Ethical Guidelines
SciencePG Statement

At Science Publishing Group, we are committed to upholding the highest standards in scholarly publishing. We ensure that all submitted manuscripts adhere to SciencePG’s guidelines and best practices. Our stance on publishing ethics is deeply rooted in the principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). We strictly follow COPE's guidelines in addressing key ethical issues, such as conflicts of interest, authorship, misconduct allegations, data transparency, plagiarism, and the integrity of the peer review process.

As we remain committed to ethical standards, SciencePG also acknowledges the importance of autonomous decision-making based on our existing policies and principles. This independence, combined with adherence to COPE's guidelines, ensures the highest level of integrity and professionalism in our publication process.

In case of uncertainties regarding ethical conduct in research and publishing, we suggest referring to the extensive resources provided by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Council of Science Editors (CSE), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME). These resources offer a comprehensive guide to tackling ethical issues, thereby promoting the constant improvement of scientific record integrity.

Authorship

Authorship Criteria

SciencePG, we are committed to maintaining the integrity and authenticity of academic authorship. We adhere strictly to the authorship guidelines outlined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). To be recognized as an author in a SciencePG publication, individuals must meet the following four criteria:

1

Substantial Contributions: Every author should have made meaningful contributions to the conception or design of the research or to the collection, analysis, or interpretation of the data for the work. This could also include the development of new software used in the work.

2

Intellectual Input: Authors should have either drafted the manuscript or critically revised it for important intellectual content. This encompasses both original creation and significant intellectual revision.

3

Approval of Final Version: Each author should have given their approval for the final version of the manuscript to be published. This signifies that they endorse the work in its entirety, and accept responsibility for its content.

4

Accountability: All authors should agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work. They should be prepared to address any questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work and to ensure that such concerns are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Only individuals who meet all the above criteria should be listed as authors. Contributors who don't fulfill all these criteria should be acknowledged in the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript. Changes to authorship post-submission must be approved by all authors and will be considered by SciencePG on a case-by-case basis. It's paramount that the right credit is given to those who have significantly contributed to the research. This ensures the integrity and credibility of the scientific records we publish.

Author Contributions

In the interest of transparency and to acknowledge individual author contributions to the study, SciencePG recommends an Author Contributions statement for all submitted manuscripts. This statement specifies the individual contributions of each author in detail and ensures that credit is given where it is due. For research articles with several authors, the statement should provide a short paragraph outlining their individual contributions.

The contributions of each author should be described using the following CRediT taxonomy:

Conceptualization
Methodology
Software
Validation
Formal analysis
Investigation
Resources
Data curation
Writing - original draft
Writing - review & editing
Visualization
Supervision
Project administration
Funding acquisition

All authors must have substantially contributed to the work reported.

The corresponding author plays a crucial role in the publication process, serving as the primary point of contact between the editor and other authors, maintaining communication with co-authors about progress and submission of revisions, and making major decisions about the publication.

When authors have contributed equally to the work, this should be indicated by the inclusion of a statement such as "X and Y contributed equally to this work" in the manuscript. The specific roles of these equal contribution authors should be clearly disclosed in the "Author Contributions" statement.

Changes to Authorship

At SciencePG, we emphasize the importance of the correct author group, the corresponding author, and the order of authors at the time of submission. Any subsequent changes to the author list, such as a change in the order of authors or the deletion or addition of authors, requires the approval of all authors. This includes any author proposed to be removed.

SciencePG generally does not permit changes to authorship after manuscript acceptance. However, changes necessitated by exceptional circumstances may be considered. We reserve the right to request evidence of authorship before implementing changes.

Author names will be published exactly as they appear on the accepted manuscript. Please ensure that all authors' names are present, spelled correctly, and that the affiliations are current.

Deceased Authors

In the event an author passes away during the manuscript process, or is already deceased at the time of submission, the corresponding author or co-authors are required to inform SciencePG's editorial office. A replacement should be nominated if the deceased author was the corresponding author. The co-authors should verify the deceased author's contribution and declare any potential conflicts of interest. If the deceased author did not sign the copyright agreement, permission must be obtained from the author's legal inheritor. Upon publication, a note will be added under the author list.

