This section describes the standard editorial rules followed by all OAE journals and clarifies ethical behaviors of all parties involved in the act of publishing an article in OAE journals, including the authors, the science editors, the reviewers, the editorial staff and the publisher. These editorial policies are based primarily on the guidelines recommended by Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Please find detailed information below.
All studies involving human subjects should be in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration and seek approval to conduct from an independent local, regional or national review body (e.g., ethics committee, institutional review board, etc.). Such approval, including the name of ethics committee, institutional review board, etc., should be listed in a declaration statement of Ethical Approval and Consent to Participate in the manuscript. If the study is judged exempt from ethics approval, related information (e.g., name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption, and the reason for the exemption) should also be listed. Further documentation on ethics should also be prepared, as editors may request more detailed information. Manuscripts with suspected ethical problems would be investigated according to COPE Guidelines.Consent to Participate
For all research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study should be obtained from participants, or their parents or legal guardians for children under 16. Statements regarding consent to participate should be included in a declaration statement of Ethical Approval and Consent to Participate in the manuscript.
If any ethical violation is found at any stage of publication, the issue will be investigated seriously based on COPE Guidelines.
All articles published by OAE are freely available on the internet. All manuscripts that include an individual participant's data in any form, like details, images, or videos, etc., should not be published without Consent for Publication obtained from that person, and for children, their parents or legal guardians. If the person has died, Consent for Publication must be obtained from the next of kin. Authors must add a declaration statement of Consent for Publication in the manuscript, specifying written informed consent for publication was obtained.Trial Registration
OAE requires all authors to register all relevant clinical trials that are reported in manuscripts submitted. OAE follows the World Health Organization (WHO)'s definition of clinical trials: "A clinical trial is any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes. Interventions include but are not restricted to drugs, cells and other biological products, surgical procedures, radiologic procedures, devices, behavioural treatments, process-of-care changes, preventive care, etc."
In line with ICMJE recommendation, OAE requires the registration of clinical trials in a public trials registry at or before the time of first patient enrollment. OAE accepts publicly accessible registration in any registry that is a primary register of the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) or in ClinicalTrials.gov. The trial registration number should be listed at the end of the Abstract.
Secondary data analyses of primary (parent) clinical trials should not be registered as a new clinical trial, but rather reference the trial registration number of the primary trial.
Editors should consider carefully whether studies failed to register or had an incomplete trial registration. Because of the importance of prospective trial registration, if there is an exception to this policy, trials must be registered and the authors should indicate in the publication when registration was completed and why it was delayed. Editors should publish a statement indicating why an exception was allowed. Please note such exceptions should be rare, and authors failing to prospectively register a trial risk its inadmissibility to OAE journals.
Authors who are not sure whether they need trial registration may refer to ICMJE FAQs for further information.Research Involving Animals
Experimental research on animals should be approved by appropriate ethics committees and must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines. OAE encourages authors to comply with the AALAS Guidelines, the ARRIVE Guidelines, and the ICLAS Guidelines and obtain prior approval from relevant ethics committee. Manuscripts must include a declaration statement of Ethical Approval and Consent to Participate indicating that the study has been approved by relevant ethical committee and the whole research process complies with ethical guidelines. If a study has been granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption and the reasons for the exemption should be detailed. Editors will take account of animal welfare issues and reserve the right to reject a manuscript, especially if the research involves protocols that are inconsistent with commonly accepted norms of animal research.Research Involving Cell Lines
Authors must describe what cell lines were used and their origin so that the research can be reproduced. For established cell lines, the provenance should be stated and references must also be given to either a published paper or to a commercial source. For de novo cell lines derived from human tissue, an appropriate approval from an institutional review board or equivalent ethical committee and consent from the donor or next of kin should be obtained, and such statements should be listed on the declaration section of Ethical Approval and Consent to Participate in the manuscript.
Further information is available from the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC). OAE recommends that authors check the NCBI database for misidentification and contamination of human cell lines.
Experimental research on plants (either cultivated or wild), including collection of plant material, must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines. Field studies should be conducted in accordance with local legislation, and the manuscript should include a statement specifying the appropriate permissions and/or licenses. OAE recommends that authors comply with the IUCN Policy Statement on Research Involving Species at Risk of Extinction and the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
For each submitted manuscript, supporting genetic information and origin must be provided. For research manuscripts involving rare and non-model plants (other than, e.g., Arabidopsis thaliana, Nicotiana benthamiana, Oriza sativa, or many other typical model plants), voucher specimens must be deposited in a public herbarium or other public collection providing access to deposited materials.
