The goal of this Journal is to ensure the integrity of scientific information. The Journal follows Publication Ethics Committee (COPE) fundamental principles and instructions concerning the necessary actions in case any contravention takes place.
The authors are asked to avoid presenting unreliable or distorted information that could erode the trust in the Journal, authorship skills, and finally, in the entire scientific community. To maintain the research integrity, it is only necessary to meet the requirements of good scientific practice, namely:
Never submit the manuscript to more than one journal at the same time.
The study should be original; it should not be previously published elsewhere, independently of the form or language, except for the case when the new study continues previous ones. Take measures to clearly explain the material re-use so as to prevent self-plagiarism charge.
Never split a study into a few parts in order increase the number of publications by submitting the parts to different journals or to one journal somewhat later.
There are certain conditions under which the concurrent or duplicative submission is permissible, e.g., translation or rendering the article to another group of readers.
Take measures to represent your results clearly. Prevent any dishonesty in data and figures presentation, data falsification or inadmissible manipulation. Authors are to adhere to the discipline-specific rules for data acquiring and processing.
To prevent blaming in plagiarism, never present any data acquired by other researchers as your own. If you really need verbatim or near-verbatim copying of others' materials, use such means as proper references, acknowledgements and quotation marks; if the material is copyrighted, get a permission from the copyright owners.
Note that the Journal may use special software to test manuscripts for plagiarism.
The authors should timely get permissions to employ in their work program codes and other aids (if necessary).
Authors of research articles and articles not directly related to research (e.g. Reviews) are to ensure proper citation of relevant literature to avoid possible claims. Excessive self-citation or mutual citation among a group of colleagues is frown upon.
The authors should avoid making false claims about organizations or individuals, which could be potentially regarded as insults or accusations against persons or institutions.
Research results that may be used in bad faith (dually used) to cause a threat to human health or national security should be clearly identified. Possible consequences of such research results may be, e.g., hazardous use of chemicals, applying them in creating weapon, etc.
The authors should ensure the authors' list arrangement in the appropriate order, including correct identification of the Corresponding Author. As a rule, the authors should not be added to or deleted from the authors' list at the stage of revision; however, sometimes exceptions may be made. All the changes in the authorship should be properly justified. What is important is that no changes in the authorship should be made after the manuscript is accepted.
According to the above guidelines, the authors should always respect the rights of third parties, both ethical rights and copyrights.
The authors are to be ready to submit in request documents and information necessary to confirm the validity of their results, except for the case when the relevant information is of the confidential or proprietary character.
If any fraud is suspected, the Journal and/or Publisher have a right to perform an investigation in accordance with the COPE's guidelines. If the performed investigation gives evidence for reasonable concerns, the Journal/Publisher will contact the author team at the indicated e-mail address in order to give the authors a chance to clarify the situation. After that, the Journal/Publisher takes measures that include but are not limited to:
if the manuscript is currently under reviewing, it may be rejected and returned to the author.
In case the article is already published on the Internet, then the following consequences may arise depending on the violation nature and severity:
The reason will be given in the published erratum/correction, expression of concern or retraction note. Take into account that in the case of retraction the article remains in the platform being watermarked as "retracted", and the reasons for retraction are given.
The author's institution can be informed on the situation.
A notification of suspected ethics violations may be included in the bibliographic record of the author and article.
If the authors reveal a substantial error or inaccuracy in their published article, they must correct them. The author(s) is invited to contact the Journal and explain the sense of the error and its impact on the sense of the article. The decision about the way of correcting mistakes will depend on their character. Correction or retraction is possible. The retraction notification will comprise clear and detailed indication of the article parts subject to the effect of the mistake.
When submitting the article, the authors have the right to propose adequate reviewers as well as to request for excluding certain persons from the list of possible reviewers. While proposing the reviewers, the authors should keep in mind that the reviewers should not be affiliated with the authors, should be completely independent and have not participated in the study in any way. In proposing the reviewers, the Corresponding Author is to render the e-mail address to each proposed reviewer. Take into account that the Journal may ignore these recommendations. However, the proposals of reviewers are appreciated since they can make the review process much more convenient.
