Editorial Policies

 

Biomedical Research and Therapy's Editorial Policies follow the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), and theCommittee on Publication Ethics (COPE) for guidance on policies and procedures related to publication ethics. 

 

  • Overview
  • Ethics and consent
  • Research involving animals
  • Research involving plants
  • Consent for publication
  • Trial registration
  • Availability of data and materials
  • Standards of reporting
  • Describing new taxa
  • Competing interests
  • Authorship
  • Citations
  • Duplicate publication
  • Text recycling
  • Confidentiality
  • Corrections and retractions

 

OVERVIEW

BMRAT is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and endorses the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) Policy Statement on Geopolitical Intrusion on Editorial Decisions. BMRAT also endorses the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.

Submission of a manuscript to a BMRAT journal implies that all authors have read and agreed to its content and that the manuscript conforms to the journal’s policies.

 

ETHIC AND CONSENT

Ethics approval

Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing this, including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate, must appear in all manuscripts reporting such research. If a study has been granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption). Further information and documentation to support this should be made available to the Editor on request. Manuscripts may be rejected if the Editor considers that the research has not been carried out within an appropriate ethical framework. In rare cases, the Editor may contact the ethics committee for further information.

Retrospective ethics approval 

If a study has not been granted ethics committee approval prior to commencing, retrospective ethics approval usually cannot be obtained and it may not be possible to consider the manuscript for peer review. The decision on whether to proceed to peer review in such cases is at the Editor's discretion.

New clinical tools and procedures

Authors reporting the use of a new procedure or tool in a clinical setting, for example as a technical advance or case report, must give a clear justification in the manuscript for why the new procedure or tool was deemed more appropriate than usual clinical practice to meet the patient’s clinical need. Such justification is not required if the new procedure is already approved for clinical use at the authors’ institution. Authors will be expected to have obtained ethics committee approval and informed patient consent for any experimental use of a novel procedure or tool where a clear clinical advantage based on clinical need was not apparent before treatment.

Consent to participate

For all research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study should be obtained from participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 16) and a statement to this effect should appear in the manuscript.

 

RESEARCH INVOLVING ANIMALS

Experimental research on vertebrates or any regulated invertebrates must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. The Basel Declaration outlines fundamental principles to adhere to when conducting research in animals and the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) has also published ethical guidelines.

A statement detailing compliance with relevant guidelines (e.g. the revised Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in the UK and Directive 2010/63/EU in Europe) and/or ethical approval (including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate) must be included in the manuscript. If a study has been granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption and the reasons for the exemption). The Editor will take account of animal welfare issues and reserves the right to reject a manuscript, especially if the research involves protocols that are inconsistent with commonly accepted norms of animal research. In rare cases, the Editor may contact the ethics committee for further information.

For experimental studies involving client-owned animals, authors must also document informed consent from the client or owner and adherence to a high standard (best practice) of veterinary care.

Field studies and other non-experimental research on animals must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing compliance with relevant guidelines and/or appropriate permissions or licences must be included in the manuscript. We recommend that authors comply with the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the IUCN Policy Statement on Research Involving Species at Risk of Extinction.

 

RESEARCH INVOLVING PLANTS

Experimental research on plants (either cultivated or wild), including collection of plant material, must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines. Field studies should be conducted in accordance with local legislation, and the manuscript should include a statement specifying the appropriate permissions and/or licences. We recommend that authors comply with the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Voucher specimens must be deposited in a public herbarium or other public collection providing access to deposited material. Information on the voucher specimen and who identified it must be included in the manuscript.

 

CONSENT FOR PUBLICATION

For all manuscripts that include details, images, or videos relating to individual participants, written informed consent for the publication of these must be obtained from the participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 16) and a statement to this effect should appear in the manuscript. If the participant has died, then consent for publication must be sought from the next of kin of the participant.

This documentation must be made available to the Editor if requested, and will be treated confidentially. In cases where images are entirely unidentifiable and there are no details on individuals reported within the manuscript, consent for publication of images may not be required. The final decision on whether consent to publish is required lies with the Editor.

