Natural Sciences Publishing (NSP) follows clear ethical standards for publication to ensure high quality scientific work and to enhance public trust in their findings. Thus, NSP applies this paolicy to all its owned journals in adherence to the Best Practice Guidelines outlined in the COPE Core Practices (https://publicationethics.org/core-practices). This policy should be read with our guidelines for authors and reviewers.
NSP goes through a robust process to detect and prevent misconduct practices. Well-known and specialized experts are selected to run this process, which at end leads to reliable and accurate manuscripts with informative findings and valuable applications. NSP is highly strict in handling violation of theses professional guidelines. All submitted manuscripts must be original and not in a process of consideration elsewhere (for example in other journals or conference proceedings).
1. Editorial Standards and Processes
Each NSP journal adopts well defined standards of authorship disclosed in the section of “For Authors”. Authors and co-authors are required to meet theses standard and confirm that all who met these standards are still listed under the list of authors.
1.1. Authorship: Published work must be attributed to one or more authors who are complied with authorship standards. A description of each author contribution should be summarized in a statement titled “Authors Contributions
1.2. Authorship Problems: To handle authorship problems; editors refer to COPE "Advice on how to spot authorship problems”
1.3. Fund and Support: Authors are requested to disclose any received fund or support from individual or organization in the “Acknowledgment” section.
2. Peer-review Process
To ensure robust, objective, confidential, transparent and free of conflicts of interest peer-review process, NSP adopts the international policies of peer-review process (i.e. single-blind or double-blind, reviewers selection, conflict of interest, response time).
2.1. Reviewers Selection: Authors have to provide the list of the potential reviewers in their cover letter and the uploading system. NSP has the right to adopt the same list of provided reviewers or switch to another.
2.2. Peer-review Conflict of Interest: Any conflict of interest should be reported directly to the editors as soon as receiving the invitation to review manuscripts.
2.3. Confidentiality during Manuscript Handling: To ensure utmost confidentiality; NSP’s editors don’t share Manuscripts with any third party except the peer reviewers.
2.4. Manuscript Handling Time: Strictly rules are adopted by NSP’s editors to ensure timely process and update authors of any possible delays.
3. Publication Ethics:
Ethical standards for publication exist to ensure high-quality scientific publications, public trust in scientific findings, and that people receive credit for their work and ideas. NSP follows the Publication Ethics (COPE: https://publicationethics.org/) and aims to adhere to its guidelines and core practices. Research integrity is at the top of NSP’s priorities; so they make every effort to identify, detect and prevent any breach of the ethical code.
3.1. Misconduct: NSP’s editors make every effort to identify, detect and prevent any practices of data fabrication, authorship abuse, falsification, image manipulation, unethical research, plagiarism, biased reporting, duplicate publication, and undeclared conflicts of interest.
3.2. Fabrication, Falsification and Image Manipulation: All NSP journals make every effort to identify, detect and prevent data fabrication, falsification and image manipulation by implementing advances image processing system. Except for some cases where it is necessary to manipulate image, and in this case adores have to explain where manipulation has been done. The authors of submitted manuscripts or published articles that are found to have fabricated or falsified the results, including the manipulation of images, may incur sanctions, and published articles may be retracted.
3.3. Plagiarism: NSP’s editors make every effort to ensure that manuscripts are original material and prevent any practices of plagiarism and duplicate of publication. Authors must not use the words, figures, or ideas of others without attribution. All sources must be cited at the point they are used, and reuse of wording must be limited and be attributed or quoted in the text. NSP uses Crossref Similarity Check (iThenticate) to detect submissions that overlap with published and submitted manuscripts. Manuscripts that are found to have been plagiarized from a manuscript by other authors, whether published or unpublished, will be rejected and the authors may incur sanctions. Any published articles may need to be corrected or retracted.
3.4. Duplicate submission and redundant publication: To make sure that all manuscripts are not being published elsewhere, NSP’s journals make every effort to identify, detect and prevent concurrent or duplicate submission. If such practices detected, NSP applies strict actions and sanctions against these authors i.e. papers are withdrawn from the website. Manuscripts submitted to NSP journals must not be submitted elsewhere while under consideration and must be withdrawn before being submitted elsewhere. Authors whose articles are found to have been simultaneously submitted elsewhere may incur sanctions. If authors have used their own previously published work, or work that is currently under review, as the basis for a submitted manuscript, they must cite the previous articles and indicate how their submitted manuscript differs from their previous work. Reuse of the authors’ own words outside the Methods should be attributed or quoted in the text. Reuse of the authors’ own figures or substantial amounts of wording may require permission from the copyright holder and the authors are responsible for obtaining this.
