Publication Ethics
Highlights of Science closely follows the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) principles of publication ethics laid out in its core practices documents. At Highlights of Science, we take the responsibility to ensure the highest standards of publication ethics. All parties involved in the publishing activities (authors, reviewers, editors, and the publisher) will have to agree upon standards of ethical behaviours stated by COPE (Core Practices and Best Practice Guidelines).
Authorship and Author Responsibilities
Authors submitting their manuscripts for consideration for publication in Highlights of Science journals must ensure that their work are original, neither the manuscript nor any parts of its content are currently under consideration or have been published in another journal. They must confirm that their work is ethically sound, the result in the work is proper, all the data are real and authentic, the use of other work (data, words, illustrations, etc.) is duly cited, and the research findings are accurately presented.
Highlights of Science follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines which states that those who must meet all of the following criteria can then be qualified for authorship of a manuscript:
substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work;
acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work;
drafting the work or reviewing it critically for important intellectual content;
final approval of the version to be published;
agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Those who provided important contributions to the work but cannot be designated as authors should be properly acknowledged in the Acknowledgments section of the final manuscript.
Authors shall guarantee that all those who have made significant contributions to the work are listed as co-authors, and to declare any potential acknowledgements and/or conflicts of interest.
For manuscripts with several authors, an authorship statement specifying their individual contribution should be included. Highlights of Science uses the CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy) which defines 14 roles of contributions: Conceptualization; Data curation; Formal analysis; Funding acquisition; Investigation; Methodology; Project administration; Resources; Software; Supervision; Validation; Visualization; Writing – original draft; Writing – review & editing. All authors must approve the publication of the final version of the paper.
Changes to Authorship
Authors carefully consider authorship before manuscript submission. Changes to authorship can only be requested before manuscript acceptance. In order to do so, a statement regarding the authorship change should be made to the editorial office, and a reason for the change and an agreement signed by all authors should be included.
Plagiarism and Malpractice
Any cases of plagiarism including copying text, ideas, images, or data from another source, even from your own publications, without giving credit to the original source, will be zero tolerant. Reuse of text should introduce a citation to the original work. To verify the originality of the work, all submissions will be screened using a plagiarism detection system. When plagiarism is detected during the peer review process, the manuscript may be rejected, and investigation will take place and action taken in accordance with our policies if detected after publication.
Data presented must be original and not inappropriately selected, manipulated, enhanced, or fabricated. Image files must not be manipulated or adjusted in any way that could lead to misinterpretation of the information provided by the original image. Manuscripts will be rejected immediately when any kinds of fraudulent publication and scientific misconduct are identified during peer review process, and the published paper will be retracted if detected and identified after publication.
Corrections and Retractions
Corrections for any scientifically relevant errors of previously published papers should be communicated with the journal editorial office. Any changes may be evaluated by the academic editors. Correction is a separate publication that links to the original paper, which is updated. Corrections can be submitted if: a small portion of an otherwise reliable publication proves to be misleading; or an error in a figure that does not alter the conclusions; or an error in statistical data not altering conclusions; mislabeled figures; or addition of missing details about a method. When a Correction is approved by the editorial office, authors should submit their correction through the editorial system with a title stating "Correction: Title of the original publication".
Highlights of Science abides the COPE guidelines and recommendations for potential retraction. Potential Retractions are thoroughly investigated by the journal editorial office with the support of the Editorial Board and final approval by the Editor-in-Chief. Other persons and institutions will be consulted as necessary, including university authorities, or experts in the field. Retractions at Highlights of Science are not about punishing authors, as recommended by COPE. Retraction statements will be published publicly and linked to the original publication.
The following reasons may be considered for concern and potential retraction:
clear evidence that findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct or honest error;
redundant publication;
significant plagiarism;
legal issues pertaining to the content of the article;
inadvertent errors made during the research process;
articles that have made extraordinary claims without concomitant scientific or statistical evidence;
other case-by-case reasons.