 

TRIAL REGISTRATION

BMRAT supports initiatives to improve reporting of clinical trials. This includes prospective registering of clinical trials in suitable publicly available databases. In line with ICMJE guidelines, BMRAT requires registration of all clinical trials that are reported in manuscripts submitted to its journals.

The ICMJE uses the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of a clinical trial, which 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". This definition includes phase I to IV trials. The ICMJE defines health-related interventions as"any intervention used to modify a biomedical or health-related outcome" and health-related outcomes as "any biomedical or health-related measures obtained in patients or participants". Authors who are unsure whether their trial needs registering should consult the ICMJE FAQs for further information.

Suitable publicly available registries are those listed on the ICMJE website as well as any of the primary registries that participate in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, including the ISRCTN registry, which is administered and published by BioMed Central.

The trial registration number (TRN) and date of registration should be included as the last line of the manuscript abstract.

For clinical trials that have not been registered prospectively, BMRAT encourages retrospective registration to ensure the complete publication of all results.

 

AVAILABILITY OF DATA AND MATERIALS

BMRAT strongly encourages that all datasets on which the conclusions of the paper rely should be available to readers. We encourage authors to ensure that their datasets are either deposited in publicly available repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main manuscript or additional supporting files, in machine-readable format (such as spreadsheets rather than PDFs) whenever possible. Please see the list of recommended repositories below. For several journals, deposition of the data on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely is required. Please check individual journal’s Instructions for Authors for more information.

BMRAT strongly encourages that all datasets on which the conclusions of the paper rely should be available to readers. We encourage authors to ensure that their datasets are either deposited in publicly available repositories (where available and appropriate) or presented in the main manuscript or additional supporting files, in machine-readable format (such as spreadsheets rather than PDFs) whenever possible. Please see the list of recommended repositories below. For several journals, deposition of the data on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely is required. Please check individual journal’s Instructions for Authors for more information.

AVAILABILITY OF DATA AND MATERIALS SECTION

All authors must include an “Availability of Data and Materials” section in their manuscript detailing where the data supporting their findings can be found. Authors who do not wish to share their data must state that data will not be shared, and give the reason. The following format for the Availability of Data and Materials section should be used:

"The dataset(s) supporting the conclusions of this article is (are) available in the [repository name] repository [unique persistent identifier and hyperlink to dataset(s) in http:// format]."

The following format is required when data are included as additional files:

"The dataset(s) supporting the conclusions of this article is (are) included within the article (and its additional file(s))."

BMRAT endorses the Force 11 Data Citation Principles and requires that all publicly available datasets be fully referenced in the reference list with an accession number or unique identifier such as a digital object identifier (DOI).

LIST OF RECOMMENDED REPOSITORIES

A list of recommended repositories by subject area and data type is below. If you have questions as to the suitability of a given repository, please contact the journal Editor. If you are a repository and would like to be added to the list below, or an author who would like a repository added, please contact us at contact@bmrat.org.

Nucleic acids sequences and variation

Sequence information should be deposited following the MIxS guidelines.

Data scope and type Database
Annotated collection of all publicly available nucleotide sequences and their translated amino acid sequences DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ)
 Nucleic acid sequence, gene, genome European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL/EBI) Nucleotide Sequence Database
Nucleic acid sequence, gene, genome GenBank (National Center for Biotechnology Information)
SNPs, variation dbSNP
Variation European Variation Archive (EVA)
Variation dbVar
Variation, structural variants Database of Genomic Variants Archive (DGVa)
Metagenome, sequence alignment, sequence information EBI Metagenomics
Sequencing NCBI Sequence Read Archive (SRA)

Protein sequences

Data scope and type Database
Protein information  Universal Protein Resource (UniProt)

MASS SPECTROMETRY

Mass spectrometry data should be supplied in the mzML format recommended by the HUPO Protein Standards Initiative Mass Spectrometry Standards Working Group guidelines.

