Biotechnologia Acta

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Ethics of the scientific publication

The editors of the “Biotechnologia Acta” journal work in accordance with the international publication ethics principles, including but not limited to privacy policy, vigilance over the scholarly publications, consideration of possible conflict of interests, etc. The editorial board follows the recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics and in particular of Publishing Ethics Resource Kit of publishing house Elsevier and of valuable practice of world-leading journals and publishers as well. Following the ethic rules of scientific publications by all the members of the process promotes guarantees for author’s intellectual property rights, improves quality of publication in the world scientific society’s sight and excludes possibility of illegal appropriation of author’s materials for the convenience of individuals.
It is the policy of "Biotechnologia Acta" to publish new and original work. Text copied from copyrighted works from third parties, even in an introduction, should never be used without clearly identifying the other source (either by quotations or indentations).  Every paper should present some novelty and new results in the form of a unique paper written in an author's own words. Unless a legitimate explanation is received for the large amount of textual overlap between the submitted paper and the abovementioned previously published work(s), this paper will not be reconsidered for publication.
This Condition corresponds to policy of the journal and it is one of the basic constituent of reviewing and journal’s publication.

1. Ethical Responsibilities of Authors

An “author” is generally considered to be someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study. Decisions about who will be an author and the order of authors should be made before starting to write up the paper. First author: the person who conducts or supervises the data collection, analysis, presentation and interpretation of the results and also puts together the paper for submission. Co-author: makes intellectual contributions to the data analysis and contributes to data interpretation, reviews each paper draft, must be able to present the results, defend the implications and discuss study limitations.

Authors should refrain from misrepresenting research results which could damage the trust in the journal, the professionalism of scientific authorship, and ultimately the entire scientific endeavour. Maintaining integrity of the research and its presentation can be achieved by following the rules of good scientific practice, which include:
•    The manuscript has not been submitted to more than one journal for simultaneous consideration.
•    The manuscript has not been published previously (partly or in full), unless the new work concerns an expansion of previous work (please provide transparency on the re-use of material to avoid the hint of text-recycling (“self-plagiarism”).
•    A single study is not split up into several parts to increase the quantity of submissions and submitted to various journals or to one journal over time (e.g. “salami-publishing”).
•    No data have been fabricated or manipulated (including images) to support your conclusions.
•    No data, text, or theories by others are presented as if they were the author’s own (“plagiarism”). Proper acknowledgements to other works must be given (this includes material that is closely copied (near verbatim), summarized and/or paraphrased), quotation marks are used for verbatim copying of material, and permissions are secured for material that is copyrighted.
Important note: the journal may use software to screen for plagiarism.
•    Consent to submit has been received explicitly from all co-authors, as well as from the responsible authorities - tacitly or explicitly - at the institute/organization where the work has been carried out, before the work is submitted.
•    Authors whose names appear on the submission have contributed sufficiently to the scientific work and therefore share collective responsibility and accountability for the results.
•    Authors are strongly advised to ensure the correct author group, corresponding author, and order of authors at submission. Changes of authorship or in the order of authors are not accepted after acceptance of a manuscript.
•    Adding and/or deleting authors and/or changing the order of authors at revision stage may be justifiably warranted. A letter must accompany the revised manuscript to explain the reason for the change(s) and the contribution role(s) of the added and/or deleted author(s). Further documentation may be required to support your request.
•    Requests for addition or removal of authors as a result of authorship disputes after acceptance are honored after formal notification by the institute or independent body and/or when there is agreement between all authors.
•    Upon request authors should be prepared to send relevant documentation or data in order to verify the validity of the results. This could be in the form of raw data, samples, records, etc. Sensitive information in the form of confidential proprietary data is excluded.
If there is a suspicion of misconduct, the journal will carry out an investigation following the COPE guidelines. If, after investigation, the allegation seems to raise valid concerns, the accused author will be contacted and given an opportunity to address the issue. If misconduct has been established beyond reasonable doubt, this may result in the Editor-in-Chief’s implementation of the following measures, including, but not limited to:
•    If the article is still under consideration, it may be rejected and returned to the author.
•    If the article has already been published online, depending on the nature and severity of the infraction, either an erratum will be placed with the article or in severe cases complete retraction of the article will occur. The reason must be given in the published erratum or retraction note. Please note that retraction means that the paper is maintained on the platform, watermarked "retracted" and explanation for the retraction is provided in a note linked to the watermarked article.
•    The author’s institution may be informed.

