We are working in compliance with the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing

  1. The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship, as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.
  2. A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository).
  3. Open access is a property of individual works, not necessarily journals or publishers.
  4. Community standards, rather than copyright law, will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now.


1. Purpose of collecting and using data

Collecting your data serves to provide you with user-friendly, efficient and secure internet services. We use the collected and processed personal data in order to provide those users who are interested with information. Furthermore, we generally process the data with the goal of improving our service and ensuring its security. No personal data is processed: we process the data anonymously or using pseudonyms. Whenever you complete transactions using our website, e.g. opening a user account and / or purchasing a publication, further data processing processes may take place, of which you will of course be separately informed.

2. The form and scope of collecting and processing personal data
a) Inventory data

If you wish to receive a newsletter we need to save and use your e-mail address. We will then send electronic messages at appropriate intervals to the e-mail address you gave us, which may also contain topic-specific advertisements along with editorial information on our products and services. However, you can unsubscribe at any time.

b) Usage data

As a general rule, you may access our websites without having to provide any personal data. Nevertheless, we will create a so-called utilization profile by using a pseudonym if you visit our websites as a registered or unregistered user. This implies that data will be collected and saved anonymously for marketing and optimization purposes. This data includes information on the website from which you were taken to our offer, information on your internet service provider and the offers you viewed on our website, as well as the date and length of your visit. On the basis of this already pseudonymous data a utilization profile will be created, along with a corresponding pseudonym. For this purpose, cookies may be used (see subparagraph 5 below). Authentication and tracking logs will be used to compile user statistics. This data will not contain any personally identifiable information.

3. Passing on data to third parties

We only pass on personal data to a third party to the extent necessary to fulfill our contractual relationship (if at all), if we are bound by law or if it should be necessary in order to implement our general terms and conditions of business or any other agreements concluded with you, or in order to enforce our rights and claims.

Provided your personal data is passed on for other purposes we will ask for your approval in each individual case. If you do not approve we will of course not pass on the data.

4. Disclosure, rectification, deletion, account freezing

Provided you send us a request in writing, we will inform you about which personal data we have saved at any time. You may at any time demand that we freeze or delete your user account data and accordingly your personal data. Only data we need in order to process open tasks or to enforce our rights are exempt from deletion, as well as data we are required to save by law.

5. Security

We employ technical and organizational security measures to guarantee that your data is protected from loss, incorrect modifications and unauthorized third-party access. To the greatest extent possible, we ensure that only authorized persons have access to your personal data and only insofar as it is necessary in the scope of the above-mentioned purposes.


Journal editors and readers have a right to expect that submitted work is the author's own, that it has not been plagiarized (i.e. taken from other authors without permission, if permission is required) and that copyright has not been breached (for example, if figures or tables are reproduced).

Protecting intellectual property

Journal owners and authors have a right to protect their intellectual property.

Different systems are available to protect intellectual property and journals must choose whichever best suits their purpose and ethos. Some journals require authors to relinquish their copyright, other journals license content from authors, whereas others adopt an open-access model under creative commons licenses. Publisher recommends adoption of a system that licenses content from authors, rather than more traditional systems that require copyright assignment/transfer by authors.

Peer reviewer conduct and intellectual property

Authors are entitled to expect that peer reviewers or other individuals privy to the work an author submits to a journal will not steal their research ideas or plagiarize their work.

  1. Journal guidelines to peer reviewers should be explicit about the roles and responsibilities of peer reviewers, in particular the need to treat submitted material in confidence until it has been published.
  2. Journals should ask peer reviewers to destroy submitted manuscripts after they have reviewed them.
  3. Editors should expect allegations of theft or plagiarism to be substantiated, and should treat allegations of theft or plagiarism seriously.
  4. Editors should protect peer reviewers from authors and, even if peer reviewer identities are revealed, should discourage authors from contacting peer reviewers directly, especially if misconduct is suspected.

Plagiarism is claiming that someone else's writing, experiments, and/or research are your own. This is done by copying another persons work including articles and/or experiments that are not common knowledge without a reference to that work.

Copying includes using the figures, charts, diagrams, equations, computer code, graphs, photographs, text, abstract, or subject headings of a previous work without proper reference. Copying also includes cutting and pasting substantial portions of text from another work without proper reference.

Why is plagiarism wrong?

Plagiarism is wrong because it is the theft of the work of another author. The work of another author is the intellectual property of that author. By failing to make a proper reference to that author's work, the plagiarist is stealing that property.

Why is self-plagiarism wrong?

