Publication Ethics

Allegations of misconduct

Definitions of Misconduct

Deception may be deliberate, by reckless disregard of possible consequences, or by ignorance. Since the underlying goal of misconduct is to deliberately deceive others as to the truth, the journal’s preliminary investigation of potential misconduct must take into account not only the particular act or omission but also the apparent intention (as best it can be determined) of the person involved. Misconduct does not include unintentional errors. The most common forms of scientific misconduct include:

  • Falsification of data: ranges from fabrication to deceptive selective reporting of findings and omission of conflicting data, or willful suppression and/or distortion of data.
  • Plagiarism: The appropriation of the language, ideas, or thoughts of another without crediting their true source, and representation of them as one’s original work (see prior section).
  • Improprieties of authorship: Improper assignment of credit, such as excluding others, misrepresentation of the same material as original in more than one publication, the inclusion of individuals as authors who have not contributed to the work published; or submission of multi-authored publications without the concurrence of all authors.
  • Misappropriation of the ideas of others: An important aspect of scholarly activity is the exchange of ideas among colleagues. Scholars can acquire novel ideas from others during the process of reviewing grant applications and manuscripts. However, improper use of such information can constitute fraud. Wholesale appropriation of such material constitutes misconduct.
  • Violation of generally accepted research practices: Serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing or carrying out research, improper manipulation of experiments to obtain biased results, deceptive statistical or analytical manipulations, or improper reporting of results.
  • Material failure to comply with legislative and regulatory requirements affecting research: Including but not limited to serious or substantial, repeated, willful violations of applicable local regulations and law involving the use of funds, care of animals, human subjects, investigational drugs, recombinant products, new devices, or radioactive, biologic, or chemical materials.
  • Inappropriate behaviour about misconduct: this includes unfounded or knowingly false accusations of misconduct, failure to report known or suspected misconduct, withholding or destruction of information relevant to a claim of misconduct, and retaliation against persons involved in the allegation or investigation. This includes qualifications, experience, or research accomplishments to advance the research program, to obtain external funding, or for other professional advancements.

Responses to Possible Misconduct

A committee consisting of the editor-in-chief and editorial board members, as determined by the editor-in-chief, who has specific expertise in the area being investigated, will investigate misconduct allegations. The suitable actions were taken based on the recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

The journal follows the policies and guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and abides by its Code of Conduct in dealing with potential cases of misconduct.


Allegations of misconduct

The editorial board will incessantly work towards observing publication misconduct such as redundant (duplicate) publication, plagiarism, fraudulent or fabricated data, changes in authorship, undisclosed conflict of interest, ethical problems with a submitted manuscript, a reviewer who has appropriated an author’s idea or data, complaints against editors, etc. When the journal faces suspected cases of research and publication misconduct, the resolving process will be followed by guidelines provided by the "Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)". The complete guidelines appear on the COPE website:


Dealing with possible misconduct

  • Editors should follow the COPE flowcharts where applicable.
  • Editors must act if they suspect misconduct or if an allegation of misconduct is brought to them. This duty extends to both published and unpublished papers.
  • Editors should not simply reject papers that raise concerns about possible misconduct. They are ethically obliged to pursue alleged cases.
  • Editors should first seek a response from those suspected of misconduct. If they are not satisfied with the response, they should ask the relevant employers, institution, or some appropriate body (perhaps a regulatory body or national research integrity organization) to investigate.
  • Editors should make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a proper investigation into alleged misconduct is conducted; if this does not happen, editors should make all reasonable attempts to persist in obtaining a resolution to the problem. This is an onerous but important duty.





Appeals process

The journal follows the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines on appeals.

The journal welcomes genuine appeals to editor decisions. However, the corresponding author will need to provide strong evidence or new data/information in response to the editor’s and reviewers’ comments. For scholarly articles of an opinion nature, an appeal is less likely to overturn an editor’s decision. These include viewpoints, commentaries, and book reviews, where editorial judgment about readability and relevance weighs most heavily. In any case, all opinion-led articles should be evidence-based and fully referenced.

For opinion-led articles, the corresponding author should always present the evidence and explain how it led to form the opinion. Editors don’t expect frequent appeals and they rarely reverse their original decisions. Therefore, if the corresponding author received a decision to reject a manuscript, the journal strongly advises that the manuscript to submitted to another journal. The decision to reject a manuscript for publication will often involve the editor’s judgment of priority/importance. These are things which authors usually cannot address through an appeal.