Artificial Intelligence and Generated Content

SciencePG acknowledges the utility of artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as large language models (LLMs)—including ChatGPT—in aiding authors during the manuscript preparation process. These tools can support in generating initial structure, summarizing, paraphrasing, and refining language. However, it is imperative to note that AI cannot replace the creativity and critical thinking inherent in human authors.

While AI cannot be listed as a co-author, its usage in creating any part of the manuscript should be clearly mentioned, ideally in the Methods or Acknowledgements section. The human author(s) retains full responsibility for the accuracy of AI-generated content and must correctly reference any work it is based on.

Some limitations to consider include potential biases embedded in the training data of these AI models, their inability to fully comprehend context, and the risk of generating inaccurate or inappropriate content. Therefore, it is incumbent on the authors to verify the validity and accuracy of AI-generated content and to be aware of the potential for plagiarism.

Moreover, in the realm of AI-generated images, SciencePG follows existing copyright law and best practices, and will not accept AI-generated images for publication due to the ongoing legal uncertainties. However, exceptions may be made for images obtained from approved agencies, or in the context of a piece specifically about AI, subject to case-by-case review.

Author Name Changes

SciencePG recognizes that authors may need to change their name for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to alignment with gender identity, or due to marriage, divorce, or religious conversion. We respect the sensitive and private nature of these changes and handle such requests with utmost discretion.

Upon request, we will update an author's name in the online and PDF versions of the publication. The DOI will remain unchanged and the updated metadata will be forwarded to our indexing partners to ensure future citations are associated with the correct name.

We advise (but do not require) the requestor to inform their co-authors about the change to ensure they update their citations accordingly. However, due to the sensitive nature of name changes, SciencePG will not notify co-authors of the change or post any notice of the change on the article, unless specifically asked to do so by the requestor.

To request a name change, please contact us in confidence, and we will endeavor to implement the change as quickly and seamlessly as possible. The request should originate from the author themselves. If a third party makes the request on behalf of an author, we must confirm that the request is made with the knowledge and consent of the author involved.

Authorship Disputes

SciencePG adheres to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines regarding authorship disputes that might occur during the review process or after publication. In the event of an authorship dispute, the authors are asked to resolve the issue themselves.

If authors cannot reach an agreement, SciencePG will bring the issue to the appropriate institution or governing body for final adjudication. It should be noted that an authorship dispute does not typically warrant retraction unless the validity of the research findings is in question.

At SciencePG, we uphold the highest standards of publication ethics and expect our authors to adhere to the same principles.

Plagiarism, Data Fabrication, and Image Manipulation

SciencePG upholds the highest standards of academic integrity and strictly prohibits any form of plagiarism, data fabrication, and image manipulation. We expect authors to adhere to these ethical principles in all aspects of their research and writing process.

Plagiarism includes copying text, ideas, images, or data from another source, including the author's own previously published works, without properly attributing the original source. All sources must be cited where they are used in the text. If a manuscript's design, language, or structure has been influenced by previous works, these must be explicitly referenced. Reused text from another source should be enclosed within quotation marks, with the original source correctly cited.

SciencePG uses the industry standard software iThenticate to check all submissions for potential plagiarism. If plagiarism is identified during the peer review process, the manuscript may face rejection. If plagiarism is discovered after publication, an investigation will ensue and action taken in accordance with our policies may include corrections or retractions.

Data presented in any submission must be original. Any form of data fabrication, selective representation of results, enhancement, or inappropriate manipulation will not be tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to, exclusion of data points to falsely enhance the significance of conclusions, deliberate selection of analysis tools to support a particular conclusion, or the fabrication of data.

Image files must be presented as they are and must not be adjusted or manipulated in any way that could lead to misinterpretation of the information provided by the original image. Any manipulation, such as introduction, enhancement, removal of features from the original image, inappropriate grouping of images, or altering the contrast, brightness, or color balance to obscure or enhance certain information, is not acceptable.

