Publication Ethics

Ethical publishing standards exist to ensure the high quality of scientific publications, public trust in scientific discoveries, and for people to be recognized for their work and ideas.

The editorial board strives to comply with the norms of ethical behavior at all stages of the publishing process. We closely follow industry associations such as the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), which set standards and provide best practice guidelines to meet these requirements.

The journal is fully committed Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines of the Publication Ethics Committee (COPE).

Article rating

All manuscripts are peer-reviewed and must meet standards of academic excellence. The journal editors apply a rigorous peer review process, along with strict ethical policies and standards, to ensure that high-quality research is added to the field of scientific publishing. If approved by the editor, submissions will be reviewed by reviewers, whose identities will remain anonymous to the authors. When we become aware of ethical issues, we are committed to investigate and take the necessary steps to preserve the integrity of the literature and ensure the safety of study participants.

 Copyright and Licensing

All articles published in the journal are copyrighted by the authors. The articles are distributed under a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 open access license, which means that anyone can download and read the article for free. In addition, an article can be reused and cited provided that the original published version is referenced. These conditions allow the maximum use and exposure of the work, while ensuring that the authors receive proper recognition.

 ETHICAL PRINCIPLES FOR AUTHORS

 Duplication of submission and redundant publication

The journal considers only original content, i.e. articles that have not been previously published, including those in a language other than English. Articles based on content previously published only on the preprint server, institutional repository, or dissertation will be considered.

Manuscripts submitted to the journal should not be sent elsewhere while they are under review and must be withdrawn before being submitted elsewhere. Authors whose papers were submitted at the same time elsewhere may be subject to sanctions.

If authors have used their own previously published work or work currently under review as the basis for a submitted manuscript, they should cite previous articles and indicate how their submitted manuscript differs from their previous work. The reuse of the authors' own words outside of the Methodology should be indicated or cited in the text. Reuse of authors' own drawings or substantial amounts of language may require permission from the copyright owner, and authors are responsible for obtaining it.

The journal will consider extended versions of papers published at conferences, provided that this is indicated in the cover letter, the previous version is clearly cited and discussed, there is significant new content, and all necessary permissions have been obtained.

Republishing, improperly separating research results into more than one article (also known as salami slicing) may result in rejection or a request to merge submitted manuscripts, as well as correction of published articles. Republishing the same or very similar article may result in retraction of the later article and the authors may be subject to sanctions.

 Authorship

The editors of the journal follow the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which states that in order to claim authorship of a manuscript, authors must meet the following criteria:

- significant contribution to the concept or design of the work; or obtaining, analyzing or interpreting data for work

- drafting or critically reviewing the work for important intellectual content

- Final approval of the version for publication

- Agreeing to be responsible for all aspects of the work, ensuring that issues related to the accuracy or validity of any part of the work are properly investigated and resolved.

Those who have contributed to the work, but do not have the right to claim authorship, should be listed in the acknowledgments. More detailed guidance on authorship is provided by the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Any changes to the list of authors during editing or after publication must be approved by all authors, including those who have been removed. We reserve the right to request proof of authorship, and changes to authorship after acceptance will be made at the discretion of the editors.

 Author's contribution

For full transparency, all submitted manuscripts must include an Author Contribution Statement stating the work of each author. For research articles with multiple authors, a short paragraph must be provided stating their individual contribution.

The following statements should be used: Conceptualization, XX and YY; methodology, XX; software, XX; check, XX, YY and ZZ; formal analysis, XX; investigation, xx; resources, XX; data curation, XX; writing - rough preparation, XX; writing - review and editing, xx; visualization, XX; supervision, XX; project administration, XX; receiving funding, YY All authors have read and agreed with the published version of the manuscript.

Please refer to the CRediT taxonomy for an explanation of the terms.

Authorship should be limited to those who have made significant contributions to the submitted work.

The respective author should act as a liaison between the editor and other authors, inform co-authors and involve them in major decisions regarding publication.

For review articles where individual statements are less applicable, a statement explaining who was responsible for the idea, who performed the literature search and/or data analysis, and who prepared and edited the work should be included.

Authorship changes

Authors are expected to carefully consider authorship before submitting a manuscript. Any changes to the list of authors must be made during the editing process before the manuscript is accepted. Authorship changes, including any addition, deletion, or rearrangement of author names, require the approval of all authors, including those to be removed.

 Plagiarism, data falsification and image manipulation

Plagiarism is unacceptable in the journal. Plagiarism involves copying text, ideas, images, or data from another source, even your own publications, without acknowledging the original source.

Reuse of text copied from another source must be enclosed in quotation marks, and the original source must be quoted. If the study design, structure, or language of the manuscript was inspired by previous studies, those studies should be cited.

Editorial staff of the journal maintains an anti-plagiarism policy that ensures that all published works are unpublished, through the professional application CrossCheck, allowing to guarantee the originality of all manuscripts. This anti-plagiarism policy allows us to guarantee standards of originality in this journal with a great international impact, in order to guarantee the novel and impressive scientific production.

 Image files must not be modified or adjusted in any way that could lead to misinterpretation of the information contained in the original image. If incorrect image manipulations are identified and confirmed during the peer review process, we may reject the manuscript. If image manipulation is identified and confirmed after publication, we may correct or retract the article.

The data presented must be original and must not be inappropriately selected, altered, improved or fabricated. This includes: 1) excluding data points to increase the significance of findings, 2) falsifying data, 3) selecting results that support a particular conclusion at the expense of inconsistent data, 4) deliberately choosing tools or methods of analysis to support a particular conclusion.

 Research with Humans

In research involving humans, human material, human tissue, or human data, authors must declare that the research was conducted in accordance with the rules of the Declaration of Helsinki 1975, revised in 2013.

 For non-interventional research (eg, surveys, social media research), all participants should be fully informed about whether anonymity is assured, why the research is being done, how their data will be used, and if there are any associated risks. As with all studies involving humans, ethical approval from the appropriate ethics committee must be obtained prior to conducting the study.

Written informed consent for publication must be obtained from each study participant. In the case of children participating in the study, informed consent must be obtained from their parents or guardians.

For manuscripts that include any case details, personal information, and/or images of participants, authors must obtain signed informed consent for publication from participants (or their relatives/guardians) prior to submission to the journal.

Information about the research participant should be as anonymous as possible.

If the study reports studies involving vulnerable groups, additional verification may be carried out. The submitted manuscript will be carefully reviewed by the editors, and documentary evidence (consent forms and any relevant documents for discussion at the ethics council) must be provided upon request. In addition, when studies describe groups by race, ethnicity, gender, disability, disease, etc., the article should clearly state why such categorization is necessary.

The Editorial Board reserves the right to reject any material that does not meet these requirements.

 Example of an ethical statement: “All subjects gave their informed consent to participate in the study. The study was carried out in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration”.

Ethical Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Research

The editors adhere to the principle that the benefits potentially derived from any research that causes harm to animals must be significant in relation to any costs incurred by animals, and that the procedures carried out should not offend the majority of readers. Authors should take special care to ensure that their studies are consistent with generally accepted:

- Substitute animals with alternatives wherever possible.

- Reducing the number of animals used.

- Clarification of experimental conditions and procedures to minimize harm to animals.

Authors should include detailed information about accommodation, animal care, and pain management in their manuscript.

Animal studies should only be conducted after approval by the appropriate ethical committee.

If there is no animal ethics committee to review applications, authors should be aware that the ethics of their research will be assessed by reviewers and editors. Authors must provide a statement ethically justifying the work.

 Sex and Gender in Research

We encourage our authors to follow the "Sex and Gender Equality in Research - SAGER Guidelines" and include gender and gender considerations where appropriate. Authors should use the terms "sex" (a biological trait) and "gender" (determined by social and cultural circumstances) with care not to confuse the two terms. Article titles and/or abstracts should clearly indicate which gender(s) the research is in. Authors should also indicate, in general terms, whether sex and/or gender differences can be expected; describe how gender and/or gender were taken into account in designing the study; provide disaggregated data by sex and/or gender, where appropriate; and discuss related results. If a gender and/or gender analysis was not performed, a rationale should be given in the Discussion. We encourage our contributors to read the full manual before submitting.

 Conflict of interests

Conflicts of interest (COIs, also known as "competing interests") occur when matters not related to research can reasonably be perceived to affect the neutrality or objectivity of a work or its evaluation. This can happen at any stage of the research cycle, including during the experimental phase, during the writing of a manuscript, or in the process of turning a manuscript into a published article.

If you are not sure, declare a potential interest or discuss with the editors. Undeclared interests may result in sanctions. Articles with undeclared conflicts that are discovered later may be rejected.

Conflicts of interest do not always prevent a work from being published or from someone participating in the peer review process. However, they must be declared. A clear description of all possible conflicts— whether they actually had an impact or not — allows others to make informed decisions about the work as they review it.

If conflicts of interest are found after publication, the article may need to be re-evaluated, revised, or, in severe cases, retracted. For more information on COI see the ICMJE and WAME guide.

Conflicts include the following:

- Financial - funding and other payments, goods and services received or expected by the authors in connection with the subject of the work or from an organization interested in the result of the work.

- Affiliations - serving on an advisory board or a member of an organization with a stake in the results of the work.

- Intellectual property is patents or trademarks owned by someone or their organization.

- Personal - friends, family, relationships and other close personal connections.

- Ideology - Beliefs or activities, such as political or religious, related to work.

- Academic - competitors or one whose work is criticized.

 Authors should list all potential interests in the "Conflicts of Interest" section, which should explain why the interests might be a conflict. If there are none, authors should indicate: "The author(s) declare(s) that there is(are) no conflicts of interest in relation to the publication of this article." Submitting authors are responsible for co-authors who declare their interests.

Authors must declare current or recent funding (including article processing fees) and other payments, goods, or services that may affect the work. All funding, whether conflict or not, must be declared on the Funding Statement.

Declared conflicts of interest will be considered by the editor and reviewers and included in the published article.