Authorship credit of OAE journals should be solely based on substantial contributions to a published study, as specified in the following four criteria:1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work;
All those who meet these criteria should be identified as authors. Authors must specify their contributions in the section Authors' Contributions of their manuscripts. Contributors who do not meet all the four criteria (like only involved in acquisition of funding, general supervision of a research group, general administrative support, writing assistance, technical editing, language editing, proofreading, etc.) should be acknowledged in the section Acknowledgement in the manuscript rather than being listed as authors.
If a large multiple-author group has conducted the work, the group ideally should decide who will be authors before the work starts and confirm authors before submission. All authors of the group named as authors must meet all the four criteria for authorship.Corresponding Author(s)
OAE journals do not require all authors to sign the letter of their submission, nor do they impose an order on the list of authors. Submissions taken by OAE journals mean that all the listed authors have agreed all of the contents, including the author list and the statement of authors' contributions.
Corresponding author(s) is who takes primary responsibility of communicating with journal editors during manuscript processing, before and after publication, and typically ensures that all the journals' requirements are properly completed, such as ensuring all authors have agreed to be so listed and have approved the manuscript submitted to the journal, providing details of authorship, ethical committee approval and clinical trial registration documents, and gathering conflicts of interest forms, etc.
Any changes to the author list after submission, such as a change in the order of the authors or the deletion or addition of authors, must be approved by every author. OAE journal editors are not in a position to investigate or adjudicate authorship disputes before or after publication. Such disagreements, if they cannot be resolved amongst authors, should be directed to the relevant institutional authority. No change is allowed on authorship after official acceptance of manuscripts.
The primary affiliation for each author should be the institution where the majority of their work is done. If an author has subsequently moved, the current address may also be stated. OAE remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.Corresponding author is also expected to be responsible for the following with respect to data, code and materials:
At submission, corresponding author must clearly identify any material in the manuscript (such as figures or tables) that has been published previously elsewhere and confirm that written permission from authors of the prior work and/or publishers has been well obtained for the re-use of such material. After acceptance, corresponding author is responsible for the accuracy of all content in the proof, including the names of coauthors, addresses and affiliations. After publication, corresponding author is the point of contact for queries about the published paper. It is their responsibility to inform all co-authors of any matters arising in relation to the published paper and to ensure such matters are dealt with promptly. Authors of published manuscripts have a responsibility to inform the journal immediately if they become aware of any aspect that requires correction.
Corresponding authors are advised to provide their Open Researcher and Contributor ID when submitting a manuscript. This information is also visible once the manuscript is published online.Co-first Authorship
When two authors contribute equally to a work, authors can indicate dual first authorship with an asterisk on the manuscript title page and a short note "Drs. XXX and XXX contributed equally to this article.".Group Authorship
OAE permits the use of group names in the case where some large groups designate authorship by a group name, with or without names of individual authors. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding authors should specify the group name if one exists, and clearly identify the group members who can take credit and responsibility for the work as authors.Statement of Authors' Contributions
OAE journals require authors to make a statement of authors' contributions to specify the contribution of each author at the end of their manuscript. The details vary: some disciplines produce manuscripts that comprise discrete efforts in detail, whereas some operate as a group at all stages.
It is the responsibility of every academic to maintain the transparency and credibility of the research publication. Improving the transparency and legitimacy of the publishing system allows us to effectively share important information, thereby improving our understanding of academic knowledge. OAE journals require authors to declare any competing financial and/or non-financial interests in their submitted manuscripts.Definition of Conflicts of Interest
Conflicts of interest refer to a situation where an author cannot handle things from an objective stand because of various relationships. OAE journals' conflicts of interest include financial and non-financial interests which could undermine the objectivity, integrity and value of a publication.
1. Financial conflicts of interest
Funding Support: Authors need to disclose funding support that may gain or lose through this publication, as well as the funder’s role in the conception, design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish and preparation of the manuscript.
Employment: Recent (while engaged in current research project), present or anticipated employment by any organization that may gain or lose financially through this publication.
Personal financial interests: Stocks, shares, consultation fees and other forms of remuneration that may gain or lose financially through the publication; Patents or patent applications whose value may be affected by the publication.
It is difficult to define a detailed threshold which will refer to financial interest, so we suggest authors declaring all possible conflicts of interest of their research manuscripts, avoiding embarrassing the authors once the article is published online without declaration.
