The editorial policies of United Scientific Group (USG) are designed according to the aspects, advices and recommendations of Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE), World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Submission of a manuscript to any USG journal implies that all authors have read and agreed to its content and that the manuscript conforms to the journal’s policies.
Plagiarism is a growing problem in scientific publishing, and open access is no exception. The journal editors take effective measures to prevent, detect, and address any plagiarism in the published articles. USG has adopted strict COPE guidelines to detect plagiarism and any such cases with significant plagiarism will be handled according to the guidelines and the editor has full right to communicate this to the author’s institution.
Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:
Authors should keep in mind that manuscripts that have been detected to have plagiarized content during the pre-screen or peer review processes will be immediately rejected. If the same is detected post publication, USG reserves the right to retract the article or publish a correction. USG reserve the right to inform authors' institutions about plagiarism detected either before or after publication.
USG follows the policies of ICMJE with regard to duplicate publications. During the initial submission of a manuscript to a USG journal, the author must declare and cite any potential overlapping publication and can upload as additional supporting documents. Any unpublished or “in press” manuscript cited, should be made available if requested by the editors. The manuscript or substantial parts of it should not have been formally published before in any journal or in any other citable form. It is completely at the editor’s discretion for any exceptions only if the author is able to justify and have declared this upon submission.
All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in 'Acknowledgements' section of the manuscript. They include names of people who have contributed technical help, assistance in scientific writing and preparing manuscript, contributed financially or material support, and institution/department head who has supported with access/permissions etc. It is the author’s responsibility to obtain consent from persons who have their names included in the acknowledgement section.
A competing interest subsists when the authors’ interpretation and analysis of data or presentation of critical information that may be influenced by their personal or financial relationship with other individuals or organizations.
USG has made it mandatory that all authors must declare all financial and non-financial “competing interests” with regard to their manuscript submitted and this declaration must be included at the end of the manuscript text. If the authors have no such “competing interests”, they should include the following statement in the manuscript: “The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests”. Upon publication of a manuscript, if USG detects any undeclared competing interests, then USG retains the right to reject/retract the manuscript or issue a formal correction, as appropriate. Editors and reviewers are also required to declare any competing interests and will be excluded from the peer review process if a competing interest exists.
Financial competing interests
Financial competing interests include (but are not limited to):
Non-financial competing interests
Non-financial competing interests include (but are not limited to): professional (academic and intellectual) and personal (religious, political and ideological).
Authors from industries / companies (pharmaceutical, medical, biotechnology, agricultural, oil and gas, manufacturing, engineering sectors, etc), or other commercial organizations should declare any competing interests on submission to ensure that publications are produced in a responsible and ethical manner.
All studies involving human subjects should follow World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki on ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. Additionally, studies should be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) as appropriate. A statement to this effect should be included in Methods section.
Open access (OA) is a recent and preferred advancement in the publication industry whereby peer reviewed research and manuscript contents are made freely available for public use over the Internet almost immediately after being accepted for publication. OA gives quick exposure of scholarly research to the scientific community where one can use it any number of times for free after citing the author. Thus, in OA journals author(s) are the sole owners of the copyright to the article.
USG is committed to convey the authors a strong understanding of their rights and responsibilities. Our expert editorial policies helps authors to understand open licenses, and allows authors to easily comply with the open access requirements of their corresponding institution, government and funding body.
Authors of the accepted manuscripts will be given an option to choose the license for open access under which they wish to publish their work, that is the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY 4.0) license or Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC 4.0) license. In place of a copyright transfer, authors are asked to sign an exclusive open access publishing agreement with USG. Selecting a desired Creative Commons usage license enables authors to define how the article may be used by the general public.
Manuscripts authored or co-authored by one or more government employees / federal agencies like USA NIH / USA NSF / UK NHS / UK Wellcome Trust / Australia ARC / European Research Councils etc., must be submitted with the respective mandate signed agreements according to their Employee Procedures (if applicable) and are licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain license (CC0), which allows unlimited distribution and reuse of the article for any legitimate purpose.
Images and figures
Authors must have written permission from the copyright holder to use / publish any figures or images that are covered by copyright and cite the original source. Figures reproduced from those published under the Creative Commons Attribution International license (CC BY 4.0) may be reproduced, but only with correct attribution.
USG ensures a rigorous, high-quality and unbiased peer review process for all manuscripts submitted to USG journals. The decision of article acceptance is judged by a panel of expert reviewers and / or editors emphasizing whether the findings and / or conclusions are novel and make useful contributions to the field.
USG operates an “optional peer review” process where the author gets to choose from two different methods of peer reviewing: open review or closed review. Individual journal differ in their peer review process or can apply both based on the discretion of the editor and the author.
In open peer review process, reviewers are asked to sign their reviews. Upon acceptance, the pre-publication history including all the versions of the manuscript, reviewers' reports and authors' responses are made available online along with the final version of manuscript. Reviewers’ names are not disclosed and the pre-publication history of the article will not be made available online in closed peer review process.