 Citation policy

Authors should ensure that where material is taken from other sources (including their own published work), the source is clearly cited and that appropriate permission is obtained.

Authors should not engage in excessive self-citation of their own work.

Authors should not copy references from other publications unless they have read the cited work.

Authors should not predominantly cite their own publications or those of their friends, colleagues, or institutions.

Authors should not quote advertisements or promotional materials.

Editors and reviewers should not ask authors to include citations just to increase the number of citations to their own work or that of a colleague, to the journal or other journal to which they are affiliated.

In accordance with the COPE guidelines, we expect that "original wording taken directly from the publications of other researchers should be enclosed in quotation marks with appropriate references." This condition also applies to the author's own work. COPE produced a discussion paper on citation manipulation with best practice recommendations.

 ETHICAL PRINCIPLES FOR REVIEWERS

Potential Conflict of Interest

We ask reviewers to inform the editor of the journal if they have a conflict of interest that could affect the review report, either positively or negatively. The editors will check, as far as possible, before the invitation; however, we appreciate the cooperation of the reviewers in this matter.

Reviewers must refuse to participate in the submission if they:

- Have a recent publication or current application with any author.

- Collaborate or have recently collaborated with any author.

- Have a close personal connection with any author.

- Have a financial interest in the subject of work.

- Feel unable to be objective.

Reviewers should indicate any interests they have in the Review Form, which will be reviewed by the editor.

 Privacy and anonymity

Reviewers must keep the content of the manuscript, including the abstract, confidential. They should let the editor know if they want a colleague to complete the review on their behalf.

The journal conducts double blind peer review. Reviewers should be careful not to reveal their identity to authors in their comments.

 ETHICAL PRINCIPLES FOR ACADEMIC EDITORS

Along with editorial staff, editors-in-chief, editorial board members, and guest editors are responsible for the integrity of the editorial process and for deciding which articles are accepted for publication. Editors act in a balanced, objective and fair manner in the performance of their duties, without discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, ethnic or geographic origin of authors.

If the scientific editor has ethical concerns about a manuscript submitted for review, or if he has information about a possible violation of ethical standards after publication, he should contact the editors as soon as possible. Our editorial staff will then conduct an investigation in accordance with COPE guidelines.

To support academic editors, reviews are carried out by managing editors. However, editors must still report any issues on any aspect. Checks include:

- Ethical approval and approvals for research involving humans or animals.

- Plagiarism, duplication of publication and the necessary permission of the copyright holder to include already published drawings or images.

- International Clinical Trials Registry for pre-registration of clinical trials or a link to registration in the Methods section.

- Author's experience and qualifications.

When making the final decision to accept a manuscript, academic editors should consider the following:

- Any facts that may be perceived as a possible conflict of interest of the author(s) must be disclosed in the document prior to submission.

- Authors should accurately present the results of their research and include an objective discussion of the significance of their findings.

- The data and methods used in the study should be presented in the article in sufficient detail so that other researchers can repeat the work.

 Comments and complaints

Readers who have concerns or complaints about published articles should first contact the respective author to try to resolve the issue directly before contacting the editor.

The editorial office can be contacted in cases where it is impractical to contact the authors, if the authors did not respond, or if the problem was not resolved. The editors will coordinate with the applicant, author/s and editors-in-chief or members of the editorial board to investigate, correct or resolve any problems or complaints.

Complaints, comments or requests for updates regarding the scientific soundness, ethical or legal aspects of either the article or its peer review process will be further investigated where appropriate. All complaints, comments or requests for updates regarding published articles are investigated by the editors with the support of the editorial board and final approval by the editor-in-chief. For ethical reasons, the final decisions are made by the editor-in-chief or members of the editorial board, who are supported by the editors, in order to promote compliance with the basic principles of publication ethics formulated by the Committee on Publication Ethics. Where necessary, consultations will be held with other individuals and institutions, including university leaders or experts in the field. A lawyer may be requested if the complaint has legal implications.

Personal comments or criticism are not accepted. All complaints are investigated, including anonymous complaints. Complainants may request that the editors consider their complaint in confidence, and the editors, any editors-in-chief or other members of the editorial board will attempt to do so, to the extent appropriate and in accordance with our internal procedures.

Decisions on corrections, comments and answers, expressions of concern or denials as a result of the investigation are made by the editors-in-chief, section editors or members of the editorial board and are brought to the attention of the authors.

If the complaint is not considered to be justified, further communication will only be considered if additional information is provided to substantiate the concern.

Complainants may not receive an update on the status of the investigation until a final decision is made, however, complainants will be notified if an update is posted. The editors and members of the editorial board are not required to provide additional information. Communication will be terminated if it is not deemed fair or respectful. Readers with complaints or concerns should be aware that it takes time to investigate.

The editors of the journal work closely with authors and editors to promote adherence to the core principles of publishing ethics formulated by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). We encourage the use of the COPE resources available on their website. All manuscripts must meet standards of ethical conduct. When we become aware of ethical issues, we are committed to investigating and taking appropriate action.

The publisher and editors are always ready to publish corrections, clarifications, reviews and apologies if there is a legal need to do so.