The editors of the REC publisher enforce a rigorous peer-review process together with strict ethical policies and standards to ensure to add high quality scientific works to the field of scholarly publication. Unfortunately, cases of plagiarism, data falsification, image manipulation, inappropriate authorship credit, and the like, do arise.
REC publisher dedicated to following best practices on ethical matters, errors, and retractions. The prevention of publication malpractice is one of the important responsibilities of the editorial board. Any unethical behavior is not acceptable, and the REC publisher does not tolerate plagiarism in any form. Authors submitting manuscripts to the REC publisher affirm that manuscript contents are original. Furthermore, they warrant that their manuscripts has neither been published elsewhere in any language fully or partly nor is it under review for publication elsewhere.
Ethical issues to consider when publishing:
Authorship of the paper: Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study.
Originality and plagiarism: The authors should ensure that they have written entirely original works, and if the authors have used the work and/or words of others, that this has been appropriately cited or quoted.
Data access and retention: Authors may be asked to provide the raw data in connection with a paper for editorial review and should be prepared to provide public access to such data.
Multiple, redundant, or concurrent publication: The REC publisher does not accept manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one publication source or primary publication.
Acknowledgement of sources: Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given.
Disclosure and conflicts of interest: All submissions must include disclosure of all relationships that could be viewed as presenting a potential conflict of interest.
All authors must disclose all relationships or interests that could inappropriately influence or bias their work. 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, personal beliefs).
If unsure, any potential conflicts of interest must be declared or discussed with the editorial office. Undeclared conflicts of interest may incur sanctions. Submissions with undeclared conflicts of interest that are later revealed may be rejected. Published manuscripts may need to be re-assessed, have a corrigendum published, or in serious cases be retracted. Conflicts of interest do not always stop a paper from being published or prevent someone from being involved in the review process. However, they must be declared. A clear declaration of all conflicts – whether they had any 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 REC community. It may be necessary to publish a corrigendum or reassess the review process.
The corresponding author must include a summary statement in the manuscript in a separate section “Conflicts of Interest” placed just before the reference list.
See below for examples of disclosures:
Conflicts of Interest: Author A has received research grants from Company A. Author B has received a speaker honorarium from Company X and owns stocks in Company Y. Author C has been involved as a consultant and expert witness in Company Z. Author D is the inventor of patent X.
If no conflicts exist, the authors should state:
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted paper will not be used by the editor or the members of the editorial board for their own research purposes without the author's explicit written consent.
Editors should be ready to justify any important deviation from the described process. Editors should not reverse decisions on publication unless serious problems are identified.
Editors should publish guidance to either author or reviewers on everything that is expected of them. This guidance should be regularly updated and will refer or link this code.
Fundamental errors in published works: When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her own published work, it is the author's obligation to promptly notify the publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper.
The editors of the REC publisher are responsible for deciding which of the manuscripts submitted should be published. The editors are guided in reaching their decision by referees’ reports and may confer with other editors or reviewers in making this decision. They are also guided by the REC's policies and constrained by such legal requirements as shall then be in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism.
All manuscripts will be reviewed based on intellectual content without regard for age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, country of origin, or political philosophy of the authors.
All manuscripts submitted for peer-review are kept strictly confidential. The editor and any editorial staff must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, as appropriate. At no time will editors or reviewers utilize submitted materials without the consent of the authors.
Fundamental Errors in Published Works
When a significant error or inaccuracy has been discovered in a published work (with or without the author notifying it), the editors will cooperate with the author to retract or correct the paper accordingly. If a correction is deemed appropriate, the editors reserve the right to correct the published material and include a dated erratum.
REC publisher differentiates between the categories of Addendum, Erratum, Corrections, Retractions, Comments, and Expressions of Concern. Minor errors that do not affect readability or meaning (e.g., spelling, grammatical or spacing errors) do not qualify for an update, regardless of when or by whom the error was introduced. Complaints made against papers or requests to update are thoroughly investigated by the 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.
If crucial results (e.g., additional affiliation, clarify some aspect of methods/analysis, etc.) were unintentionally omitted from the original publication, the original manuscripts can be amended by using an Addendum, reporting these previously omitted results. A hyperlink to the Addendum will also be added to the original publication, but the original paper, itself, does not need to be updated.
