplication of their own previously published reports without acknowledgement (this is sometimes called self-plagiarism or duplicate publication).
The procedure in the case of the malpractice suspicion
Every party can report notification about possible publishing and/or research malpractice or misconduct, as well as piracy and plagiarism (also anonymously although it excludes the possibility of explanations). If the notification refers to the article under the review, the review procedure is suspended. The reviewer is informed about the suspension. All notifications about ethic issues, research misconduct or research/publishing malpractices are considered by the journal’s Editorial Board. The investigation includes analysis of the notification, verification of the validity of the accusation, request for detailing (if necessary), informing the author about accusations against his or her work, analysis of the received explanation, and, if justified, reporting the malpractice to the relevant institutions or bodies. These include: direct supervisor of the author, head of the department/institution, ethical board appropriate for the specific discipline, the sponsor or funding body.
Identification of authors and other contributors is the responsibility of the people who did the work (the researchers) not the people who publish the work (editors, publishers). Researchers should determine which individuals have contributed sufficiently to the work to warrant identification as an author. Individuals who contributed to the work but whose contributions were not of sufficient magnitude to warrant authorship should be identified by name in an acknowledgements section. All individuals who qualify for authorship or acknowledgement should be identified. Conversely, every person identified as an author or acknowledged contributor should qualify for these roles. Individuals listed as authors should review and approve the manuscript before publication. The ultimate reason for the identification of authors and other contributors is to establish accountability for the reported work. The authors are obliged to respond to editorial reviews/comments and are responsible to obtain all rights to the materials used in their article.