Ethical standards for publication exist to ensure high-quality scientific publications, public trust in scientific findings, and that people receive credit for their ideas. SSRG aims to adhere to the Best Practice Guidelines framed on Publication Ethics (COPE) and abides by its Code of Conduct.
All manuscripts are subject to peer review and are expected to meet standards of academic excellence. If approved by the editor, submissions will be considered by peer-reviewers, whose identities will remain anonymous to the authors. Our Research Integrity team will occasionally seek advice outside standard peer review, for example, on submissions with serious ethical, security, biosecurity, or societal implications. We may consult experts and the academic editor before deciding on appropriate actions, including but not limited to: recruiting reviewers with specific expertise, assessment by additional editors, and declining to further consider a submission.
SSRG uses the turnitin™ similarity check to detect instances of overlapping and similar text in submitted manuscripts.
Manuscripts that are found to have been published elsewhere, or to be under review elsewhere, will incur duplicate submission / publication 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 are required to cite the previous work and indicate how their submitted manuscript offers novel contributions beyond those of the 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. For more information visit COPE Guidelines
Submitted manuscripts that are found to include citations whose primary purpose is to increase the number of citations to a given author’s work, or to articles published in a particular journal, will incur citation manipulation sanctions. Editors and Reviewers 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.
Submitted manuscripts that are found to have either fabricated or falsified experimental results, including the manipulation of images, will incur data fabrication and falsification sanctions.
All listed authors must have made a significant scientific contribution to the research in the manuscript and approved all its claims. It is important to list everyone who made a significant scientific contribution, including students, research scholar, project assistant, and laboratory technicians. We refer to the COPE and ICMJE Guidelines. Author contributions may be described at the end of the submission, optionally using roles defined by CRediT.
Redundant publications involve the inappropriate division of study outcomes into several articles.
Conflicts of Interest (COIs, also known as ‘competing interests’) occur when issues outside research could be reasonably perceived to affect the neutrality or objectivity of the work or its assessment. Potential conflicts of interest must be declared – whether or not they actually had an influence – to allow informed decisions. In most cases, this declaration will not stop work from being published nor will it always prevent someone from being involved in a review process.
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. For more information on COIs, see the guidance from the ICMJE and WAME.
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, e.g. political or religious, relevant to the work
Academic – competitors or someone whose work is critiqued.
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 is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this paper.” Submitting authors are responsible for co-authors declaring their interests.
Authors must declare current or recent funding (including for 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 ‘Acknowledgments’.
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 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.
In the event that there are documented violations of any of the above mentioned policies in any journal, regardless of whether or not the violations occurred in a journal published by SSRG, the following sanctions will be applied:
- Immediate rejection of the infringing manuscript
- Immediate rejection of every other manuscript submitted to any journal published by SSRG by any of the authors of the infringing manuscript
- Prohibition against all of the authors for any new submissions to any journal published by SSRG, either individually or in combination with other authors of the infringing manuscript, as well as in combination with any other authors. This prohibition will be imposed for a minimum of 36 months
- Prohibition against all of the authors from serving on the Editorial Board of any journal published by SSRG
In cases where the violations of the above policies are found to be particularly egregious, the publisher reserves the right to impose additional sanctions beyond those described above.
It is important that the authors record the results of their research in a form that its analysis and review could be done before the publication and by other researchers for a reasonable period after publication. Fabrication, like reporting results that were never conducted or deceive or intent to mislead, is a form of scientific misconduct and regarded as highly unethical and in some jurisdictions may be illegal.
The authors should submit their research papers in the journal's precise format for each publication. The information provided by the authors should be concise, authentic and give details of the research experiments performed. Authors should include recent research articles and bring in comparative analysis to support their research. However, in doing so authors should rewrite the information in their own words and represent it in a form that supports their original work of research. This information, used from the work of competitors, other researchers and partners, should be citied as references in the research papers. They should also cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work.
Authorship credit should be based on 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. A citied author should meet all of these criteria. Individuals that made other contributions to the research like obtaining funds for the research, collecting important data and materials, or co-ordinating with the publication, are significant but do not qualify for authorship. These individuals can be acknowledged in the research papers.
The source of funding for the research project or the publication of the document should be stated. The author should clearly declare that the submitted work and its essential substance have not previously been published and are not being considered for publication elsewhere. If a primary research report has been published, the author should clearly state it and also mention the advancement and new analyses or syntheses of data in the secondary research report. An overlap of about 10 per cent is considered acceptable between such journals.
Plagiarism is an unethical practice in the field of research and is completely unacceptable. Authors are required to state they are the copyright owners or they have taken the copyright owners' permission before submitting the research report. Any breach of copyright is not acceptable. Besides journals, SSRG also publishes Conference Proceedings for a no fee. These are intended to serve the community as a means of sharing the most recent work-in-progress in respective areas of research. Conference organizers have to declare that the proceedings will not be shared with or published in any other journal.
The editor of a journal has a complete authority and responsibility to accept or reject a submitted paper and is not influenced by the management or owners in any form. The editor may confer with associate editor, co-editors and peer-reviewers while making a decision. The editors should judge all submissions on their scientific merit and minimize the influence of other factors. The decision should be timely and fair irrespective of caste, culture, origin, gender or citizenship of the author. Editors, authors, and peer reviewers have a responsibility to disclose interests that might appear to affect their ability to present or review data objectively. These include relevant financial, personal, political, intellectual, or religious interests. Editors and board members should, whenever these are relevant to the content being considered or published, declare their interests and affiliations. The editorial team should not disclose any information about a submitted paper under consideration other than to reviewers. Situations that may lead to conflicts of interest should be avoided.
Researchers should not generally publish or share identifiable individual data collected in the course of research without specific consent from the individual (or their representative).
Informed consent to publish should be obtained from participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 18) for all research involving identifiable human subjects. This requirement also applies to deceased persons, in which case consent should be given by the next of kin. Authors are required to attest that consent has been obtained and that any identifiable individuals are aware of the intended publication. Examples of identifying information are descriptions of individual case histories, photos, videos, x-rays, or genetic pedigrees.
In order to protect participant anonymity, authors do not need to send proof of this consent to us. A statement confirming that consent was obtained for all identifiable individuals should appear in the manuscript.
Source: Barbour V on behalf of COPE Council, Journals’ Best Practices for Ensuring Consent for Publishing Medical Case Reports: guidance from COPE, December 2016 www.publicationethics.org
Suspected breaches of our publication ethics policies, either before or after publication, as well as concerns about research ethics, should be reported to our respective editor-in-chief.
For more information visit COPE Guidelines.
When errors are identified in published articles, the publisher will consider what action is required and may consult the editors and the authors’ institution(s).
Errors by the authors may be corrected by a corrigendum and errors by the publisher by an erratum.
If there are errors that significantly affect the conclusions or there is evidence of misconduct, this may require retraction or an expression of concern following the COPE Retraction Guidelines.
All authors will be asked to agree to the content of the notice.