Ethics of the scientific publication
The editorial board of Biotechnologia Acta follows the recommendations of the publication ethics standards set by the Commission on Publication Ethics (COPE) (https://publicationethics.org/guidance/Guidelines). Falsification or falsification of data, plagiarism, including republishing of authors' own works without proper citation, as well as misappropriation of work are all unacceptable practices. For any cases of ethical behavior the editorial board of Biotechnologia Acta takes it very seriously and each case will be considered according to COPE guidelines. Compliance with the ethical rules of scientific publications by all participants in the process contributes to ensuring the rights of authors to intellectual property, increasing the quality of the publication in the eyes of the world scientific community, and excluding the possibility of improper use of author's materials in the interests of individuals.
It is the policy of "Biotechnologia Acta" to publish new and original work. Text copied from copyrighted works from third parties, even in an introduction, should never be used without clearly identifying the other source (either by quotations or indentations). Every paper should present some novelty and new results in the form of a unique paper written in an author's own words. Unless a legitimate explanation is received for the large amount of textual overlap between the submitted paper and the abovementioned previously published work(s), this paper will not be reconsidered for publication.
This Condition corresponds to policy of the journal and it is one of the basic constituent of reviewing and journal’s publication.
1. Ethical responsibilities of the authors
Authorship is limited to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the design and execution of the work described Any contributors whose participation does not meet the criteria for authorship should be acknowledged but not listed as an author.
The authors should be aware that they bear personal responsibility for the submitted text of the manuscript, which involves compliance with the following principles:
1.1. To provide reliable results of the research. Definitely wrong, knavish or faked statements equal to unethical behavior and can be considered as inappropriate
1.2. To guarantee that the research results presented in the manuscript are independent and original work. In the case of using fragments of other people's works and/or borrowing statements of other authors, the article must include appropriate bibliographic references with mandatory indication of the author and the original source. Excessive borrowing, as well as plagiarism in any form, including informal quotations, paraphrasing or assigning rights to the results of other people's research are unethical and unacceptable actions. The journal editors will not accept articles that are a compilation of materials previously published by other authors without their creative processing and own author’s understanding for publication.
1.3. The manuscript has not been submitted to other journals for simultaneous consideration. Simultaneous submission of the same manuscript to multiple journals is considered unethical publication practice and is not acceptable.
1.4. The authors should submit to the journal an original manuscript that has not been sent to another journal and is not currently under review, as well as an article that has not been previously published in another journal, is required. Failure to adhere to this principle is considered a serious violation of publication ethics and may result in the withdrawal of the article from review. The article's text must be original, meaning it is being published in its presented form in a periodic print publication for the first time. If elements of the manuscript have been previously published in another work, authors are obligated to reference the earlier work and specify the significant differences between the new work and the previous one. Literal copying of one's own work and its paraphrasing are unacceptable; they can only be used as a basis for new conclusions.
1.5. Providing accurate results of conducted research is essential. Deliberately false, fraudulent, or fabricated claims are considered unethical behavior and are unacceptable.
1.6. Excessive appropriations and plagiarism in any form, including not performed quotations, rephrasing or rights’ appropriation of somebody’s research results are considered as unethical and inappropriate actions. All the articles which consist of materials’ compilation published before by other authors, without creative revision and personal author’s cognition are unacceptable for publication in the journal.
1.7. То guarantee that no data have been fabricated or manipulated (including images) to support the conclusions
1.8. A single study is not split up into several parts to increase the quantity of submissions and submitted to various journals or to one journal over time.
1.9. To recognize contribution by all the people engaged in the process of research or set the character of the presented scientific work. In particular, this article must have bibliographic references to the publications which had a meaning during the research. All the information got by talks, correspondence or discussions with other people can be used without open written permission from the source. All the sources must be opened. If this work uses written or illustrative materials by many people, permission must be got and provided to the editorial board
1.10. Authors are strongly advised to ensure the corresponding author, and order of authors at submission. Changes of authorship or in the order of authors are not accepted after acceptance of a manuscript. Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. Where there are others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the research project, they should be acknowledged or listed as contributors. The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors and no inappropriate co-authors are included on the paper, and that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication.
1.11. The authors whose names are listed in the submission have made a significant contribution to the research work and, therefore, share collective responsibility for the results. Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Authors should cite publications that have influenced the nature of the reported work. Information obtained privately, such as in conversation, correspondence, or discussion with third parties, cannot be used or disclosed without the explicit written permission of the source. Information obtained during the provision of confidential services, such as manuscript or grant application reviewing, cannot be used without the explicit written permission of the author of the work involved in these services.
1.12. Adding and/or deleting authors and/or changing the order of authors at revision stage may be justifiably warranted. A letter must accompany the revised manuscript to explain the reason for the change(s) and the contribution role(s) of the added and/or deleted author(s). Further documentation may be required to support your request.
