Progress in Biology endorses and applies the standards of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), which promotes integrity in peer-reviewed research publications.
Experimental research on humans must follow internationally recognised guidelines. A statement to this effect must appear in the Ethical Considerations section of the manuscript, including the name of the body that gave approval, with a reference number where appropriate. Informed consent must also be documented. Manuscripts will be rejected if the editorial office considers that the research has not been carried out within an ethical framework (e.g. if the severity of the experimental procedure is not justified by the value of the knowledge gained.)
The author should aim to post answers to the following questions:
- What risks to the subject are entailed in involvement in the research? Are there any potential physical, psychological or disclosure dangers that can be anticipated? What is the possible benefit or harm to the subject or society as a result of their participation or from the project as a whole? What procedures have been established for the care and protection of subjects (e.g. insurance, medical cover) and the control of any information gained from them or about them?
- Was there any sense in subjects being ‘obliged’ to participate – as in the case of students, prisoners, learners or patients – or were volunteers being recruited? If participation was compulsory, the potential consequences of non-compliance must be indicated to subjects; if voluntary, entitlement to withdraw consent must be indicated as well as when that entitlement lapses.
- Authors must include how informed consent was handled in the study and include, in detail, the way in which data protection was handled. Special precaution should be taken not to publish identifying information of patients in written descriptions, photographs and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives informed written consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that the patient be shown the manuscript to be published. If unsure, refer to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.
It should be noted that salami publishing and parallel publishing detract from the innovative nature of research findings. The journal publisher is a member of the iThenticate plagiarism detection initiative.