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Editorial Policies

In March 2019, OAE officially became a member of Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). As an open access scholarly journal, Metabolism and Target Organ Damage (M&TOD) is committed to meeting high standards of ethical behavior at all stages of the publication process. This document is based on the guidelines of COPE, World Association of medical editors (WAME), and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

1. Research Integrity

We uphold the high standards publication and expect research published by M&TOD to abide by the principles of COPE in promoting integrity in scholarly research and its publication.

These principles cover:

  • honesty in all aspects of research;
  • scrupulous care, thoroughness, and excellence in research practice;
  • transparency and open communication;
  • care and respect for all participants and subjects of research.

In addition to the general principles above, our journal editorial team also provide specific guidelines and policies for authors on research integrity and ethics appropriate to their subject matter and discipline. Anyone who believes that research published by M&TOD has not been carried out in line with these Research Publishing Ethics Guidelines, or the above principles, should raise their concern with the relevant Editor or email editorialoffice@mtodjournal.net. Concerns will be addressed by COPE guidelines where possible and/or by escalating the matter to OAE Ethics Committee if necessary.

2. Editorial Process

2.1 Editorial independence

We are committed to editorial independence and strive in all cases to prevent this principle from being compromised through conflicts of interest, fear, or any other corporate, business, financial or political influence. Our editorial processes reflect this commitment to editorial independence. We do not discriminate against authors, Editors, or peer reviewers based on personal characteristics or identity.

All articles published by M&TOD are assessed by our independent Editorial Boards. The editorial office staff are not involved in decisions to accept manuscripts. When making a decision, we expect the academic Editor (the Editor-in-Chief or Associate Editors) to make it based solely upon:

The suitability of selected reviewers;
Adequacy of reviewer comments and author response;
Scientific excellence and originality;
Overall scientific quality of the paper.

We do not tolerate abusive behavior or correspondence towards our staff and others involved in the publishing process on our behalf. If anyone involved in this process engages in such behavior we have the right to take action to protect others from this abuse. This may include, for example, withdrawal of a manuscript from consideration or challenging abusive peer review comments.

2.2 Process

M&TOD operates a rigorous single-blind peer review with at least two independent reviewers, followed by a final acceptance/rejection decision by the Editor-in-Chief. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the academic quality of the publication process, including final decisions and approval of Guest Editors, Special Issue topics, and new Editorial Board members. A summary of the editorial process can be found at Editorial Process.

3. Peer-Review Policy

3.1 Acceptable manuscript types

The following types of articles submitted to M&TOD will be peer-reviewed: Original Article, Review, Case Report, Meta-analysis, Technical Note, Perspective, Opinion, Communication, 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. Regarding questions about a specific manuscript, authors can contact the Editor who is handling the manuscript directly.

3.2 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.

3.3 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.
The 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. Typically, the similarity rate of a manuscript should not exceed 30%.

3.4 Review process
  • Topics fall within the target journal's scope;
  • Acceptable quality after the pre-check by Editors or Guest Editors;
  • Ethical code and approval have been provided if any;
  • Copyright permissions of cited Tables or Figures have been provided if any;
  • The similarity rate of a manuscript should not exceed 30%, especially no similarity in the sections of Abstract, Results, and Discussion;
  • Language is used in scientific writing and readable.

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 Editors without undergoing external review.
Typically, two review reports are required for each manuscript in external review. In the case of the two review reports that are highly controversial, the third review report will be collected. In these review reports, reviewers are expected to provide the Editors with a decision together with detailed comments and provide the authors with specific suggestions on revision.
Based on reviewers' comments, after careful consideration, the Academic Editor will make possible decisions as below:

  • Accept: with/without editorial revision.
  • Accept after minor revisions: If reviewers approve a paper's quality only with several minor suggestions, the paper will be basically accepted after revision based on the reviewers' comments. Authors are usually given a week to revise their paper.
  • Reconsider after major revisions: If reviewers propose the suggestion of major revision or raise essential questions on a paper, the authors will be required to provide a point-to-point response or provide a rebuttal if authors cannot agree with some of reviewers' comments. Usually, only one round of major revisions is allowed, and whether the paper will be accepted would depend on the revisions. Authors will be required to resubmit the revised form within two weeks or one month if additional experiments are needed. If the author cannot complete the supplementary experiment within one month, we suggest that the author complete the experiment and submit the revised version as a new submission. The revision will be returned to the reviewers for further review.
  • Reject: The Editor-in-Chief will explain detailed reasons to the authors (e.g., lack of novelty or significant technical problems).

Reviewers' criticisms will be taken seriously. When reviewers disagree with each other, or the authors claim their research is misunderstood, we will further ask for advice from related reviewers or additional reviewers.
We respect reviewers' willingness or unwillingness to review subsequent revisions. Also, the Assistant Editor will not send revisions to reviewers if the authors have not addressed the comments seriously.