Authors should understand that they carry personal liability for the provided text of manuscript; that suggests the following principles:
1.1. To provide reliable results of the research. Definitely wrong, knavish or faked statements equal to unethical behavior and can be considered as inappropriate.
1.2. To take part in the process of expert assessment of article’s manuscript. The head editor can request the initial data of scientific article for editorial review, and authors must provide free access for these data, if it is possible, in every case authors should save initial materials during reasonable period of time after the publication.
1.3. To provide guarantees that the results of research stated in the manuscript are independent and original. In case of other work areas usage or appropriations of statements by other authors, this work should have corresponding bibliographic references with mandatory definition of the author and primary source. According to the condition 3.4 “Conditions about reviewing of scientific articles in the polythematic journal “Discussion”: all the articles must be subjected to the checkup by means of the program “Antiplagiat”. Excessive appropriations and plagiarism in any form, including not performed quotations, rephrasing or rights’ appropriation of somebody’s research results are considered as unethical and inappropriate actions. All the articles which consist of materials’ compilation published before by other authors, without creative revision and personal author’s cognition are unacceptable for publication in the journal.
1.4. To understand that authors carry initial liability for novelty and reliability of the scientific research results.
1.5. To recognize contribution by all the people engaged in the process of research or set the character of the presented scientific work. In particular, this article must have bibliographic references to the publications which had a meaning during the research. All the information got by talks, correspondence or discussions with other people can be used without open written permission from the source. All the sources must be opened. If this work uses written or illustrative materials by many people, permission must be got and provided to the editorial board.
1.6. To present original manuscript to the journal which hasn’t been sent to other one and hasn’t been under consideration, and also article hasn’t been published in other journal. Non-compliance of this principle is considered as a rude violation of the publication ethics and gives substantiation for reviewing refusal. Text of article must be original, in other words it must be published in the present form in periodical printing for the first time. If the elements of the manuscript were published in other article, the author must make a reference for early work and define essential differences of new work with the previous one. Literal copying of personal works and its rephrasing are inappropriate; they can be used only for basis of new conclusions.
1.7. To guarantee the right membership list of co-authors. This list should have all the people who made an essential intellectual contribution in the concept, structure and carrying out or interpretation of the given work results. Other people who took part in some aspect of the work should be thanked. The author also should guarantee that all the co-authors looked through the final variant of the article, approved it and agreed with the publication. All the authors defined in the article should carry public liability for the article’s content. If the article is a multidisciplinary work, the author can be responsible for their own contribution, being responsible for the general result. People who do not take part in the research can’t be included in the list of co-authors.
1.8. In case of detection of critical mistakes or uncertainties in the work at the stage of its consideration or after publication, it is necessary to inform the editorial staff of the journal hereof immediately and to make a collective decision concerning an error confession and/or to correct it as soon as possible. If the editorial board knows about it from third party, the author ought to eliminate or correct the mistakes immediately or to prove correctness of the information.
1.9. To define all funding sources in the manuscripts; to declare about possible conflicts of interest, which could influence the results of the research, its interpretation and reviewers’ opinion.

