Last edit: 2022/07/18
Submission of a manuscript to the inSTEMM journal implies that all authors have read and agreed to its content and that the manuscript conforms to the journal’s policies. The journal remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Access to publications
All publications in the journal are open access, meaning that: The author(s) or copyright owner(s) irrevocably grant(s) to any third party, in advance and in perpetuity, the right to use, reproduce or disseminate the publication in its entirety or in part, in any format or medium, provided that no substantive errors are introduced in the process, proper attribution of authorship and correct citation details are given, and that the bibliographic details are not changed. If the publication is reproduced or disseminated in part, this must be clearly and unequivocally indicated.
The Journal is committed permanently to maintaining this open access publishing policy, retrospectively and prospectively, in all eventualities, including any future changes in ownership.
Authorship provides credit for a researcher’s contributions to a study and carries accountability. Authors are expected to fulfil the following criteria:
Each author is expected to have made substantial contributions to the conception OR design of the work; OR the acquisition, analysis, OR interpretation of data; OR the creation of new software used in the work; OR have drafted the work or substantively revised it
AND to have approved the submitted version (and any substantially modified version that involves the author's contribution to the study);
AND to have agreed both to be personally accountable for the author's own contributions and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work, even ones in which the author was not personally involved, are appropriately investigated, resolved, and the resolution documented in the literature.
The journal encourages collaboration with colleagues in the locations where the research is conducted, and expects their inclusion as co-authors when they fulfill all authorship criteria described above. Contributors who do not meet all criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgements section.
Please see the Journal Submission Guidelines for information on the format for listing author contributions.
Authors wishing to make any changes to authorship before they resubmit their revisions, should ask for a 'Request for change in authorship' form which should be completed by all authors (including those to be removed) and returned to the journal’s email address.
Please note that changes to authorship cannot be made after acceptance of a manuscript.
Corresponding authors are responsible for ensuring that all listed authors have approved the manuscript before submission, including the names and order of authors, and that all authors receive the submission and all substantive correspondence with editors, as well as the full reviews, verifying that all data, figures, materials (including reagents), and code, even those developed or provided by other authors, comply with the transparency and reproducibility standards of both the field and journal.
This responsibility includes but is not limited to:
(i) ensuring that original data/original figures/materials/code upon which the submission is based are preserved following best practices in the field so that they are retrievable for reanalysis;
(ii) confirming that data/figures/materials/code presentation accurately reflects the original; and
(iii) foreseeing and minimizing obstacles to the sharing of data/materials/code described in the work.
The corresponding author should be responsible for managing these requirements across the author group and ensuring that the entire author group is fully aware of and in compliance with best practices in the discipline of publication.
To discourage ghost authorship, corresponding authors must reveal as appropriate whether the manuscript benefited from the use of editorial services that, if unacknowledged, might constitute an undisclosed conflict of interest. Examples include use of an editor from an organisation that may have a vested interest in slanting the results or reliance on a technical writer at a level that would warrant authorship credit. These situations might variously be addressed by including a statement in the acknowledgments, by describing the effort in the methods section, or by adding an author.
Corresponding authors should indicate whether any authors on earlier versions have been removed or new authors added and why. It is incumbent on the corresponding author to ensure that all authors have certified the author list and contribution description: that all authors who deserve to be credited on the manuscript are indeed identified, that no authors are listed who do not deserve authorship credit, and that author contributions, where they are provided, are expressed accurately.
Any potential authorship disputes brought to the editors’ attention will be handled in line with COPE guidelines.
All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an ‘Acknowledgements’ section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help or writing assistance, or a department chair who provided only general support.
Third party submissions
All manuscripts must be submitted by an author and may not be submitted by a third party.
The journal requires authors to declare all competing interests in relation to their work. All submitted manuscripts must include a ‘competing interests’ section at the end of the manuscript listing all competing interests (financial and non-financial). Where authors have no competing interests, the statement should read “The author(s) declare(s) that they have no competing interests”. The Editor may ask for further information relating to competing interests.
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.
What constitutes a competing interest?
Competing interests may be financial or non-financial. A competing interest exists when the authors’ interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by their personal or financial relationship with other people or organisations. Authors should disclose any financial competing interests but also any non-financial competing interests that may cause them embarrassment if they were to become public after the publication of the manuscript.
Financial competing interests include (but are not limited to):
- Receiving reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organisation that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the manuscript, either now or in the future
- Holding stocks or shares in an organisation that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the manuscript, either now or in the future
- Holding, or currently applying for, patents relating to the content of the manuscript
- Receiving reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organisation that holds or has applied for patents relating to the content of the manuscript
Non-financial competing interests include (but are not limited to) political, personal, religious, ideological, academic, and intellectual competing interests. If, after reading these guidelines, you are unsure whether you have a competing interest, please contact the Journal’s Editor.
