Guidelines for Authors

  • We strictly adhere to the criteria specified by COPE, OASPA, DOAJ, WAME and ICMJE for ethical practice in academic publishing under the principle of transparency. Before submitting a manuscript, authors should check the following guidelines and make sure the study and manuscript conform to related policies.

  • Research Ethics

    Research involve human, animal or plant subjects must comply with national and international guidelines. A statement of research ethics is compulsory in manuscripts containing such research. Failure to meet the requirements will result in rejection. Even after publication, any concerns associated with research ethics may still be subject to further investigation and action.

    Research Involving Human Subjects

    Ethics Approval

    Research involving human subjects, human tissues or data must comply with the Declaration of Helsinki, and, prior to conducting the research, appropriate approval must be obtained from an institutional review board or equivalent ethics committee.

    Authors should include a statement of ethics in the manuscript, indicating the name of the ethics committee, the date of approval, the approval identification code, etc. 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 provided in the manuscript. Manuscripts will be rejected if the journal editor considers that the research has not been carried out according to appropriate ethical polices.

    Consent to Participate

    When a study involves human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study must have been obtained from the participants themselves or their legal guardians. Then authors should include a statement to this effect in the manuscript. The manuscript reporting studies involving vulnerable groups, where there is the potential for coercion (for example prisoners), or where consent may not have been fully informed, may be rejected. For research involving human transplantation, authors must include a statement declaring that no organs/tissues were obtained from prisoners and provide the name of the institution(s)/clinic(s)/department(s) where the organs/tissues were obtained.

    Consent for Publication

    For all manuscripts that include details, images or videos relating to an individual person, written informed consent for the publication of these details under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (meaning that the details will be freely available on the internet) must be obtained from the person or his/her legal guardian. If the person has died, consent for publication must be obtained from their next of kin. A statement to the effect that this informed consent was obtained should be included in the manuscript.

    Trial Registration

    In accordance with ICMJE Guidelines, we require registration of clinical trials in a public trials registry at or before the time of first patient enrollment. A clinical trial is defined by ICMJE as any research project that prospectively assigns people or a group of people to an intervention, with or without concurrent comparison or control groups, to study the relationship between a health-related intervention and a health outcome. Health-related interventions are those used to modify a biomedical or health-related outcome, including drugs, surgical procedures, devices, behavioral treatments, educational programs, dietary interventions, quality improvement interventions, and process-of-care changes. Health outcomes are any biomedical or health-related measures obtained in patients or participants, including pharmacokinetic measures and adverse events. Authors may register in any of the primary registries listed in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) or in ClinicalTrials.gov. The trial registration number should be provided at the end of the Abstract.

    Secondary data analyses of primary (parent) clinical trials should not be registered as separate clinical trials, but instead should reference the trial registration number of the primary trial.

    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 ethics committee and consent from the donor or next of kin should be obtained. Authors are recommended to check the NCBI database for misidentification and contamination of human cell lines, and get more information from the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC).

    Research Involving Animals

    Research involving animal subjects, e.g., vertebrates or any regulated invertebrates, must comply with national and international guidelines, and, prior to conducting the research, appropriate approval must be obtained from an institutional review board or equivalent ethics committee.

    We recommend authors refer to the ARRIVE Guidelines when the design and conduct of their research involves the use of animals. Manuscripts containing such material must include a statement of ethics detailing compliance with relevant guidelines and the approval from the appropriate ethics committee, including the name of the ethics committee, the date of approval, and the approval identification code, etc. 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 in the manuscript. In consideration of animal welfare, we reserve the right to reject a manuscript, especially if the research is inconsistent with commonly accepted norms of animal research. In some cases, we may contact the ethics committee for further information if deemed necessary.

    Research Involving Plants

    Research on plants, either cultivated or wild, including the collection of plant material, must comply with national and 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. We recommend that authors follow 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 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 material. Vouchers may be requested for review by future investigators to verify the identity of the material used in the study. Authors should include a statement detailing the populations sampled on the site of collection (GPS coordinates), date of collection, and document the part(s) used in the study where appropriate.

  • Authorship

    Author Responsibilities

    An author is generally held to be someone who has made a substantive contribution to a published study. The authorship should be designated based on the following 4 criteria:

    • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work;
    • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content;
    • Final approval of the version to be published;
    • 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.

    Contributors who do not meet any of the 4 criteria above should not be identified as authors, but should be acknowledged in the article.

    Corresponding Author

    The corresponding author is the one individual who takes primary responsibility for communication with the journal during manuscript processing, and typically ensures that all the journal’s editorial requirements are properly completed (e.g., providing authorship information, ethics committee approval, clinical trial registration documents, and conflict of interest forms and statements, etc.), although this work may be delegated to one or more co-authors.