2. Non-financial conflicts of interest
No-financial conflicts of interest usually refer to personal or professional relations with organization and individuals. It mainly includes but is not limited to the following situations: unpaid membership in a government or non-governmental organization, unpaid advisory position in a commercial organization; acting as an expert witness. We suggest authors declaring any unpaid roles or relationship that may affect the publication process.Conflicts of Interest Policy for Authors
OAE journals require authors to declare any possible financial and/or non-financial conflicts of interest at the end of their manuscript and in the cover letter, as well as confirm this point when submitting their manuscript in the submission system. If no conflicts of interest exist, authors need to state "The authors declare no conflicts of interest". We also recognize that some authors may be bound by confidentiality agreements, in which cases authors need to sate "The authors declare that they are bound by confidentiality agreements that prevent them from disclosing their competing interests in this work."
Declaration of each manuscript in peer review is fully open to reviewers and subsequently fully open to readers when the manuscript is online published after acceptance.Conflicts of Interest Policy for Reviewers
OAE journals suggest reviewers avoid reviewing manuscripts in which significant conflicts of interest exist. However, under the situation that editors are well informed of any related interests and the existing interests do not affect the conclusion of the manuscript, reviewers may still evaluate it and give their comments. Editors will consider the interests when weighing their recommendations.Conflicts of Interest Policy for Editors
Editors of OAE journals are required to declare any interests that may impact their editorial practices and to exclude themselves if the conflicts of interest would have a significant effect on the editorial processing.
Manuscripts submitted to OAE journals must be original, and should not be published or under consideration for any other journals. Authors are required to declare it clearly in the cover letter in any case where there is the potential for overlap or duplication. Any overlapping publications should be cited. OAE is a member of Crossref and uses iThenticate to detect possible plagiarism. Any suspected cases of covert duplicate manuscript submission will be handled as outlined in the COPE Guidelines and the editor may contact the authors' institution if any misconduct exists.
However, a complete report following publication of a preliminary report, such as a letter to the editor, a preprint or an abstract or a poster displayed at an academic conference, and a paper presented at an academic conference but unpublished in full, or being considered for publication in proceedings or similar format, are usually considered as exceptions to this rule. Press reports of scheduled meetings are not usually regarded as breaches of this rule, but they may be if additional data tables or figures enrich such reports.
In addition, there are certain cases where secondary publication is justifiable and acceptable. Please refer to the ICMJE's Overlapping Publications Policy, which we endorse, for more information.
Misconduct includes but is not limited to data fabrication, plagiarism, authorship impropriety, breach of ethical and legal regulations, misappropriation of others' ideas, etc. WAME has summarized some most common forms of misconduct in order to help authors avoid those inappropriate behaviors.
OAE takes all allegations of potential misconduct seriously and deals with them case-by-case on the basis of the WAME Guidelines and COPE Guidelines. If there is misconduct suspicion, it may be necessary for the editors to contact and share manuscripts with third parties, such as authors' institutions and ethics committees. If there is a formal finding of misconduct at any stage, the manuscript under processing will be rejected immediately while the published article will be retracted.
Authors are required to cite relevant literature appropriately in support of the claims made in the manuscript. They must not cite sources that have not been read, and should ensure that all the citations are correct. Original work rather than its derivations should be cited. Excessive and inappropriate self-citations or coordinated efforts among several authors to collectively self-cite are strongly discouraged.
Submitted and accepted articles must remain privileged documents and must not be released to the press or the public, in any format including print, television, internet, etc., until the manuscript appears online either as ahead of print or as a final publication. OAE allows authors to post their manuscripts on not-for-profit preprint servers, or to discuss it at scientific conferences, but these should not be discussed with the media.
The following types of articles submitted to OAE journals will be peer-reviewed: Original Article, Review, Case Report, Meta-analysis, Technical Note, Perspective, Opinion, Communication, Letter Mini-review, and Commentary. Other submitted articles are not usually peer-reviewed. For any questions or comments about the peer-review process, please contact the managing editor of each journal. Regarding questions about a specific manuscript, authors can contact the editor who is handling the manuscript directly.Online Review System
All submitted manuscripts are processed in our online manuscript system: MESAs which follows international publishing standards specified by COPE, ICMJE and WAME. Peer reviewers can download articles and upload their review comments. For any technical problems met in the process, reviewers can contact the managing editor directly.Criteria for Publication
In general, every accepted manuscript means the paper must be of high quality, which should have originality, provide strong evidence for its conclusions, and be of great importance to researchers and interesting to readers in the related field.
Editorial office encourage commentary on published research as necessary to advance scientific discourse, which may also involve challenges, clarifications, etc.
All manuscripts will be uploaded to the most trusted plagiarism checker iThenticate for similarity check. Normally, the similarity rate of a manuscript should not exceed 30%.Review Process
Only the papers that meet our editorial criteria can be sent for formal peer-review. Submissions of insufficient interest or poor quality will be rejected promptly by editor without external review.