Proteomics

Data scope and type Database
Proteome ProteomeXchange through the PRIDE website
Protein interaction MEx consortium

Structures

Data scope and type Database
Protein structures Worldwide Protein Data Bank
Nucleic acid structures Nucleic Acid Database
Crystal structure data Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre
Crystal structure data, atomic coordinates Crystallography Open Database (COD)
Microscopy, electron density map, structure Electron Microscopy Data Bank (EMDB)
Imaging (all types) Coherent X-ray Imaging Data Bank (CXIDB)

Neuroscience

Data scope and type Database
Raw fMRI data OpenfMRI
Resting-state fMRI, DTI, phenotypic information Functional Connectomes Project International Neuroimaging Data-Sharing Initiative
Human brain statistical maps NeuroVault
Digitally reconstructed neurons

NeuroMorpho

Chemical structures and assays

Data scope and type Database
Chemical structures PubChem Substance
Bioactivity screens PubChem BioAssay
Nanomaterials and their composition, nanomaterial characterizations from physico-chemical characterizations, nanomaterial chracterizations from in vitro characterizations caNanoLab
Metabolite concentrations (time-series and steady-state), flux data, and enzyme measurements and tools to build ODE-based kinetic models Kinetic Models of Biological Systems (KiMoSys)

Functional genomics data (such as microarray, RNA-seq or ChIP-seq data)

Where appropriate, authors should adhere to the standards proposed by the Functional Genomics Data Society and must deposit microarray data in MIAME-compliant format in one of the public repositories below, such as ArrayExpress or Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO).

Data scope and type Database
Microarray ArrayExpress
Microarray Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO)
Expression, epigenetics, phenotype, genotype, genomic variants (GWAS studies) Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP)
Protein-protein interaction, protein-DNA interaction, molecular interactions, protein-RNA interaction The IntAct molecular interaction database (IntAct)
miRNA sequences and annotation miRBase

Biological materials

We encourage the deposition of biological materials, such as plasmids, mutant strains,and cell lines, in established public repositories where one exists. Authors are also asked to check the list of known misidentified cell lines maintained by the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC).

Data scope and type Database
Cell lines, tissue biopsies, environmental isolates BioSample database
Plasmids, DNA Addgene or PlasmID

 Phylogenetic data

Data scope and type Database
Phylogenetic data (alignments, phylogenetic trees, or other relevant primary data) TreeBase
Phylogenetic data (alignments, phylogenetic trees, or other relevant primary data); general data repository Dryad

 Environmental and ecological data

Data scope and type Database
Georeferenced data from earth systems research PANGEA
All environmental data, those funded by NERC NERC Data Centres
Biodiversity metadata, occurrences (observations, specimens, etc), checklists (names) Global Biodiversity Information Facility
Ecological data, phylogenetic data; general data repository Dryad

Other data

Much scientific data do not currently have a dedicated subject repository. In such cases, we recommend the following general repositories and workspaces through which authors can archive their data and make them publicly available.

Data scope and type Database
Ecological data, phylogenetic data; general data repository Dryad
General, free (especially recommended for code archiving) Zenodo
General (max file size 250MB, unlimited storage) FigShare
Big Data General, free (restrictions: must publish a Data Note withGigaScience) GigaDB
General data repository and workflow management/versioning, connects to other services; free Open Science Framework
General Lab Workspace (subscription) LabArchives

PUBLICATION OF CLINICAL DATASETS

For datasets containing clinical data, authors have an ethical and legal responsibility to respect participants’ rights to privacy and to protect their identity. Ideally, authors should gain informed consent for publication of the dataset from participants at the point of recruitment to the trial. If this is not possible, authors must demonstrate that publication of such data does not compromise anonymity or confidentiality or breach local data protection laws, for the dataset to be considered for publication. Authors must consider whether the dataset contains any direct or indirect identifiers and consult their local ethics committee or other appropriate body before submission if there is any possibility that participants will not be fully anonymous. Authors must state in their manuscript on submission whether informed consent was obtained for publication of patient data. If informed consent was not obtained, authors must state the reason for this, and which body was consulted in the preparation of the dataset.