NSP journals will consider extended versions of articles published at conferences provided this is declared in the cover letter, the previous version is clearly cited and discussed, there is significant new content, and any necessary permission are obtained.
Redundant publication, the inappropriate division of study outcomes into more than one article (also known as salami slicing), may result in rejection or a request to merge submitted manuscripts, and the correction of published articles. Duplicate publication of the same, or a very similar, article may result in the retraction of the later article and the authors may incur sanctions.
3.5. Sanctions: If any violations of the publication ethics or professional codes are detected, then strict action is taken, according to NSPs procedures for dealing with unethical behavior as follows:
▪ A warning letter to the author covering the misconduct.
▪ Immediate rejection of the submitted manuscript.
▪ Probation period is applied to all responsible authors regarding any further submission to NSP journals.
▪ Probation period is applied to all responsible authors regarding serving as referees/reviewers for NSP journals.
▪ Publication of a formal notice detailing the misconduct.
▪ A professional letter to the chairman of the authors or reviewers department or funding agency.
▪ Formal retraction or withdrawal of a publication from the journal.
▪ Reporting the case and outcome to a professional organization or higher authority for further investigation and action.
▪ Further sanctions may be imposed, if violations of the above policies are found to be serious.
3.6. Editors and Board Members as Authors: NSP’s journals adopt well defined procedures and police to exclude editors from publication decisions when they are authors.
3.7. Conflicts of Interest: Conflicts of interest occur when issues outside research could be reasonably perceived to affect the neutrality or objectivity of the work or its assessment. This can happen at any stage in the research cycle, including during the experimentation phase, while a manuscript is being written, or during the process of turning a manuscript into a published article.
If unsure, declare a potential interest or discuss with the editorial office. Undeclared interests may incur sanctions. Submissions with undeclared conflicts that are later revealed may be rejected. Published articles may need to be re-assessed, have a corrigendum published, or in serious cases be retracted.
A clear declaration of all possible conflicts, whether they actually had an influence or not, allows others to make informed decisions about the work and its review process. If conflicts of interest are found after publication, this may be embarrassing for the authors, the Editor and the journal. It may be necessary to publish a corrigendum or reassess the review process. Conflicts include the following:
· Financial, funding and other payments, goods and services received or expected by the authors relating to the subject of the work or from an organization with an interest in the outcome of the work
· Affiliations, being employed by, on the advisory board for, or a member of an organization with an interest in the outcome of the work
· Intellectual property, patents or trademarks owned by someone or their organization
· Personal, friends, family, relationships, and other close personal connections
· Ideology, beliefs or activism, for example, political or religious, relevant to the work
· Academic, competitors or someone whose work is critiqued
Authors: Authors must declare all potential interests in a ‘Conflicts of interest’ section, which should explain why the interest may be a conflict. If there are none, the authors should state “The author(s) declare(s) that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.” Submitting authors are responsible for coauthors declaring their interests.
Authors must declare current or recent funding (including article processing charges) and other payments, goods or services that might influence the work. All funding, whether a conflict or not, must be declared in the ‘Funding Statement’.
The involvement of anyone other than the authors who 1) has an interest in the outcome of the work; 2) is affiliated to an organization with such an interest; or 3) was employed or paid by a funder, in the commissioning, conception, planning, design, conduct, or analysis of the work, the preparation or editing of the manuscript, or the decision to publish must be declared.
Declared conflicts of interest will be considered by the editor and reviewers and included in the published article.
Editors and Reviewers: Editors and reviewers should decline to be involved with a submission when they
· Have a recent publication or current submission with any author
· Share or recently shared an affiliation with any author
· Collaborate or recently collaborated with any author
· Have a close personal connection to any author
· Have a financial interest in the subject of the work
· Feel unable to be objective
Reviewers must declare any remaining interests in the ‘Confidential’ section of the review form, which will be considered by the editor. Editors and reviewers must declare if they have previously discussed the manuscript with the authors.
3.8. Libel and Defamation: NSP’s editors make every effort to identify, detect and prevent any certain language or expression either in the manuscripts or peer reviewer reports that would lead to legal action for defamation and negligent misstatement.
3.9. Editorial Independence and Commercial Issues: To ensure a formal relationship between the editors and the publisher (NSP), each NSP’s journal adopted polices and established mechanism to avoid biased decisions that financially influenced by authors.
3.10. Academic Debate: Comments or constructive criticism of any published work are allowed by all NSP’s journals. If such practice occurred, authors are informed to respond before the comments are published.
3.11. Appeals: To appeal against editorial decisions, authors refer to the international based mechanism that is adopted by NSP.
3.12. Corrections: NSP welcomes authors or readers to notify the journal editorial office if any errors discovered in the published work. If such occurred, editors and authors are notified to correct theses errors, then an erratum will be published in an issue in the same journal.
4. Research Ethics in Journal Articles
4.1. Human Rights, Privacy and Confidentiality: Outcomes of clinical trials studies must be officially registered with public health authority in the country. Otherwise, authors are requested to a letter of explanation.
4.2. Cultures and Heritage: NSP’s editors make every effort to identify, detect and prevent publishing any images or texts that related to religious or historical events that could be offensive to some social groups.
4.3. Reporting Guidelines: NSP’s editors and peer reviewers make every effort to ensure that the necessary information is available in the submitted manuscripts for the purpose of evaluation by readers.
4.4. Research on human populations (including reporting standards): For studies involving humans categorized by race, ethnicity, national or social origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, political or other beliefs, age, disease, (dis)ability, socio-economic status, or other socially constructed or socially relevant groupings, authors should:
· Explicitly describe their methods of categorizing human populations
· Define categories in as much detail as the study protocol allows
· Justify their choices of definitions and categories, including for example whether any rules of categorization were required by their funding agency
· Explain whether (and if so, how) they controlled for confounding variables in their analyses
NSP journals require that all content submitted for publication be respectful of the dignity and rights of individuals and human groups. Researchers are asked to carefully consider the potential implications (including inadvertent consequences) of research on human groups defined by attributes of race, ethnicity, national or social origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, political or other beliefs, age, disease, (dis)ability or other status, to be reflective of their authorial perspective if not part of the group under study, and contextualize their findings to minimize as much as possible potential misuse or risks of harm to the studied groups in the public sphere.
Authors should use inclusive, respectful, non-stigmatizing language in their submitted manuscripts. Authors should ensure that writing is free from stereotypes or cultural assumptions.
Regardless of content type (research, review or comments) and, for research, regardless of whether a research project was reviewed and approved by an appropriate institutional ethics committee, editors reserve the right to request modifications to (or correct or otherwise amend post-publication), and in severe cases refuse publication of (or retract post-publication):
· Content that is premised upon the assumption of inherent biological, social, or cultural superiority or inferiority of one human group over another based on race, ethnicity, national or social origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, political or other beliefs, age, disease, (dis)ability, or other socially constructed or socially relevant groupings (hereafter referred to as socially constructed or socially relevant human groupings).
· Content that undermines - or could reasonably be perceived to undermine - the rights and dignities of an individual or human group on the basis of socially constructed or socially relevant human groupings.
· Content that includes text or images that directly or indirectly disparage a person or group on the basis of socially constructed or socially relevant human groupings.
·Submissions that embody singular, privileged perspectives, which are exclusionary of a diversity of voices in relation to socially constructed or socially relevant human groupings, and which purport such perspectives to be generalizable and/or assumed.
Human transplantation studies: Authors must also include a statement in their manuscript attesting that no organs/tissues were procured from prisoners and providing details of the institution(s)/clinic(s)/department(s) via which organs/tissues were procured while taking care to not violate privacy of donors. For retrospective transplantation studies, authors must include a testament confirming that informed consent was obtained from all participants or that the need for informed consent was waived by the ethics committee/institutional review board.
5. Copyright and Access
5.1. Copyright and Licensing Information: Copyright and licensing are clearly described on the NSP journal’s web site (in the guidelines for authors). By submitting a manuscript for publication to the journal, authors acknowledge that the work is original and is not being submitted to another journal. The submission of a manuscript by the authors implies that the authors automatically agree to assign exclusive copyright to NSP if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication.
5.2. Archiving: NSP is a member of CrossRef which gives NSPs journals the ability to create and deposit digital object identifiers (DOIs) for the content we produce. We allocate DOIs to our publications by depositing bibliographic metadata for each article with CrossRef while citing metadata that includes the current location of the journal on the website.
5.3. Author Self-Archiving Policy: Authors may upload their accepted manuscript PDF to institutional and/or centrally organized repositories, but must stipulate that public availability be delayed until 6 months after the first online publication in the journal have elapsed.
5.4. Ownership and management: NSP clearly provide information about the ownership and/or management of all its journals on the journal’s website.
5.5. The website: NSP journals’ web sites have been created and maintained to ensure high ethical and professional standards are applied.
5.6. Publishing schedule: NSP clearly indicates in the first page of each journals website the publication frequency, i.e. the periodicity at which the issues of the journal are published.
5.7. Name of the journal: NSP selects very carefully each journals name, which must be unique and reflective of the broad scope of the journal. A given journals name is selected to avoid confusion with other journal(s) while not misleading potential authors and readers about the journal’s origin or organization with other journals.