The journal will not publish advertorial content, including work on industry-sponsored publications, such as freelance writers, contract research organisations and communications companies. .
Editorial Board Members and Editors
Editorial Board Members and Editors are required to declare any competing interests and may be excluded from the peer review process if a competing interest exists.
In addition, they should exclude themselves from handling manuscripts in cases where there is a competing interest. This may include – but is not limited to – having previously published with one or more of the authors, and sharing the same institution as one or more of the authors.
Where an Editor or Editorial Board Member is on the author list they must declare this in the competing interests section on the submitted manuscript. If they are an author or have any other competing interest regarding a specific manuscript, another Editor or member of the Editorial Board will be assigned to assume responsibility for overseeing peer review. These submissions are subject to the exact same review process as any other manuscript.
Editorial Board Members are welcome to submit papers to the journal. These submissions are not given any priority over other manuscripts, and Editorial Board Member status has no bearing on editorial consideration.
The journal editorial staff are required to declare any interests — financial or otherwise — that might influence, or be perceived to influence, their editorial practices. Failure to do so is a disciplinary offense. The journal has a strict policy of editorial independence in individual acceptance decisions and editorial standards of quality and significance should never be compromised. While some editors are financially incentivised to achieve journal growth, we are clear in our internal policies and individuals’ contracts or formal objectives that this should be achieved by ensuring submissions of sufficient quality and never by compromising editorial standards.
Research articles and non-research articles (e.g. Opinion, Review, and Commentary articles) must cite appropriate and relevant literature in support of the claims made. Excessive self-citation, coordinated efforts among several authors to collectively self-cite, gratuitous and unnecessary citation of articles published in the journal to which the paper has been submitted, and any other form of citation manipulation are inappropriate.
Citation manipulation will result in the article being rejected, and may be reported to authors’ institutions. Similarly, any attempts by peer-reviewers or editors to encourage such practices should be reported by authors to the publisher.
- Authors should consider the following guidelines when preparing their manuscript:
- Any statement in the manuscript that relies on external sources of information (i.e. not the authors' own new ideas or findings or general knowledge) should use a citation.
- Authors should avoid citing derivations of original work, i.e. they should cite the original work rather than a review article that cites an original work.
- Authors should ensure that their citations are accurate, i.e. they should ensure the citation supports the statement made in their manuscript and should not misrepresent another work by citing it if it does not support the point the authors wish to make.
- Authors should not cite sources that they have not read.
- Authors should not preferentially cite their own or their friends’, peers’, or institution’s publications.
- Authors should avoid citing work solely from one country.
- Authors should not use an excessive number of citations to support one point.
- Ideally, authors should cite sources that have undergone peer review where possible.
- Authors should not cite advertisements or advertorial material.
Any manuscript submitted to the journal must be original and the manuscript, or substantial parts of it, must not be under consideration by any other journal. In any case where there is the potential for overlap or duplication we require that authors are transparent. Authors should declare any potentially overlapping publications on submission and, where possible, upload these as additional files with the manuscript. Any overlapping publications should be cited. Any ‘in press’ or unpublished manuscript cited, or relevant to the Editor’s and reviewers' assessment of the manuscript, should be made available if requested by the Editor. The journal reserves the right to judge potentially overlapping or redundant publications on a case-by-case basis.
In general, the manuscript should not already have been formally published in any journal or in any other citable form. If justified and made clear upon submission, there are exceptions to this rule. Details of these exceptions are summarised below.
Generally permissible and non-permissible forms of duplicate/overlapping publication:
Guidance on permissibility
At the Editor's discretion, provided there is agreement from the original journal/publisher and the original publication is cited
Abstracts or posters presented at scientific meetings
Yes - published abstracts should be cited
Datasets in public or restricted access repositories
Yes - datasets should be cited in/hyperlinked from the manuscript if possible
Figures and tables in non-research articles
Yes, if, where applicable, permission has been obtained from the original publisher by the submitting author
Open science: data posted and discussed on wikis, blogs, online electronic lab notebooks, networking websites incorporated into submitted manuscript
Yes, usually permissible
Preprint servers, including authors' personal and institutional websites
Yes – this does not constitute previous publication
Study protocol published
Yes - published protocols should be cited
Any suspected cases of covert duplicate manuscript submission will be handled as outlined in the COPE guidelines and the Editor may contact the authors’ institution.
Preprint servers and author/institutional repositories
Posting a manuscript on a preprint server or an author's personal or institutional website does not constitute previous publication. Please see our preprint sharing and citation policy for further information.