SOFTWARE AND CODE

Any previously unreported software application or custom code described in the manuscript should be available for testing by reviewers in a way that preserves their anonymity. The manuscript should include a description in the Availability of Data and Materials section of how the reviewers can access the unreported software application or custom code. This section should include a link to the most recent version of your software or code (e.g.GitHub or Sourceforge) as well as a link to the archived version referenced in the manuscript. The software or code should be archived in an appropriate repository with a DOI or other unique identifier. For software in GitHub, we recommend using Zenodo. If published, the software application/tool should be readily available to any scientist wishing to use it for non-commercial purposes, without restrictions (such as the need for a material transfer agreement). If the implementation is not made freely available, then the manuscript should focus clearly on the development of the underlying method and not discuss the tool in any detail.

 

STANDARDS OF REPORTING

BMRAT advocates complete and transparent reporting of biomedical and biological research. Please refer to the Minimum standards of reporting checklist when reporting your research (published in BMC Biology). Exact requirements may vary depending on the journal; please refer to the journal’s instructions for authors. We also strongly recommend that authors refer to the minimum reporting guidelines for health research hosted by the EQUATOR Network when preparing their manuscript, and the BioSharing Portal for reporting checklists for biological and biomedical research, where applicable. Authors should adhere to these guidelines when drafting their manuscript, and peer reviewers will be asked to refer to these checklists when evaluating such studies.

Checklists are available for a number of study designs, including:

  • Randomized controlled trials (CONSORT) and protocols (SPIRIT)
  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses* (PRISMA) and protocols (PRISMA-P)
  • Observational studies (STROBE)
  • Case reports (CARE)
  • Qualitative research (COREQ)
  • Diagnostic/prognostic studies (STARD and TRIPOD)
  • Economic evaluations (CHEERS)
  • Pre-clinical animal studies (ARRIVE)

*Authors of systematic reviews should also provide a link to an additional file from the ‘methods’ section, which reproduces all details of the search strategy. For an example of how a search strategy should be presented, see the Cochrane Reviewers' Handbook.

STATISTICAL METHODS

Authors should include full information on the statistical methods and measures used in their research, including justification of the appropriateness of the statistical test used (see the SAMPL guidelines for more information). Reviewers will be asked to check the statistical methods, and the manuscript may be sent for specialist statistical review if considered necessary.

RESOURCE IDENTIFICATION

To enable effective tracking of the key resources used to produce the scientific findings reported in the biomedical literature, authors are expected to include a full description of all resources with enough information to allow them to be uniquely identified. In support of theResource Identification Initiative (RII), we encourage authors to use unique Resource Identifiers (RRIDs) within their manuscript to identify their model organisms, antibodies, or tools.

If human cell lines are used, authors are strongly encouraged to include the following information in their manuscript:

  • The source of the cell line, including when and from where it was obtained
  • Whether the cell line has recently been authenticated  and by what method
  • Whether the cell line has recently been tested for mycoplasma contamination

Further information is available from the International Cell Line Authentication Committee(ICLAC). We recommend that authors check the NCBI database for misidentification and contamination of human cell lines.

GENE NOMENCLATURE

Standardized gene nomenclature should be used throughout. Human gene symbols and names can be found in the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) database; requests for new gene symbols should be submitted here and any enquiries about gene nomenclature can be directed here. Alternative gene aliases that are commonly used may also be reported, but should not be used alone in place of the HGNC symbol. Nomenclature committees for other species are listed here.

REPORTING OF SEQUENCE VARIANTS

We endorse the recommendations of the Human Variome Project Consortium for describing sequence variants (Human Genome Variation Society) and phenotypes (Human Phenotype Ontology).

We recommend that authors should submit all variants described in a manuscript to the relevant public gene/disease specific database (LSDB): a list is available here. The database URL and the unique identifier should be reported in the manuscript.

DATA

To drive the maximum re-use and utility of published research, we expect authors to comply with available field-specific standards for the preparation and recording of data. Please see the BioSharing website for information on field-specific data standards. Authors must comply with best practice in their field for sharing of data, with particular attention to maintaining patient confidentiality.

