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Publishing Ethics

Publishing Ethics

Publishing Ethics and Malpractice Statement

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.

Unacceptable authorship practices include:

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.


Authors responsibilities:

  • Reliability Authors are responsible for presenting their research in the article in a reliable, honest and outright manner, without fabricating or manipulating data, concealing significant facts or data, as well as a source of funding and authorship
  • Originality The authors should provide only original articles, not under consideration or published elsewhere, regardless of the language and the character of the publication, in whole or partly
  • Confidentiality The author-editor relationship is founded on confidentiality. Authors should hold all communication between themselves and the journal in confidence. Authors should designate a specific contact for all communication about the manuscript throughout peer review and (if accepted) the publication process

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.

Peer-reviewers responsibilities:

  • Providing written, unbiased feedback in a timely manner on the scholarly merits and the scientific value of the work, together with the documented basis for the reviewer’s opinion
  • Indicating whether the writing is clear, concise, and relevant and rating the work’s composition, scientific accuracy, originality, and interest to the journal’s readers
  • Avoiding personal comments or criticism
  • Maintaining the confidentiality of the review process: not sharing, discussing with third parties, or disclosing information from the reviewed paper
  • Ensuring that the methods are adequately detailed to allow the reader to judge the scientific merit of the study design and be able to replicate the study if desired
  • Ensuring that the article cites all relevant work by other scientists
  • Notifying the editor immediately if unable to review in a timely manner and providing the names of potential other reviewers
  • Alerting the editor about any potential personal or financial conflict of interest and declining to review when a possibility of a conflict exists
  • Complying with the editor’s written instructions on the journal’s expectations for the scope, content, and quality of the review
  • Providing a thoughtful, fair, constructive, and informative critique of the submitted work, which may include supplementary material provided to the journal by the author
  • Determining scientific merit, originality, and scope of the work; indicating ways to improve it; and recommending acceptance or rejection using whatever rating scale the editor deems most useful
  • Noting any ethical concerns, such as the substantial similarity between the reviewed manuscript and any published paper or any manuscript concurrently submitted to another journal that may be known to the reviewer
  • Refraining from direct author contact


Editor (and, if applicable, Scientific Board members) responsibilities:

  • Providing guidelines to authors for preparing and submitting manuscripts
  • Treating all authors with fairness, courtesy, objectivity, honesty, and transparency
  • Establishing and defining policies on conflicts of interest for all involved in the publication process, including editors, staff authors, and reviewers
  • Conducting the investigations when notified about malpractice and/or misconduct
  • Informing appropriate institutions about justified malpractice suspicion
  • Protecting the confidentiality of every author’s work
  • Establishing a system for effective and rapid peer review
  • Making editorial decisions with reasonable speed and communicating them in a clear and constructive manner
  • Being vigilant in avoiding the possibility of editors and/or referees delaying a manuscript for suspect reasons
  • Establishing clear guidelines for authors regarding acceptable practices for publication of articles, particularly those required to replicate the research, before and after publication
  • Establishing a procedure for reconsidering editorial decisions
  • Describing, implementing, and regularly reviewing policies for handling ethical issues and allegations or findings of misconduct by authors and anyone involved in the peer-review process
  • Informing authors of solicited manuscripts that the submission will be evaluated according to the journal’s standard procedures or outlining the decision-making process if it differs from those procedures
  • Developing mechanisms, in cooperation with the publisher, to ensure timely publication of accepted manuscripts
  • Clearly communicating all other editorial policies and standards
  • Assigning papers for review appropriate to each reviewer’s area of interest and expertise
  • Establishing a process for reviewers to ensure that they treat the manuscript as a confidential document and complete the review promptly
  • Informing reviewers that they are not allowed to make any use of the work described in the manuscript or to take advantage of the knowledge they gained by reviewing it before publication
  • Providing reviewers with written, explicit instructions on the journal’s expectations for the scope, content, quality, and timeliness of their reviews to promote thoughtful, fair, constructive, and informative critique of the submitted work
  • Requesting that reviewers identify any potential conflicts of interest and asking that they recuse themselves if they cannot provide an unbiased review
  • Allowing reviewers appropriate time to complete their reviews