Publication Ethics

Complaints and appeals


Allegations of research misconduct

Conflicts of interest

A conflict of interest occurs when a person’s personal interests conflict with their responsibility to carry out research and publication in a reputable and considered manner.

Personal interests include direct interests, as well as those of family, friends, or other organisations a person may be involved with or have an interest in (for example, as a shareholder). It also includes a conflict between author's potential personal gain from publication (reputation, opportunities, prestige) and the duty that the author has to participate in publication fairly and not to take advantage of systems that are in place. A conflict of interest may be actual, potential or perceived and may be financial or non-financial.

When submitting a manuscript or review, authors and referees are given opportunities to declare conflicts. This does not preclude them from participating and authors who are unsure if they have inappropriate competing interests should reach out to the editors openly and ingenuously.

There are procedures that the editors will follow if undeclared conflicts are suspected in a manuscript or after publication.

Data sharing and reproducibility

When data is used in research, it is important that this data is made available as publicly as possible for scrutiny and reproducibility. Where possible, data associated with research published by this journal will be openly available in a public repository or as supplementary files. If there are ethical or legal constraints, the data may only be releasable on request and subject to certain criteria. Sometimes, data is embargoed but will become public at a later date.

There are standard procedures in place for reports of image manipulation or fabricated data in published works.

Corrections and retractions

Retractions are considered on any of the following grounds:

  • The findings are unreliable due to error or manipulation
  • The work is plagiarised (see Plagiarism in a published article)
  • The findings have been re-published without proper attribution, disclosure or permission
  • The work may be unlawful (copyright, libel, privacy)
  • The research is determined to have been unethically carried out
  • The author(s) failed to disclose a major conflict of interest which would have affected the editors' and referees' decisions pre-publication had they been properly informed

A correction may be more appropriate if:

  • There is dispute among authors but this does not threaten the reliability of the findings
  • A simple correction notice could sufficiently address errors or concerns
  • There is inconclusive evidence to establish grounds for retraction

Notices of retraction that we have issued

Where the editors decide to issue a retraction, a notice shall be issued on this website and to readers. The notice must be published promptly, clearly identify the retracted article, be freely available to all readers, state who is retracting the article and the reasons why. Notices should not be harmful, defamatory or speculative.

When the editors issue a notice of retraction, they will be listed here as well as on the page of the article:

Date of notice : Retraction notice for 'Article title', by Author name, vol. X (year), no. 1, pp xx–xxi.