Authors using unpublished genomic data are expected to abide by the guidelines of the Fort Lauderdale and Toronto agreements. Based on broadly accepted scientific community standards, the key requirement of third parties using genomic data is to contact the owners of unpublished data (i.e. the principal investigator and sequencing center) prior to undertaking their research, to advise them about their planned analyses.

 

DESCRIBING NEW TAXA

ALGAL, FUNGAL, AND BOTANICAL NAMES

Since January 2012, electronic publication of algal, fungal, and botanical names has been a valid form of publication. 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. Further helpful information by Sandra Knapp et al. is available here.

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

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. We require 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 article. Authors will be able to update ZooBank with the final citation following publication. Further helpful information by Frank-T. Krell is available here.

BACTERIAL NAMES

In accordance with the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (ICNP) effective publication of new prokaryotic names in electronic journals is possible. In order to comply with rules of the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes (ICSP) for validpublication authors must 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.

VIRUS NAMES

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

 

COMPETING INTERESTS

BMRAT requires authors to declare all competing interests in relation to their work. All submitted manuscripts must include a ‘competing interests’ section at the end of the manuscript listing all competing interests (financial and non-financial). Where authors have no competing interests, the statement should read “The author(s) declare(s) that they have no competing interests”. The Editor may ask for further information relating to competing interests.

Editors and reviewers are also required to declare any competing interests and may be excluded from the peer review process if a competing interest exists.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A COMPETING INTEREST?

Competing interests may be financial or non-financial. A competing interest exists when the authors’ interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by their personal or financial relationship with other people or organizations. Authors should disclose any financial competing interests but also any non-financial competing interests that may cause them embarrassment if they were to become public after the publication of the manuscript.

Please see 'Commercial organizations' (below) for more information relating to competing interests on manuscripts from commercial organizations.

FINANCIAL COMPETING INTERESTS

Financial competing interests include (but are not limited to):

  • Receiving reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the manuscript, either now or in the future.
  • Holding stocks or shares in an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the manuscript, either now or in the future.
  • Holding, or currently applying for, patents relating to the content of the manuscript.
  • Receiving reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that holds or has applied for patents relating to the content of the manuscript.

NON-FINANCIAL COMPETING INTERESTS

Non-financial competing interests include (but are not limited to) political, personal, religious, ideological, academic, and intellectual competing interests. If, after reading these guidelines, you are unsure whether you have a competing interest, please contact contact@bmrat.org.

COMMERCIAL ORGANIZATIONS

Authors from pharmaceutical companies, or other commercial organizations that sponsor clinical trials, should declare these as competing interests on submission. They should also adhere to the Good Publication Practice guidelines for pharmaceutical companies (GPP2), which are designed to ensure that publications are produced in a responsible and ethical manner. The guidelines also apply to any companies or individuals that work on industry-sponsored publications, such as freelance writers, contract research organizations and communications companies. BMRAT will not publish advertorial content.

 

AUTHORSHIP 

To give appropriate credit to each author, the individual contributions of authors should be specified in the manuscript.

An 'author' is generally considered to be someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study. We recommend that that you adhere to the guidelines for authorship that are applicable in your research field or, in the absence of any guidelines, to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines. According to the ICMJE guidelines, to qualify as an author one should have:

  1. made substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;
  2. been involved in drafting the manuscript or revising it critically for important intellectual content;
  3. given final approval of the version to be published. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content; and
  4. agreed 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.

Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, alone, does not usually justify authorship.

Please see individual journal's Instructions for Authors for information on the format for listing author contributions.

Authors wishing to make changes to authorship will be asked to complete our change of authorship form. Please note that changes to authorship cannot be made after acceptance of a manuscript.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an ‘Acknowledgements’ section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help or writing assistance, or a department chair who provided only general support.

SCIENTIFIC (MEDICAL) WRITERS

The involvement of scientific (medical) writers or anyone else who assisted with the preparation of the manuscript content should be acknowledged, along with their source of funding, as described in the European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) guidelines. The role of medical writers should be acknowledged explicitly in the ‘Acknowledgements’ or ‘Authors’ contributions’ section as appropriate.

