- ICMJE best practice standards
- Publishing ethics
- Copyright and license policies
- Content preservation
- Peer Review Procedures
- Conflict of interest
- Informed consent
- Materials and data distribution
- Guidelines for specific study designs
- Human and animal research
- Preparation and submission of manuscripts
- Scientific misconduct and retraction
- Press coverage of accepted articles
- Advertisement and sponsorship
ICMJE best practice standards
Shared Science Publishers requires the Authors and Editors of its journals to follow the recommendations by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which reviews best practice and ethical standards in the conduct and reporting of research and other material published in medical journals. It is Shared Science Publishers’ conviction that following these recommendations supports the accurate, clear, reproducible, and unbiased creation and distribution of scientific journal articles. Please download or review these recommendations here.
These recommendations establish conduct guidelines at several levels and may be found throughout the description of our different policies, including but not limited to the definition of authorship for articles published in Shared Science Publishers journals, the necessity to report conflicts of interest for authors, reviewers and editors, the confidentiality to which any work submitted to a journal produced by Shared Science Publishers is subjected during the assessment, peer-review and production phases, the timeliness and integrity of editorial decisions, all ethical aspects with respect to research involving humans and animals (including informed consent of patients), editorial procedures concerning corrections and retractions, copyright issues, practices in relation to sponsorships and advertising, issues about link stability and content preservation, principles applied on interactions with the media, requirement of registration of clinical trials in a public trials registry, or manuscript preparation and submission. >> Back to top
As a communication platform that aims at delivering reliable information to researchers and the public, Shared Science Publishers is aware of the importance – not only to apply a peer-review policy – but also to follow an ethical code in the act of scientific publishing. Shared Science Publishers interprets these ethics as a joint and agreed effort from all parties involved in a given publication: the author(s), the editor(s), the reviewer(s), and a journal as the hub between them.
A journal published by Shared Science Publishers requires from the author(s) of a submitted manuscript to present their work with the expected integrity that warrants a global scientific advancement. Above all, a journal published by Shared Science Publishers only publishes original work. With the submission of a manuscript to any journal published by Shared Science Publishers, the authors must confirm that the submitted paper is original, has not already been published in whole or in substantial part elsewhere, and does not infringe the copyright or other rights of any other person(s). Furthermore, they certify that it is not currently under consideration by any other journal. Any act of plagiarism leads to the rejection of submitted material or – if already published – to the retraction of the corresponding paper. In addition, a journal published by Shared Science Publishers has different editorial policies regarding, for instance, material and data access, authorship, specific study designs, human and animal research, scientific misconduct, or conflicts of interest among others. Shared Science Publishers also requires author(s) that have discovered a fundamental error in their work after publication to contact the Editorial Board of the corresponding journal in order to issue a correction note. If the discovered error is so fundamental that it makes a paper obsolete, it will have to be retracted for the sake of scientific correctness.
A journal published by Shared Science Publishers requires from its Editors to make a fair publication decision when handling a manuscript assigned to them. Before an Editor accepts to act as the Handling Editor of a given manuscript she/he has to disclose any conflict of interest. In addition, upon acceptance to become a member of the Editorial Board of a journal published by Shared Science Publishers, an Editor-to-be must explicitly accept the journal’s Confidentiality Agreement (here exemplified for the journal Microbial Cell). Similarly, any referee contacted to review a submitted manuscript is prompted to deliver a fair comment in a timely manner. Before receiving a full manuscript, a referee must disclose any conflict of interest and subscribe to a confidentiality code stating that privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for competitive gain. >> Back to top
Copyright and license policies
All journals released by Shared Science Publishers apply the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to all works they publish (read the human-readable summary or the full license legal code). Under the CC BY, authors retain ownership of the copyright for their article, but authors allow anyone to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy articles in that journal, so long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers.
In most cases, appropriate attribution can be provided by simply citing the original article. If the item planned to reuse is not part of a published article (e.g. a featured issue image), then the originator of the work, and the volume, issue, and date of the journal in which the item appeared must be indicated. For any reuse or redistribution of a work, the license terms under which the work was published must also been made clear. This broad license was developed to facilitate open access to, and free use of, original works of all types. Applying this standard license to a work published ensures the right to make it freely and openly available. Learn more about the commitment of Shared Science Publishers journals to open access. If you have any license-related questions, please contact us.