Complaints process

The authors have the right to complain and ask explanation if they perceive any misconduct in any applicable policies and ethical guidelines. The authors can raise their complaints by submitting a letter to: We follow the COPE guidelines on responding to whistleblowers, which includes protecting anonymity. All the complaints regarding delinquencies in the work processes are investigated according to the prevailing publication ethics practices. An author or any other scholar may submit their complaints about any issues related to:

- Authorship issues;

- Bias in the review process;

- Copyright violation;

- Deceiving in research results or wrong research results;

- Manuscript processing time is unusually late;

- Plagiarism;

- The peer-review comments are unsatisfactory;

- Unrevealed conflicts of interest; and  

- Violations of research ethics and integrity.



Conflicts of interest


The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) states in its Guidelines on Good Publication Practice (2003) that:

‘Conflicts of interest arise when authors, reviewers, or editors have interests that are not fully apparent and that may influence their judgments on what is published. They have been described as those which, when revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived.’

the journal defines a conflict of interest as arising from any relationship authors, reviewers or editors have which interferes with, or could reasonably be perceived as interfering with, the full and objective presentation, peer review, editorial decision-making, or publication of a manuscript. Conflicts of interest can be financial or non-financial, professional or personal, and can arise about an organization or an individual. The journal Commits full disclosure by authors of all conflicts of interest relevant to a submitted manuscript, which is integral to the transparent reporting of research.

Sources of funding for reported research, as well as relevant commercial relationships of authors, represent special categories of potential financial conflicts of interest for which specific disclosures are expected by the scientific community and the public.


 Conflict of Interest: Obligations of Authors

Appropriate disclosures are made in three distinct sections of a manuscript: Acknowledgements, Funding, and Disclosures. The distinctions between these sections are described below.

  • All sources of funding for the research reported, including direct and indirect financial support, supply of equipment or materials, in-kind support (e.g., optical design/manufacturing) and other support (such as specialist statistical or writing assistance) should be disclosed in the manuscript. Specific sources of government, foundation, or commercial grants or awards, including identifiers if available, should be listed in a separate Funding section for each author. Other sources of relevant research funding may be listed in an Acknowledgments section.
  • Authors should list in the Disclosures section any additional conflicts of interest, financial or non-financial, dealing with the subject matter of the manuscript that editors, reviewers or readers might reasonably expect to know or might otherwise affect the interpretation of the findings.
  • If there are no conflicts, the Disclosures section should include the following statement: "The authors declare no conflicts of interest."
  • It is the responsibility of the First or Corresponding Author to ensure that each Co-author is aware of this Policy and to ensure that all required funding and disclosure information is included for all authors.
  • Authors are expected to submit a Correction if a previously unrecognized conflict of interest is discovered after publication.


 Conflict of Interest: Obligations of Editors

  • Editors should disclose to the editor-in-chief any conflicts of interest, financial or non-financial, resulting from direct competitive, collaborative (within the past five years), or other relationships with any of the authors or organizations with interests in the paper, and avoid cases in which such conflicts preclude an objective evaluation. If in doubt, the editor is encouraged to consult with the editor-in-chief regarding the appropriate course of action.
  • If a manuscript competes with the research of an editor such that the editor feels s/he could not handle the paper objectively, or whose handling could be perceived as biased, the editor should decline responsibility for that manuscript. If in doubt, the editor is encouraged to consult with the editor-in-chief regarding the appropriate course of action.
  • Editors should take all disclosed conflicts of interest into account during the review process.
  • Editors should attempt to avoid reviewers who have known conflicts of interest that, in the editors' judgment, could interfere with an unbiased review.
  • Article submissions from editors are managed so that no details of the review process, other than those available to all authors, are accessible to the editor.


 Conflict of Interest: Obligations of Reviewers

  • Reviewers should disclose to the editor conflicts of interest, financial or non-financial, resulting from direct competitive, collaborative (within the past five years), or other relationships with any of the authors or organizations with interests in the paper, and avoid cases in which such conflicts preclude an objective evaluation. If in doubt, the reviewer is encouraged to consult with the editor regarding the appropriate course of action.


For more information, please see the following COPE guidelines regarding conflict of interest:

Authorship criteria

The journal adheres that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria:

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

The consent of all authors, as well as related authorities/institutions, has been received before the submission of the manuscript. The order of the authors (as to be reflected in the published article) has been established. The adding or deleting of authors once the manuscript has been accepted for publication would have to be accompanied by a signed statement of consent from all authors. All authors have contributed significantly to the research. Authors are obligated to participate in the peer review process, providing retractions/corrections/amendments when necessary. All conflicts of interest/financial support have been declared. Any changes or corrections to a published work require the consent of all authors.



