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Publishing ethics

Author's responsibilities

All authors are expected to adhere to the following guidelines when submitting to a Prescopus (TM) journal:

  • The article represents the authors’ own original work
  • The article is not being considered or reviewed by any other publication
  • The article has not been published elsewhere in the same or a similar form. This includes publication of an article in different languages and the reuse of substantial portions of articles without acknowledgement of prior publication
  • All authors are aware of and have consented to the submission and declared any potential conflict of interest – be it professional or financial – which could be held to arise with respect to the article
  • All authors fulfil the requirements for authorship Authors must cite all relevant publications that have been used in or influenced the work, including their own previously published articles Information obtained privately, as in conversation, correspondence, or discussion, should only be used and reported with written permission from the source and acknowledged as a personal communication.
  • The article contains no libellous, defamatory or unlawful statements
  • If asked to provide a list of suggested reviewers, authors must provide the correct details for suitable reviewers with the appropriate experience to review, ensuring that the suggested reviewers do not have a conflict of interest.

And for medical and healthcare authors that:

  • All necessary formal and documented ethical approval statements have been obtained and are available on submission, including written statements of informed consent and a permission for the publication of personal information form completed by the patient.

Plagiarism is the unauthorised and/or unacknowledged use or imitation of works, language, and ideas of another. Generally, in the context of article publication, plagiarism occurs when one researcher/author uses the words, language, or ideas of another researcher/author without making it clear within the narrative or referencing of the article that this has occurred; that is, passing off a piece of research or text as his or her own.However, authors should also be aware of self plagiarism (redundant publication). This may occur where an author presents in an article items that he or she has previously published in his or her other works, and makes no reference to those other works.Plagiarism can be committed through the literal copying of other authors’ work without making proper acknowledgement, but also through copying “substantial” elements of a work. Plagiarism may also take place through paraphrasing of another’s work without acknowledgement.Use or paraphrasing of “substantial” amounts of work may mean making a decision about the quality or importance of what is being used, so it is always best to reference anything, however small or seemingly insignificant, that comes from the work of another person or that you have previously published yourself.Authors should ensure that they clearly cite, reference and acknowledge all instances where they have used or been influenced by the work of others, including their own previously published articles and research material. Self plagiarism, especially where the copyright of the published article has been assigned to a publisher, learned society or other third party, is as serious as plagiarism of others, and must be avoided. All sources must be disclosed. Authors should be aware that Prescopus (TM) may on occasion randomly check submissions to its journals to verify their originality. Submissions may be compared against the CrossCheck database and/or checked using automated software packages. Authors should not consider this in any way an indication of suspicion of guilt, rather a standard, random procedure implemented to uphold the integrity of our journals. Where possible, Prescopus (TM) makes articles published in its journals available to CrossCheck, to help to protect authors’ priority and to guard against plagiarism.

Multiple or redundant publication

Redundant publication is the multiple publication or submission of the same research to different journals by an author. This includes publication of an article in different languages. It includes the reuse of substantial portions of articles without acknowledgement of prior publication.Multiple submission or multiple publication of research is unethical. It wastes the time of the editors and reviewers that form research communities and contribute to the publication of scholarly journals.Authors must inform the editors of journals to which they submit their work about any related papers by any of the authors of the article that have been submitted to the same or other journals.Authors should note that the submission of substantially similar articles to multiple journals, where perhaps some wording has been changed, but the outcome of the paper is substantially the same, also counts as redundant publication.The practice of fragmenting research findings in order to increase the number of possible articles available for publication is to be discouraged in the strongest possible terms. Any article found to have been submitted to, or under consideration by, more than one journal will be immediately rejected. Sanctions, such as a ban from submitting further publications for a specified period may also be considered.

Acknowledgement of sources
Authors should ensure that they clearly cite, reference and acknowledge all instances where they have used or been influenced by the work of others, including their own previously published articles and research material. If passages of text are copied word for word, the source must be given and the text must be placed within quotation marks. If the original text is paraphrased or reproduced with minor alterations, this must be made clear and the source given. It is unacceptable to reproduce extensive passages of text without permission from the author(s) and the copyright holder.Information obtained in conversation, correspondence or discussion should only be used and reported with written permission from the source and should be acknowledged as a personal communication.
If an article reproduces research material, tables, images, or quotations of a substantial nature, the author must seek permission to use that material and fully acknowledge the owner and/or copyright owner. Authors should refer to the copyright and permissions page for further information.
Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the work reported and who share responsibility and accountability for the results.

For example the 2011 guidelines from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) state that authorship should be limited to those who have fulfilled all of the following criteria:

  • Substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data
  • Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content and,
  • Final approval of the version to be published

If others participated in substantial aspects of the research but do not meet the criteria for authorship, they should be listed as contributors in the acknowledgments. Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, alone does not constitute authorship. Those who did not make a meaningful contribution should not be included as contributing authors for the sake of prestige or their own referencing quota. For studies conducted by large, multi-centred groups, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship.

COPE has a useful guide for authors on managing authorship and handling disputes.

Changes to authorship after acceptance

This policy concerns the addition, deletion, or rearrangement of author names in the authorship list of accepted articles.

Before the accepted article is published in an issue:

Requests to make changes to the authorship must be sent by the corresponding author to the managing editor. This includes requests to:

  • add or remove authors
  • rearrange the order in which authors are listed
  • change the corresponding author

The request must contain: i) the reason for the change and ii) signed confirmation (by e-mail, fax or letter) from all authors (including authors being added or removed) confirming that they agree with the change. This policy applies to articles that have been published online as Advance Articles. 

After the accepted article is published in an issue:

Changes to authorship after the accepted article is published in an issue will generally not be made. The corresponding author should, in the first instance, contact the managing editor with the information described above. Requests will be discussed with the academic editor.

Dishonesty and libel
Authors must use their best endeavours to ensure the material that they submit contains no fictitious data, reference omissions, or false statements. Authors should avoid the use of personal, critical, or disparaging remarks and accusations against fellow researchers, colleagues or other individuals. Critical analysis of the work of other researchers may be justified, but defamatory or actionable material must not be included.
It is a condition of submission to the journal that all authors of any article found, following due process, to breach good practice accept responsibility for this breach, which will be subject to sanction at the Publisher's and Editors' absolute discretion. These sanctions may include, inter alia, the retraction of a published article; publication of a note of correction or apology; banning of future submissions by any author for a specified period; and/or notification of the Head of the authors' department or organisation.
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