Self-plagiarism is wrong because when you are copying some of your previous work in a new publication without proper referencing, you are asking for the same credit twice. Thus, self-plagiarism is dishonest and goes against academic integrity.

What happens to authors found to have plagiarized work?

STJ will not publish plagiarized work, and further work from that author will not be read and/or reviewed for two years.

When STJ believes that the author made a good faith error in interpreting the Guidelines, STJ may request that the author change the paper to conform to the Guidelines.

STJ reserves the right to change the Guidelines at any time and without notice. Authors are subject to the Guidelines in effect at the date of submission of their work to STJ. Please feel free to contact STJ if you have further questions.

Common Knowledge

Common knowledge is a fact that is widely known and available in many sources. An author does not need to cite common knowledge. The following are some guidelines to what knowledge is common which can also be found in encyclopaedias, dictionaries, or other common sources.

For example, the following is rarely common knowledge:

"The Gluglac Basin Council paid for the study examining the effects of transferring 950 m3/day of water to new urban developments."

A fact that is widely known and available in many sources in a specific field need not be cited. If first-year undergraduate students would know this fact, it is probably common knowledge in the specific field.

For Example:

The increase in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of energy added by heating the system minus the amount lost as a result of the work done by the system on its surroundings.


Who funded the work?

Readers have a right to know who funded a research project or the publication of a document.

Sources of funding for research or publication should always be disclosed. Authors should routinely include information about research funding in all papers they prepare for publication. Where a clinical trial registration number is available, this should be included.

Research funders, Type of publication, the role of the research funder details and other sources of support for publications should be clearly identified in the manuscript, usually in an acknowledgment.

The role of the research funder, as well as the role of all parties contributing to the research and publication, in designing the research, recruiting investigators/authors, collecting the data, analyzing the data, preparing the manuscript or controlling publication decisions should be stated in the publication, unless this is obvious from the list of authors/contributors.

  1. Everyone who is listed as an author should have made a substantial, direct, intellectual contribution to the work. For example (in the case of a research report) they should have contributed to the conception, design, analysis and/or interpretation of data. Honorary or guest authorship is not acceptable. Acquisition of funding and provision of technical services, patients, or materials, while they may be essential to the work, are not in themselves sufficient contributions to justify authorship.
  2. Everyone who has made substantial intellectual contributions to the work should be an author. Everyone who has made other substantial contributions should be acknowledged.
  3. When research is done by teams whose members are highly specialized, individuals' contributions and responsibility may be limited to specific aspects of the work.
  4. All authors should participate in writing the manuscript by reviewing drafts and approving the final version.
  5. One author should take primary responsibility for the work as a whole even if he or she does not have an in-depth understanding of every part of the work.
  6. This primary author should assure that all authors meet basic standards for authorship and should prepare a concise, written description of their contributions to the work, which has been approved by all authors. This record should remain with the sponsoring department.
Order of Authorship

Many different ways of determining order of authorship exist across disciplines, research groups, and countries. Examples of authorship policies include descending order of contribution, placing the person who took the lead in writing the manuscript or doing the research first and the most experienced contributor last, and alphabetical or random order. While the significance of a particular order may be understood in a given setting, order of authorship has no generally agreed upon meaning.

As a result, it is not possible to interpret from order of authorship the respective contributions of individual authors. Promotion committees, granting agencies, readers, and others who seek to understand how individual authors have contributed to the work should not read into order of authorship their own meaning, which may not be shared by the authors themselves.

  1. The authors should decide the order of authorship together.
  2. Authors should specify in their manuscript a description of the contributions of each author and how they have assigned the order in which they are listed so that readers can interpret their roles correctly.
  3. The primary author should prepare a concise, written description of how order of authorship was decided.
  1. Research teams should discuss authorship issues frankly early in the course of their work together.
  2. Disputes over authorship are best settled at the local level by the authors themselves or the laboratory chief. If local efforts fail, the Faculty of Medicine can assist in resolving grievances through its Ombuds Office.
  3. Laboratories, departments, educational programs, and other organizations sponsoring scholarly work should post, and also include in their procedure manuals, both this statement and a description of their own customary ways of deciding who should be an author and the order in which they are listed. They should include authorship policies in their orientation of new members.
  4. Authorship should be a component of the research ethics course that is required for all research fellows at Harvard Medical School.
  5. These policies should be reviewed periodically because both scientific investigation and authorship practices are changing.
Who did the work?

The list of authors should accurately reflect who did the work. All published work should be attributed to one or more authors.