    Although the corresponding author has primary responsibility for correspondence with the journal, all authors will be kept informed of the status of the manuscript during editorial processing. The manuscripts should be checked by authors carefully at all stages to ensure the accuracy of the contents.

    Corresponding Authors are required to provide their ORCID iDs during the publication process while co-authors are also strongly encouraged to do so where possible. ORCID provides a persistent identifier – an ORCID iD – that uniquely distinguishes an author from all other researchers and provides a mechanism for linking their research outputs and activities to their iD. Learn more at ORCID.

    Group Authorship

    Some large multi-author groups designate authorship by a group name, with or without the names of individual authors. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding author 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.

    Removal and Addition of Authorship

    If the authors request removal or addition of one or more authors during manuscript processing, an explanation and signed statement of agreement for the requested change from all listed authors and from the author(s) to be removed or added should be provided. Any change of authorship after official acceptance of manuscript is not allowed.

  • Conflict of Interest

    Conflict of interest may be any financial/non-financial interests, direct/indirect connections, or other situations that might raise the potential bias in the work reported or the conclusions, implications or opinions stated.

    Financial conflict of interest usually include: holding stocks or shares in or receiving financial benefits (e.g., remunerations, fees, funding, or salary, etc.) from an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication, either now or in the future; holding, or currently applying for, patents related to the manuscript content; receiving financial benefits from an organization that holds or has applied for patents relating to the manuscript content.

    Non-financial conflict of interest include but are not limited to political, religious, sexual, personal, ideological, academic, and intellectual competing interests.

    Authors must disclose the conflicts of interest involved in their work if any. A statement of Conflicts of Interest should be provided at the end of the manuscript to declare whether or not there is any conflict of interest. In some cases, where authors may be bound by confidentiality agreements, authors may state "All authors declare that they are bound by confidentiality agreements which prevent them from disclosing their conflicts of interest in this work".

  • Financial Sources

    A statement of funding should be provided in the manuscript, indicating the funding body that supported the experiment design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, or writing of the manuscript, etc. Any relevant grant numbers and the link of the funder's website should be provided if any. If the study is not involved with this issue, state "None" in the statement.

  • Availability of Data and Materials

    A statement “Availability of Data and Materials” should be included in the manuscript indicating where the data supporting the findings are available. Authors who are unable to share their data must state that the data will not be shared, and specify the reason accordingly.

    Authors are suggested to provide a statement “Availability of Data and Materials” in their manuscript in one of the following forms:

    • The datasets generated and/or analyzed in the study are available in the [name] repository, [the persistent web link to datasets].
    • The datasets generated and/or analyzed in the study may be obtained from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
    • The datasets generated or analyzed in the study are included in this published article (and its supplementary information files).
    • The datasets generated and/or analyzed in the study are not publicly available due to [reason why data are not public] but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
    • The data that support the findings of this study are available from [the third party name] but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study, and so are not publicly available. Data are however available from the authors upon reasonable request and with permission of [the third party name].
    • Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analyzed in this study.
    • If no data are contained in the manuscript, please just state 'Not applicable'.
  • Digital Image Processing

    All digital images included in a manuscript submitted to our journals must be of high quality. Images should be processed as minimally as possible. A certain degree of image processing is acceptable when it is unavoidable for some experiments. However, the final image must correctly reflect the original data and strictly comply with the community standards.

    • All image processing tools and/or software packages used must be provided. Authors should indicate the key factors of image-gathering settings and processing manipulations in the Methods;
    • Any specific feature within an image should not be enhanced, obscured, moved or removed;
    • Authors should avoid using touch-up tools, such as cloning and healing tools of Photoshop, or any feature that deliberately obscures manipulations;
    • Combination into a single image is not allowed to apply to images collected from different locations or at different times, unless it is clearly indicated that the resultant image is a product of time-averaged data or a time-lapse sequence. If juxtaposition of images is necessary, the borders must be clearly shown in the figure and explained in the legend;
    • Adjustment of brightness, contrast, or color balance is appropriate only when it applies equally to the entire image and does not obscure, eliminate or misrepresent any original information. Contrast should not be changed so that data disappear.

    Authors should retain their original data, which might be asked for by editors in case of any questions raised during or after the editorial process. If authors are unable to provide original data, the manuscript may be rejected or, in the case of a published article, retracted.

  • Citations

    Comprehensive, unbiased and accurate citation of the relevant literatures is an essential part of an article. Articles must cite appropriate and relevant literature in support of the claims made. Excessive and inappropriate self-citation or coordinated efforts among several authors to collectively self-cite is strongly discouraged.

