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Editorial Policies

Peer Review Process

All submissions are initially assessed by an Editor, who decides whether or not the article fits the scope of the journal and is suitable for peer review. Submissions considered suitable are assigned to two or more (usually three) independent experts.

The journal operates a double-blind peer review process, meaning that authors and reviewers remain anonymous for the review process. The review period is expected to take around four weeks. Reviewers are asked to provide useful and informative feedback, even if an article is not deemed suitable for publication in the journal.

Based on the reviewer reports the editor will make a recommendation for rejection, minor or major revisions, or acceptance. Overall editorial responsibility rests with the journal’s co-Editors-in-Chief, who are supported by an expert, international Editorial Board.

Members of the editorial team/board are permitted to submit their own papers to the journal. In cases where an author is associated with the journal, they will be removed from all editorial tasks for that paper and another member of the team will be assigned responsibility for overseeing peer review. A competing interest must also be declared within the submission and any resulting publication.

Reviewer Guidelines

Evaluation Criteria

Reviewers will be asked to comment on all of the criteria below:

Research papers

  • Originality
  • Previous work
  • Methodology
  • Clarity
  • Reproducibility
  • Ethical approval
  • Overall value

Overview papers

  • Originality
  • Previous work
  • Clarity
  • Overall value

For Dataset papers, the reviewers are asked to comment on:

  • Relevance
  • Methods used for data collection and preprocessing
  • Quality of dataset and description, including potential and suitability for reuse
  • Overall value
  • Ethical approval
The full reviewer guide can be downloaded from https://bit.ly/2UqQaYS

Reproducibility

Open Data

The journal strongly encourages authors to make all data associated with their submission openly available, according to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). This should be linked to from a Data Accessibility Statement within the submitted paper, which will be made public upon publication. If data is not being made available with the journal publication then ideally a statement from the author should be provided within the submission to explain why. Data obtained from other sources must be appropriately credited.

Structured Methods

As the traditional Materials and Methods section often includes insufficient detail for readers to wholly assess the research process, the journal encourages authors to publish detailed descriptions of their structured methods in open, online platforms such as protocols.io. By providing a step-by-step description of the methods used in the study, the chance of reproducibility and usability increases, whilst also allowing authors to build on their own works and gain additional credit and citations.

Open Code

If research includes the use of software code, statistical analysis or algorithms then we also recommend that authors upload the code to Github, or an alternative open platform. One alternative recommendation is Code Ocean, where the code will be hosted on an open, cloud-based computational reproducibility platform, providing researchers and developers with an easy way to share, validate and discover code published in academic journals.

For more information on how to incorporate open data, structured methods or open code into a submission, please visit our reproducibility page.

Preprint Policy

The journal allows authors to deposit draft versions of their paper into a suitable preprint server, on condition that the author agrees to the below:

  • The author retains copyright to the preprint and developed works from it, and is permitted to submit it to the journal.
  • The author declares that a preprint is available within the cover letter presented during submission. This must include a link to the location of the preprint.
  • The author acknowledges that having a preprint publicly available means that the journal cannot guarantee the anonymity of the author during the review process, even if they anonymise the submitted files (see review policy).
  • Should the submission be published, the authors are expected to update the information associated with the preprint version to show that a final version has been published in the journal, including the DOI linking directly to the publication.

ORCID

The journal strongly recommends that all authors submitting a paper register an account with Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID). Registration provides a unique and persistent digital identifier for the account that enables accurate attribution and improves the discoverability of published papers, ensuring that the correct author receives the correct credit for their work. As the ORCID remains the same throughout the lifetime of the account, changes of name, affiliation, or research area do not affect the discoverability of an author's past work and aid correspondence with colleagues.

The journal encourages all corresponding authors to include an ORCID within their submitting author data whilst co-authors are recommended to include one. ORCID numbers should be added to the author data upon submission and will be published alongside the submitted paper, should it be accepted.

Authorship

All listed authors must qualify as such, as defined in our authorship guidelines, which have been developed from the ICMJE definitions. All authors must have given permission to be listed on the submitted paper.

Competing Interests, Funding and Ethics 

To ensure transparency, all authors, reviewers and editors are required to declare any interests that could compromise, conflict or influence the validity of the publication. Competing interests guidelines can be viewed here.

In addition, authors are required to specify funding sources and detail requirements for ethical research in the submitted manuscript (see Author Guidelines). All authors must confirm that they fit the definition of an author (see Authorship Guidelines), during submission.

Corrections and Retractions

In accordance with guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (where applicable), the Press handles different kinds of error. All articles have their proofs checked prior to publication by the author/editor, which should ensure that content errors are not present. Please contact the journal if you believe an article needs correcting.

Post-publication changes to the publication are not permitted unless in exceptional circumstances. If an error is discovered in a published article then the publisher will assess whether a Correction paper or Retraction is required. Visit our Correction Policy page for more information.

Misconduct and Complaints

Allegations of misconduct will be taken with utmost seriousness, regardless of whether those involved are internal or external to the journal, or whether the submission in question is pre- or post-publication. If an allegation of misconduct is made to the journal, it must be immediately passed on to the publisher, who will follow guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) on how to address the nature of the problem. Should the matter involve allegations against a member of the journal or publishing team, an independent and objective individual(s) may be sought to lead the investigation. Where misconduct is proven or strongly suspected, the journal has an obligation to report the issue to the author's institution, who may conduct their own investigation. This applies to both research misconduct (e.g. completing research without ethical approval and consent, fabricating or falsifying data etc) and publication misconduct (e.g. manipulating the peer review process, plagiarism etc). Should an investigation conclude that misconduct or misinformation has occurred then the author, along with their institution will be notified. Should the publication record need to be corrected, the journal's correction policy will be followed.

Should an author wish to lodge a complaint against an editorial decision or the editorial process in general they should first approach the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, explaining their complaint and ask for a reasoned response. Should this not be forthcoming or adequate, the author should raise the matter with the publisher, who will investigate the nature of the complaint and act as arbiter on whether the complaint should be upheld and investigated further. This will follow guidelines set out by COPE.

Section Policies

Research

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Dataset

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Overview articles

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Editorial

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

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