The Journal and Publisher assume that, prior to submitting the article, all the authors have agreed with its content, explicitly expressed their consent, and obtained permission from the authorities of the institution at which the study has been accomplished.
The authors themselves are responsible for evaluating their contributions and composing the list of authors. The authors should follow the authorship guidelines adopted in their field of research. If specific guidelines are not available, the following rules should be adhered:
The authors included in the authors list:
All the authors are asked to present information on the financial support of the study, any interests, and compliance with ethical standards concerning the human and/or animal participation, availability of the humans' consents for participation, and the animals' welfare (if appropriate).
The submitted article may be associated with public health or general welfare. In such cases, all the authors are responsible for the relevancy of the presented information.
The authors should make sure that all the data and materials they publish, as well as program codes they use, meet the standards of the research field.
The Corresponding Author acts on behalf of all co-authors and ensures that the accuracy and appropriateness of the article and each of its parts is properly addressed.
The Corresponding Author is in charge of satisfying the following requirements:
The responsibility for ensuring communications between the Journal and co-authors in the process of submission and revision may be shared with the Contact or Submitting author. However, the Corresponding Author should be clearly identified in the manuscript.
In case specific instruction are unavailable and the research field admits description of individual research activities, the authors are recommended to indicate the contribution to the study of each co-author so as to ensure maximum transparency of the work. The contribution should be presented in a separate title page.
In a free form: all of the listed authors made separate contributions to the research. Material preparation, as well as data acquisition and processing, was carried out by [Name], [Name], and [Name]. The first draft of the manuscript was written by [Name], and all of the co-authors participated in discussing and approving the manuscript versions. All the listed authors have familiarized themselves with the final version and agreed with it.
For review-type articles where the contributions of co-authors can hardly be distinguished, information on who has raised the idea for the article, who has carried out the literature search, and who has written or revised the text should be provided.
If the article is based on a student's graduation thesis or post-graduate student's dissertation, preferable is to include the students in the author list as primary authors.
For each author, the institution where the main part of the study was performed should be presented as affiliation. If the author has subsequently changed locations, his(her) current address should be given. Once the article is published, no addresses should be updated or changed.
The authors are to check prior to the submission whether the authors' team as whole, Corresponding Author, and the order in which the authors are listed are correct. Once the manuscript is accepted, no changes like addition, deletion or replacement of authors, as well as changing the order of authors, are permissible. Make sure that the authors' names are spelled properly, since they will be published exactly as presented in the submitted manuscript. Check also the authors' addresses and affiliations for actuality.
At the stage of revision, correction of the authorship is usually not allowed, but in some cases it may take place. The reasons for such changes are to be properly justified. The decision on whether the corrections may be accepted will be made by the Editor-in-Chief.
The authors are encouraged to use ORCID ID in the submitted paper or acquire ORCID ID in the process of submission.
In case in the process of the article composing, submission, or revision, one of the co-authors gets dead or incapacitated, and the co-authors believe that he (her) should be included in the author list, they should obtain permission for this from his (her) legal representative, e.g., a direct relative.
In case any dispute on the authorship takes place in the process of the article reviewing or after acceptance and publication, the Journal is not bound to make relevant decisions. Resolution of such issues is the responsibility of thy authors themselves. If they fail to resolve the issue, the Journal reserves the right to reject the article or, if the article is already published, address with this issue the authors' institutions and follow their recommendations.
To ensure the research fairness and openness, and to uphold common principles of ethical and professional conduct, the authors are to present information on the sources of financial support and existence/absence of conflicts of interest. They should also confirm the consent of humans involved in the research and welfare of animals (if applicable). Submitting the manuscript, the authors should render the following information in a separate section entitled "Compliance with Ethical Standards":
The Corresponding Author should be ready to prepare the documents concerning the adherence to ethical standards and provide them on request either in the process of reviewing or acceptance for publication.
The Editorial Board reserves the right to reject manuscripts inconsistent with the above guidelines. The authors remain responsible for the incorrectness of statements or misfulfilling the guidelines.