3.5 Reviewer selection

Reviewer selection is very critical in the publication process. When selecting a reviewer, we consider many factors, 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 Editors make the final decision on the choice of referees. In the process, we keep in mind the confidentiality of manuscripts.
General reviewer criteria of M&TOD are as follows:

  • Having Ph.D. degree and institutional email;
  • Having research interest related to the manuscript topic;
  • Having no conflicts of interest with authors after Editor's preliminary investigation;
  • Having publications in internationally recognized academic journals in recent five years.

The peer-review process is single-blind peer review for M&TOD. We do not release reviewers' identities to authors or other reviewers unless they voluntarily sign 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. M&TOD also supports double-blind peer-review and open review in the future.

3.6 Time control

M&TOD is 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.

3.7 Qualified review report

Peer-review is to provide the Editors with helpful 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;
2. State the flaws if any which are not acceptable for publication and provide detailed information;
3. Others:

  • Evaluate the originality and significance. Are the conclusions original? Are research results useful for most researchers in the related field?
  • Assess the abstract, introduction, conclusion, and references. Is the abstract clear? Is the introduction appropriate? Is the conclusion reliable? Are the references cited appropriately?
  • Assess the data and methodology. Is the approach valid? Are the data and methodology detailed and available to be reproduced by other researchers?
  • Indicate the parts of the manuscript which are out of your research field and you are unable to assess professionally.
  • Assess the appropriate use of statistics and treatment of uncertainties.

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 questions.

3.8 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, we may edit a report to remove offensive language or comments that reveal confidential information on some occasions. 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. Reviewers are required not to recommend authors to cite their publications when it is not clearly indicated that the citing can improve the article's quality, which may also reveal the reviewers' identities. Authors should take an objective view on criticisms to their manuscript.

3.9 Ethics and security

M&TOD 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-in-Chief of the journal involved.
More details of peer review are available at Peer Review Guidelines.

4. Access to Full-Text and Article Processing Charges (APCs)

M&TOD supports Gold Open Access and encourages fund support for authors. All articles published through Gold Open Access undergo rigorous peer review, with professional editing and production services provided. In addition, all contents on websites, including the full texts of articles, are accessible free of charge, with no registration required. To provide readers with free access to the full text and to bear the related charges arising from manuscript processing, peer review, manuscript editing, typesetting, language polishing, paper archiving, journal operation, platform maintenance, and system construction, etc., APC is charged for the articles accepted for publication. However, the APCs are fully waived for publications and borne by the publisher before M&TOD is indexed in ESCI.

5. Publication Ethics and Publication Misconduct Statement

M&TOD strictly complies with the editorial guidelines by COPE on the statement of publication ethics and publication misconduct. According to the best practices of publication ethics by COPE, the responsibilities and rights of authors, reviewers, Honorary Editors-in-Chief, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editors, Editorial Board members, and in-house Editors in the publishing process are clarified.

5.1 Author's responsibilities and rights

M&TOD is a peer-reviewed journal, and authors are obliged to participate in our single-blind peer review process.

1. The authors should guarantee the originality, authenticity, accuracy, and repeatability of the data in the submissions. If necessary, the path of data sources should be provided to make it convenient for scholars to conduct repeated experiments or for further use.
2. The authors should guarantee that the submissions have not been submitted to other journals or officially published in other journals in the corresponding period. Serious problems with publication ethics, such as duplicate submission and duplicate publication, should be avoided.
3. If a manuscript involves human body, animal, or plant experiments, it is imperative to get timely permission from relevant institutions (e.g., Ethics Committee, Institutional Review Board, etc.); if it involves the personal information of subjects, the corresponding informed consent shall be obtained, respecting the subjects' privacy; if it involves clinical trials, it shall register with the Public Clinical Registration Center (refer to Research Ethics and Consent for details); and if it involves copyright issues, explicit permission shall be obtained from the corresponding publishing institutions or individuals (refer to Copyright and License to Publish for details). The relevant data shall be submitted to the Journal Office with the manuscript.
4. All submitted articles should comply with the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSOT), Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (STARD), and Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) guidelines; systematic review and meta-analysis should comply with Quality of reporting meta-analysis (QUOROM) and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), case study should comply with CAse REports (CARE) guidelines. 
5. The authors should clarify the conflicts of interest (M&TOD requires the authors to state clearly any possible economic or non-economic conflict of interest in the manuscript; refer to Conflicts of Interest Policy for details).
6. When serious data errors are found in published papers, the authors should inform the Journal Office in a timely manner. When necessary, they shall cooperate with the Journal Office to issue a statement of Correction or Retraction.
7. All authors of a manuscript have the right to track the real-time progress in manuscript processing. They can formally submit complaints to the corresponding Journal Office or Editor-in-Chief if they have any objection to the manuscript processing process.
8. It should be affirmed that all authors listed in the manuscript have made significant contributions to the research. Regarding the misconduct of false contribution or publication, plagiarism, etc., once it is found, the original authors have the right to safeguard their legitimate rights reasonably by informing the corresponding Journal Office and providing detailed data to make it convenient for the Journal Office to contact relevant departments or institutions for investigation. If the evidence is irrefutable through investigation, the Journal Office will directly reject or withdraw the manuscript and publicize the handling result. In terms of those who seriously violate publication ethics, the Journal Office will inform their affiliations and will never accept their submissions.

5.2 Reviewer's responsibilities and rights

1. The reviewers should review and evaluate manuscripts in an objective, fair, and timely manner. They should not discriminate against the authors in terms of their nationality, race, etc., and the malice of slander should be avoided. They should respect the authors' contributions and help improve the quality of manuscripts.
2. Before a manuscript is officially published, the reviewers should not copy or keep the data in the manuscript for their own use or plagiarize the research methods and research ideas so as to protect the confidentiality of the manuscript.
3. The reviewers should pay careful attention to the potential conflicts of interest and remind the authors of them in a timely manner.
4. The reviewers should reasonably avoid their possible conflicts of interest with the authors and inform the Journal Office to avoid the possibility of an unfair evaluation.
5. In the case of finding any academic misconduct, the reviewers should timely inform the Journal Office, and they have the right to learn about the progress and results of the investigation.

5.3 Editor-in-Chief's responsibilities and rights

The Editor-in-Chief is one of the key leaders of M&TOD and is mainly responsible for the scientific quality of the journal. The Editor-in-Chief should guarantee that only originality, significance, and academic value should be taken as the criteria for evaluating manuscripts, and improper publication due to commercial demand should be reasonably avoided. The responsibilities of Editor-in-Chief include: 

  • Determining the journal's aims and scope;
  • Formulating and revising practicable publication plans and goals for the journal's development;
  • Inviting distinguished researchers to join the Editorial Board;
  • Suggesting topics for Special Issues;
  • Inviting first-rate manuscripts to the journal;
  • Being active in the editorial process by conducting initial reviews and making final decisions on submissions;
  • Promoting the journal among peers and at conferences;
  • Providing advice for input or feedback regarding new regulations on the journal.

The initial term for the Editor-in-Chief position is three years and can be renewed.

5.4 Honorary Editor-in-Chief's responsibilities and rights

This position is usually honorary. The responsibilities of Honorary Editors-in-Chief include:

  • Providing academic suggestions for the development of the journal;
  • Reviewing one or two manuscripts per year;
  • Helping promote the journal among peers or at conferences;

The Honorary Editors-in-Chief can step down from the position at any time if they feel overloaded by the requests.

5.5 Associate Editor's responsibilities and rights

The Associate Editors of M&TOD are mainly responsible for initial decisions or first decisions. The detailed responsibilities of the Associate Editors include:

  • Making initial or first decisions on submissions;
  • Helping promote the journal among their peers or at conferences;
  • Helping edit a Special Issue on a topic related to his or her research interests;
  • Providing advice for input or feedback regarding new regulations of the journal.

The initial term for an Associate Editor is three years and it can be renewed. An Associate Editor can step down from the position at any time if he or she feels overloaded by the requests.

5.6 Senior Editorial Board Member's responsibilities and rights

The M&TOD is supported by an international Senior Editorial Board that consists of distinguished researchers from major research institutions around the world, and you can check the senior editorial board members from Senior Editorial Board. The initial term for a Senior Editorial Board membership is three years and can be renewed. The publisher evaluates the senior editorial board members according to their contributions every year and updates the editorial team regularly. A Senior Editorial Board member can step down from the position at any time if he or she feels overloaded by the requests. The responsibilities of the Senior Editorial Board Members include:

  • Recommending or Reviewing manuscripts for the journal;
  • Making initial or final review on submissions relevant to personal field;
  • Helping promote the journal among their peers or at conferences;
  • Editing a Special Issue on a topic related to his or her research interests;
  • Providing advice for input or feedback regarding new regulations of the journal.
5.7 Editorial Board Member's responsibilities and rights

M&TOD is also supported by an international Editorial Board that consists of distinguished young researchers from major research institutions around the world. You can check the name list from Editorial Board. The initial term for an Editorial Board membership is thiree years and can be renewed. The publisher would evaluate the Editorial Board members according to their contributions each year and update the Board members regularly. An Editorial Board Member can step back from the position at any time if he/she feels overloaded by the requests. The responsibilities of the Editorial Board Members include:

  • Contributing articles to the journal during the tenure;
  • Participating in peer review process on submissions relevant to personal field;
  • Promoting the journal among peers or at conferences;
  • Providing advice for input or feedback regarding new regulations of the journal;
  • Participating in academic webinars organized by M&TOD.
5.8 Guest Editor's responsibilities and rights

M&TOD support researchers to launch Special Issues on certain topics as Guest Editors. Special Issues can promote cooperation with scholars worldwide. The following are the guidelines for publishing a Special Issue.