The journal encourages self-archiving by authors of manuscripts accepted for publication in its journals.
The journal will consider submissions containing material that has previously formed part of a PhD or other academic thesis including those that have been made publicly available according to the requirements of the institution awarding the qualification.
At the Editor's discretion, the journal will consider manuscripts that are substantially extended versions of articles that have previously been published in another peer-reviewed journal. In such cases the prior publication of an abridged version of the article would therefore not preclude publication, provided the new manuscript represents a substantially novel contribution to the scientific record. If applicable, the authors should seek approval from the original publisher before submitting the extended version of the manuscript.
Prior abstracts and posters presented at, or published as part of, academic meetings do not preclude consideration for peer review of a full manuscript, as the full manuscript represents a formal advance to the citable scientific record. Published abstracts should be cited.
Making scientific datasets publicly available before associated manuscripts are submitted will not preclude consideration by the journal. Because an increasing number of research funding agencies require that their grant holders share the 'raw data' research outputs, such data sharing is encouraged by the journal, provided appropriate safeguards are in place to protect personal or sensitive information.
Authors of non-research articles (usually commissioned reviews and commentaries) can include figures and tables that have been previously published in other journals provided they confirm on submission that permission has been obtained from the original publisher (if applicable) and cite the original article. Documentary evidence to support this permission must be made available to the Editor on request.
In order to avoid the potential for self-plagiarism, inadvertently or otherwise, authors agreeing to write commissioned articles should notify the Editor of any recent publications or invitations to write on a similar topic.
If authors have previously discussed or posted their own data in venues such as blogs, wikis, social networking websites, or online electronic lab notebooks, they are still able to submit their findings to the journal. However, given the rapidly evolving nature of these resources, where discussion of data or manuscripts posted to these venues has subsequently been incorporated into the manuscript, the Editor will make their own assessment as to whether there may be duplication in the submitted manuscript.
Publication of study protocols reduces the risk of non-publication of research findings and facilitates methodological discussion, and is encouraged. Therefore prior publication of a study protocol before submission of a manuscript reporting the results is not considered duplicate publication.
Authors should be aware that replication of text from their own previous publications is text recycling (also referred to as self-plagiarism), and in some cases is considered unacceptable. Where overlap of text with authors’ own previous publications is necessary or unavoidable, duplication must always be reported transparently and be properly attributed and compliant with copyright requirements. If a manuscript contains text that has been published elsewhere, authors should notify the Editor of this on submission.
All research articles, and most other article types, undergo thorough peer review. This usually involves review by at least two independent peer reviewers.
Peer review policy
All submissions to the journal are assessed by an Editor, who will decide whether they are suitable for peer review. Where an Editor is on the author list or has any other competing interest regarding a specific manuscript, another member of the Editorial Board will be assigned to assume responsibility for overseeing peer review. Submissions felt to be suitable for consideration will be sent for peer review by appropriate independent experts identified by the Editor. Editors will make a decision based on the reviewers’ reports and authors are sent these reports along with the editorial decision on their manuscript. Authors should note that even in light of one positive report, concerns raised by another reviewer may fundamentally undermine the study and result in the manuscript being rejected.
Authors may suggest potential reviewers if they wish; however, whether or not to consider these reviewers is at the Editor's discretion. Authors should not suggest recent collaborators or colleagues who work in the same institution as themselves. Authors who wish to suggest peer reviewers can do so in the cover letter and should provide institutional email addresses where possible, or information which will help the Editor to verify the identity of the reviewer (i.e. an ORCID or Scopus ID).
Authors may request exclusion of individuals as peer reviewers, but they should explain the reasons in their cover letter on submission. Authors should not exclude too many individuals as this may hinder the peer review process. Please note that the Editor may choose to invite excluded peer reviewers.
Intentionally falsifying information, for example, suggesting reviewers with a false name or email address, will result in rejection of the manuscript and may lead to further investigation.
Editors will treat all manuscripts submitted to the journal in confidence. The journal adheres to COPE’s Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. Reviewers are therefore required to respect the confidentiality of the peer review process and not reveal any details of a manuscript or its review, during or after the peer-review process, beyond the information released by the journal. If reviewers wish to involve a colleague in the review process they should first obtain permission from the journal. The Editor should be informed of the names of any individuals who assisted in the review process when the report is returned.
The journal will not share manuscripts with third parties outside of the journal except in cases of suspected misconduct.
The journal takes all allegations of potential misconduct seriously.
In cases of suspected research or publication misconduct, it may be necessary for the Editor to contact and share manuscripts with third parties, for example, author(s)’ institution(s) and ethics committee(s).
If there is suspicion that research has not taken place within an appropriate ethical framework, the Editor may reject a manuscript and may inform third parties, for example, author(s)’ institution(s) and ethics committee(s).
