Ethical Guidelines

Ethical Guidelines

This journal adheres to COPE’s principles and ethical standards throughout its publication.



Authors have made a substantial contribution to the submitted work, including a substantial contribution to the conception and design, acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of data, drafting the article, or making essential revisions to it. They can be held accountable for the work and its final published form. The authors' names appear on the article's first page and in the bio sections.

This journal usually only accepts manuscripts with up to six authors, unless a good reason is provided for adding more than six authors.

It is mandatory that all authors, throughout the article submission process and in their correspondence with the journal, utilize their academic email addresses.

The authors must jointly discuss authorship and the order of the authors before submitting the manuscript to this journal. Changes are not possible once a manuscript has been accepted. All authors should be listed; non-author contributors, such as translators, proofreaders, layout editors, etc., may be acknowledged in the acknowledgement section of the PDF version of the article.

By submitting a manuscript to this journal, all authors confirm their awareness of its ethical guidelines, agree with them, and commit to complying with them. Furthermore, it is presumed that all authors have read the content of the submitted manuscript and agree with its content.

Only one author of each submission must be the corresponding author. The corresponding author (CA), also known as the principal contact for editorial correspondence and referred to as the principal contact in the journal platform, has specific responsibilities:

  • The CA is the person that the journal’s staff will contact for all editorial correspondence.
  • The CA is responsible for the accuracy of the metadata of all authors entered on the journal platform.
  • The CA receives the Article Processing Charges invoice and is responsible for its timely payment.
  • The CA receives the copy-edited and formatted proof, ensure a careful check of it, and take responsibility for possible typos or incorrect author data (e.g., misspelt names, incorrect affiliations).
  • The CA must be contactable via email by the journal staff, use a working institutional email address, and respond promptly.

All articles on are published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). The authors warrant that the submission is original and that they are the submission's authors. To the extent the submission incorporates text passages, figures, data, or other material from the work of others, the authors have obtained any necessary permissions.

Conflicts of interest, such as research grants, paid or unpaid personal or institutional relationships, or personal relationships with individuals involved in the article publication process, must be declared at the end of the manuscript. Plagiarism (as well as self-plagiarism) is not acceptable. Considered plagiarism is word-for-word copying and using ideas or concepts of someone else without correct citation of the source. False data (invented or modified) are not acceptable. Artificial Intelligence (AI) or AI-assisted technologies may be used to improve readability and language but not for the interpretation of data or research conclusions. Also, AI should not be listed as an author but must be disclosed in the acknowledgement section of the manuscript. Only human authors can be held responsible for the content of an article.

Experimental research on humans must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee and comply with the Helsinki Declaration (2013). Participants of a study included in a manuscript are protected and should not be identifiable. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the authors to remove any identifying information of their study subjects, such as clinical images and videos, names, personal and health data, details, etc., that could allow for identifying the person. Informed consent must be documented in the manuscript where information or clinical photographs of human subjects are used. Signed copies of consent forms will be required before a paper can be considered for review.



Manuscript submissions undergo an initial assessment by the Editor-in-Chief (EiC) and a plagiarism check with iThenticate. Suppose they do not reject it directly because of ethical concerns, plagiarism issues, or the submission does not fit the journal's scope. The EiC will assign it to a responsible editor who handles the review process.

Peer reviewers are primarily published authors of this journal or other relevant experts who have benefited from the expertise of other authors before having their manuscripts reviewed. They declare their expertise in their journal profile and are then assigned manuscripts whose topic matches their expertise for review. At least two reviewers review each manuscript.

Researchers, clinicians, and professionals with relevant expertise may be invited to participate in the peer review process. The journal editor ensures reviewers' identities through ORCID, PubMed, Scopus searches, Google Scholar or CV verification. Authors can suggest potential reviewers, but editors have the final say, avoiding conflicts of interest. Authors must provide detailed information on suggested reviewers. Excluding reviewers with conflicts is allowed but should be reasonable to maintain a smooth review process. Editors ultimately decide on suitable reviewers, and any intentional falsification of information can lead to manuscript rejection and ethical investigations into the authors' publication history.