 

CITATIONS

Research articles and non-research articles (e.g. Opinion, Review, and Commentary 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 when preparing their manuscript:

  • Any statement in the manuscript that relies on external sources of information (i.e. not the authors' own new ideas or findings or general knowledge) should use a citation.
  • Authors should avoid citing derivations of original work. For example, they should cite the original work 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 their own or their friends’, peers’, or institution’s publications.
  • Authors should avoid citing work solely 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 where possible.
  • Authors should not cite advertisements or advertorial material. 

 

DUPLICATION PUBLICATION

Any manuscript submitted to a BMRAT journal must be original and the manuscript, or substantial parts of it, must not be under consideration by any other journal. In any case where there is the potential for overlap or duplication we require that authors are transparent. Authors should declare any potentially overlapping publications on submission. Any overlapping publications should be cited. Any ‘in press’ or unpublished manuscript cited, or relevant to the Editor’s and reviewers' assessment of the manuscript, should be made available if requested by the Editor. BMRAT reserves the right to judge potentially overlapping or redundant publications on a case-by-case basis.

In general, the manuscript should not already have been formally published in any journal or in any other citable form. If justified and made clear upon submission, there are exceptions to this rule. Details of these exceptions follow below and are also summarized in table 1.

BMRAT is a member of CrossCheck’s plagiarism detection initiative and takes seriously all cases of publication misconduct. 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 (see [Misconduct] policy for more information). 

COMPLETE MANUSCRIPTS

Co-publication in multiple journals

If transparent, and with prior agreement of the relevant journals and under the conditions specified in the ICMJE guidelines, co-publication in multiple journals will be considered at the Editor's discretion.

Health technology assessment

The reports of the NHS Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme are freely accessible in full online. At the Editor's discretion, BMRAT will consider full or shortened versions of these articles for peer review.

Pre-print servers and author/institutional repositories

Posting a manuscript on a pre-print server such as ArXiv, bioRxiv, Peer J PrePrints, or similar platforms (both commercial and non-commercial) is not considered to be duplicate publication. BMRAT will also consider peer reviewing manuscripts that have been posted on an author's personal or institutional website. Material that has formed part of an academic thesis and been placed in the public domain, as required by the awarding institution, will also be considered by BMRAT.

BMRAT encourages [self-archiving] by authors of manuscripts accepted for publication in its journals.

Translations into English

Authors should comply with the ICMJE guidelines and seek approval from the original publisher to check that they do not breach the copyright terms of the original publication and that the original publisher gives permission for publication of the translation under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.

INCOMPLETE MANUSCRIPTS

Abridged articles

At the Editor's discretion, some BMRAT journals will consider manuscripts that are substantially extended versions of articles that have previously been published in another peer-reviewed journal. The journal Trials, in particular, actively encourages this. In such cases the prior publication of an abridged version of the article would therefore not preclude publication, provided the new manuscript represents a substantially novel contribution to the scientific record. If applicable, the authors should seek approval from the original publisher before submitting the extended version of the manuscript.

Abstracts/posters

Prior abstracts of up to 400 words and posters presented at, or published as part of, academic meetings do not preclude consideration for peer review of a full manuscript, as the full manuscript represents a formal advance to the citable scientific record. Published abstracts should be cited. Authors should be aware that many conference proceedings exceed the allowable word limit and constitute a citable form.

Datasets

Making scientific data sets publicly available before associated manuscripts are submitted will not preclude consideration by a BMRAT journal. Because an increasing number of research funding agencies require that their grant holders share the 'raw data' research outputs, such data sharing is encouraged by BMRAT, provided appropriate safeguards are in place to protect personal or sensitive information.

Non-research articles

Authors of non-research articles (usually commissioned reviews and commentaries) can include figures and tables that have been previously published in other journals provided they confirm on submission that permission has been obtained from the original publisher (if applicable) and cite the original article. Documentary evidence to support this permission must be made available to the Editor on request.

In order to avoid the potential for self-plagiarism, inadvertently or otherwise, authors agreeing to write commissioned articles should notify the Editor of any recent publications or invitations to write on a similar topic.