1.13. Requests for addition or removal of authors as a result of authorship disputes after acceptance are honored after formal notification by the institute or independent body and/or when there is agreement between all authors.
1.14. To define all funding sources in the manuscripts; to declare about possible conflicts of interest, which could influence the results of the research, its interpretation and reviewers’ opinion.
2. Ethic principles in the reviewer’s activity
These guidelines are based on the COPE’s practice guidelines for journal reviewers.
The suitability of manuscripts for publication in Biotechnologia Acta is judged by peer reviewers and editorial board. All the review process is conducted in blind review. The editor handles all correspondence with the author and makes the final decision as to whether the paper is recommended for acceptance, rejection, or needs to be returned to the author for revision.
An Editor evaluates the submitted papers on prequalification step for suitability of further review process. The peer reviewers should examine the manuscript and return it with their recommendation to the Editor as soon as possible, preferably no later than 3 weeks. If one of peer reviewers recommends rejection, the Editor asks a third reviewer to decide the acceptance or rejection of the paper.
Papers needing revision will be returned to the authors, and the author must return the revised manuscript to the Editor. The last one checks whether the manuscript is revised as suggested by peer reviewers. The Editor could give recommendation to Chief Editor that the manuscript should return to authors, accept, or reject within 2 weeks. After acceptance by the Editor, manuscript is forwarded to the layout editor to be layout its discussion by the Biotechnolgia Acta editorial board.
The peer reviewers should all abide by a Code of Ethics regarding honesty, detecting examples of plagiarism, salami slicing or unethical research practice and giving constructive feedback to both the authors and editors. Peer review in all its form plays an important role in ensuring the integrity of the scholarly record. The process depends to a large extent on trust, and requires that everyone involved behaves responsibly and ethically. Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself from the review process.
Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor.
Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer's own research without the express written consent of the author. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. The reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.
A reviewer carries out a scientific expertise of author’s materials, so peer reviewrs should be impartial, following the next principles:
2.1. Expert assessment should help the author to improve quality of the article text and the head editor to make a decision for publication.
2.2. Respond in a reasonable time-frame, especially if they cannot do the review, and without intentional delay.
2.3. Cannot be the author or co-author of the reviewing work, and also research advisor and/or employees of the department where the author works.
2.4. . Reviewers should state if they do not have the subject matter expertise required to conduct the review or are able to evaluate only a certain part of the manuscript, clearly outlining the areas in which they have relevant expertise.
2.5. Only agree to review a manuscript if they are fairly confident they can return a review within the proposed or mutually agreed time-frame, informing the journal promptly if they require an extension.
2.6. Declare any potentially conflicting or competing interests (which may, for example, be personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious), seeking advice from the journal if they are unsure whether something constitutes a relevant interest.
2.7. Follow journals’ policies on situations they consider to represent a conflict to reviewing. If no guidance is provided, they should inform the journal if: they work at the same institution as any of the authors (or will be joining that institution or are applying for a job there); they are or have been recent (e.g. within the past 3 years) mentors, mentees, close collaborators or joint grant holders; they have a close personal relationship with any of the authors.
2.8. Review afresh any manuscript they have previously reviewed for another journal as it may have changed between the two submissions and the journals’ criteria for evaluation and acceptance may be different.
2.9. Decline to review if they feel unable to provide a fair and unbiased review.
2.10. Decline to review if they have been involved with any of the work in the manuscript or its reporting.
2.11. Decline to review if asked to review a manuscript that is very similar to one they have in preparation or under consideration at another journal.
2.12. Read the manuscript, ancillary material (e.g. reviewer instructions, required ethics and policy statements, supplemental data files) and journal instructions thoroughly, getting back to the journal if anything is not clear and requesting any missing or incomplete items they need to carry out a full review.
2.13. Contact the journal if circumstances arise that will prevent them from submitting a timely review, providing an accurate estimate of the time they will need to do a review if still asked to do so.
2.14. Notify the journal immediately if they come across any irregularities, have concerns about ethical aspects of the work, are aware of substantial similarity between the manuscript and a concurrent submission to another journal or a published article, or suspect that misconduct may have occurred during either the research or the writing and submission of the manuscript; reviewers should, however, keep their concerns confidential and not personally investigate further unless the journal asks for further information or advice.
2.15. Not intentionally prolong the review process, either by delaying the submission of their review or by requesting unnecessary additional information from the journal or author.
2.16. Ensure their review is based on the merits of the work and not influenced, either positively or negatively, by any personal, financial, or other conflicting considerations or by intellectual biases.
2.17. Not contact the authors directly without the permission of the journal.
2.18. Bear in mind that the editor is looking to them for subject knowledge, good judgement, and an honest and fair assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the work and the manuscript.
2.19. Be objective and constructive in their reviews and provide feedback that will help the authors to improve their manuscript.