2. Ethic principles in the reviewer’s activity

For "Biotechnologia Acta" that use double-blind peer review, the identities of both reviewers and authors are concealed from each other throughout the review. To facilitate this, authors must ensure that their manuscripts are prepared in such a way that they do not reveal their identities to reviewers, either directly or indirectly.
The panel of peer reviewers should all abide by a Code of Ethics regarding honesty,  detecting examples of plagiarism, salami slicing or unethical research practice and giving  constructive feedback to both the authors and editors. Peer review in all its form plays an important role in ensuring the integrity of the scholarly record. The process depends to a large extent on trust, and requires that everyone involved behaves responsibly and ethically.
A reviewer carries out a scientific expertise of author’s materials, so reer reviewrs should be impartial, following the next principles:
2.1. Expert assessment should help the author to improve quality of the article text and the head editor to make a decision for publication.
2.2. Respond in a reasonable time-frame, especially if they cannot do the review, and without intentional delay.
2.3. Can’t be the author or co-author of the reviewing work, and also research advisor and/or employees of the department where the author works.
2.4. Declare if they do not have the subject expertise required to carry out the review or if they are able to assess only part of the manuscript, outlining clearly the areas for which they have the relevant expertise.
2.5. Only agree to review a manuscript if they are fairly confident they can return a review within the proposed or mutually agreed time-frame, informing the journal promptly if they require an extension.
2.6. Declare any potentially conflicting or competing interests (which may, for example, be personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious), seeking advice from the journal if they are unsure whether something constitutes a relevant interest.
2.7. Follow journals’ policies on situations they consider to represent a conflict to reviewing. If no guidance is provided, they should inform the journal if: they work at the same institution as any of the authors (or will be joining that institution or are applying for a job there); they are or have been recent (e.g. within the past 3 years) mentors, mentees, close collaborators or joint grant holders; they have a close personal relationship with any of the authors.
2.8. Review afresh any manuscript they have previously reviewed for another journal as it may have changed between the two submissions and the journals’ criteria for evaluation and acceptance may be different.
2.9. Decline to review if they feel unable to provide a fair and unbiased review.
2.10. Decline to review if they have been involved with any of the work in the manuscript or its reporting.
2.11. Decline to review if asked to review a manuscript that is very similar to one they have in preparation or under consideration at another journal.
2.12. Read the manuscript, ancillary material (e.g. reviewer instructions, required ethics and policy statements, supplemental data files) and journal instructions thoroughly, getting back to the journal if anything is not clear and requesting any missing or incomplete items they need to carry out a full review.
2.13. Contact the journal if circumstances arise that will prevent them from submitting a timely review, providing an accurate estimate of the time they will need to do a review if still asked to do so.
2.14. Notify the journal immediately if they come across any irregularities, have concerns about ethical aspects of the work, are aware of substantial similarity between the manuscript and a concurrent submission to another journal or a published article, or suspect that misconduct may have occurred during either the research or the writing and submission of the manuscript; reviewers should, however, keep their concerns confidential and not personally investigate further unless the journal asks for further information or advice.
2.15. Not intentionally prolong the review process, either by delaying the submission of their review or by requesting unnecessary additional information from the journal or author.
2.16. Ensure their review is based on the merits of the work and not influenced, either positively or negatively, by any personal, financial, or other conflicting considerations or by intellectual biases.
2.17. Not contact the authors directly without the permission of the journal.
2.18. Bear in mind that the editor is looking to them for subject knowledge, good judgement, and an honest and fair assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the work and the manuscript.
2.19. Be objective and constructive in their reviews and provide feedback that will help the authors to improve their manuscript.
2.20. Not make derogatory personal comments or unfounded accusations.
2.21. Be specific in their criticisms, and provide evidence with appropriate references to substantiate general statements such as, ‘this work has been done before’, to help editors in their evaluation and decision and in fairness to the authors.
2.22. Be aware of the sensitivities surrounding language issues that are due to the authors writing in a language that is not their own, and phrase the feedback appropriately and with due respect.
2.23. Make clear which suggested additional investigations are essential to support claims made in the manuscript under consideration and which will just strengthen or extend the work.
2.24. Not make unfair negative comments or include unjustified criticisms of any competitors’ work that is mentioned in the manuscript.
2.25. Confidential comments to the editor should not be a place for denigration or false accusation, done in the knowledge that the authors will not see these comments.
2.26. Not suggest that authors include citations to the reviewer’s (or their associates’) work merely to increase the reviewer’s (or their associates’) citation count or to enhance the visibility of their or their associates’ work; suggestions must be based on valid academic or technological reasons.
2.27. Respond promptly if contacted by the journal about matters related to their review of a manuscript and provide the information required.
2.28. Not use information obtained during the peer-review process for their own or any other person’s or organization’s advantage, or to disadvantage or discredit others.
2.29. Declare all potential conflicting interests, seeking advice from the journal if they are unsure whether something constitutes a relevant interest.
2.30. Sshould be objective and constructive in their reviews, refraining from being hostile or inflammatory and from making libellous or derogatory personal comments.
2.31. Should provide the journal with personal and professional information that is accurate and a true representation of their expertise.
2.32. Must be impartial. Personal remarks to the author are forbidden. A reviewer must express own opinion clearly and with reason.
2.33. A reviewer can’t use information and ideas form the article obtained for reviewing for personal purposes with due attention to confidentiality of this information and ideas.
2.34. If it is possible, a reviewer should find published articles corresponding to the reviewing article and not quoted by the author. Every statement in the review that observation, conclusion or argument form the article has been met in the literature before, it should be accompanied with certain bibliographic reference. Reviewer also should pay attention of the head editor about similarity or partial coincidence of the peer-reviewed article with every other one published before.
2.35. A reviewer who doesn’t consider himself or herself to be a specialist in the certain sphere or knows that he or she can’t provide the review of the article in time must inform the head editor about it and retire from the reviewing.
2.36. Every manuscript got from the editorial board for reviewing is a confidential document. It can’t be discussed with other people excluding people defined by the head editor.

2.37. Reviewer should take into consideration the articles with conflict of interest, caused by competition, cooperation or any other relations with any author or organization connected with the article. Full disclosure about a relationship that could constitute a competing interest–even if the person doesn't believe it affects their judgment–should be reported to the institution's ethics group and to the journal editor to which a paper is submitted. Most publishers require disclosure in the form of a cover letter and/or footnote in the manuscript. "Biotechnologia Acta" may use disclosures as a basis for editorial decisions and will publish them as they may be important to readers in judging the manuscript. Likewise, the journal may decide not to publish on the basis of the declared conflict.
2.38. Reviewers must not retain the manuscript for their personal use and should destroy paper copies of manuscripts and delete electronic copies after submitting their reviews.

3. Principles of professional ethics in activity of editorial Board

An Editorial Board is primarily made up of a team of individuals that work directly with the  Editor to develop the journal and promote new initiatives. Editorial Board members are chosen for their expertise in key areas related to the journal or  chosen for their international presence in the field.  Editorial Board of "Biotechnologia Acta" undergoes a complete renewal after a set period  determined by the Editor (three years is an average time). This will involve  removing some individuals, inviting others, and renewing some existing members for  another term. It is important when inviting a Board member that this issue of term of office  is included in the invitation letter to avoid any misunderstandings that can arise.
Manuscripts submitted to journals are privileged communications that are authors’ private, confidential property, and authors may be harmed by premature disclosure of any or all of a manuscript’s details.
Editors therefore must not share information about manuscripts, including whether they have been received and are under review, their content and status in the review process, criticism by reviewers, and their ultimate fate, to anyone other than the authors and reviewers. Requests from third parties to use manuscripts and reviews for legal proceedings should be politely refused, and editors should do their best not to provide such confidential material should it be subpoenaed.

During the activity editorial staff, editorial-and-publishing group, and members of the editorial group of the journal carry liability for publication of author’s works that leads to the following main principles:
3.1. The editor evaluates manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to race, gender sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors.
3.2. The editorial policies of the journal encourage transparency and complete, honest reporting, and the editor ensures that peer reviewers and the authors have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. The editor uses the journal’s standard electronic submission system for all journal communications.
3.3. The editor establishes along with the publisher, a transparent mechanism for appeal against editorial decisions.
3.4. During the decision making concerning publication the head editor is guided by reliability of the presented data and scientific importance of the considered paper.
3.5. The head editor shouldn’t have conflicts of interest towards the articles he refuses or apply.
3.6. The head editor carries liability for the decision which articles will be published or refused. Meanwhile he is guided by the policy of the journal and follows juridical restrictions, avoiding libel, author’s copyright violation and plagiarism. In order to make a decision the head editor may consult with the members of the editorial staff and reviewers.
3.7. The head editor, employees of editorial board, editorial-and-publishing group and editorial group of the journal can’t expose information about an article to nobody, except the authors, assigned potential reviewers and other editorial board members, and sometimes a publisher.
3.8. Not published data, got from the manuscripts presented for consideration, can’t be used by the head editor, employees of editorial board, editor-and-publishing group or editorial group for personal profit or given for third party (without author’s written permission).
3.9. The head editor shouldn’t allow information to publication if there are enough evidences that this article is a plagiarism.
3.10. An article, in publication case, is posted in free access; the authors’ copyrights are saved.
3.11. The head editor together with the publisher shouldn’t ignore the claims concerning the considered articles or published materials. In any conflict situation they should take measures for violated rights’ restoration, and in case of mistakes discoveries they should assist in corrective publication or disclaimer.
3.12. The head editor, members of the editorial staff, and editorial-and-publishing group should support confidentiality of names and other information concerning the reviewers. If it is necessary, in decision making for new reviewer attraction, this reviewer can be informed about previous ones.
3.13. Editors must also make clear that reviewers should keep manuscripts, associated material, and the information they contain strictly confidential.
3.14. editorial staff members must not publicly discuss the authors’ work, and reviewers must not appropriate authors’ ideas before the manuscript is published.

4. Principles of professional ethics in publisher’s activity

The publisher carries liability for publishing author’s works. It causes the necessity to follow the next main principles and procedures:
4.1. To promote realization of ethic responsibilities by the editorial board, editorial-and-publishing group, editorial group, reviewers and authors according to the requirements.
4.2. To support the journal’s editorial board in consideration of claims to ethic aspects of publishing materials and help to interact with other journals and/or publishers, if it is a responsibility of the editors.
4.3. To support confidentiality of the author’s materials before publication.
4.4. To understand that the journal’s activity is not a commercial project and can’t be considered as profitable.
4.5. To be ready to publish corrections, explanations, disclaimers or excuses, when it is necessary.
4.6. To give the editorial board a possibility to exclude the publications with plagiarism and unreliable data.
4.7. When a manuscript is rejected, it is best practice for journals to delete copies of it from their editorial systems unless retention is required by local regulations.
4.8. When a manuscript is published, journals should keep copies of the original submission, reviews, revisions, and correspondence for at least three years and possibly in perpetuity, depending on local regulations, to help answer future questions about the work should they arise.
4.9. Confidentiality may have to be breached if dishonesty or fraud is alleged, but editors should notify authors or reviewers if they intend to do so and confidentiality must otherwise be honored.
4.10. Editors should not publish or publicize peer reviewers’ comments without permission of the reviewer and author.
4.11. Editors should do all they can to ensure timely processing of manuscripts with the resources available to them.
4.12. If editors intend to publish a manuscript, they should attempt to do so in a timely manner and any planned delays should be negotiated with the authors.
4.13. If a journal has no intention of proceeding with a manuscript, editors should endeavor to reject the manuscript as soon as possible to allow authors to submit to a different journal.

5. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest

Authors must disclose all relationships or interests that could have direct or potential influence or impart bias on the work. Although an author may not feel there is any conflict, disclosure of relationships and interests provides a more complete and transparent process, leading to an accurate and objective assessment of the work. Awareness of a real or perceived conflicts of interest is a perspective to which the readers are entitled. This is not meant to imply that a financial relationship with an organization that sponsored the research or compensation received for consultancy work is inappropriate. Examples of potential conflicts of interests that are directly or indirectly related to the research may include but are not limited to the following:
•    Research grants from funding agencies (please give the research funder and the grant number)
•    Honoraria for speaking at symposia
•    Financial support for attending symposia
•    Financial support for educational programs
•    Employment or consultation
•    Support from a project sponsor
•    Position on advisory board or board of directors or other type of management relationships
•    Multiple affiliations

In addition, interests that go beyond financial interests and compensation (non-financial interests) that may be important to readers should be disclosed. These may include but are not limited to personal relationships or competing interests directly or indirectly tied to this research, or professional interests or personal beliefs that may influence your research.

6. Compliance with Ethical Standards

To ensure objectivity and transparency in research and to ensure that accepted principles of ethical and professional conduct have been followed, authors should include information regarding sources of funding, potential conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial), informed consent if the research involved human participants, and a statement on welfare of animals if the research involved animals.
Authors should include the following statements (if applicable) in a separate section entitled “Compliance with Ethical Standards” when submitting a paper:
•    Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest
•    Research involving Human Participants and/or Animals
•    Informed consent

7. Appeals and complaints

The below procedure applies to appeals to editorial decisions, complaints about failure of processes such as long delays in handling papers and complaints about publication ethics. The complaint should in first instance be handled by the Editor-in-Chief(s) responsible for the journal and/or the Editor who handled the paper.

Complaint about scientific content, e.g. an appeal against rejection
The Editor-in-Chief or Handling Editor considers the authors’ argument, the reviewer reports and decides whether
- The decision to reject should stand;
- Another independent opinion is required
- The appeal should be considered.
The complainant is informed of the decision with an explanation if appropriate. Decisions on appeals are final and new submissions take priority over appeals.
Complaint about processes, e.g. time taken to review
The Editor-in-Chief together with the Handling Editor (where appropriate) and/or in-house contact (where appropriate) will investigate the matter. The complainant will be given appropriate feedback. Feedback is provided to relevant stakeholders to improve processes and procedures.
Complaint about publication ethics, e.g., researcher's author's, or reviewer's conduct.

Head editor of the “Biotechnologia Acta” journal Komisarenko S.V. confirmed the condition of scientific publications’ ethics on the 25th of June, 2015.

© Palladin Institute of Biochemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 2008

 

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Dear colleagues, we invite you to publish your articles in our journal.
© Palladin Institute of Biochemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 2008.
All rights are reserved. Complete or partial reprint of the journal is possible only with the written permission of the publisher.
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for information: biotech@biochem.kiev.ua.