Definition of Plagiarism:

"Plagiarism is the use of others’ published and unpublished ideas or words (or other intellectual property) without attribution or permission, and presenting them as new and original rather than derived from an existing source. The intent and effect of plagiarism are to mislead the reader as to the contributions of the plagiarizer. This applies whether the ideas or words are taken from abstracts, research grant applications, Institutional Review Board applications, or unpublished or published manuscripts in any publication format (print or electronic). Plagiarism is scientific misconduct and should be addressed as such. Self-plagiarism refers to the practice of an author using portions of their previous writings on the same topic in another of their publications, without specifically citing it formally in quotes. This practice is widespread and sometimes unintentional, as there are only so many ways to say the same thing on many occasions, particularly when writing the Methods section of an article. Although this usually violates the copyright that has been assigned to the publisher, there is no consensus as to whether this is a form of scientific misconduct, or how many of one’s own words one can use before it is truly "plagiarism." Probably, for this reason, self-plagiarism is not regarded in the same light as plagiarism of the ideas and words of other individuals. If journals have developed a policy on this matter, it should be clearly stated for authors." (WAME, 2020). Direct plagiarism is the plagiarism of the text. Mosaic plagiarism is the borrowing of ideas and opinions from a source and a few verbatim words or phrases without crediting the author. Plagiarism is committed when one author uses another work (typically the work of another author) without permission, credit, or acknowledgement. Plagiarism takes different forms, from literal copying to paraphrasing the work of another.

Authors can adhere to the following steps to report plagiarism:

  • Inform the editor of the journal where a plagiarized article is published.
  • Send original and plagiarized articles with plagiarized parts highlighted.
  • If evidence of plagiarism is convincing, the editor should arrange for a disciplinary meeting.
  • The editor of the journal where the plagiarized article should communicate with the editor of the journal containing the original article to rectify the matter.
  • The plagiarist should be asked to explain.
  • In case of nonresponse in the stipulated time or an unsatisfactory explanation, the article should be permanently retracted.
  • The author should be blacklisted and debarred for submitting an article to a particular journal for at least 5 years.
  • The concerned head of the institution has to be notified.

The author bears the responsibility for checking whether the material submitted is subject to copyright or ownership rights, e.g., figures, tables, photographs, illustrations, trade literature, and data. The author will need to obtain permission to reproduce any such items and include these permissions with their final submission. Where use is so restricted, the editorial office and Publisher must be informed of the final submission of the material. Please add any necessary acknowledgements to the typescript, preferably in the form of an Acknowledgments section at the end of the article. Credit the source and copyright of photographs, figures, illustrations, etc. in the supplementary captions.

Plagiarism is an act intentionally or unintentionally in obtaining or trying to obtain credit or value for scientific work, by quoting part or all of the work and/or scientific work of other parties that are recognized as scientific works, without expressing the source appropriately and adequately. Therefore, manuscripts must be original, never published, and not in the process of waiting for publication elsewhere. Material taken verbally from other sources needs to be identified so that it is different from the original text. If plagiarism is identified, the Editor-in-Chief is responsible for reviewing the manuscript and will approve the action according to the level of plagiarism detected, with the following guidelines.

Plagiarism Level

  1. Tracing a portion of a short sentence from another article without mentioning the source.
    Action: Authors are given warnings and requests to change the text and quote correctly.
    2. Tracing most of the other articles without the right quote and not mentioning the source.
    Actions: The submitted manuscript is rejected for publication in the journal and the Author can be sanctioned for not being allowed to publish in the journal.
  2. All manuscript writers are responsible for the content of manuscripts they submit to the journal. If the manuscript is classified as plagiarism, then all authors will be subject to the same action.
  3. If the author is proven to submit the manuscript to the journal by simultaneously sending it to another journal, and this overlap is found during the reviewer process or after publication, then the action according to point 2 above is given.
  4. If plagiarism is found outside the rules above, the editor of the journal has the right to give sanctions according to the editor’s team policy.
  5. In the case of multiple borrowing, Editorial Board acts according to the rules of COPE.

 There are several indicators of plagiarism that all authors must be aware of:

  • The most easily identifiable plagiarism is that of repeated content when an author copies another author’s work by reciting words, sentences, or paragraphs without citing sources. This plagiarism model can be easily identified by our plagiarism checker software.
  • The second type of plagiarism occurs when an author reproduces a substantial part of another writer’s work, without citing him/her. The term "reproducing substance" here can be understood as copying another’s ideas, both in terms of quantity and quality, which potentially eliminates the original author’s rights, in the context of intellectual property.
  • The third type of plagiarism is when an author takes ideas, words, or phrases in paraphrased sentences or paragraphs, without citing the source. This type of plagiarism often cannot be checked through plagiarism software, as it is idea-based. Yet, this practice becomes unethical when the author does not cite, nor acknowledge the source from the original writer.