5.8.1 Preparing a Proposal

Guest Editor is asked to prepare a proposal for the Special Issue which should contain the following information:

  • Special Issue title;
  • An introduction for the Special Issue;
  • Tentative time schedule;
  • Potential author list for the Special Issue.

The editorial office will assess the proposal and officially release the Special Issue online if approved by the journal office and the Editor-in-Chief.

5.8.2 Soliciting papers

Guest Editors will be responsible for promoting their Special Issues and soliciting papers through distributing the Call-for-Papers via academic channels like conferences they attend.

5.8.3 The peer-review process

The submission and peer review of Special Issue papers are managed in OAE's MESAs submission system.

The Guest Editor usually makes recommendations to the Editor-in-Chief on the manuscripts submitted to their Special Issue, and Guest Editors are required to have no conflicts of interest with authors whose work they are assessing.

The Editor-in-Chief is the final decision-maker on the acceptance of all manuscripts, including Special Issue papers submitted to the journal.

Special Issue papers are published online after acceptance in the journal immediately and collected together on the Special Issue webpage.

The article processing charge for Special Issue papers refers to the journal's APC policies.

Once all manuscripts are published, we ask the Guest Editor team to write an Editorial for the Special Issue.

After all papers belonging to the Special Issue have been published, we usually prepare a softcopy/e-book after confirmation with the Guest Editor and deliver it to him/her to reward his/her contributions.

5.9 In-house Editor's responsibilities

In-house editors are mainly responsible for assisting the Editor-in-Chief to manage the journal issues and to keep the journal performing as per the established plan and complying with the COPE guidelines. They also promote the journal via conferences cooperation, attending workshops, etc.

In-house editors are mainly responsible for the following work:

  • Inviting reviewers, collecting review reports for submissions to the journal, and communicating with authors, reviewers, Guest Editor and the Editor-in-Chief;
  • Assisting the Editor-in-chief to manage the journal issues and to keep the journal performing as per the established development plan and complying with the COPE guidelines;
  • Promoting the journal via conferences cooperation, attending workshops, etc.
5.10 Research ethics and consent
5.10.1 research involving human subjects

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.

5.10.1.1 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.

5.10.1.2 consent for publication

All articles published by M&TOD 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.

5.10.1.3 clinical trials
trial registration

M&TOD requires all authors to register all relevant clinical trials that are reported in manuscripts submitted. M&TOD 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, M&TOD requires the registration of clinical trials in a public trials registry at or before the time of first patient enrollment. M&TOD 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 M&TOD.
Authors who are not sure whether they need trial registration may refer to ICMJE FAQs for further information.

data sharing

M&TOD adopts ICMJE requirements regarding data sharing statements. In particular, we adopt the view that data sharing statements must indicate the following:

  • whether individual de-identified participant data (including data dictionaries) will be shared;
  • what data in particular will be shared;
  • whether additional, related documents will be available (e.g., study protocol, statistical analysis plan, data dictionary, etc.);
  • when the data will become available and for how long;
  • by what access criteria data will be shared (including with whom, for what types of analyses, and by what mechanism).
Examples of data sharing statements that fulfil ICMJE requirements*
  Example 1 Example 2 Example 3 Example 4
Will individual participant data be available (including data dictionaries)?YesYesYesNo
What data in particular will be shared?All of the individual participant data collected during the trial, after deidentificationIndividual participant data that underlie the results reported in this article, after deidentification (text, tables, figures, and appendices)Individual participant data that underlie the results reported in this article, after deidentification (text, tables, figures, and appendices) Not available
What other documents will be available?Study protocol, statistical analysis plan, informed consent form, clinical study report, analytic codeStudy protocol, statistical analysis plan, analytic codeStudy protocolNot available
When will data be available (start and end dates)?Immediately after publication. No end dateBeginning 3 months and ending 5 years after article publicationBeginning 9 months and ending 36 months after article publicationNot applicable
With whom?Anyone who wishes to access the dataResearchers who provide a methodologically sound proposalInvestigators whose proposed use of the data has been approved by an independent review committee ("learned intermediary") identified for this purposeNot applicable
For what types of analyses?Any purposeTo achieve aims in the approved proposalFor individual participant data meta-analysisNot applicable
By what mechanism will data be made available?Data are available indefinitely at (Link to be included).Proposals should be directed to xxx@yyy. To gain access, data requesters will need to sign a data access agreement.
Data are available for 5 years at a third party website. (Link to be included)
Proposals may be submitted up to 36 months following article publication. After 36 months the data will be available in our university's data warehouse but without investigator support other than deposited metadata. Information regarding submitting proposals and accessing data may be found at (Link to be provided).Not applicable
*These examples are meant to illustrate a range of, but not all, data sharing options.
5.10.2 research involving animals

Experimental research on animals should be approved by appropriate ethics committees and must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines. M&TOD 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.

