Dove Medical Press makes every effort to ensure the highest standards in publication ethics are upheld and takes all forms of misconduct seriously. Dove Medical Press will take all necessary action in accordance with COPE guidelines, to protect the integrity of the scholarly record. Authors should be aware of misconduct issues prior to submitting articles for publication. Examples of misconduct include (but are not limited to):


This applies to data, images, words or ideas taken from any materials in electronic or print formats without sufficient attribution. This can include abstracts, seminar presentations, laboratory reports, thesis or dissertation, research proposals, computer programs, online posts, grey literature and unpublished or published manuscripts.

The use of any such material either directly or indirectly should be properly acknowledged in all instances and the source of content must always be cited.

Dove Medical Press uses iThenticate plagiarism detection software to screen all submitted manuscripts and will deal with cases of plagiarism according to COPE guidelines. Any manuscript found to contain plagiarized material will not be considered for publication.

Duplicate submission/publication

Authors are required to declare upon submission that the manuscript is not under consideration elsewhere, and as such the detection of a duplicate submission or publication is typically considered to be a deliberate act. This includes articles previously published in another language. For acceptable forms of secondary submissions or publications (e.g. an article translated into English), in accordance with ICMJE guidance, authors must seek permission from the publisher and copyright holder of the original article, and must inform the Editor of the receiving journal about the history of the original article. It must also be made clear to readers that the article is a translated version, with a citation provided to the original article.

Dove Medical Press will accept unpublished work from an author’s thesis; however, the thesis must be acknowledged as the source of the work and adequately cited within the manuscript. It is advised the submitted manuscript contains unique aspects not included in the thesis. If work from a thesis has already been published this will not be considered original work and will not be considered for publication. Please refer to COPE’s guidelines for more details regarding the publication of theses.

If you have uploaded your manuscript to a non-commercial preprint server, you may still submit the manuscript to a Dove Medical Press journal. We do not consider posting on a preprint server to be duplicate publication and this will not jeopardize consideration for publication.

  • If you have posted your manuscript to a preprint server, we ask that, upon acceptance, you acknowledge that the article has been accepted for publication as follows:

“This article has been accepted for publication in [JOURNAL TITLE], published by Dove Medical Press.”

  • After publication please update your preprint, adding the following text to encourage others to read and cite the final published version of your article:

“This is an original manuscript of an article published by Dove Medical Press in [JOURNAL TITLE] on [date of publication], available online: https://doi.org/10.2147/[Article DOI].”


Although authors are expected to refer to their own previously published work, in some cases the re-use of large proportions of previous work is considered unacceptable. Where this is unavoidable authors must be transparent about their previously published work by providing appropriate citations. Authors must also ensure that re-use is compliant with copyright policies. Dove Medical Press will deal with cases of text-recycling according to COPE guidelines.


Authors are required to give an honest account of authorship, where each listed author meets the authorship criteria in order to provide transparency and credit to those who have substantially contributed to the work. However, where authors have deliberately not complied with this requirement it will considered a form of misconduct. Of particular concern are:

  • ‘Ghost authorship’ - where an author(s) has substantially contributed to the work but has not been given credit. This also impacts transparency as any competing interests pertaining to a ‘ghost author’ will not be declared.
  • ‘Gift authorship’- where a listed author(s) has not contributed substantially, or at all to the published work.
  • ‘Authorship for sale’- where authors have ‘sold’ an author spot on a paper, or where a researcher has ‘bought’ an authorship spot on a paper.

Dove Medical Press will deal with authorship misconduct according to COPE guidelines. In some instances, Dove Medical Press may be required to defer cases to the authors institution(s) for adjudication.

Affiliation misrepresentation

Affiliations must be an accurate reflection of where the study was approved and/or supported and/or conducted. For non-research articles, the affiliation should be listed as the place the author(s) was based at the time of submission. Misrepresentation of affiliation is a form of misconduct and Dove Medical Press will deal will such cases by contacting all relevant institutions to assist with our investigation.

Undisclosed competing interests

A competing interest has the potential to influence or bias someone’s judgements or views. They arise when a personal judgement concerning a primary interest (such as patient welfare or research results) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain). Misconduct occurs when an author, editor or reviewer does not declare relevant competing interests, which can be perceived to influence their opinion of or assessment of a research or non-research article. Editors and reviewers should recuse themselves from any kind of involvement with submissions they have a competing interest against.

Dove Medical Press will not consider manuscripts that are suspected of having an undisclosed competing interest.

Image manipulation

Where deliberate action has been taken to inappropriately manipulate or fabricate an image. This is a serious form of misconduct as is designed to mislead others and damages the integrity of the scholarly record with wide-reaching and long-term consequences.

Dove Medical Press expects all images contained within manuscripts to be accurate and free from manipulation. Specific features within an image may not be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed or introduced without adequate notification of what the alteration is. Adjustments to the brightness, contrast or color balance of an image are acceptable if they do not obscure, eliminate or misrepresent information present in the original. Grouping images from different parts of gels, western blots or microscope images must be made explicit in the arrangement of the figure or in the text of the figure legend.

If the original, unedited images cannot be produced on request, acceptance of a manuscript or paper may be declined or retracted.

Data falsification/fabrication

Where deliberate action has been taken to inappropriately manipulate or fabricate data. This is considered a serious form of misconduct and is designed to mislead others and damages the integrity of the scholarly record with wide-reaching and long-term consequences.

When submitting a manuscript to Dove Medical Press, authors must ensure all data contained within their manuscript is accurate and correctly represents their work. To help assist Dove Medical Press with manuscript evaluation, authors are expected to retain all raw data represented in their manuscripts.

If the original data cannot be produced on request, acceptance of a manuscript or published paper may be declined or retracted.

Peer review manipulation

Where authors or agencies submitting on behalf of authors take deliberate steps to influence the peer review process in their favour, or where editors make decisions based on biased peer review reports. Where there is evidence to suggest that the integrity of the peer review process has been compromised, necessary action will be taken to correct the scholarly record.

In very rare instances peer reviewers may appropriate the work they were assigned to review. Dove Medical Press recognizes the damage such actions would cause to the peer review process. All peer reviewers at Dove Medical Press are advised to read and consider the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers before accepting to review a manuscript and expected to treat any article and associated materials received in the course of the review as confidential. Any reviewer found to have committed misconduct by appropriating the work of others will be permanently removed from the peer review database and reported to their institution.

Citation manipulation

Where authors excessively and inappropriately self-cite, or enter into prearrangements among author groups to inappropriately cite each other's work or where editors or reviewers coerce authors to cite papers from their own previously published papers, or from specific journals, without due justification as to why those papers are necessary to cite.

Unethical research

Where research fails to comply with the relevant and approved local, national, or international legislative and regulatory requirements or where researchers have not taken sufficient steps to protect the safety and privacy of human subjects, or the welfare of animals used in the research.

Dove Medical Press takes its role in ensuring all publications meet ethical requirements seriously. Manuscripts will not be considered for publication where evidence exists that a study was not suitably approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee. Similarly, submissions will not be considered where concerns are raised by the journal editors or peer reviewers over a lack of patient consent, improper patient identification protection or a lack of animal ethical approval.

“Ethics dumping”

Where researchers leading a study deliberately set up collaborations in regions where participant recruitment and study interventions can circumvent international standards of research ethics oversight.

Breaches in copyright/use of third -party material without permission

Where authors have included material, which is under copyright and have not obtained the appropriate permissions as instructed by the copyright holders.


Updated 10 March 2021