Typically, two or three review reports are required for each manuscript in external review. In these review reports, reviewers are welcome to provide the editors with a definite decision together with detailed comments, and provide the authors with specific suggestions on revision.
Based on reviewers' advice, after careful consideration, the editors will make possible decisions as below:
1. Accept, with/without editorial revision;
2. Major/minor revision: authors are invited to revise their manuscripts to address concerns of reviewers and make a point-to-point response;
3. Rejection: editors will explain detailed reasons to the authors (e.g. lack of novelty or major technical problems) or indicate they may resubmit their papers after careful revision.
We take reviewers' criticisms seriously. When reviewers disagree with each other or the authors claim their research is misunderstood, we will ask for further advice from related reviewers or additional reviewers.
We respect reviewers' willingness or unwillingness to review subsequent revisions. Also, editors will not send revisions to reviewers if the authors have not addressed the comments seriously.Reviewer Selection
Reviewer selection is very critical in the publication process. We consider many factors when selecting a reviewer, including expertise, reputation, recommendations and our previous experience of reviewers. A reviewer who is quick, responsible and can provide useful comments for papers is preferred and will be added in our reviewer database. Meanwhile, authors can request that the editors exclude one or two individuals or laboratories. The editors will seriously consider their requests and usually respect them, but the final decision on the choice of referees is made by editors. In the process, we keep in mind the confidentiality of manuscripts.General reviewer criteria of OAE journals are as follows:
The peer-review process is single-blind peer review for current OAE journals. We do not release reviewers' identities to authors or to other reviewers unless a reviewer voluntarily signs their comments to the authors. Generally, we ask reviewers not to identify themselves to authors in their review reports without the editor's knowledge. We avoid any attempt by authors to identify the reviewers. OAE also supports double-blind peer-review and open review in the future.Time Control
OAE journals are committed to rapid manuscript processing and publication. An efficient editorial process is a valuable service both to our authors and to the scientific community. We therefore ask reviewers to submit their review report promptly within an agreed period. If reviewers need a longer delay than previously expected, we will keep the authors informed promptly, or will find alternatives if necessary.Qualified Review Report
Peer-review is to provide the editors with useful information to make a decision and help the authors strengthen their manuscript by revision suggestions to be acceptable for publication or explain to the authors the major weaknesses of their manuscript resulting in rejection so that the authors may understand the rejection decision and can improve their manuscript accordingly and publish elsewhere.
We expect reviewers to assess a manuscript from the various aspects below:1. Summarize the highlights of the manuscript;
Reviewers need to provide detailed point-to-point improvement advice if the above problems exist so that the authors can improve their manuscript accordingly. Reviewers can contact the editor for guidance if having any question.Reviewing Review Reports
Editors review each report of reviewers and ensure its validity before sending it to the authors. We seriously value reviewers’ comments to editor when making a decision on the paper. According to the policy, we normally transmit all comments of reviewers to the authors. However, on some occasions, we may edit a report to remove offensive language or comments that reveal confidential information. We strongly expect reviewers to state their opinion on a paper without offensive statements and review their articles in the way you expect them to treat yours. We also expect reviewers not to recommend authors to cite their publications excessively, which may reveal reviewers' identities. Authors should take an object view on criticisms to their manuscript.Ethics and Security
OAE journal editors may ask for advice about submitted manuscripts not only from professional reviewers but also on any aspect of a paper that raises concerns, like ethical issues and threats to security. In such circumstances, advice will usually be sought simultaneously within the peer-review process. The final decision on whether to publish is made by the editor of the journal involved.
More details of peer review are available at Peer Review Guidelines.
A preprint is defined as an author's version of a research manuscript prior to formal peer review at a journal, which is deposited on a public server. For OAE journals, prior to acceptance for publication, authors retain the right to make a preprint version of an article available on preprint servers, authors' or institutional websites, and open communications among researchers either on community preprint servers or preprint commenting platforms.
When authors submit their preprints to OAE journals, they should disclose the information such as detailed DOI and licensing terms on preprint platforms in the cover letter.
Once the preprint is published, it's the author's responsibility to update the final version of their manuscript on preprint platforms and declare that the article has been accepted for publication in the form as follows: "This article has been accepted for publication in [Journal Title] published by OAE Publishing Inc. (DOI: xxxxx; URL link: xxxxx).".