5.10.3 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)M&TOD recommends that authors check the NCBI database for misidentification and contamination of human cell lines.

5.10.4 research involving plants

Experimental research on plants (either cultivated or wild), including a 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. M&TOD 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.

5.10.5 Bias-free language

For research which includes, or refers to, human participants, it is necessary to detail the study population which requires the use of descriptors. It is important that the language and descriptors used to describe research populations are bias-free. The seventh edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2009) provides recommendations for eliminating bias in language in relation to gender, age, racial and ethnic background, sexual orientation, disability status, and socioeconomic status.

For research related to gender, age, racial and ethnic background, sexual orientation, disability status, and socioeconomic status, there may occasionally be qualitative data from participants (i.e., direct quotes or transcribed interviews) which may include derogatory demographic descriptors. Wherever possible, authors should avoid using derogatory demographic descriptors or offensive language unless it is essential to the research in question. For example, offensive language may be appropriate to include if it is a direct quote (and noted as such) from a participant reporting their own personal experiences of the use of such language.

5.10.6 Borders and territories

Potential disputes over borders and territories may have direct relevance for authors when describing their research in a submitted manuscript, or in the address they use for correspondence. The choices made by authors should be respected, but should a perceived dispute or complaint be raised, then editorial teams should attempt to find a resolution that works for all parties. Ultimately, the final decision on content is an editorial matter and will rest with the journal editors which, where necessary, will be in consultation with the relevant society and publisher.

5.10.7 Ethnicity and race

When detailing demographic information about a study population, it is advisable to use terms to designate ethnicity (e.g., African American and South Asian) rather than race. The British Sociological Association (BSA) has devised some language guidelines for when referring to ethnicity and race.

5.10.8 Text recycling

COPE hosted a discussion about text recycling and has shared Text Recycling Guidelines. M&TOD will follow these guidelines to handle such cases. For authors who wish to communicate results from a research project to multiple audiences. In this instance, full or partial results – with appropriate citation of prior publication(s) – might be recycled for legitimate reasons, although the discussion and conclusions would be different.

5.10.9 Translations

M&TOD may choose to publish materials that have been accurately translated from an original publication in a different language. Authors that translate and publish material that has been published elsewhere should ensure that they have appropriate permission. They should indicate clearly that the material has been translated and re-published and should identify the original source of the material.

5.11 Publication misconduct and handling policies
5.11.1 misconduct

Misconduct includes but is not limited to data fabrication, plagiarism, authorship impropriety, breach of ethical and legal regulations, misappropriation of others' ideas, etcWAME has summarized some most common forms of misconduct in order to help authors avoid those inappropriate behaviors.

  • Data falsification – It ranges from fabrication to deceptive selective reporting of findings and omission of conflicting data, or willful suppression and/or distortion of data.
  • Plagiarism – It includes the appropriation of the language, ideas, or thoughts of another without crediting their true source, and representation of them as one's own original work.
  • Image manipulation – It refers to the changes to images that can create misleading results when research data are collected as images. Inappropriate image manipulation is one form of fabrication or falsification.
  • Authorship impropriety – It refers to the improper assignment of credit, such as excluding other authors, including individuals as authors who have not made a definite contribution to the work, or submitting multi-authored manuscript without the concurrence of all authors.
  • Breach of ethical and legal regulations – It includes but is not limited to serious or substantial, repeated, willful violations of applicable local regulations and laws involving the use of funds, care of animals, human subjects, investigational drugs, recombinant products, new devices, or radioactive, biologic, or chemical materials.
  • Misappropriation of others' ideas – Scholars can acquire novel ideas from others during the process of reviewing grant applications or manuscripts. Improper use of such information can constitute fraud. Substantial appropriation of such material constitutes misconduct.
  • Violation of generally accepted research practices – Serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing or carrying out research, improper manipulation of experiments to obtain biased results, deceptive statistical or analytical manipulations, or improper reporting of results.
  • Inappropriate behavior related to misconduct – It includes unfounded or knowingly false accusations of misconduct, failure to report known or suspected misconduct, withholding or destruction of information relevant to a claim of misconduct and retaliation against persons involved in the allegation or investigation.
5.11.2 how to identify it

1. M&TOD conducts duplicate checking on each manuscript through iThenticate to avoid the misconducts of suspected plagiarism, duplicate publication, etc.
2. M&TOD provides MESAs, an independent manuscript processing system. It can support authors to conduct self-inspection according to the checklist. In the case of any misconduct of suspected plagiarism, duplicate publication, etc., the system will automatically inform the Editorial Board of the journal.
3. M&TOD uses the forensic tools for examination of images and samples provides by Office of Research Integrity.
4. M&TOD encourages anyone, including readers, authors, reviewers, Editorial Board members, etc., to inform against suspected misconduct according to the relevant regulations by WAME, COPE, and ICMJE and timely inform the journal's Editor or the publisher.
5. It is the informant's responsibility to provide sufficient evidence and information to make it convenient for Editors or publishers to contact relevant departments for further investigation.