2.20. Not make derogatory personal comments or unfounded accusations.
2.21. Be specific in their criticisms, and provide evidence with appropriate references to substantiate general statements such as, ‘this work has been done before’, to help editors in their evaluation and decision and in fairness to the authors.
2.22. Be aware of the sensitivities surrounding language issues that are due to the authors writing in a language that is not their own, and phrase the feedback appropriately and with due respect.
2.23. Make clear which suggested additional investigations are essential to support claims made in the manuscript under consideration and which will just strengthen or extend the work.
2.24. Not make unfair negative comments or include unjustified criticisms of any competitors’ work that is mentioned in the manuscript.
2.25. Confidential comments to the editor should not be a place for denigration or false accusation, done in the knowledge that the authors will not see these comments.
2.26. Not suggest that authors include citations to the reviewer’s (or their associates’) work merely to increase the reviewer’s (or their associates’) citation count or to enhance the visibility of their or their associates’ work; suggestions must be based on valid academic or technological reasons.
2.27. Respond promptly if contacted by the journal about matters related to their review of a manuscript and provide the information required.
2.28. Not use information obtained during the peer-review process for their own or any other person’s or organization’s advantage, or to disadvantage or discredit others.
2.29. Declare all potential conflicting interests, seeking advice from the journal if they are unsure whether something constitutes a relevant interest.
2.30. Should be objective and constructive in their reviews, refraining from being hostile or inflammatory and from making libellous or derogatory personal comments.
2.31. Should provide the journal with personal and professional information that is accurate and a true representation of their expertise.
2.32. Must be impartial. Personal remarks to the author are forbidden. A reviewer must express own opinion clearly and with reason.
2.33. A reviewer can’t use information and ideas form the article obtained for reviewing for personal purposes with due attention to confidentiality of this information and ideas.
2.34. If it is possible, a reviewer should find published articles corresponding to the reviewing article and not quoted by the author. Every statement in the review that observation, conclusion or argument form the article has been met in the literature before, it should be accompanied with certain bibliographic reference. Reviewer also should pay attention of the head editor about similarity or partial coincidence of the peer-reviewed article with every other one published before.
2.35. Every manuscript got from the editorial board for reviewing is a confidential document. It can’t be discussed with other people excluding people defined by the head editor.
2.36. Reviewer should take into consideration the articles with conflict of interest, caused by competition, cooperation or any other relations with any author or organization connected with the article. "Biotechnologia Acta" may use disclosures as a basis for editorial decisions and will publish them as they may be important to readers in judging the manuscript. Likewise, the journal may decide not to publish on the basis of the declared conflict.
2.37. Reviewers must not retain the manuscript for their personal use and should destroy paper copies of manuscripts and delete electronic copies after submitting their reviews.
3. Principles of professional ethics in activity of editorial board
These guidelines are based on the COPE’s practice guidelines for the editorial board and journal editors.
The editorial board of a peer-reviewed Biotechnologia Acta journal primarily consists of a team of people who work directly with the scientific editor to develop the journal and promote new initiatives. Editorial board members are chosen for their expertise in key areas related to the journal or for their international presence in the field.
An editorial board should evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors. The editor and any editorial staff must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, and the publisher, as appropriate.
The scientific editor of a peer-reviewed Biotechnologia Acta journal is responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published. The scientific editor is guided by the policies of the journal's editorial board and constrained by such legal requirements as shall then be in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism.
The scientific editor may confer with other members of the editorial board or reviewers in making this decision.
Manuscripts submitted to journals are privileged communications that are authors’ private, confidential property.
Therefore the editors must not share information about manuscripts, including whether they have been received and are under review, their content and status in the review process, criticism by reviewers, and their ultimate fate, to anyone other than the authors and reviewers.
During the activity editorial staff, editorial-and-publishing group, and members of the editorial group of the journal carry liability for publication of author’s works that leads to the following main principles:
3.1. The editorial policies of the Biotechnologia Acta journal encourage transparency and complete, honest reporting, and the editor ensures that peer reviewers and the authors have a clear understanding of what is expected of them.
3.2. During the decision making concerning publication the head editor is guided by reliability of the presented data and scientific importance of the considered paper.
3.3. The head editor shouldn’t have conflicts of interest towards the articles he refuses or apply.
3.4. The head editorand the editorial board of the journal can’t expose information about an article to nobody, except the authors, assigned potential reviewers and other editorial board members, and sometimes a publisher.
3.5. Not published data, got from the manuscripts presented for consideration, can’t be used by the head editor and members of the editorial board for personal profit or given for third party (without author’s written permission).
3.6. The head editor together with the publisher shouldn’t ignore the claims concerning the considered articles or published materials. In any conflict situation they should take measures for violated rights’ restoration, and in case of mistakes discoveries they should assist in corrective publication or disclaimer.