Territorial Descriptions, Maps, and Affiliations
Potential disputes over borders and territories may have particular relevance for authors in describing their research or in an author or editor correspondence address, and should be respected. Content decisions are an editorial matter and where there is a potential or perceived dispute or complaint, the editorial team will attempt to find a resolution that satisfies parties involved.
Highlights of Science stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Conflicts of Interest
A conflict of interest can be anything potentially interfering with, or that could be perceived as interfering with, full and objective peer review, decision-making or publication of articles. Authors must identify and declare any personal circumstances or interests that may be perceived as inappropriately influencing the representation or interpretation of the reported research results. Examples of potential conflicts of interest include but are not limited to financial interests (such as membership, employment, consultancies, stocks/shares ownership, honoraria, grants or other funding, paid expert testimonies and patent-licensing arrangements) and non-financial interests (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, and personal beliefs).
If the research receives fundings, any role of the funding sponsors in the design of the study, in the collection, analyses or interpretation of data, in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results must be declared in this section. If there is no role, please state "The funding sponsors had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, and in the decision to publish the results".
Authors must disclose and declare any personal, professional or financial conflicts of interest that may inappropriately influence the research work in the Conflicts of Interest section. If there is no conflict of interest to declare, please state "The authors have no conflict of interest to declare".
Editorial Independence
All articles published by Highlights of Science are peer-reviewed and assessed by our independent academic editors. The staff at Highlights of Science are not involved in decisions to accept manuscripts. When making an editorial decision, the academic editors should consider the suitability of selected reviewers, the appropriateness of the chosen reviewers' comments and the authors' responses, as well as the overall scientific quality of the paper.
The academic editors should not be involved in the processing of their own manuscripts. The academic editors are not permitted to make decisions on their own papers. Other editorial board members who do not have a conflict of interest with the authors will make the decisions instead.
Responsibilities and Ethics of Special Issue/Topical Collection Editors
The Special Issue/Topical Collection editors must ensure the published contents within both the scope of the Special Issue/Topical Collection and the journal.
Submissions to the Special Issue/Topical Collection from the editors will be handled by a member having relevant expertise from the editorial board.
The Special Issue/Topical Collection editors must not ask authors to include references merely to increase citations to their own or an associate’s work, to the journal, or to another journal they are associated with. The addition of references not relevant to the work is strongly discouraged.
The Special Issue/Topical Collection editors should protect the confidentiality of all material submitted to the journal, including communications for editors only and the identity of reviewers, unless it is an open peer review after publication and reviewers have signed their review report.
The Special Issue/Topical Collection editors should carefully consider and declare any conflicts of interest when participating in the review, decision-making process, and publication of a paper.
Ethics for Editors and Reviewers
The academic editors shall rely solely on the quality and merit of the article as a criterion for publication, and act independently of the race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors. The editor also agrees not to disclose any information regarding submitted manuscripts to any other party or to use any part of the content on their own behalf.
Reviewers are responsible for evaluating manuscripts, assisting the editor in making editorial decisions and improving the quality of the articles published in the journal. Reviewers shall conduct their assessment in a timely and objective manner, avoiding any personal or unsupported criticisms. Reviewers agree not to disclose any information regarding the manuscript to any other party or to use any part of the content on their own behalf. If they wish to suggest other potential reviewers or to share the reviewing task with other colleagues, they shall always inform the editor before making any contact with a third party.
To ensure transparency, a completely rigorous and unbiased review process, all those involved in the peer-review process must carefully consider and declare any conflicts of interest when participating in the review, decision-making process, and publication of an article. Academic editors and reviewers should not have any conflict of interest with respect to the research, the authors and/or the research funders.
Highlights of Science works closely with authors and editors to promote adherence to core principles of publication ethics. Any feedback, questions and suggestions that help continuously improve the publishing process and support to the research communities can be addressed to
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