The authors are asked to disclose conflicting interests that are in any way related to the study under submission. Interests within 3 years past the beginning of the study (the research itself and preparing the paper for publication) should be disclosed. Interests beyond the 3-year period should be disclosed if they can be reasonably perceived as affecting the submitted work. Disclosure of interests ensures a complete and transparent process and helps readers to form their own judgments about the potential bias. This does not mean that any financial relationship with the sponsoring institution or compensation for consulting works is impermissible.
The Editorial board members and Editors are to declare whether they are involved in any conflict of interests. In this case they may be excluded from the peer review process. Moreover, if any competing interest exists, they should be excluded from handling the manuscripts by themselves. Those cases include (but are not limited to) earlier joint publications or joint affiliation with anyone of the authors. The members of the Editorial Board have a right to submit articles to the Journal. Such submissions will be reviewed according to the same procedure as any other manuscript. These submissions are not priority over others; the reviewing procedure and it’s outcome are independent of the status of the Editorial Board member. Another Editor or Editorial Board member will be responsible for overseeing the review.
The interests to be considered and disclosed include but are not limited to:
Financial support: Data must be provided on research grants from funding institutions (the sponsor of the study and grant number should be indicated) and/or other research support, e.g., salary, equipment, supplies, reimbursement for participation in symposia and other expenses, from organizations that may gain or lose financially due to the publication of this manuscript.
Affiliation: Recent (while being engaged in the research project), actual or expected employment by any institution that may gain or lose financially due to the publication of this manuscript.
Financial interests: Stocks or shares of organizations that may gain or lose financially due to this publication; payment for consultations or other forms of remuneration from institutions that may gain or lose financially; patents or patent applications whose value directly depends on publication of this manuscript.
As a threshold at which financial interests become significant, the following may be taken: "Any undeclared financial interest that could disturb the author if it becomes publicly known after the work publication".
Non-financial interests: The authors should also disclose interests that are beyond financial interests but could affect the submitted article. These are primarily career interests, interpersonal relationships, or personal beliefs.
The above should be summarized in a statement and put before the list of references under headings "Financial Support" and "Conflict of Interests".
If the authors have the same (or no) conflicts of interests and / or funding, they may use one general statement.
When publishing a study that involved people, their data, or biological material, authors must provide documentary evidence that the study was approved (or exempted) by the appropriate Research Ethics Committee (including the name of the ethics committee) and a document confirming that the research was conducted in accordance with the ethical standards set out in the Declaration of Helsinki, 1964 and its later amendments, or in accordance with similar ethical standards. If there is a doubt about the study compliance with this Declaration, the authors are to justify their approach and prove that they have got an approval of the doubtful aspects of the study from an independent ethics committee or review board. If the study has been exempted from the ethical approval requirements, this should also be explained in detail in the manuscript, including the reasons for the exemption.
If a study has not been approved by an ethics committee prior to its start, later the ethics approval usually cannot be obtained, and the manuscript submission for peer review is hardly possible. In this case, the decision on accepting the manuscript for review is at the discretion of the Editor.
When retrospective studies are conducted using previously acquired data or biological material for which a formal consent is not mandatory or can hardly be obtained, the ethics approval may be needed in dependence on the legislation and national ethical standards of the country. The authors must make sure that they comply with the specific requirements of their country.
Case reports need ethical approval. Most institutions have specific policies concerning this issue. The authors should make sure that they comply with the specific requirements of their institution and are to seek ethical approval if necessary. The authors should also be aware of the need to obtain an informed consent from the individual. If the participant is incapacitated or underage, the informed consent is to be obtained from his (her) legal representative.
If human cells are used in the study, the authors are to indicate in the manuscript what cell lines were used; for this purpose, the source of the cell lines should be described, including the date of obtaining, availability of authentication, and methods used. If cells were purchased from a life sciences company, the name of the company that has provided the cells, cell type, cell line number, and cell batch should be included in the manuscript.
The authors must provide a statement confirming that an independent ethics committee (the committee name should be indicated) has approved the study; in addition, they must confirm that an informed consent was obtained from the donor or his (her) direct representatives such as nearest relatives.
Research Resource Identifiers (RRIDs) are unique identifiers for research resources (like DOI). The Journal encourages authors to use RRID in their manuscripts to identify the key biological resources (such as antibodies, model organisms, etc.).