3.7. Editorial staff members must not publicly discuss the authors’ work, and the reviewers must not appropriate authors’ ideas before the manuscript is published.
4. Principles of professional ethics in publisher’s activity
The publisher carries liability for publishing author’s works. It causes the necessity to follow the next main principles and procedures:
4.1. To promote realization of ethic responsibilities by the editorial board, reviewers and authors according to the requirements.
4.2. To support confidentiality of the author’s materials before publication.
4.3. To be ready to publish corrections, explanations, disclaimers or excuses, when it is necessary.
4.4. To give the editorial board a possibility to exclude the publications with plagiarism and unreliable data.
4.5. When a manuscript is published the Biotechnologia Acta journal should keep copies of the original submission, reviews, revisions, and correspondence for at least three years for the possibly to answer future questions about the work should they arise.
4.6. Confidentiality may have to be breached if dishonesty or fraud is alleged, but editors should notify authors or reviewers if they intend to do so and confidentiality must otherwise be honored.
4.7. Editors should not publish or publicize peer reviewers’ comments without permission of the reviewer and author.
4.8. Editors should do all they can to ensure timely processing of manuscripts with the resources available to them.
4.9. If editors intend to publish a manuscript, they should attempt to do so in a timely manner and any planned delays should be negotiated with the authors.
4.10. If a journal has no intention of proceeding with a manuscript, editors should endeavor to reject the manuscript as soon as possible to allow authors to submit to a different journal.
4.11. An editor should take reasonably responsive measures when ethical complaints have been presented concerning a submitted manuscript or published paper, in conjunction with the publisher (or society). Such measures will generally include contacting the author of the manuscript or paper and giving due consideration of the respective complaint or claims made, but may also include further communications to the relevant institutions and research bodies. Every reported act of unethical publishing behavior must be looked into, even if it is discovered years after publication.
4.12. The names and email addresses entered in this journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.
5. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest
Authors must disclose all relationships or interests that could have direct or potential influence or impart bias on the work. Although an author may not feel there is any conflict, disclosure of relationships and interests provides more complete and transparent process, leading to an accurate and objective assessment of the work. Awareness of a real or perceived conflicts of interest is a perspective to which the readers are entitled. This is not meant to imply that a financial relationship with an organization that sponsored the research or compensation received for consultancy work is inappropriate.
Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in an editor's own research without the express written consent of the author. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Editors should recuse themselves from considering manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or (possibly) institutions connected to the papers. Editors should require all contributors to disclose relevant competing interests and publish corrections if competing interests are revealed after publication. If needed, other appropriate action should be taken, such as the publication of a retraction or expression of concern.
Examples of potential conflicts of interests that are directly or indirectly related to the research may include but are not limited to the following:
• Research grants from funding agencies (please give the research funder and the grant number)
• Honoraria for speaking at symposia
• Financial support for attending symposia
• Financial support for educational programs
• Employment or consultation
• Support from a project sponsor
• Position on advisory board or board of directors or other type of management relationships
• Multiple affiliations
In addition, interests that go beyond financial interests and compensation (non-financial interests) that may be important to readers should be disclosed. These may include but are not limited to personal relationships or competing interests directly or indirectly tied to this research, or professional interests or personal beliefs that may influence your research.
6. Compliance with Ethical Standards
To ensure objectivity and transparency in research and to ensure that accepted principles of ethical and professional conduct have been followed, authors should include information regarding sources of funding, potential conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial), informed consent if the research involved human participants, and a statement on welfare of animals if the research involved animals.
Authors should include the following statements (if applicable) in a separate section entitled “Compliance with Ethical Standards” when submitting a paper:
• Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest
• Research involving Human Participants and/or Animals
• Informed consent
7. Appeals and complaints
The below procedure applies to appeals to editorial decisions, complaints about failure of processes such as long delays in handling papers and complaints about publication ethics. The complaint should in first instance be handled by the editor-in-chief of the Biotechnologia Acta journal, the persons responsible for the journal and/or the Editor who handled the paper.
Complaint about scientific content, e.g. an appeal against rejection.
The editor-in-chief or handling editor considers the authors’ argument, the reviewer reports and decides whether
- the decision to reject should stand;
- another independent opinion is required;
- the appeal should be considered.
The complainant is informed of the decision with an explanation if appropriate. Decisions on appeals are final and new submissions take priority over appeals.
Complaint about processes, e.g. time taken to review
The Editor-in-Chief together with the Handling Editor (where appropriate) and/or in-house contact (where appropriate) will investigate the matter. The complainant will be given appropriate feedback. Feedback is provided to relevant stakeholders to improve processes and procedures.
Head editor of the “Biotechnologia Acta” journal Komisarenko S.V. confirmed the condition of scientific publications’ ethics on the 25th of June, 2015.
© Palladin Institute of Biochemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 2023