If irregular image manipulation or data fabrication is identified during the peer review process, the manuscript may face rejection. If such issues are discovered after publication, appropriate measures including corrections or retractions may be taken in line with our policies.

Research Data Policies

SciencePG is dedicated to promoting open scientific communication and enabling authors to adhere to best practices in sharing and archiving research data. We advocate for authors of papers published in SciencePG journals to share the data supporting their research findings.

Our data policies are primarily guided by the principles of transparency, openness, and the broader vision of creating a FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) research environment. The policy necessitates the inclusion of Data Availability Statements, which not only enhance the reproducibility of scientific claims but also consolidate information about the availability of data related to the manuscript.

Data Availability Statements should detail where data underpinning reported results can be found, including links to publicly archived datasets analyzed or generated during the study. For example, such statements may include information about data availability in a publicly accessible repository, data available upon request due to restrictions, or even when data sharing is not applicable.

In circumstances where ethical, legal, or privacy issues exist, data should not be shared. Authors are expected to clarify any limitations in the Data Availability Statement during submission and ensure that any shared data complies with consent provided by participants regarding the use of confidential data.

We encourage authors to cite data in accordance with the following format: [dataset] Authors. Year. Dataset title; Data repository or archive; Version (if any); Persistent identifier (e.g., DOI).

SciencePG also endorses the FORCE11 Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles and recommends that data held within institutional, subject-focused, or more general data repositories should be cited. It is essential to keep in mind that our individual journals may have specific policies on sharing research data, aligned with disciplinary norms and expectations.

Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of Interest (COIs, also referred to as competing interests) arise when external influences could reasonably be perceived to affect the neutrality or objectivity of the research or its evaluation. This can occur at any stage in the research cycle, including during experimentation, manuscript preparation, or during the publication process.

Authors

Authors are obliged to disclose any interests that are directly or indirectly related to the work submitted for publication. Such interests that occurred within the last 3 years of beginning the work should be disclosed. Interests outside this period must be disclosed if they could reasonably be perceived as influencing the submitted work.

Conflicts of Interest include but are not limited to the following:

1

Financial: Funding, other payments, goods and services received or expected relating to the subject of the work or from an organization interested in the work's outcome.

2

Affiliations: Employment by, advisory roles for, or membership of an organization with an interest in the work's outcome.

3

Intellectual property: Ownership of patents or trademarks relevant to the work.

4

Personal: Personal relationships, family, friends, and other close personal connections.

5

Ideology: Beliefs or activism, e.g., political or religious, relevant to the work.

6

Academic: Competitors or someone whose work is critiqued.

Authors should declare all potential interests in a "Conflicts of Interest" section. If there are none, authors should state: "The author(s) declare(s) that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper."

Editors and Reviewers

Editors and reviewers should decline to be involved with a submission when they have a recent publication or current submission with any author, share an affiliation with any author, have a close personal connection to any author, have a financial interest in the subject of the work, or feel unable to be objective.

Reviewers must declare any remaining interests in the Confidential section of the review form, which will be considered by the editor. Editors and reviewers must declare if they have previously discussed the manuscript with the authors.

Sanctions and Corrections

If undeclared interests are discovered, they may incur sanctions. Submissions with undeclared conflicts that are later revealed may be rejected. Published articles may need to be re-assessed, have a corrigendum published, or in severe cases, be retracted.

Conflicts of interest do not necessarily prevent work from being published or someone from being involved in the review process. However, they must be declared to allow others to make informed decisions about the work and its review process.

Undeclared conflicts of interest found after publication can be embarrassing for authors, the editor, and the journal. It may be necessary to publish a corrigendum or reassess the review process.

Confidentiality

At SciencePG, we are committed to upholding the highest standards of confidentiality in the handling of manuscripts. This means all details pertaining to a submitted manuscript, including its review status and the details of its review, are kept confidential. We do not publicize or comment on submitted or rejected manuscripts.

All participants in the publication process - including authors, reviewers, and editors - are expected to treat all communication with SciencePG as confidential. This includes correspondence with representatives from the journal, such as editors-in-chief, handling editors, and the content of reviewers’ reports, unless explicit consent has been received to share this information.