  • Editors should ask for a declaration that the authors have acknowledged all significant contributions made to their publication by individuals who did not meet the journal's criteria for authorship. These might include, for example and depending on their contribution, author's editors, statisticians, medical writers, or translators.
  • If an authorship dispute or discrepancy comes to light before publication (for example, changes to the list of authors are proposed after submission), editors should take care to explain the journal's authorship policy to the corresponding author and to establish that all authors agree to the change before proceeding with publication.
  • If an authorship dispute emerges after publication (for example, somebody contacts the editor claiming they should have been an author of a published paper, or requesting that their name be withdrawn from a paper), the editor should contact the corresponding author and, where possible, the other authors to establish the veracity of the case.
  • If authorship policies have been clearly set out and an explicit authorship declaration(s) has been received (stating that all authors meet agreed criteria and that nobody deserving authorship has been omitted), then genuine errors are unlikely however, editors should consider publishing a correction in the case of such errors.
Has the work been published before?

Most journals wish to consider only work that has not been published elsewhere. One reason for this is that the scientific literature can be skewed by redundant publication, with important consequences, for example, if results are inadvertently included more than once into meta-analyses. Both journal editors and readers have a right to know whether research has been published previously.

  • Author needs to declare that the submitted work and its essential substance have not previously been published and are not being considered for publication elsewhere.
  • If a primary research report is published and later found to be redundant (i.e. has been published before), the editor should contact the authors and consider publishing a notice of redundant publication.
  • Editors have a right to demand original work and to question authors about whether opinion pieces (for example, editorials, letters, non-systematic reviews) have been published before; journals should establish a policy about how much overlap is considered acceptable between such publications.
  • Journals that publish clinical trials should consider making registration a requirement before publication of such trials. Even if a journal does not make clinical trial registration compulsory for publication, editors should encourage clear identification of clinical trials and should have a policy about where such information is presented within the structure of the published article.
  • Papers that present new analyses or syntheses of data that have already been published (for example, sub-group analyses) should identify the primary data source, including reference to the clinical trial registration number if one is available and full reference to the related primary publications.
Promoting research integrity
Research misconduct

If editors suspect research misconduct (for example, data fabrication, falsification or plagiarism), they should attempt to ensure that this is properly investigated by the appropriate authorities.

  • Peer review sometimes reveals suspicion of misconduct. Editors should inform peer reviewers about this potential role.
  • If peer reviewers raise concerns of serious misconduct (for example, data fabrication, falsification, inappropriate image manipulation, or plagiarism), these should be taken seriously. However, authors have a right to respond to such allegations and for investigations to be carried out with appropriate speed and due diligence.
  • Journals are not usually in a position to investigate misconduct allegations themselves, but editors have a responsibility to alert appropriate bodies (for example, employers, funders, regulatory authorities) and encourage them to investigate.
Peer reviewer selection and performance

Editors have a responsibility to ensure a high standard of objective, unbiased, and timely peer review.

  • Editors should strive to establish and maintain a database of suitably qualified peer reviewers.
  • Editors should consider objectively monitoring the performance of peer reviewers/editorial board members and recording the quality and timeliness of their reviews. Editors should ignore rude, defamatory peer review. Peer reviewers who repeatedly produce poor quality, tardy, abusive or unconstructive reviews should not be used again.
  • Editors should encourage peer reviewers to identify if they have a conflict of interest with the material they are being asked to review, and editors should ask that peer reviewers decline invitations requesting peer review where any circumstances might prevent them producing fair peer review. See 'Conflicts of interest', p. 8.
  • If authors request that an individual (or individuals) does not peer review their paper, editors should use this information to inform their choice of peer reviewer.
  • Editors may choose to use peer reviewers suggested by authors, but should not consider suggestions made by authors as binding.
  • Editors should request that peer reviewers who delegate peer review to members of their staff inform the editor when this occurs.

Authors have a right to appeal editorial decisions.

  • Journals should establish a mechanism for authors to appeal peer review decisions. Explaining such a system clearly in the journal's instructions may benefit both authors and editors (for example, by discouraging repeated or unfounded appeals).
  • Editors should mediate all exchanges between authors and peer reviewers during the peer-review process (i.e. prior to publication). If agreement cannot be reached, editors should consider inviting comments from additional peer reviewer(s), if the editor feels that this would be helpful. Journals should consider stating in their guidelines that the editor's decision following such an appeal is final.
  • Journals should consider having a mechanism for authors (and others) to comment on aspects of the journal's management.
Conflicts of interest

Editors, authors, and peer reviewers have a responsibility to disclose interests that might appear to affect their ability to present or review data objectively. These include relevant financial (for example, patent ownership, stock ownership, consultancies, speaker's fees), personal, political, intellectual, or religious interests.