Open science

If authors have previously discussed or posted their own data in venues such as blogs, wikis, social networking websites, or online electronic lab notebooks, they are still able to submit their findings to BMRAT. However, given the rapidly evolving nature of these resources, where discussion of data or manuscripts posted to these venues has subsequently been incorporated into the manuscript, the Editor will make their own assessment as to whether there may be duplication in the submitted manuscript.

Study protocols

Publication of study protocols reduces the risk of non-publication of research findings and facilitates methodological discussion, and is encouraged by a number of BMRAT journals. Therefore prior publication of a study protocol before submission of a manuscript reporting the results is not considered duplicate publication.

Summary clinical trial results in public registries

Posting of summary clinical trial results in publicly accessible databases is generally not considered duplicate publication. BMRAT requires authors of manuscripts reporting clinical trials to have registered their trial in a suitably accessible registry (see our [Trial Registration] policy for more information). In the US, submission of trial results toClinicalTrials.gov is a statutory requirement.

 

Table 1. Generally permissible and non-permissible forms of duplicate/overlapping publication

Previous publication Guidance on permissibility
 Abridged articles At the Editor's discretion, provided there is agreement from the original journal/publisher and the original publication is cited
Abstracts up to 400 words or posters presented at scientific meetings Yes - published abstracts should be cited
Co-publication in multiple journals At the Editor's discretion and with conditions, as outlined in the ICMJE guidelines
Cochrane systematic reviews No, unless original or substantially updated
Datasets in public or restricted access repositories Yes - datasets should be cited in/hyperlinked from the manuscript if possible
Figures and tables in non-research articles Yes, if, where applicable, permission has been obtained from the original publisher by the submitting author
Health Technology Assessment reports At the Editor's discretion - contact the Editor for more information
Open science: data posted and discussed on wikis, blogs, online electronic lab notebooks, networking websites incorporated into submitted manuscript Yes, usually permissible
Pre-print servers, including authors' personal and institutional websites Yes
Study protocol published Yes - published protocols should be cited
Summary results in clinical trial registries Yes - accession number should be included in the abstract
Translations into English At the Editor's discretion, provided there is agreement from the original journal/publisher, no breach of copyright and the original publication is cited.

 

TEXT RECYCLING

Authors should be aware that replication of text from their own previous publications is text recycling (also referred to as self-plagiarism), and in some cases is considered unacceptable. Where overlap of text with authors’ own previous publications is necessary or unavoidable, duplication must always be reported transparently and be properly attributed and compliant with copyright requirements.

If a mansucript contains text that has been published elsewhere, authors should notify the Editor of this on submission.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY

Editors will treat all manuscripts submitted to all BMRAT journals in confidence. BMRAT adheres to COPE’s Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. Reviewers are therefore required to respect the confidentiality of the peer review process and not reveal any details of a manuscript or its review, during or after the peer-review process, beyond the information released by the journal. If reviewers wish to involve a colleague in the review process they should first obtain permission from the journal. The Editor should be informed of the names of any individuals who assisted in the review process when the report is returned.

BMRAT will not share manuscripts with third parties outside of BMRAT except in cases of suspected misconduct.

 

 

CORRECTIONS AND RETRACTIONS

Rarely, it may be necessary for BMRAT to publish corrections to, or retractions of, articles published in its journals, so as to maintain the integrity of the academic record.

In line with BMRAT policy, corrections to, or retractions of, published articles will be made by publishing an Erratum 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. In the exceptional event that material is considered to infringe certain rights or is defamatory, we may have to remove that material from our site and archive sites.

CORRECTIONS

Changes to published articles that affect the interpretation and conclusion of the article, but do not fully invalidate the article, will, at the Editor(s)’ discretion, be corrected via publication of an Erratum that is indexed and linked to the original article.

RETRACTIONS

On rare occasions, when the scientific information in an article is substantially undermined, it may be necessary for published articles to be retracted. BMRAT will follow the COPE guidelines in such cases. Retraction articles are indexed and linked to the original article.