However, there may be instances where we need to share materials with relevant parties. This would be the case if there are allegations of misconduct and an investigation is required. In such instances, we would do so in compliance with our responsibilities to uphold the integrity of academic publishing. All parties are expected to respect this confidentiality policy and understand the important role it plays in the peer review and publication process.

Peer Review Policy

At SciencePG, we are committed to upholding the integrity of the academic record by conducting a robust peer review process.

Upon submission, our editorial team carefully assesses each manuscript to ensure it aligns with our submission guidelines and falls within the scope of the journal. If found suitable, the manuscript is sent to a minimum of two independent reviewers who are experts in the field. These reviewers are asked to provide detailed, constructive feedback and recommend whether the manuscript should be accepted, revised, or rejected.

Reviewers' comments are taken into consideration by the handling editor who makes the final decision on the manuscript. The process is designed to ensure that each submission receives fair and unbiased evaluation.

We take the confidentiality of the review process seriously. Neither reviewers nor authors can disclose their identities or share any part of the review process publicly without mutual consent.

Our peer review policy aims to ensure the quality and reliability of published articles, maintain the trust of the scientific community, and contribute to the dissemination of high-quality scholarly work.

Intellectual Property

Copyright and Licensing

Articles published by SciencePG journals are under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) license, allowing users to copy, distribute and transmit an article and adapt the article and make commercial use of the article. The CC BY license permits commercial and non-commercial re-use of an open access article, as long as the author is properly attributed. This ensures that the work gets maximum exposure, and the authors receive due credit for their contribution.

Copyright on any research article published by a SciencePG journal is retained by the author(s). Authors grant SciencePG a license to publish the article and identify itself as the original publisher. Authors also grant any third party the right to use the article freely as long as its original authors, citation details and publisher are identified.

Permission for Reproduction

Before submitting a paper that includes previously published content, authors must obtain necessary permissions to reproduce any published material (figures, tables, text, etc.) not in the public domain or for which they do not hold the copyright.

Permission is necessary for:

Your work published by other publishers, and for which you did not retain copyright.
Substantial extracts from anyone's work or a series of works.
Use of tables, graphs, charts, schemes, and artworks if they are unaltered or slightly modified.
Photographs for which you do not hold copyright.

However, you do not need to seek permission for:

Reconstruction of your own table with data already published elsewhere. In this case, you must cite the source of the data.
Very short quotes considered as fair use.
Graphs, charts, schemes, and artwork that are completely redrawn by the authors and significantly changed beyond recognition. Still, you may need to check the copyright permissions of any underlying data.

Obtaining Permission

To avoid unnecessary delays in the publication process, authors should begin obtaining permissions as early as possible. If there's any uncertainty about copyright, it's better to apply for permission. SciencePG cannot publish material from other sources without requisite permission.

The copyright holder might instruct you on the acknowledgment format. If no specific instruction is given, use the following style: "Reproduced with permission from [author], [book/journal title]; published by [publisher], [year]." This acknowledgment should appear at the end of the respective figure, table, or scheme caption.

Translations

SciencePG journals may consider content that has been previously published in a different language for publication, as long as the original study is properly referenced in the Acknowledgments section. In such cases:

Authors should clearly indicate in the cover letter at submission that the paper is a translated version.
All authors from the original publication must be listed on the submitted manuscript.
Necessary permissions must be obtained from the publisher, copyright holders, and/or authors of the original article prior to manuscript submission.
Supporting documents relating to these permissions should be included in the Supplementary Materials section during submission.
The journal editor must be informed about the publishing history of the previously published content.
The original article must be referenced in the Acknowledgments section.

Unacceptable are any translated articles that do not follow these guidelines. Manuscripts that pass the initial review will undergo peer review in accordance with SciencePG's editorial process.

Corrections and Retractions

Corrections and Retractions

SciencePG understands the importance of maintaining the integrity of published research. If any suspicion of misconduct or alleged fraud arises, the journal will initiate an investigation following the COPE guidelines. Depending on the findings, the following actions might be taken:

1

If the manuscript is still under consideration, it may be rejected and returned to the author.