  • Editors and board members should, whenever these are relevant to the content being considered or published, declare their interests and affiliations.
  • Editors should seek disclosure statements from all authors and peer reviewers and should clearly explain the types of conflicts of interest that should be disclosed. Authors conflicts of interest (or information describing the absence of conflicts of interest) should be published whenever these are directly or indirectly relevant to the content being published and whenever they are significant. For example, owning USD10 stock in a company that manufactures a product discussed in an article would not be significant, whereas consultancy fees of USD10,000 annually or the equivalent of 5% of an author's gross income from the previous year could be considered significant. Editors may consider not publishing details of authors' interests when these interests have no relevance to the content being published. If there is doubt about whether conflicts are relevant or significant, it is prudent to disclose.
  • The existence of a conflict of interest (for example, employment with a research funder) should not prevent someone from being listed as an author if they qualify for authorship. Editors may prefer not to commission subjective articles (for example, editorials or non-systematic reviews) from authors with conflicts of interest. However, arguments can be made that such authors are often well informed and have interesting opinions. Strict policies preventing people with conflicts of interest from publishing opinion pieces may encourage authors to conceal relevant interests, and may therefore be counter-productive.
  • Readers will benefit from transparency, including knowing authors' and contributors' affiliations and interests. Editors should strive to maintain transparent policies and procedures regarding authorship and disclosure of conflicts of interest.
Editorial independence

Editorial independence should be respected. Journal owners (both learned societies and publishers) should not interfere with editorial decisions. The relationship between the editor and the journal owner and publisher should be set out in a formal contract and an appeal mechanism for disputes should be established.

  • Decisions by editors about whether to publish individual items submitted to a journal should not be influenced by pressure from the editor's employer, the journal owner or the publisher. Ideally, the principles of editorial independence should be set out in the editor's contract. Editors' contracts at Blackwell Publishing describe the principles of editorial independence.
  • It is appropriate for journal owners/publishers to discuss general editorial processes and policies with journal editors (for example, whether or not a journal should publish a particular type of article), but they should not get involved in decisions made by the editor about individual articles.

Editors, journal owners, and publishers should establish processes that minimize the risk of editorial decisions being influenced by commercial, academic, personal or political factors.

  • It is often impossible to completely insulate editorial decisions from issues that may influence them, such as commercial considerations. For example, editors will know which articles are likely to attract offprint or reprint sales, but they should judge all submissions on their scientific merit and minimize the influence of other factors. If journals publish advertisements, the sale of advertising must be handled separately from editorial processes.
  • Journals that publish special issues, supplements or sections (or similar material) funded by third-party organizations should establish policies for how these are handled. The funding organization (the supporter or sometimes sponsor) should not be allowed to influence the selection or editing of submissions, and all funded items should be clearly identified.
  • All funded material should meet the aims and purposes of the journal carrying the material.

Journal editors have a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the material they publish.

  • Journal editors have a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the material they publish.
  • Editors should publish corrections if errors are discovered that could affect the interpretation of data or information presented in an article.
  • Corrections arising from errors within an article (by authors or journals) should be distinguishable from retractions and statements of concern relating to misconduct.
  • Corrections should be included in indexing systems and linked to the original article wherever possible.
Academic debate

Journals should encourage academic debate.

  • Journals should encourage correspondence commenting on published items and should always invite authors to respond to any correspondence before publication. However, authors do not have a right to veto unfavorable comments about their work and they may choose not to respond to criticisms.
  • Neither peer-reviewer comments nor published correspondence should contain personal attacks on the authors. Editors should encourage peer reviewers to criticize the work not the researcher and should edit (or reject) letters containing personal or offensive statements.
Responsible publication practices

Editors should pursue cases of suspected misconduct that become apparent during the peer-review and publication processes. Editors should first work with the authors, the journal owners and/or the journal publishers, referring to information from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Council of Science Editors (CSE), or another appropriate body if further advice is needed.

  • In instances of confirmed misconduct, editors may consider imposing sanctions on the authors at fault for a period of time. Sanctions must be applied consistently. Before imposing sanctions, editors should formally define the conditions in which they will apply (and remove) sanctions, and the processes they will use to do this. Editors of Blackwell journals are encouraged to consult Blackwell Publishing if considering sanctions to ensure that the appropriate processes are applied.
  • A body such as the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) can provide editors with impartial advice from other editors about difficult cases, provide information about the prevalence of various types of misconduct and other ethical issues, and allow editors to learn from other journals' experiences by reference to previous cases.