Errata should be published for scientifically relevant formatting changes, or changes to authorship if the author or contributor list is incorrect when a deserving author has been omitted or somebody who does not meet authorship criteria, has been included. Scientifically relevant formatting issues that require an Erratum might include missing or unclear figures, or errors arising during proofreading (e.g., missing text).
Author Name Change Policy: Some authors might wish to change their name following publication. In such cases, the REC publisher will update and republish the manuscript and re-deliver the updated metadata to the appropriate indexing services (please note that all updates are dependent upon the policies of the databases). Our teams are aware that name changes can be sensitive and/or private in nature, for a variety of reasons that may include alignment with gender identity, marriage, divorce, or religious conversion. Therefore, to protect author identity, an Erratum will not be published, and co-authors will not be notified. Authors should contact the Editorial Office with their name change request.
Corrections should be submitted for any scientifically relevant errors in published manuscripts. Any changes may be evaluated by the academic editors. Any changes after publication that affect the scientific interpretation (e.g., changes to a misleading portion of an otherwise reliable publication, an error in a figure, error in data that does not affect conclusions or the addition of missing details about a method) are announced using a Correction. This is a separate publication that links to the original paper, which is updated. A note will also be added to the manuscript Versions Notes and to the abstract page, which tells the readers that an updated version was uploaded.
Sometimes a manuscript needs to be completely removed from the body of research literature. This could be due to inadvertent errors made during the research process, gross ethical breaches, fabrication of data, substantial amounts of plagiarism, or other reasons. Such manuscripts threaten the integrity of scientific records and need to be retracted. The REC publisher follows the recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) for retraction. Potential Retractions are thoroughly investigated by the 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. If a Retraction is published, the original publication is amended with a “RETRACTED” watermark but will still be available on the REC's website for future reference. However, retracted manuscripts should not be cited and used for further research, as they cannot be relied upon.
Retractions are published using the same authorship and affiliation as that of the manuscript being retracted, with page numbers added, as a separate item in the current issue of the publication, so that after issue release, the Retraction can be picked up by indexing & abstracting services. Partial Retractions might be published in cases where results are only partially wrong. A paper will only be completely removed in very exceptional circumstances, where leaving it online would constitute an illegal act or be likely to lead to significant harm.
Retractions are not usually appropriate if:
A change of authorship is required, but there is no reason to doubt the validity of the findings.
Notices of retraction should:
Be linked to the retracted manuscript wherever possible (i.e., in all electronic versions).
Clearly identify the retracted manuscript (e.g., by including the title and authors in the retraction heading).
Be clearly identified as a retraction (i.e., distinct from other types of correction or comment).
Be published promptly to minimize harmful effects arising from misleading publications.
Expression of Concern
For complex, inconclusive, or prolonged situations, an Expression of Concern may be published. If investigations into alleged or suspected research misconduct have not yet been completed or prove to be inconclusive, an editor may wish to publish an Expression of Concern, detailing the points of concern and what actions, if any, are in progress. This is very rarely used.
Comments and Replies
Comments are short letters to the editors from readers questioning either the results reported, or the experimental methods used in a specific manuscript. Usually, a reader will approach the Editorial Office or the Editor-in-Chief, if he/she finds a manuscript intriguing. In such circumstances, the Editorial Office may invite the reader to write a short and reasoned Comment on the manuscript. After consideration and review by the Editor in Chief, the Comment may be published, in which case the Editorial Office will approach the authors of the manuscript in question and invite them to prepare a Reply. If the reader’s complaints are substantiated, the authors or the Editorial Office may consequently publish a Correction or retract the paper entirely.
Both comments and replies will be refereed to ensure that:
The comment addresses significant aspects of the original manuscript without becoming a new one.
The reply responds directly to the comment without becoming evasive.
The tone of both the comment and the reply is appropriate for a scientific publication.
A comment will first be sent to the academic editors for an initial check. If it can proceed, it will be sent to the author of the original paper, who will be given the opportunity to write a reply. Normally, the editor will provide a deadline for receipt of the reply in order to assure prompt publication of the discussion. If a reply is submitted in a timely way, the editor will have both the comment and reply reviewed. If the original author chooses not to submit a reply, the editor may elect to proceed without a reply.