RRIDs are issued by the Resource Identification Portal. A great number of research resources already have fixed RRIDs. The portal also allows the authors to register a new resource and get RRID as quickly as possible through the provided links.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines clinical trials as "any research that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes". According to the WHO definition, a medical intervention is an action carried out, with or on behalf of a person or a group of persons, the purpose of which is to assess, maintain, promote, or modify a state of health, functioning, or state condition. The result is generally regarded as a variation in the health condition of an individual or population due to the intervention.
To ensure the credibility of patient-centered study reports, authors should register upcoming clinical trials using appropriate public resources. Those can be any of the main repositories included in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform. The trial registration number (TRN) and the date of registration are to be indicated in the last line of the manuscript Abstract.
If clinical trials have not been registered prospectively, the authors should register them retrospectively in order to make possible complete publication of all the results. The authors should present the trial registration number (TRN), registration date and wording “retrospectively registered” in the last line of the manuscript Abstract.
The above should be summarized in a statement and presented under heading "Compliance with ethical standards." Examples of statements to be used after obtaining the ethics approval:
All the works carried out in the research involving humans was in compliance with the ethical standards of the national research committee, as well as with the Declaration of Helsinki 1964 with later amendments, or with similar ethical standards. The study was approved by the Committee (no. ...).
Examples of statements to be used for a retrospective study:
The Ethics Committee of the University ... has withdrawn the ethical approval due to the retrospective nature of the study and because of...
Examples of statements for the cases when the ethical approval is not needed:
The study is observational in nature. The Research Ethics Committee ... has confirmed that the ethical approval is not required.
The authors are fully in charge of the statements correctness. The Editor-in-Chief has a right to reject materials that do not satisfy the requirements specified in this section.
People have individual rights that should not be violated. In some cases, before publishing the human's data, the authors need to obtain the written consent of the participants because of possible hypersensitivity and of the fact that the participant's personal data will be used.
Identification data, such as names, dates of birth, identification numbers, biometric characteristics, and any other personal information of the research participants should not be published in any way. In case these data are necessary for scholarly purposes, a written informed consent should be received from the participant or their legal representatives. In some cases, complete anonymity can hardly been held. Detailed information of the participant health condition given in any form may disclose the participant identity. In certain cases, the consent is not required provided the information is anonymous and the published information does not include data disclosing the person's identify. In case there is any doubt, the informed consent for publication should be received.
Exceptions when consents are not required:
In case the material was taken either from deceased or dead patients, a written consent must be obtained from the patients or their relatives or guardians. If the patient is dead, his (her) pre-mortem decision should be taken into account if available. The confidentiality factor should also be taken into account, as well as any wishes of the deceased participant of the study.
If data is generated or donated within the framework of the research project, the authors should inform the participants through the informed consent on what kind of personal data, for what purpose, and in which way will be processed and used.
For all studies implying participation of humans, informed consents should be freely given by the participants or their legal representatives (this especially concerns under-ages). The authors are to attach an appropriate statement to the manuscript. The Editor will pay especial attention to manuscripts devoted to such studies involving vulnerable groups in which coercion is possible or the consent may be not fully informed.
Persons can consent to participate in a study but oppose to publishing their data in the Journal. Authors need to obtain the participants' consents for publishing their data before submitting the manuscript.
This above information should be summarized in the statement and presented in section "Declarations" located before References under heading "Participation Consent" and/or "Consent for Publication". Other declarations should include such statements as Financial Support, Conflict of Interests, Ethics Approval, Data and/or Code Availability, and statements of Authors' Contribution.
Please analyze the examples of wording and adjust them to your own needs. "Participation consent" The informed consent has been obtained from each study participant. Written informed consents have been obtained from legal representatives.
"Consent for publication": The authors confirm that humans participating in the study have given informed consents for publishing their data.
The case when the article contains information identifying the participants: Additional informed consents have been obtained from all the participants whose personal data is included in the article.
The authors are fully in charge of the accuracy of data presented in the statements. The Editor-in-Chief has a right to reject materials that do not satisfy the requirements specified in this section.