5.11.3 how to avoid it

1. M&TOD provides information, enhance awareness, and list the contributions of authors.
2. M&TOD ensures the disclosure of conflicts of interest and provide guidance on authorship and signature.
3. M&TOD sets the function of commenting on articles to encourage readers to discuss the articles published online.
4. The expectation of confidentiality is explained to reviewers.
5. The Quality Control Committee and the Ethics Committee are established for M&TOD.

5.11.4 how to handle it

M&TOD 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 the content of the manuscript with third parties, such as authors' institutions and ethics committees. Any questions, you may email M&TODeditorialoffice@mtodjournal.net
1. For the suspected misconduct identified by the plagiarism detecting system, the Managing Editor will send the detecting results to the parties concerned and seek a formal response from them. After the investigation of relevant institutions or departments, the Managing Editor will take the following appropriate measures to handle irrefutable academic misconduct.
Handling results for reference (with the punishment degree from mild to severe, one or more handling methods can be adopted in accordance with specific conditions):
A. Inform and educate the parties concerned.
B. Give warnings to the parties concerned.
C. Publicize the academic misconduct.
D. Inform the affiliations of the parties concerned or the persons in charge.
E. Reject or withdraw the manuscript and inform the relevant database administrator to withdraw the publication records. For specific statements, please refer to the policies in Corrections and Retractions.
F. Within a certain period of time, the parties concerned are forbidden to submit manuscripts, publish articles, or participate in other relevant academic activities in the journal and other journals subordinate to the same publishing house.
G. If the circumstance is severe, the Managing Editor will inform the relevant departments or institutions, which will permanently record their misconduct on publication ethics.
2. When the Managing Editor, the Assistant Editor, the Editor-in-Chief, or an Associate Editor receives a written report against academic misconduct, one or more of the following are performed:
A. Contact the informant to provide sufficient evidence and information.
B. Seek a direct response from the parties accused.
C. Contact relevant organizations or regulatory agencies to assist in the investigation in the case of receiving an insufficient response.
D. If necessary, on the premise of avoiding conflicts of interest with the parties concerned, an investigation team composed of the Editor-in-Chief or Associate Editor of the journal and at least one Editorial Board member in cooperation should be established to carry out an investigation.
E. The investigation team will inform the parties accused to start the investigation officially.
F. Adopt different handling methods according to different situations:
   a. formally informing both parties if it is not identified as misconduct;
   b. proposing relevant suggestions to the Editors according to the severity of circumstances if it is identified as misconduct, and formally informing both parties of the handling results.
M&TOD handles misconduct according to the flowcharts by COPE. If there is any objection to the handling methods, a further appeal can be submitted to the publisher at info@oaepublish.com.

5.12 Hazardous materials, risks, and biosecurity

Authors are responsible to identify any unusual inherent hazards or risks in a manuscript, include appropriate warnings, and refer to relevant safety precautions. This could be products, chemicals, operations, or technologies posing a threat to public health and safety, the environment, plants, animals, or equipment.

M&TOD asks authors to inform the Editorial Office at the time of manuscript submission if their study has potential for both benevolent and malevolent application. This is often referred to as “dual use research.”

M&TOD asks these authors for example to conform to the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) guidelines for Dual Use Life Sciences Research. The NSABB report presents a useful description and discussion of “dual use research of concern.”

5.13 Investigation of questionable research practices

Concerns about questionable research practices may be raised through the use of screening software or by editors, peer reviewers, or third parties. COPE has flowcharts for responding to concerns that have been raised by third parties directly or indirectly. Sometimes further investigation may require disclosing the third party’s identity. If so, the individual should be informed and give approval before their identity is disclosed.

Regardless of whether the concern arose from screening, editors, peer reviewers, or third parties, potentially questionable research practices that have specific, detailed evidence to support the claim or concern should be investigated appropriately, whether they are raised anonymously or otherwise.   

The M&TOD Editorial Office should address potential cases of data fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, image manipulation, unethical research, biased reporting, authorship issues, redundant or duplicate publication, and potential conflicts of interest.

In instances where an investigation cannot be conducted by the publishing team, for example, if it relates to issues that may have occurred which would be difficult for the journal to source the necessary information to investigate (i.e. data fabrication, authorship issues, unethical research, etc.), M&TOD will request investigations by research institutions, employers, funders, or the relevant national statutory body. However, for some cases of questionable research practices (for example, plagiarism or image manipulation), which can be assessed by the journal, it is appropriate for these cases to be investigated and acted upon by M&TOD’s publishing team. The M&TOD Editorial Office should ensure that the relevant parties are kept informed; this includes the authors and their institutions and/or funders.