In most cases, editors will invite previous reviewers to review both the Comment and Reply (if available). After receiving review reports, editors will send the Reply and review reports to the author of the Comment. The author will be given only one chance to revise the Comment. The revised Comment and review reports will be sent to the authors of the Reply. The authors will also be given only one chance to revise the Reply. Finally, editors will send the revised Comment/Reply to the academic editor for a final decision.
Dealing with Unethical Behaviour
When dealing with unethical behaviour, the Editorial Board will rely on the guidelines and recommendations provided by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Further, the REC publisher follows COPE Retraction Guidelines considering retracting a publication, if:
They have unmistakable evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (e.g., data fabrication) or honest error (e.g., miscalculation or experimental error)
The findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper cross-referencing, permission, or justification (i.e., cases of redundant publication)
It constitutes plagiarism
It reports unethical research
Editors should consider issuing an expression of concern if:
they receive inconclusive evidence of research or publication misconduct by the authors
there is evidence that the findings are unreliable, but the authors’ institution will not investigate the case
they believe that an investigation into alleged misconduct related to the publication has either not been or would not be, fair and impartial or conclusive
an investigation is underway, but a judgment will not be available for some considerable time
Editors should consider issuing a correction if:
a small portion of an otherwise reliable publication proves to be misleading (especially because of honest error)
the author/contributor list is incorrect (i.e., a deserving author has been omitted, or somebody who does not meet authorship criteria has been included)
Authors should ensure that where the material is taken from other sources (including their own published writing), the source is cited and that, where appropriate, permission is obtained.
Authors should not engage in excessive self-citation of their own work.
Authors should not copy references from other publications if they have not read the cited work.
Authors should preferentially not cite their own publications or those of their friends, peers, or institutions. Authors should not cite advertisements or advertising material.
In accordance with COPE guidelines, we expect that: “original wording taken directly from publications by other researchers should appear in quotation marks with the appropriate citations”. This condition also applies to an author’s own work. COPE has produced a discussion document on citation manipulation with recommendations for best practices.
Suspected breaches of our publication’s ethics policies, either before or after publication, as well as concerns about research ethics, should be reported to our Research Integrity team. Claimants will be kept anonymous if requested, although claimants may also wish to use an anonymous email service such as ProtonMail or TorGuard. The REC publisher may ask the authors to provide the underlying data and images, consult editors, and contact institutions or employers to ask for an investigation or to raise concerns.
If the REC publisher becomes aware of breaches of our publication’s ethics policies, whether the breach occurred, the following sanctions may be applied across the REC publisher:
Rejection of the manuscript and any other manuscripts submitted by the author(s).
Not permitting further submissions for 1–3 years.
Prohibition from acting as an editor or reviewer.
Data Fabrication and Falsification
Submitted papers found to include false or fabricated data prior to publication will be returned to the author immediately, with a request for an explanation. If no explanation is received or if the explanation provided is considered unsatisfactory, the REC will notify the author’s institution, local ethics committee, or his/her superior. The REC may also refuse to accept further submissions from the author for a defined period. Examples of data falsification or fabrication include image manipulation; cropping of gels/images to change context; omission of selected data; or fabricating data sets. Some journals employ image manipulation software to detect evidence of falsification in submitted manuscripts.
The editors of the REC publisher carry out plagiarism checks at least twice for each manuscript. The first check is done when the manuscript is first received, and the second before publication. Using the ideas and work of other scientists without giving them credit is unfair and dishonest. Copying even a single sentence from someone else’s manuscript, or even one of your own that has previously been published, without proper citation, is considered plagiarism. Please use your own words instead. 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 any reuse of wording must be limited and attributed or quoted in the text. 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 manuscripts may need to be corrected or retracted.
It is unethical to submit the same manuscript to more than one place at the same time. Doing this wastes the time of editors and peer reviewers and can damage the reputation of the authors and the publisher if published in more than one place, as the later publication will have to be retracted.