    Authors should consider the following guidelines while citing literatures:

    • Any statement in the manuscript that depends on external sources of information (i.e., neither general knowledge nor the authors' own new ideas or findings) should use a citation.
    • Authors should avoid citing derivations of original work. For example, original work should be cited rather than a review article that cites an original work.
    • Authors should ensure that their citations are accurate (i.e., they should ensure the citation supports the statement made in their manuscript and should not misrepresent another work by citing it if it does not support the point the authors wish to make).
    • Authors should not cite sources that they have not read.
    • Authors should not preferentially cite the publications of their own, their friends’, colleagues’, or institution’s.
    • Authors should avoid citing work only from one country.
    • Authors should not use an excessive number of citations to support one point.
    • Ideally, authors should cite sources that have undergone peer review.
    • Authors should not cite advertisements or advertising material.
  • Descriptions of New Taxa

    Algal, Fungal, and Botanical Names

    Manuscripts with new algal, fungal or botanical names must comply with 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 article.

    Zoological Names

    Manuscripts containing zoological names should follow the guidelines set by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. Authors should register the zoological name with a recognized repository, such as ZooBank, and receive a unique identifier which should be included in the published article. Authors will be able to update ZooBank with the final citation following publication.

    Virus Names

    Manuscripts containing new virus names must follow the International Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature recommended by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). Proposals for new virus taxa should be forwarded to the relevant Study Group of the ICTV for consideration.

    Bacterial Names

    Authors should follow the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP) for effective publication of new prokaryotic names in electronic journals. Authors are required to submit a copy of the published article in its final form, together with certificates of deposition of the type strain (for unrestricted distribution), in at least two internationally recognized, publicly accessible culture collections located in different countries, to the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (IJSEM) editorial office. Following review by the List Editor, effectively published names that conform to all of the rules of the ICNP will appear on a subsequent Validation List, in the order received, thereby becoming validly published. 

  • Misconduct

    We take a very serious attitude to all instances of misconduct, including data fabrication, plagiarism, authorship improprieties, misappropriation of others' ideas, violation of recognized research practices, violation of legislations and regulations, and improper behavior related to misconduct, etc.

    Data Falsification

    Deceptive manipulation of images, deceptive selective reporting of findings, omission of conflicting data, and intentional suppression and/or distortion of data.

    Plagiarism

    Appropriation of the language, ideas, or thoughts of another without crediting their true source, and representation of them as one's own original work.

    Authorship Improprieties

    Exclusion of others, inclusion of individuals who have not made substantial contribution to the work published as authors, or submission of multi-authored manuscript without all authors' concurrence.

    Violation of Recognized Research Practices

    Serious deviation from generally accepted practices in proposing or performing research, manipulation of experiments to obtain biased results, deceptive statistical or analytical manipulations, or improper reporting of findings.

    Violation of Legislations and Regulations

    Serious, repeated, willful violation of applicable local regulations and law related to the use of funds, care of animals, human subjects, investigational drugs, recombinant products, new devices, or radioactive, biologic, or chemical materials.

    Improper Behaviors Related to Misconduct

    Unfounded or knowingly false allegations of misconduct, failure to report known or suspected misconduct, withholding or destruction of the misconduct evidence, and retaliation against persons involved in the accusation or investigation.

    We deal with all possible misconduct seriously based on the COPE Guidelines. If a suspicion of misconduct arises, the editor will keep the case confidential and will give the author an opportunity to respond. If their explanation is unsatisfactory, the editor will report the case to the appropriate authorities, for example, the author's institution and ethics committee, etc., and ask them to investigate the case. At any stage, if the misconduct is proven, the paper will be rejected or retracted. In some cases, we would seek advice from COPE and refer the case to COPE in an anonymized format.

  • Preprints and Conference Presentations

    We fully support open communications of research findings between researchers in forms of preprints on a recognized community preprint server or discussion at conference or on the author’s blog. Neither conference presentation nor preprint posting are considered as prior publication.

    Authors may respond to requests from the media regarding a preprint or conference presentation, by providing necessary explanation or clarification of the study. When responding to the media, Authors are strongly encouraged to make it clear that the manuscript has not undergone peer review; therefore, the content is provisional and the conclusions may change. Authors must also maintain confidentiality of the peer review and editorial processes.

    We strongly discourage authors from directly soliciting media coverage ahead of final publication of a paper as we believe it is important to allow the press to report the work to the public on the basis of a peer-reviewed and published version.

    Submission including data that has been presented in a conference or published in conference proceedings is also considered by our journals. However, the submission must contain a substantial extension of results, methodology, analysis, conclusions and/or implications beyond the conference proceedings paper. Authors should obtain permissions to reuse the data published previously if necessary and are also required to provide detailed information of the conference proceedings paper when submitting manuscripts to us. Please note that final decisions as to whether the manuscript meets our requirements and whether it will undergo further processing, are made by an academic editor of the journal.