Upon acceptance of a manuscript in a journal published by Shared Science Publishers, the author(s) will be asked to fill and return a License to Publish form in order that the article can be published. Thereby, the author(s) retain(s) the publishing rights of his/her/their article without restrictions and without a time limit. >> Back to top
The journals produced by Shared Science Publishers are all run as electronic journals, allowing cost-efficient production and guaranteeing open access to their content. This makes the permanent preservation of all journal articles on our websites (even beyond the event of journal termination) indispensable. Therefore, Shared Science Publishers secures all journal content at its offices both in digital and print format. In addition, Shared Science Publishers has partnered with the Austrian National Library, where the version of record of all research articles is deposited and accessible. Furthermore, Shared Science Publishers is currently working on the inclusion of its content in other independent archives. >> Back to top
Peer Review Procedures
Any manuscript submitted to a scholarly journal published by Shared Science Publishers is treated as a privileged document entrusted to academic editors and reviewers for evaluation. The management of Shared Science Publishers is aware that such work is of great value for and proprietary to the author(s) and thus respects the need for confidentiality. That is why all Editors-in-Chief, Managing Editors, Editorial Assistants, Academic Editors and Reviewers need to adhere to confidentiality terms before obtaining access to the authors’ work.
Any original manuscript submitted to a journal published by Shared Science Publishers is accurately assessed by at least one member of the corresponding Editorial Board and at least two peers, who act as Reviewers. Thereby, the basic procedure to be followed by any Editorial Board of a journal published by Shared Science Publishers upon submission of a manuscript includes (i) a formal check to ensure compliance with the corresponding journal’s policies and (ii) an academic evaluation by a member of the Editorial Board. This Handling Editor must obtain the opinion of at least two external Reviewers and decide to (a) reject it, (b) accept it, or (c) request a minor or major revision. In the case of a revision, the Authors have a limited number of time (depending on the revision’s extent) to address the Reviewers’ and Handling Editor’s requests and concerns. After resubmission of the revised manuscript, the Handling Editor makes her/his final decision (rejected or accepted). In general, the peer review policy of Shared Science Publishers journals is single blinded (the reviewers are anonymous to the author but the reviewers know who the authors are).
Importantly, the Editors of a journal published by Shared Science Publishers are instructed to do all they can to ensure timely processing of manuscripts with the resources available to them. If Editors intend to publish a manuscript, they will attempt to do so in a timely manner and any planned delays will be negotiated with the authors. If a journal has no intention of proceeding with a manuscript, the Editors will reject the manuscript as soon as possible to allow authors to submit to a different journal. >> Back to top
Upon submission of a manuscript to a journal published by Shared Science Publishers, the complete author list must be supplied, equally contributing authorships have to be acknowledged and the corresponding author’s contact information provided. The corresponding author accounts for the correct listing of all legitimate contributors as authors and guarantees that all authors have explicitly agreed to the manuscript’s content and its submission to the journal. Shared Science Publishers instructs the Editors of its journals to request a written approval from each author, if they become aware of an authorship dispute.
Shared Science Publishers follows the recommendations by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and requires each author to be listed as such who has (i) substantially contributed to the work’s conception or design; or data acquisition, analysis, and/or interpretation AND (ii) drafted or revised the work critically for important intellectual content AND (iii) given her/his final approval of the version to be published AND (iv) agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work. According to these four criteria, each person qualifying for authorship has to be listed as author and each person listed as author has to qualify as such. Contributors that do not meet authorship conditions should be listed in the acknowledgments section. >> Back to top
Conflict of interest
Upon submission of a manuscript to a journal published by Shared Science Publishers, the authors should indicate any conflicts of interest and sources of financial support. A conflict of interest exists when an author (or the authors‘ institution), reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence (bias) his or her actions. The potential for conflict of interest can exist whether or not an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her scientific judgment. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony) as well as personal relationships and academic competition must be declared. The authors must declare conflicts of interests and sources of financial support in the acknowledgment section. >> Back to top
Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. All journals by Shared Science Publishers require that identifying information should not be published unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. A patient who is identifiable must be shown the manuscript to be published. Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. If identifying details are altered, editors should be informed. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the published article as: Informed consent has been obtained. >> Back to top
Materials and data distribution
Publication with any journal released by Shared Science Publishers entails the authors’ agreement to make any material available and provide detailed protocols used in their article upon reasonable request by qualified researchers for the purpose of academic, non-commercial use. If the availability of any article-related information is restricted, this must be communicated in the cover letter and disclosed in the Materials and Methods section of the manuscript upon submission.
If an article describes novel nucleic acid and protein sequences, presents macromolecular, X-ray-determined crystallography (including structure factors), or microarray data, this information must be deposited in the appropriate public repository before publication; the corresponding accession numbers, entry names or digital object identifiers (DOIs) must be published with the paper in the Materials and Methods section. For microarray analyses, see also our Guidelines for specific study designs. Note that violation of Shared Science Publishers’ “Materials and Data Distribution” policy may lead to retraction of the article. >> Back to top
Guidelines for specific study designs
Authors should take account of any reporting guidelines that are connected to their study design, including the provision of all required supplemental information (checklists, protocols, flowcharts, etc.) upon submission of their manuscript.
All journals by Shared Science Publishers follow the WHO definition of a clinical trial. “A clinical trial is any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes. Interventions include but are not restricted to drugs, cells and other biological products, surgical procedures, radiologic procedures, devices, behavioural treatments, process-of-care changes, preventive care, etc”
As recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), all trials initiated after July 1st 2005 must be registered prospectively in a publicly accessible registry (i.e., before patient recruitment has begun), or they will not be considered for publication. For trials initiated before July 1st 2005, all trials must be registered before submission to a journal published by Shared Science Publishers. Please, refer to the ICMJE recommendations on trial registration for further details and consult the WHO list of approved registries.
Authors of randomized controlled trials must conform with the CONSORT reporting guidelines that are appropriate to their trial design. These guidelines can be consulted at the CONSORT statement Web site. Before their manuscript can enter peer review authors must (i) mention in their paper trial registry, trial registration number, and the institutional review board (IRB) and (ii) provide a copy of the trial protocol and a completed CONSORT checklist as supporting files. The CONSORT flow diagram must be included as Figure 1 in the manuscript. Any deviation from the trial protocol must be explained in the paper. Authors must explicitly discuss informed consent in their paper, and the Editors of the corresponding Shared Science Publishers journal reserve the right to ask for a copy of the patient consent form. Information on statistical methods or participants beyond what is indicated in the CONSORT statement should be reported in the Materials and Methods section.
Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses of Randomized Controlled Trials
Reports of meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) should use the QUOROM statement as a guide and include the corresponding checklist and flow diagram.
Reports of studies of diagnostic accuracy should conform to the STARD requirements.
Authors reporting epidemiological studies should consult the STROBE initiative.
Human and animal research
All research involving humans and animals must have been approved by the authors’ institutional review board or equivalent committee and that board must be named by the authors.
Informed consent must have been obtained and all clinical investigation must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. Authors should provide a statement from the ethics committee or institutional review board indicating their approval of the research. In those cases, all journals published by Shared Science Publishers also encourage authors to submit a sample of a patient consent form and may require submission of completed forms on particular occasions.
For studies involving humans categorized by race/ethnicity, age, disease/disabilities, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, or other socially constructed groupings, authors should – as much as possible – (i) explicitly describe how human populations were categorized, (ii) define categories in as much detail as the study protocol allows, (iii) provide a justification why categories and definitions were chosen (e.g. if specific categorization rules were demanded by the funding agency), (iv) explain whether (and if so, how) they controlled for confounding variables such as socioeconomic status, nutrition, environmental exposures, etc. and (v) avoid outmoded terms and potentially stigmatizing labels and use more current, acceptable terminology.
All work using animals must have been conducted according to applicable national and international guidelines. Prior, approval must have been obtained for all protocols from the relevant authors’ institutional or other appropriate ethics committee, and the institution name and permit numbers must be provided at submission in a statement of ethical approval (provide this statement at the beginning of the Materials and Methods section). For research involving non-human primates, all studies must be performed in accordance with the recommendations of the Weatherall report (2006) and provide details regarding animal welfare and specific steps taken to alleviate suffering. >> Back to top
Preparation and submission of manuscripts
The corresponding website of a journal published by Shared Science Publishers describes the single steps for preparation and submission of a manuscript in detail. Thus, authors that intend to submit a manuscript to one of these journals, should refer to the journal’s website directly. Though the structures might slightly differ from each other, all journals released by Shared Science Publishers must follow the recommendations by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) regarding best practice in manuscript preparation and submission. >> Back to top
Scientific misconduct and retraction
According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) scientific misconduct includes but is not necessarily limited to data fabrication; data falsification including deceptive manipulation of images; and plagiarism When scientific misconduct is alleged, or concerns are otherwise raised about the conduct or integrity of work described in submitted or published papers, Shared Science Publishers initiates appropriate procedures together with the corresponding Editors-in-Chief of the concerning journal as detailed by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). As the case requires, the Editors may choose to publish an expression of concern pending the outcomes of those procedures. If the procedures involve an investigation at the authors’ institution, the Editors will seek to discover the outcome of that investigation, notify readers of the outcome if appropriate, and if the investigation proves scientific misconduct, publish a retraction of the article. If misconduct remains unproven, the Editors may still publish an expression of concern (together with the exchange of letters to the editor) to highlight matters of debate to readers.
Expressions of concern and retractions will be prominently labeled, appear as a properly numbered article to ensure proper indexing, and include in their heading the title of the original article. In addition, the retraction and original article will be linked in both directions and the retracted article clearly labeled as retracted in all its forms (HTML, PDF). Ideally, the authors of the retraction should be the same as those of the article, but if they are unwilling or unable, the Editors-in-Chief may under certain circumstances accept retractions by other responsible persons, or the Editors-in-Chief may be the sole authors of the retraction or expression of concern. The text of the retraction will explain why the article is being retracted and include a complete citation reference to that article. Retracted articles will remain in the public domain and be clearly labeled as retracted.
In the case of a fraudulent paper, Shared Science Publishers will ask the author’s institution to assure them of the validity of other work published in that or other journals, or they may retract it. If this is not done, an announcement expressing concern that the validity of previously published work is uncertain may be published. >> Back to top
Press coverage of accepted articles
As of the day of acceptance in a journal released by Shared Science Publishers, authors are free to discuss their work with the general press, their institution’s press office (e.g. to issue a press release) and/or other scientific journals for general coverage and/or report in review or commentary material. Journalists that would like to be added to Shared Science Publishers’ press list to be updated on recently accepted articles, should contact us via e-mail. We encourage all journalists to clearly state the name of the originating journal in their reports and to use the journal-specific links to ensure that readers are directed to the freely available online articles. >> Back to top
Advertisement and sponsorship
All advertising in journals by Shared Science Publishers is subject to Shared Science Publishers’ approval. Shared Science Publishers’ journals do not accept advertising for pharmaceutical products or medical devices. In addition, they do not accept advertisement for tobacco products or products proven to be seriously harmful to health. The advertiser and its advertising agency agree to indemnify and hold harmless Shared Science Publishers and its employees and agents for any liability, claims, suits, damages, costs, settlements and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in connection with any third-party claim arising out of advertisement placed by or on behalf of the advertising party. Shared Science Publishers reserves the right to remove any advertisement it deems is or may be inaccurate, misleading, defamatory or otherwise contrary to the rights of Shared Science Publishers or third parties.
In general, Shared Science Publishers’ journals will accept only a very limited number of advertisements, and advertising will not be allowed to influence editorial decisions. Shared Science Publishers follows the policies outlined by the ICMJE recommendations on advertising, including the prohibition of advertisements intended to be juxtaposed with editorial content on the same product, the clear identification of advertisements as such, and the full and final authority of the Editors-in-Chief of each journal for approving advertisements and for enforcing advertising policy.
If an entity seeks interaction with any of the journals published by Shared Science Publishers or their Editors in the form of sponsorships or partnerships, these interactions shall not compromise editorial independence. For that purpose, any kind of financial interaction is clearly listed in the Website of Shared Science Publishers. In addition, Shared Science Publishers’ owners, employees, and partners as well as journal editors must not accept personal favors or direct remuneration from sponsors linked to the activity of Shared Science Publishers. >> Back to top
Note: These editorial policies are largely based on the recommendations by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).