Peer reviewers play an essential role in ensuring the quality of this journal's scholarly publications as they contribute to the editorial decisions. They must ethically conduct their reviews. The journal expects clear communication and objective, fair, unbiased, and timely reviews from them. Reviewers should neither disclose the information they obtain from an unpublished work nor use it for their advantage. Nobody else should be involved in the review unless the journal has permission. They will inform the responsible editor and decline the review if there are possible conflicts of interest about the research, the authors, or the funders.

This journal employs a double-anonymized peer review to ensure an impartial, fair, and non-biased review. Once a manuscript has been assigned to the reviewers, they have one week to accept or decline the review. If they accept, they have two more weeks to complete the review. Reviewers are given on-screen guidelines to cover all essential aspects. When a reviewer suspects research or publication misconduct, they should report this to the responsible section editor, who, in turn, conducts further investigations and decides with the Editor-in-Chief about which measures to take.

A reviewer who has agreed to do the review will download the anonymized manuscript and review it with the help of the on-screen guidelines. The reviewer must fill in the displayed review form, select a review recommendation (accept, reject, or revise), and optionally upload an additional free-form review report.



The responsible section editor makes Editorial Decisions:

  • A manuscript is accepted if the topic suits the journal's focus, no technical mistakes are identified, the English language level is acceptable, and editors or reviewers raise no ethical concerns.
  • Revisions are requested if the conditions for acceptance are partially fulfilled, but minor adjustments can remediate them.
  • A manuscript is only accepted when the conditions for acceptance or revisions are fulfilled.

An editor checks uploaded revisions to determine whether the reviewers' comments have been addressed. When an author disagrees with the reviewers' comments, they should always contact the EiC, who will then check the manuscript and the review in question and take appropriate action, for example, assign an additional reviewer.

Reviewers must continuously update their personal and professional information and fields of expertise in their account so that possible conflicts of interest can be excluded, and editors can assign them the most suitable manuscripts for review. Reviewers should only agree to review the assigned manuscript if they are sure whether a competing interest, personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political, or religious, might prevent them from providing an unbiased and fair review. Reviewers must reply to the review invitation within the given time frame, even if they choose not to accept the review. If they accept, they must submit their review within the specified time frame. If a reviewer suspects misconduct in a manuscript, they should contact the editor without conducting further personal investigations.

Ethical Concerns

The Editor-in-Chief (EiC) of the journal is the point of contact for ethical concerns, appeals, and complaints. Exception: Complaints regarding misconduct by the EiC should be directed to the Executive Editor. The EiC is ultimately responsible for final decisions on an article's acceptance, rejection, correction, and retraction. Anyone raising an ethical concern should promptly contact the EiC, who will initiate investigations. The EiC may contact the authors' institutions, employers, and funding agencies or involve other editors and contact other journals or institutions for independent advice. The EiC will then decide whether an article should be corrected or retracted.


Minor corrections, such as typos, will be implemented as silent corrections, directly incorporated into the document, and republished. Corrections of errors that impact the content or understanding of the article but do not affect its integrity or reliability will also be made in the article. However, an editorial notice outlining the changes will be published next to the abstract. The relevant literature databases will be notified and asked to reflect the corrections in their databases.


Retractions are reserved for seriously flawed articles that report unethical research, involve plagiarism, present unreliable results (due to miscalculation, experimental errors, fabrication, or falsification of data), or when findings have been published without proper attribution of sources or permission to republish. Retracted articles will be removed from the journal's article page, but the title and authors' names will remain, with the title being preceded by "RETRACTED:". The DOI will remain registered, and a notice will be added stating who retracted the article and the reason for retraction.

The journal sometimes reserves the right to charge a fee for corrections and retractions.