The following are the steps that each manuscript of USG journals undergoes during the process of the peer review:
Portability of peer review
USG offers a free portability of manuscripts among different USG journals. That is, if an editor of one USG journal feels that a submitted manuscript does not fit in the scope of interest of his journal but will be more suitable for another USG journal, then the editor may communicate this with the corresponding author and offer to transfer the manuscript. Upon acceptance, the former editor will share with the new editor all the manuscript files submitted and the correspondences related to the submitted manuscript and the manuscript will be considered as a fresh submission in the new journal.
USG believe that the author(s) is always the best supporter and / or defender for their work. USG always encourage the authors to distribute their published article and respond to any comments on the article so as to create an active potential discussion that can be useful to scientific community having similar views and interests. Distribution could be made through various sources:
In some cases, Editor-in-Chief may select outstanding manuscripts accepted for publication for press release. The corresponding author will be informed if their manuscript is being considered for press release. Upon acceptance by the author, the press release will be written and will be asked to approve the text. If an author’s institution, organization or funder wants to issue their own press release, authors should ensure that activities are coordinated with the USG Press Office.
Authors must provide a data sharing statement when submitting a manuscript online. The statement should explain any unpublished data from the study are available, where, to whom and how these can be obtained. If the article is accepted for publication, the data availability statement will be published as part of the final article.
It is the author’s responsibility to adhere to the guidelines in their fields for the collection and recording of their data. USG advises the authors to select credible digital repositories for depositing their data. It is mandatory that the authors deposit all the data and related metadata related to their manuscript in one such publicly available repository and provide the data set accession numbers and/or digital object identifiers in the data availability statement while submitting their manuscript. For manuscripts that contain only small data sets, the authors may upload the data as supplementary files while submitting their manuscript online.
In certain cases where the data used in a manuscript is restricted under a patent or a trademark control and thus cannot be made public, then the author’s are required to provide an analysis of public data that validate the conclusions stated in the manuscript. If the author’s have used data from a third party (that is if they have not collected the data themselves), they must properly cite appropriately the source from where they have obtained the data. Any discrepancies in the above mentioned guidelines come to the notice of USG journals post-acceptance or publishing of an article, USG reserves the right to make the required corrections, contact the author’s organization and / or funding agency; or retract the publication. For more information to authors on how to indicate about the source of data and readers who have difficulty in obtaining materials or accessing data, are encouraged to contact the journal editorial office.
Articles published in USG journals remain exact and unaltered. However, in rare cases published articles can be modified, corrected, replaced, retracted or removed. The USG will follow the following general principle to alter a published article.
Article withdrawal can only be requested before the article is published online (in press). The reason for withdrawal could include (but not limited to) duplicate submission, incorrect claim of authorship, error in data, plagiarism.
Article correction/replacement will be allowed only when error (s) or inaccuracy in reported data is detected, a change in authorship and/or affiliation is needed, or major changes in the manuscript (where the option of Letter to Editor is not applicable) are discovered after the article is published online. If changes are substantial additional processing charge will be levied and the original version of the article will be archived.
Article retraction as advised by an author/editor/publisher is an occasional event where the results/interpretations/conclusions of a published article are found to be misleading, proved to contain falsified data, is defamatory, or infringes other professional ethical principles (such as plagiarism, duplicate submissions, incorrect authorship claims, and unethical methods or research). A published article will be removed only in very rare case and generally only on legal grounds affecting the publisher, editor-in-chief or author (s).
In all the above mentioned conditions, the Editor-in-Chief will hold the decision authority. Once a decision is made, it will be made available along with an effective date and reason (correction/replacement/retraction/removal) as a note or a new screen in the online version of the manuscript for all the readers to be aware of. In almost all such cases (with rare exception), the original article will be archived as a history of the article (except when an article is removed). All authors must provide written consent for any change / modification and submit the request to the Editor-in-Chief. Article processing charges will not be refunded in case of retraction/removal.
Statements and views mentioned in a USG Journal are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Journal or publisher. USG undertakes all efforts to make the content of their journals unique and accurate; however, USG does not warrant that the information be true, complete and are not responsible for any errors, omissions or misleading content. Similarly, USG does not undertake any liability for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of product liability, negligence, or otherwise, or from any use of methods, techniques, products, instructions, or ideas contained in any of the published articles. USG does not take any responsibilities or warranties with respect to any investigational reports, observations, discussions, and recommendations as to medical procedures, diagnostic techniques, treatment procedures, medication type, and drug dosages and they are the sole responsibility of the authors. Consumers should consult with their own health professionals about their medical condition before making any treatment procedures.
Authors have the right to appeal in case of rejection of their manuscript and should be based on the scientific content and its validity for publishing in the particular journal. All appeals must be submitted within 10 days and should be addressed to the journal’s Editor-in-chief. The Editor-in-chief’s decision on the appeal is final. For appeals and other complaints that cannot be resolved, the individuals (authors, reviewers, users) should contact the publisher.
For any concerns and / or complaints, readers or authors should contact the editorial office.