In cases of proven research misconduct involving published articles, or where the scientific integrity of the article is significantly undermined, articles may be retracted.
Data falsification and fabrication
Data falsification is manipulating research data with the intention of giving a false impression. This includes manipulating images, removing outliers or “inconvenient” results, changing, adding or omitting data points, etc. Data fabrication means the making up of research findings.
Any questions regarding data integrity raised during or after the peer review process will be referred to the Editor. The Editor may request (anonymised) underlying study data from the author(s) for inspection or verification. If the original data cannot be produced, the manuscript may be rejected or, in the case of a published article, retracted. Cases of suspected misconduct will be reported to the author(s)’ institution(s).
The journal will follow the COPE guidelines outlining how to deal with cases of potential publication misconduct.
If plagiarism is identified, the COPE guidelines on plagiarism will be followed. The journal follow COPE's definition of plagiarism.
Corrections and retractions
Rarely, it may be necessary for the journal to publish corrections to, or retractions of, articles published in its journals, so as to maintain the integrity of the academic record.
Corrections to, or retractions of, published articles will be made by publishing a Correction or a Retraction note bidirectionally linked to the original article. Any alterations to the original article will be described in the note. The original article remains in the public domain and the subsequent Correction or Retraction will be widely indexed. In the exceptional event that material is considered to infringe certain rights or is defamatory, we may have to remove that material from our site and archive sites.
Authors, readers or organisations who become aware of errors or ethics issues in a published article are encouraged to contact the individual journal in the first instance via the contact details available on the journal website. All reports will be considered by the Editors; additional expert advice may be sought when deciding on the most appropriate course of action.
Changes to published articles that affect the interpretation and conclusion of the article, but do not fully invalidate the article, will, at the Editor(s)’ discretion, be corrected via publication of a Correction that is indexed and bidirectionally linked to the original article.
On rare occasions, when the interpretation or conclusion of an article is substantially undermined, it may be necessary for published articles to be retracted. Retraction notices are indexed and bidirectionally linked to the original article. The original article is watermarked as retracted and the title is amended with the prefix “Retracted article:”
Editorial Expressions of Concern
When an Editor becomes aware of serious concerns regarding interpretation or conclusion of a published article, they may choose to publish a statement alerting the readership. Scenarios in which Editorial Expressions of Concern may be published include prolonged investigations of very complex cases and when the concerns may have a significant and immediate impact on public health or public policy. An Editorial Expression of Concern may be superseded by a subsequent Correction or Retraction, but will remain part of the permanent published record.
Removal of published content
In exceptional circumstances, the journal reserves the right to remove any published content from the journal’s online platform. Such action may be taken when (i) the journal has been advised that content is defamatory, infringes a third party’s intellectual property right, right to privacy, or other legal right, or is otherwise unlawful; (ii) a court or government order has been issued, or is likely to be issued, requiring removal of such content; (iii) content, if acted upon, would pose an immediate and serious risk to health. Removal may be temporary or permanent. Bibliographic metadata (e.g. title and authors) will be retained, and will be accompanied by a statement explaining why the content has been removed.
Appeals and complaints
Appeal against a rejection
If you wish to ask the Editor or Editorial Board to reconsider a rejection of a manuscript, you should, in the first instance, contact the Editor via email@example.com. These are considered appeals, which, by policy, must take second place to the normal workload. In practice, this means that decisions on appeals often take several weeks. Only one appeal is permitted for each manuscript. Final decisions on appeals will be made by the Editorial Board Member handling the paper or the Editor.
In general, an appeal against a rejection decision on a manuscript will only be considered if:
- the authors can demonstrate that an error that determined the final decision has been made - by a referee or the Editors - during review
- if important additional data can be provided
- if a convincing case of bias in the process can be demonstrated.
Authors who wish to appeal an editorial decision should submit a formal letter of appeal to the journal by contacting the journal editorial office. Include the manuscript tracking number in the email subject line and the appeal letter.
If appeals are successful, then authors will be given instructions on how to proceed. If an appeal merits further consideration, the Editor may send the authors' response and the revised paper out for further peer review.
Complaints about our processes or about publication ethics will in the first instance be handled by the Editor-in-Chief of the journal.
For complaints about processes, such as time taken for review, the Editor will review and respond to the complainant's concerns. This feedback will be provided to relevant stakeholders to guide improvements to processes and procedures.
For complaints about publication ethics or scientific content, the Editor will follow guidelines published by the Committee on Publication Ethics. The Editor then decides on a course of action and provides feedback to the complainant.
If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint, it will be escalated to the journal's editorial and publishing management team for investigation.