  • Cases of suspected questionable research practices should be handled following established processes, for example, those presented in the COPE Flowcharts
  • Sample letters from COPE (login required) and Sample Correspondence for Editors from Council of Science Editors may be useful.
  • Cases should be handled at a speed that allows appropriate care to be taken. 
  • Investigations may lead to Retractions, Withdrawals, Expressions of Concern, or other outcomes.

6. Authorship and Contribution

Authorship credit of M&TOD 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;
2. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content;
3. Final approval of the version to be published;
4. 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.
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 the 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 the 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.

6.1 Corresponding author(s)

M&TOD does 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 M&TOD mean that all the listed authors have agreed on 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 journal's 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. M&TOD 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. M&TOD remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
The corresponding author is also expected to be responsible for the following with respect to data, code, and materials:

  • ensuring that data, materials, and code comply with transparency and reproducibility standards of the field and the journal;
  • ensuring that original data/materials/code upon which the submission is based are preserved following best practices in the field so that they are retrievable for reanalysis;
  • confirming that data/materials/code presentation accurately reflects the original;
  • foreseeing and minimizing obstacles to the sharing of data/materials/code described in the work.

At submission, the 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, the 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 ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) when submitting a manuscript. This information is also visible once the manuscript is published online.

6.2 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.".

6.3 Group authorship

M&TOD 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.

6.4 Statement of authors' contributions

M&TOD requires 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. We also encourage authors to list anyone who does not meet the criteria for authorship in an Acknowledgments section in their publication, for example, to recognize the contributions of anyone who provided research or writing assistance. COPE also provides extensive resources on authorship and authorship disputes, and we encourage anyone involved in editorial decisions to familiarize themselves with these resources. We support our Editors in dealing with any authorship disputes, including escalating or seeking advice on cases with COPE. We integrate with established and emerging industry standards to increase transparency in authorship (for example, ORCID). We support initiatives that enable transparency in authorship and contributorship, such as CrediT(Contributor Roles Taxonomy).

6.5 Deceased authors

If the submitted article contains a deceased author, or the author dies during the review process, a footnote or similar form should be added to the published version of the article. Please use the "†" symbol and footnotes to illustrate the situation. The co-author should guarantee the contribution and potential conflict of interest of the deceased author. If the deceased author is a corresponding author, another co-author should be nominated as the corresponding author. Please note that according to the law, copyright is regarded as personal property. If the author has not signed a copyright transfer agreement or license or has not authorized a co-author to act on his behalf in writing, he needs to obtain a copyright license from the author's successor.

6.6 Author name changes after publication

If the author wishes to change their name after publication, the Editorial Office will consider such requirements under reasonable circumstances. If changes are made, they should be recorded and corrected with the article. All authors should be informed of any changes that may affect them and, where appropriate, seek advice from all authors on the wording of the correction statement. The Editorial Office will strictly follow the COPE guidelines (How to handle authorship disputes: a guide for new researchers) to handle it and respect the author's wishes, but at the same time ensure that the published articles have transparent and reliable records.

6.7 Authorship disputes

The Editorial Office will refer to the COPE Flow Chart and "How to spot authorship problems" to deal with the authorship disputes, if any. If the author cannot resolve the dispute independently, they usually need to submit it to the relevant authorities.

6.8 Editors and journal staff as authors

The Editorial Office staff or Editorial Board members (including Editors-in-Chief) are not involved in the processing of their own academic work. Their submissions are assigned and revised by at least two independent reviewers. Decisions are made by other Editorial Board members who do not have a conflict of interest with the authors. 

7. Conflicts of Interest

7.1 Conflicts of Interest Policy

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. M&TOD requires authors to declare any competing financial and/or non-financial interests in their submitted manuscripts.

7.2 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. M&TOD's conflicts of interest include financial and non-financial interests which could undermine the objectivity, integrity, and value of a publication.

7.2.1 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 that 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.

7.2.2 non-financial conflicts of interest

No-financial conflicts of interest usually refer to personal or professional relations with organizations 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 relationships that may affect the publication process.

7.3 Conflicts of interest policy for authors

M&TOD requires authors to declare any possible financial and/or non-financial conflicts of interest at the end of their manuscript and in the cover letter and 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.

7.4 Conflicts of interest policy for reviewers

M&TOD suggests 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.

7.5 Conflicts of interest policy for Editors

Editors of M&TOD 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.

8. Duplicate Publication

Manuscripts submitted to M&TOD 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. M&TOD 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.

9. Citation

Authors should ensure that where material is taken from other sources (including their own published writing), the source is clearly 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 not preferentially cite their own or their friends’, peers’, or institution’s publications.

Authors should not cite advertisements or advertorial 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 have produced a discussion document on citation manipulation with recommendations for best practice.

10. Embargo Policy

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. M&TOD 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.

11. Preprints & Conference Proceedings

11.1 Preprints policies

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 M&TOD, 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 M&TOD, 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 M&TOD published by OAE Publishing Inc. (DOI: xxxxx; URL link: xxxxx).".
Authors may cite preprints in the references of their manuscript submitted to M&TOD 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).