  • Overlapping Publications

    Duplicate Submission

    Authors are not allowed to submit the same manuscript to more than one journal in the same or different languages to avoid any potential disagreement between two (or more) journals or any unnecessary work of peer review and editing undertaken.

    Duplicate Publication

    Duplicate publication is publishing a paper which overlaps essentially with one already published, without clear reference to the previous publication.

    When authors submit a manuscript reporting work that has already been reported in large part in a published article, or is contained in or is closely related to another paper that has been submitted or accepted for publication elsewhere, the letter of submission should clearly indicate this and the authors should provide copies of the related material to help the editor decide how to handle the submission.

    In some cases, a complete report that follows publication of a preliminary report (e.g., a letter to the editor, a preprint or an abstract or poster displayed at a scientific meeting, etc.) would be considered for publication.

    We may consider a paper that has been presented at a scientific conference but was not officially published in full in a peer-reviewed journal, or that is being considered for publication in proceedings or similar format.

    Secondary Publication

    Secondary publication of material published in other journals may be acceptable provided that the following conditions are met:

    • It is approved by the editors of both journals (the editor concerned with secondary publication must have access to the primary version).
    • The priority of the primary publication is respected by a publication interval negotiated by both editors with the authors.
    • The secondary version is intended for a different readership.
    • The secondary version faithfully reflects the data and interpretations of the primary version.
    • The secondary version informs readers, peers and documenting agencies that the paper has been published in whole or in part elsewhere—for example, with a note that might read, "This article is based on a study first reported in the [journal title, with full reference]"—and the secondary version cites the primary reference.
    • The title of the secondary publication should indicate that it is a secondary publication (complete or abridged republication or translation) of a primary publication.

    Manuscripts Based on the Same Database

    If manuscripts, from separate research groups or from the same group, analyze the same data set (for example, from a public database, or systematic reviews or meta-analyses of the same evidence) but differ in analytical methods, conclusions, or both, they will be considered independently.

    In some large trials, it is planned from the beginning to produce several separate publications regarding separate research questions on the basis of the same original participant sample. In this case, authors may use the original single trial registration number, if all the outcome parameters were defined in the original registration. If the authors registered several sub-studies as separate entries, then the unique trial identifier should be given for the study in question.

  • Confidentiality
    All manuscripts submitted to our journals are processed in confidence. All parties involved, including editors, reviewers, authors etc., are required to keep all details of the editorial process confidential. The identity of reviewers is not released to authors. Meanwhile, reviewers must not reveal any content of the manuscript or any details of its peer review or editorial processes to third parties. No matter whether a manuscript is finally published or finalized, communications with the editors, review reports and other materials related to the manuscripts must not be published, disclosed or publicized without prior written consent. Also, editors will not share manuscripts with any third parties unless it is necessary for them to investigate any suspected misconduct.
  • Reviewer Recommendation/Exclusion

    We adopt single-blind peer review model with all our journals. At least two review reports are collected for each manuscript. When submitting a manuscript, authors are encouraged to suggest potential reviewers. If they do so, authors should provide the institutional email addresses of the reviewers. However, it is at the editor’s discretion whether or not to invite the suggested reviewers. Authors can also request exclusion of certain researchers from reviewing the manuscript at the same time.

  • Copyright and License

    We adopt the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which means all papers published in our journals are freely available online. Copyright of the published papers is retained by authors. Authors grant any third party the right to use the published paper freely as long as its integrity is maintained and its original authors, citation details and publisher are correctly cited. Authors also grant Pivot Science Publication Corporation an exclusive right to publish their paper and identify it as the original publisher.

    A note as below will be inserted in each paper published at our journals:

    © 2021 by the author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is correctly credited.

  • Corrections and Retractions

    To maintain the integrity of the academic record, we occasionally have to publish Corrections when there are any errors that affect the interpretation and conclusion of an article but not fully invalidating the science nature of the research, or Retraction when the scientific integrity of an article is substantially undermined. If, after an appropriate investigation, misconduct is demonstrated, it will be retracted.

    Corrections to, or retractions of, published articles will be made by publishing a Correction or a Retraction article, without altering the original article in any way other than to add a prominent link to the Erratum/Retraction article. The original article remains in the public domain and the subsequent Erratum or Retraction will be widely indexed as well. 

  • Appeals and Complaints

    If authors do not agree with any decision made in editorial processing, they may submit a formal appeal to the editorial office, explaining their views. We deal with appeals and complaints according to the COPE Guidelines.

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