This is the publishing of many remarkably similar manuscripts based on the same experiment. Combining your results into one very robust paper is more likely to be of interest to a selective journal. Editors are likely to reject a weak paper that they suspect is a result of salami slicing. The REC publisher evaluates submissions on the understanding that they have not been previously published in, or simultaneously submitted to, another journal. We also encourage editors and journal administrators to keep a clear record of all communications between authors, editors, and peer reviewers regarding the submissions they handle. These records are carefully stored and may be used to facilitate investigations into possible cases of misconduct. Where necessary we will contact and/or co-operate with other publishers and journals to identify cases of redundant publication.
Manuscripts submitted to the REC publisher must not be submitted elsewhere whilst under consideration and must be withdrawn before being submitted elsewhere. Authors whose manuscripts 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 manuscripts and indicate how their submitted manuscript differs from their previous work. Reuse of the author’s own words outside the Methods should be attributed or quoted in the text. Reuse of the author’s own figures or substantial amounts of wording may require permission from the copyright holder. The authors are responsible for obtaining this.
The REC publisher will consider extended versions of manuscripts published at conferences provided this is declared in, a covering letter, the previous version is clearly cited and discussed, there is significant new content, and any necessary permissions are obtained. Redundant publication, the inappropriate division of study outcomes into more than one manuscript (also known as salami slicing), may result in rejection or a request to merge submitted manuscripts, and the correction of published manuscripts. Duplicate publication of the same, or a remarkably similar manuscript, may result in the retraction of the later manuscript, and the authors may incur sanctions.
Authors whose submitted manuscripts are found to include citations, whose primary purpose is to increase the number of citations to a given author’s work, or to manuscripts published in a particular journal, may incur 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 with which they are associated.
Research Involving Human Subjects
When reporting on research that involves human subjects, human material, human tissues, or human data, authors must declare that the investigations were carried out following the rules of the Declaration of Helsinki of 1975 (https://www.wma.net/what-we-do/medical-ethics/declaration-of-helsinki/), revised in 2013. According to point twenty-three of this declaration, approval from the local institutional review board (IRB) or other appropriate ethics committee must be obtained before undertaking the research to confirm the study meets national and international guidelines. As a minimum, a statement including the project identification code, date of approval, and name of the ethics committee or institutional review board must be stated in Section ‘Institutional Review Board Statement’ of the manuscripts.
For non-interventional studies (e.g., surveys, questionnaires, social media research), all participants must be fully informed if anonymity is assured, why the research is being conducted, how their data will be used and if there are any risks associated. As with all research involving humans, ethical approval from an appropriate ethics committee must be obtained prior to conducting the study. If ethical approval is not required, authors must either provide an exemption from the ethics committee or are encouraged to cite the local or national legislation that indicates ethics approval is not required for this type of study. Where a study has been granted the exemption, the name of the ethics committee which provided this should be stated in Section ‘Institutional Review Board Statement’ with a full explanation regarding why ethical approval was not required.
A written informed consent for publication must be obtained from participating patients. Data relating to individual participants must be described in detail, but confidential information identifying participants need not be included unless the identifiable materials are of relevance to the research (for example, photographs of participants’ face that show a particular symptom). Patients’ initials or other personal identifiers must not appear in any images. For manuscripts that include any case details, personal information, and/or images of patients, authors must obtain signed informed consent for publication from patients (or their relatives/guardians) before submitting them to the REC publisher. Patient details must be anonymized as far as possible, e.g., do not mention specific age, ethnicity, or occupation where they are not relevant to the conclusions. Editors reserve the right to reject any submission that does not meet these requirements.
If the study reports research involving vulnerable groups, an additional check may be performed. The submitted manuscript will be scrutinized by the editorial office and upon request, documentary evidence (blank consent forms and any related discussion documents from the ethics board) must be supplied. Additionally, when studies describe groups by race, ethnicity, gender, disability, disease, etc., an explanation regarding why such categorization was needed must be clearly stated in the manuscripts.
Ethical Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Research
The editors of the REC publisher will require that the benefits potentially derived from any research causing harm to animals are significant in relation to any cost endured by animals and that procedures followed are unlikely to cause offence to many readers. Authors should particularly ensure that their research complies with the commonly accepted '3Rs':
Replacement of animals by alternatives wherever possible.
Reduction in the number of animals used.
Refinement of experimental conditions and procedures to minimize the harm to animals.
