Ethics Policy

Publication Ethics Policy and Statement on Improper Procedures in Publications

This journal is committed to ethics and quality in publishing. We uphold standards of ethical behavior expected of all parties involved in publishing in our journal: the author, the journal editor and the reviewers. We do not accept plagiarism or any other unethical behavior.

Editors' duties:

- Publication decision: The journal editor is responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published. The editor is guided by the policies of the journal's editorial board and in strict compliance with legal requirements regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism. The editor may consult the editorial board or contributors in making decisions.

- Fair rules: The editor must evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content, without distinction of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, nationality or political philosophy of the authors.

- Confidentiality: The editor and any editorial team must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the author, reviewers, potential collaborators, other editorial advisors and the editor, as appropriate.

- Disclosure and conflicts of interest: The editor must not use information that has not been published in his/her own research and without the express written consent of the author. The editor must refrain from evaluating manuscripts in which he/she has any conflict of interest resulting from competitive or collaborative relationships or any other type of relationship or connections with any of the authors, companies or (possibly) institutions that are linked/connected to the articles.

- Participation and cooperation in investigations: The editor must take reasonable response measures when ethical complaints are lodged in relation to a submitted manuscript or a published article.

Reviewers' duties:

- Contribution to editorial decision: Peer review assists the editor in making editorial decisions and, through editorial communications with the author, can also assist the author in improving the article.

- Timeliness: Any selected referee who does not feel qualified to evaluate the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its immediate review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse themselves from the review process.

- Confidentiality: All manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They should not be shown to or discussed with others.

- Objectivity standards: Comments should be conducted objectively and reviewers should express their opinions clearly, with supporting arguments.

- Source acknowledgment: Peer reviewers should identify relevant published works that have not been cited by the authors. The reviewer should also draw the editor's attention to any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript in question and any other published document of which they have personal knowledge.

- Disclosure and conflicts of interest: Inside information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal gain. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have any conflict of interest resulting from competitive or collaborative relationships or any other type of relationship or connections with any of the authors, companies or (possibly) institutions that are linked/connected to the articles.

Authors' duties:

- Reporting standards: Authors of original research reports should present an accurate account of the work carried out, as well as an objective analysis of its significance. Underlying data must be presented accurately in the article. A document must contain sufficient detail and references to enable others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or intentionally inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.

- Originality and plagiarism: Authors must ensure that their works are completely original, and if authors use the work and/or words of other authors, they must be properly cited and credited. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.

- Multiple, redundant or competing publications: An author should generally not publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal simultaneously and/or publishing the same article in different journals constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.

- Acknowledgment of sources: Proper acknowledgment of the work of others should always be made. Authors should cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the work reported. Information obtained privately, such as in conversation, correspondence or discussion with a third party, should not be used or reported without explicit written permission from the source. Information obtained in the course of confidential services, such as refereeing manuscripts or grant applications, should not be used without the explicit written permission of the author of the work involved in those services.

- Authorship of the article: Authorship should be limited to those who made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution or interpretation of the reported study. All those who made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. Others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the research project should also be acknowledged or listed as contributors. The author should ensure that all co-authors are included in the article, and that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the document and agreed to its submission for publication.

- Disclosure and conflicts of interest: All authors must disclose in their manuscripts any financial or substantive/material conflict of interest that could influence the results or interpretation. All sources of financial support for the project must be disclosed.

- Fundamental errors in published works: When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his or her own published work, it is the author's obligation to immediately notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the article.

Duties of the publisher

We are committed to ensuring that obtaining advertising, reprint or other commercial revenue has no impact or influence on editorial decisions.

Our articles are peer-reviewed to ensure the quality of scientific publications and we also use CrossCheck (CrossRef's software for identifying plagiarism).

* This Ethics Policy is based on recommendations from Elsevier and the COPE Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors.