is committed to meeting and upholding standards of ethical behavior at all
stages of the publication process. We follow closely the industry associations, such as
the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), International Committee of Medical
Journal Editors (ICMJE) and World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), that set
standards and provide guidelines for best practices in order to meet these requirements.
This section is designed to help everyone engaged in the journal publication process;
namely, editors, authors, and manuscript reviewers and referees.
We are confident that unambiguous and consistent guidelines will enhance the quality
of published research, and ensure a process is in place to respond to a situation where
ethics may have been transgressed.
We ask editors to make every reasonable effort to ensure the following criteria are taken
into account for those submitted manuscripts they deem worthy of consideration by peer
- Unbiased consideration should be given to each manuscript, judging each on its
merits without regard to the race, religion, nationality, sex, seniority, or
institutional affiliation of the author.
- Manuscripts should be dealt with and processed with reasonable speed and
- Editors have sole responsibility for the acceptance or rejection of a manuscript.
While an editor may seek guidance via peer review, she or he may reject a
manuscript without review if considered inappropriate for the journal.
- The peer-review process must be confidential and rendered anonymous.
- Conflicts of interest must be declared.
- Retraction - If an editor receives a challenge to the authenticity of a published
article, she or he will consult with INS Journals, and where appropriate members
of the editorial board, in confidence. Where the editor and INS Journals
subsequently secure evidence that authenticity has been compromised, in any of
the following ways – the main substance of a published article is erroneous; the
article contains material which has not been properly acknowledged or cited; the
article's authorship is incorrect or incomplete; or the article contains a libel – the
editor and INS Journals will facilitate publication of an appropriate correction, a
Statement of Retraction, or, in extremis, the withdrawal and removal of the
- Authors must present an accurate account of the research performed, and offer
an objective discussion of its significance.
- The article must contain sufficient detail and reference to public sources of
information to permit the author's peers to repeat the work.
- Authors must cite all relevant references.
- Authors must identify any hazards inherent in conducting the research.
- Authors must declare conflicts of interest.
- Authors must avoid fragmenting research to maximize the number of articles submitted.
- Authors must not submit the same or similar articles to any other journal or publication medium.
- While an experimental or theoretical study may sometimes justify criticism of the work of another scientist, in no circumstances is personal criticism appropriate.
- "Co-authors" are defined as any person who has made a significant scientific contribution to the work reported, and who shares responsibility and accountability for the results.
We require that, prior to publication; authors sign a set of warranties to these effects via
a Copyright Transfer Form. If appropriate, authors should also ensure that patient
consent is sought and granted.
Referees and Peer Reviewers
We ask referees and peer reviewers to make every reasonable effort to ensure the
following criteria are taken into account for those submitted manuscripts they have
agreed to peer review:
Post-publication correction policy
- without regard to the race, religion, nationality, sex, seniority, or institutional affiliation of the author.
- Manuscripts should be dealt with and processed with reasonable speed and efficiency.
- The quality of the manuscript, and its experimental and theoretical work, its interpretations, and its exposition, will be judged objectively.
- The peer-review process will be kept confidential.
- Conflicts of interest must be declared.
- Referees' judgments must be explained and supported. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported must be accompanied by the relevant citation, and unsupported assertions must be avoided.
- While the review of a manuscript may justify criticism, even severe criticism, under no circumstances is personal or malicious criticism of the author appropriate or acceptable.
The moment an article is published (even if only online) it enters the scientific literature as the
"version of scholarly record" and becomes a fixed-state document available for citation by other
journal articles. In consequence, INS Journals does not allow amendments to articles after
publication, other than by means of publishing an erratum or corrigendum.
If journal articles were to become subject to continued revision after initial publication they
would no longer play the role of "the minutes of science", which capture the authors’ conclusions
at a specific point of time.
There are some exceptions to this rule; particularly cases where we may consider it permissible
to correct errors in an Early Online/Online First (ahead of print) article prior to its publication in
a print issue. Examples include:
- Spelling errors in the article metadata may be corrected, for example author names, article title or keywords.
- Updates to the corresponding author's contact information if it has changed since
submission (although the affiliation line should still reflect the author’s institution at the
point of submission).
- Poor resolution or black & white figures may be replaced by high resolution or colour versions of the same graphic.
- "In press" references can be updated with the final citation information.
Significant changes to Early Online articles will normally be accompanied by a Notice of Correction at the end of the reference section detailing post-publication amendments.
Once an article appears in an issue, the option for further amendments is closed off entirely and
details such as the corresponding author’s contact information or "in press" reference citations
are locked down permanently.
Informed Consent Policy
Informed Consent Study Participants:
- Authors should not include identifying patient information, including patients' names, initials, or
hospital numbers, in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential
for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent/ guardian) gives written, informed consent for
- Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve; however, informed consent should be obtained if there is
any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of
- When informed consent has been obtained, it should be indicated in the published article and a copy of
the 'Patient Informed Consent Form' for each patient should be included along with article submission.
- Authors should provide written verification that any study participants who are identifiable have been
shown the final manuscript to be published.
- Masked Study Participants- If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in
genetic malformations, authors should provide written assurance to the editors that alterations do not
distort scientific meaning.