Authors must include details on housing, husbandry, and pain management in their manuscript. If national legislation requires it, studies involving vertebrates or higher invertebrates must only be carried out after obtaining approval from the appropriate ethics committee. As a minimum, the project identification code, date of approval and name of the ethics committee or institutional review board should be stated in Section ‘Institutional Review Board Statement’.
Research procedures must be conducted in accordance with national and institutional regulations. Statements on animal welfare should confirm that the study complied with all relevant legislation. Clinical studies involving animals and interventions outside of routine care require ethics committee oversight as per the American Veterinary Medical Association. If the study involved client-owned animals, informed client consent must be obtained and certified in the manuscript report of the research. Owners must be fully informed if there are any risks associated with the procedures and that the research will be published. If available, a high standard of veterinary care must be provided. The authors are responsible for the correctness of the statements provided in the manuscript.
If ethical approval is not required by national laws, authors must provide an exemption from the ethics committee, if one is available. Where a study has been granted an exemption, the name of the ethics committee that provided this should be stated in Section ‘Institutional Review Board Statement’ with a full explanation on why the ethical approval was not required.
If no animal ethics committee is available to review applications, authors should be aware that the ethics of their research will be evaluated by reviewers and editors. Authors should provide a statement justifying the work from an ethical perspective, using the same utilitarian framework that is used by ethics committees. Authors may be asked to provide this even if they have received ethical approval. Editors reserve the right to ask for the checklist and to reject submissions that do not adhere to these guidelines, to reject submissions based on ethical or animal welfare concerns or if the procedure described does not appear to be justified by the value of the work presented.
Sex and Gender in Research
We encourage our authors to follow the ‘Sex and Gender Equity in Research – SAGER – guidelines’ and to include sex and gender considerations where relevant. Authors should use the terms sex (biological attribute) and gender (shaped by social and cultural circumstances) carefully to avoid confusing both terms. manuscript titles and/or abstracts should indicate clearly what sex(es) the study applies to. Authors should also describe in the background, whether sex and/or gender differences may be expected; report how sex and/or gender were accounted for in the design of the study; provide disaggregated data by sex and/or gender, where appropriate; and discuss respective results. If sex and/or gender analysis was not conducted, the rationale should be given in the Discussion.
Borders and Territories
Potential disputes over borders and territories may have 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 the parties involved. REC publisher stays neutral concerning jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Authors wishing to publish their papers in the REC publisher must abide by the following:
All and only those who qualify for authorship should be included as authors and their contributions given in the manuscript.
Any facts that might be perceived as a conflict of interest of the author(s) must be disclosed in the paper prior to submission.
Should accurately present their research findings and include an objective discussion of the significance of their findings.
Data and methods used in the research need to be presented in sufficient detail in the paper so that other researchers can replicate the work. Raw data must be made publicly available unless there is a compelling reason otherwise (e.g., patient confidentiality).
Errors and inaccuracies found after publication must be promptly communicated to the Editorial Office.
For any content previously published (including quotations, figures, or tables), any necessary permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder.
Original research results must be novel and not previously published, including being previously published in another language.
Simultaneous submission of manuscripts to more than one journal is not permitted.
This list is not exhaustive, and authors should be aware of local regulations and accepted norms within academic publishing.
Authorship and Acknowledgements
All listed authors must have made a significant scientific contribution to the research in the manuscript, approved its claims, and agreed to be an author. It is important to list everyone who made a significant scientific contribution. Author contributions may be described at the end of the submission, optionally using roles defined by CRediT. Submitting authors must provide an ORCID and we encourage all authors to provide one. Changes in authorship must be declared to the journal and agreed to by all authors. Anyone who contributed to the research or manuscript preparation, but is not an author, should be acknowledged with their permission. Submissions by anyone other than one of the authors will not be considered.
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 manuscript 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 manuscript.
REC publisher follows the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines which state that to qualify for authorship of a manuscript, authors must satisfy the following:
Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
Final approval of the version to be published; AND
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 contributed to the work but do not qualify for authorship should be listed in the acknowledgements. Any change to the author list during the editorial process or after publication should be approved by all authors, including any who have been removed. We reserve the right to request evidence of authorship, and changes to authorship after acceptance.