Types of Plagiarism

We detect and consider the following types of plagiarism in the journal and ‎prevent them from being used:‎

Full Plagiarism: Previously published content without any changes to the text, idea, and grammar is considered as full plagiarism. It involves presenting exact text from a source as one’s own.

Partial Plagiarism: If the content is a mixture of multiple different sources, where the author has extensively rephrased text, then it is known as partial plagiarism.

Self-Plagiarism: When an author reuses complete or portions of their pre-published research, then it is known as self-plagiarism. Complete self-plagiarism is a case when an author republishes their own previously published work in a new journal. (Read the COPE guidelines on text recycling)

Self-plagiarism or Text Recycling Guidelines

(Based on COPE's guideline: Text recycling guidelines for editors)

Self-plagiarism, also referred to as ‘text recycling’, is a topical issue and is currently generating much discussion among editors. Opinions are divided as to how much text overlaps with an author’s previous publications is acceptable, and editors often find it hard to judge when action is required.

How to deal with text recycling


These guidelines are intended to guide editors in dealing with cases of text recycling. Text recycling, also known as self-plagiarism, is when sections of the same text appear in more than one of an author’s publications.
Editors should consider each case of text recycling on an individual basis as the most appropriate course of action will depend on several factors.

When should action be considered?

Text recycling can take many forms, and editors should consider which parts of the text have been recycled.

  • Duplication of data is likely to always be considered serious (and should be dealt with according to the COPE guidelines for duplicate publications [1,2].
  • Use of similar or identical phrases in methods sections There are limited ways to describe a common method, however, is not uncommon. In such cases, an element of text recycling is likely to be unavoidable in further publications using the same method. Editors should use their discretion when deciding how much overlap of methods text is acceptable, considering factors such as whether authors have been transparent and stated that the methods have already been described in detail elsewhere and provided a citation.
  • Duplication of background ideas in the introduction may be considered less significant than duplication of the hypothesis, discussion, or conclusions.

When significant overlap is identified between two or more articles, editors should consider taking action. Several factors may need to be taken into account when deciding whether the overlap is considered significant.

Text recycling in a submitted manuscript

Text recycling may be identified in a submitted article by editors or reviewers, or by the use of plagiarism detection software, e.g. iThenticate. Editors should consider the extent of the overlap when deciding how to act.

  • Where overlap is considered to be minor, authors may be asked to re-write overlapping sections and cite their previous article(s).
  • More significant overlap may result in the rejection of the manuscript.
  • Where the overlap includes data, Editors should handle cases according to the COPE flowchart for dealing with suspected redundant publication in a submitted manuscript [1].

Text recycling in a published article

If text recycling is discovered in a published article, it may be necessary to publish a correction to, or retraction of, the original article. This decision will depend on the degree and nature of the overlap, and several factors will need to be considered. As for text recycling in a submitted manuscript, editors should handle cases of overlap in data according to the COPE flowchart for dealing with suspected redundant publication in a published article [2].
Journal editors should consider publishing a corrected article when:

  • Sections of the text, generally excluding methods, are identical or near identical to a previous publication by the same author(s);
  • The original publication is not referenced in the subsequent publication; but
  • There is still sufficient new material in the article to justify its publication.

The correction should amend the literature by adding the missing citation and clarifying what is new in the subsequent publication versus the original publication.
Journal editors should consider publishing a retraction article when:

  • There is significant overlap in the text, generally excluding methods, with sections that are identical or near identical to a previous publication by the same author(s);
  • The recycled text reports previously published data and there is insufficient new material in the article to justify its publication in light of the previous publication(s).
  • The recycled text forms the major part of the discussion or conclusion of the article.
  • The overlap breaches copyright.

The retraction should be issued in line with the COPE retraction guidelines [3].

How far back should this be applied?

Attitudes towards text recycling have changed over the past decade. Editors should consider this when deciding how to deal with individual cases of text recycling in published articles. Editors should judge each case in line with accepted practice at the time of publication.
In general, where overlap does not involve duplication of results, editors are advised to consider taking no corrective action for cases where the text recycling occurred earlier than 2004. Editors may wish to take corrective action in the case of duplication of data before this date and should follow the COPE flowchart for dealing with suspected redundant publication in a published article [2].

Opinion, Review and Commentary articles

Non-research article types such as Opinion, Review and Commentary articles should in principle adhere to the same guidelines as research articles. Due to the critical and opinion-based nature of some non-research article types, action should be considered when text is recycled from an earlier publication without any further novel development of previously published opinions or ideas or when they are presented as a novel without any reference to previous publications.

References/further reading

  1. COPE flowchart for suspected redundant publication in a submitted manuscript
  2. COPE flowchart for suspected redundant publication in a published article
  3. COPE guidelines for retracting articles