Authors may cite preprints in the references of their manuscript submitted to OAE journals with the format arranged as below:
Adams DM, Reay WR, Geaghan MP, Cairns MJ. Investigating the effect of glycaemic traits on the risk of psychiatric illness using Mendelian randomization. Preprint at https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.09.984690v1 (2020).Conference proceeding policies
OAE journals welcome submissions containing materials that have been published in a conference proceeding paper. However, the submission should provide substantial extension of methodology, results, analysis and conclusion, and the authors need to disclose such information in the cover letter to inform editors. Meanwhile, the authors must obtain copyright permissions if re-used previously published materials.
OAE adheres to COPE Guidelines and treats manuscripts confidentially during the editorial processing. The editors will not share manuscripts with third parties except in cases of suspected misconduct. Please refer to Misconduct Policy for more details. Once a manuscript is rejected for publication, all the copies of the manuscript will be deleted from the editorial system. In case the editor needs to retain certain manuscripts rejected, they should get permission from the authors in advance.
OAE adopts a single-blind peer review process for all OAE journals, which means the identities of reviewers are not revealed to authors or anyone else unless reviewers permit. Reviewers are also required to respect the confidentiality rules and not distribute or misappropriate any information of the manuscript, during or after the peer-review process. If reviewers want to involve another person in the review process, they should contact the editors first for permission, provide the name of the person who would assist the review process, and ensure the confidentiality is maintained.
OAE adopts the Attribution 4.0 International License or Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported for publication. Copyright is retained by authors. Authors are required to sign a License to Publish (which can be downloaded from each journal's Author Instructions), granting OAE, which identifies itself as the original publisher, exclusive rights to publish their articles, and granting any third party the right to use the articles freely as long as the integrity is maintained and the original authors, citation details and publisher are identified.
To maintain the integrity, transparency and reproducibility of research records, authors are encouraged to make their experimental materials and research data freely available to readers, either by publishing the supportive information as supplementary information in the journal or by depositing datasets into publicly available data repositories. The information, indicating where the data and materials of their works can be found, must be included in the manuscript as a declaration of Availability of Data and Materials. Authors who are unable to share their data must state that data will not be shared, and specify the reason accordingly.
To ensure permanent access to publications, articles published in all OAE journals are archived in Portico, which is one of the leading digital preservation service-providers in the world.
Manuscripts containing new taxon names or other nomenclatural acts must follow the guidelines set by the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants.
Authors describing new fungal taxa should register the names with a recognized repository, such as Mycobank, and request a unique digital identifier which should be included in the published articles.Zoological Names
Since January 2012, electronic publication of zoological names has been a valid form of publication if certain conditions are met. Manuscripts containing new taxon names or other nomenclatural acts must follow the guidelines set by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. OAE requires the new taxon name and the article it is published in to be registered with ZooBank. The unique identifier provided by ZooBank should be included in the published articles. Authors will be able to update ZooBank with the final citation following publication.Bacterial Names
Based on the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP), effective publication of new prokaryotic names can be made possible in electronic journals.
As prescribed by the rules of the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes (ICSP), for valid publication of new names, authors must submit a final version of the published article, together with certificates of deposition of the type strain (for unrestricted distribution) in at least two internationally recognized and publicly accessible culture collections in different countries, to the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (IJSEM) editorial office.
Followed by review of the List Editor, effectively published names that conform to all rules of the ICNP will appear on a subsequent Validation List, in the order in which they were received, thereby becoming validly published.Virus Names
The proposal of new virus names must follow the guidelines of the International Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature. Proposals for new virus taxa should be forwarded to the relevant Study Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) for consideration.
It is necessary to publish a Correction when errors, which affect the interpretation and conclusion of the article but not fully invalidating the article, are detected. A Correction should be published as soon as possible detailing changes and citing the original publication. Corrections are published without changing the original article, and linked to the original article. The original article remains in the public domain and the subsequent correction will be widely indexed as well.
A Retraction should be published if the errors are serious enough to invalidate a paper's results and conclusions. Proven misconduct, including data fabrication, plagiarism, unethical research, etc., may also lead to Retraction. A Retraction should be published promptly to minimize harmful effects caused by misleading publications. It should clearly identify the retracted article and be linked to the retracted article wherever possible. Who has retracted the article and the detailed reasons for retraction should also be provided. Retraction should be freely available to all readers.
Crossmark is a multi-publisher initiative from Crossref to provide a standard way for readers to locate the authoritative version of a piece of content. By applying the Crossmark logo, OAE is committed to maintaining the content it has published and to reminding readers of any change if and when they occur.
The Crossmark icon informs readers of the current status of a document and provides its additional publication record as well.
If authors do not agree with any decision made in editorial handling, they can submit a formal appeal to the editorial office, explaining their reasons. The issue will be soon dealt with according to the COPE Guidelines.