11.2 Conference proceeding policies

M&TOD welcomes 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.

12. Confidentiality

M&TOD 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.
M&TOD adopts a single-blind peer-review process for M&TOD, 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 confidentiality is maintained.

13. Copyright and License to Publish

M&TOD 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 the section Author Instructions), granting M&TOD, 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.

14. Availability of Data and Materials

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.

15. Publication Permanency

To ensure permanent access to publications, articles published in M&TOD will be archived in Portico, which is one of the leading digital preservation service providers in the world.

16. Describing New Taxa

16.1 Fungal and botanical names

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 that should be included in the published articles.

16.2 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. M&TOD 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.

16.3 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.

16.4 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.

17. Corrections, Retractions, Withdrawals, and Expressions of Concern

17.1 Corrections

M&TOD Editors encourage readers and authors to notify them if they find errors, especially errors that could affect the interpretation of data or information presented in an article. When an error is identified:

  • The Editorial Office will work with authors and the publisher to correct important published errors.
  • The Editorial Office will consider retraction when errors are so fundamental that they invalidate the findings.
  • Corrections arising from errors within an article should be distinguishable from retractions and statements of concern relating to questionable research practices.
  • Corrections should be included in indexing systems and linked to the original article.
  • Corrections should be free to access.

The format the correction will take can depend on the article’s stage of publication. For example, for those articles which have been published on an Early View service (or equivalent), which is the online Version of Record before inclusion in an issue, corrections may be made directly to the article online. In these cases, an audit trail must be added to highlight what changes have been made to the online version of the article since its initial publication and the date these changes were made. 

For those articles which have been published in an issue, a corresponding correction statement should be published and linked to the original article. In these cases, the changes should usually not be made directly to the article.

17.2 Retractions

M&TOD is committed to playing its part in maintaining the integrity of the scholarly record, therefore on occasion, it is necessary to retract articles. Articles may be retracted if:

  • There is major scientific error which would invalidate the conclusions of the article, for example where there is clear evidence that findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (e.g. data fabrication) or honest error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error). 
  • Where the findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper cross-referencing, permission or justification (i.e. cases of redundant publication). 
  • Where there are ethical issues such as plagiarism (appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit including those obtained through confidential review of others' manuscripts) or inappropriate authorship (e.g., "guest" authorship; see COPE discussion document 'What constitutes authorship?'). 
  • Where unethical research has been reported. 

In order to ensure that retractions are handled according to industry best practice, and in accordance with COPE guidelines, M&TOD adopts the following retraction process:

M&TOD 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.

17.3 Withdrawals
Accepted Articles

An Accepted Article is the uncorrected, unedited, non-typeset version of an article published on M&TOD journal website. While an Accepted Article will have been allocated a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), it does not constitute the Version of Record as it will not yet have been formally published and does not yet carry complete bibliographic information. Therefore, where an Accepted Article is to be retracted because, for example, it contains errors, has been accidentally submitted twice or infringes a professional ethical code of some type, it may be deleted and replaced with a withdrawal statement.

Even in the above circumstances, bibliographic information about the deleted article should be retained for the scientific record, and an explanation given, however brief, about the circumstances of its removal.

Online Version

It is M&TOD's policy to strongly discourage withdrawal of the Online Version in line with the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers guidelines on retractions and preservation of the objective record of science. Therefore, deletion of the Online Version is rare, and M&TOD will only consider it in limited circumstances, such as the following:

  • Where there has been a violation of the privacy of a research subject; or
  • Where there are errors to which a member of the general public might be exposed and if followed or adopted, would pose a significant risk to health; or
  • Where a clearly defamatory comment has been made about others in the relevant field or about their work.
17.4 Expressions of Concern

Editors of M&TOD may consider issuing an Expression of Concern if they have well-founded concerns and feel that readers should be made aware of potentially misleading information contained in an article. However, Expressions of Concern should only be issued if an investigation into the problems relating to the article has proved inconclusive, and if there remain strong indicators that the concerns are valid. See COPE case: Data manipulation and institute's internal review.

On very rare occasions, an Expression of Concern may be issued while an investigation is underway but a judgement will not be available for a considerable time. However, in such cases there must be well-founded grounds to suggest that the concerns are valid.

In all cases, editors should be aware that an Expression of Concern carries the same risks to a researcher's reputation as a retraction, and it is often preferable to wait to publish a retraction until a definitive judgement has been achieved by an independent investigation. See COPE case: Handling self-admissions of fraud.

18. Crossmark Policy

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, M&TOD 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.

19. Appeals and Complaints

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.

20. How to Raise a Concern

Anyone who believes that research published by M&TOD has not been carried out in line with these principles should raise their concerns with the relevant Editor or email editorialoffice@mtodjournal.net.

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