2

If the article has been published online, the response will depend on the nature and severity of the issue:

A correction or erratum may be placed with the article for minor errors that do not affect the scientific understanding of the work.
An editor's note or editorial expression of concern may be placed with the article if there are significant issues affecting the integrity of the work.
In severe cases, retraction of the article may occur. A retracted article will be marked as "retracted" and the reasons for retraction will be detailed in a note linked to the article.
3

The author's institution may be informed about the issue.

4

A note may be added to the author's and the article's bibliographic record indicating the suspected breach of ethical standards.

For authors who’ve changed their name and wish to correct it on their published works, please see our Author Name Change Policy.

Removal of Published Content

In exceptional circumstances, SciencePG reserves the right to remove an article from our online platforms. Such action will be taken if the content is defamatory, infringes on third-party rights, or poses a serious health risk. The removal can be temporary or permanent. The bibliographic metadata (e.g., title and authors) will remain and will be accompanied by a statement explaining why the content has been removed.

Metadata errors such as errors in the title, author's name, or abstract can be corrected. After the correction is approved, the article will be updated and republished on our website, and all relevant indexing databases will be notified.

In some cases, an article may need to be retracted due to serious errors, gross ethical breaches, data fabrication, significant plagiarism, or other reasons. Such actions are taken to protect the integrity of the scientific record. SciencePG adheres to the COPE guidelines for retractions.

Complaints and Appeals

At SciencePG, we value feedback and take all complaints seriously. Our complaint management procedure covers appeals against editorial decisions, complaints about delays or failures in our processes, and complaints about ethical conduct.

  • Appeals against rejection or complaints about scientific content

    The editor-in-chief or the responsible editor will consider the author's argument, the reviews, and then decide whether to uphold the initial decision, seek an independent opinion, or consider the appeal. The appellant will be informed of the decision with an appropriate explanation. Please note that decisions on appeals are final and new submissions will have priority over appeals.

  • Complaints about our processes

    The editor-in-chief, in collaboration with the responsible editor or in-house contact, will investigate the issue and provide appropriate feedback to the complainant. This feedback will be used to improve our processes and procedures.

  • Complaints about ethical conduct

    These complaints are handled according to the guidelines published by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). The editor-in-chief or the responsible editor may consult with the publisher or other experts for advice on difficult or complex cases, after which they will decide on the appropriate action and provide feedback to the complainant.

In situations where it is inappropriate to contact the authors directly, the editorial office can be approached. This may also be the case if the authors are unresponsive or if direct contact does not resolve the issue. The editorial office will coordinate with the complainant, author(s), and editor-in-chief or editorial board members for investigation, remedy, or resolution of any concerns or complaints.

Please be aware that investigations take time to conduct, and complainants might not receive updates about the status of an investigation until a final decision has been reached. Personal comments or criticisms will not be entertained. Complaints are treated confidentially to the extent appropriate and in line with our internal procedures. If a complaint is not substantiated, additional communication will only be considered if new evidence is presented.

When raising concerns, please include details about the paper, a summary of the main points, any previous correspondence with the authors, and a statement clarifying any actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest.

Editorial Independence at SciencePG

At SciencePG, we firmly uphold the principle of editorial independence. We ensure that the integrity of our editorial process is maintained and that commercial, personal, or political considerations do not influence the peer review and editorial decision-making processes. These decisions are exclusively the responsibility of our independent editorial board.

The criteria grounding our editorial decisions include:

The suitability of selected reviewers;
Adequacy of reviewer comments and author response;
Overall scientific quality of the paper;
The validity of the conclusions and the contribution to the knowledge base;
Compliance with the journal’s policies and procedures.

Our editors possess complete independence in determining which submissions should proceed to peer review. They have the discretion to reject submissions without external input if they deem the manuscripts of insufficient interest, quality, or outside the journal’s scope.

In the case of special issues, supplements, or other material funded by third-party organizations, it is ensured that the funding entity does not influence the selection or editing of submissions. All such funded items will be clearly identified to maintain transparency.

Any complaints about editorial decisions should be addressed to the journal editor or the editorial board.