Scientific misconduct


Dove Medical Press is a member of COPE and makes every effort to ensure the highest standards in publication ethics are upheld. Dove Medical Press will investigate any allegation of publication misconduct and follow COPEs Core Practices and Flowcharts when dealing with such matters.
All manuscripts submitted to Dove Medical Press undergo thorough pre-publication screening including iThenticate anti-plagiarism software checks. Authors are also required to complete conflict of interest (COI) forms and confirmation of authorship during the submission of their article. Authors should be aware of several scientific misconduct issues when submitting an article to Dove Medical Press for publication. These issues are outlined below:

Data falsification/fabrication
Falsification of research includes changing or omitting data in order to make it fit with a desired outcome. Fabrication of research involves making up and reporting data. Both are considered forms of research fraud. 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 may be declined.

Plagiarism occurs when an author presents data, text or the ideas of others as their own without the proper attribution or credit. Any manuscript containing plagiarized material submitted to Dove Medical Press will not be considered for publication. Authors must take care in ensuring they correctly attribute the work of others in all submissions. Reusing or recycling the author’s own previous work without the correct attribution is considered a form of self-plagiarism or text recycling and such cases will also not be considered for publication. COPE offers a series of guidelines for editors when dealing with cases of text recycling. Note that all manuscripts submitted to Dove Medical Press are run through iThenticate anti-plagiarism software.

All manuscripts submitted to Dove Medical Press must be original and not published or under consideration for publication elsewhere. This includes articles previously published in another language. Authors must clearly state to the editor whether aspects of the work contained in the current submission has already been reported in a similarly related submission or publication. Dove Medical Press will accept unpublished work from an author’s thesis, however the thesis must be acknowledged as the source of the work on submission 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 cannot be considered original work and will be considered a duplicate publication. Please refer to COPE’s guidelines for more details regarding the publication of theses.

Where duplication involves reporting the exact same data in two or more publications, redundancy involves presenting substantially overlapping data in two or more publications. This includes borrowing or recycling from the authors’ previous work and publishing it again with some additional data. Another form of redundancy is known as ‘salami-slicing’. It refers to the breaking up or segmenting of a larger study into two or more parts and submitting them to one or more journals. As a rule, if a study contains considerably similar hypotheses, data or study population, and methods as another it may be considered redundant and will not be considered for publication, especially if the other work has not been adequately cited.

Image manipulation
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. Similar to data fabrication, if the original images cannot be produced on request, acceptance of a manuscript may be declined.

Authorship must be strictly limited to those who have made a considerable contribution to the conception, planning, execution and writing of the study. Dove Medical Press observes the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship recommendations and will not consider manuscripts suspected of ghost, gift or guest authorship. Ghost authorship occurs when a qualifying author is omitted from the manuscripts authorship list, whereas gift or guest authorship occurs when someone who did not qualify for authorship is listed as an author. Dove Medical Press will investigate authorships disputes and follows COPE’s guidelines for resolving such disputes. In some instances, Dove Medical Press may be required to defer cases to the authors institution(s) and ask them to adjudicate.

Conflicts of interest
A conflict of interest or competing interest involves a situation that 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). While there is nothing unethical about having a conflict of interest, not declaring one is considered a form of misconduct. Dove Medical Press requires a full disclosure of conflicts of interest on submission of a manuscript and will not consider manuscripts that are suspected of having an undisclosed conflict of interest.

There are various kinds of conflict of interest that fall under several broad headings including, financial ties, personal relationships, institutional affiliations and legal involvement. If an author is in doubt over whether they need to disclose a conflict of interest, they should consult with their institution or the journal Editor-in-chief, who can guide them on the right course of action.

Ethical issues with a submitted manuscript
Ethical misconduct in research generally occurs when researchers fail to comply with the legislative and regulatory requirements affecting their work. This includes the substantial or persistent violation of relevant local, national or international regulations and laws. In most cases these violations relate to the use of funds, care of animals, human participants, pharmaceuticals and biological or chemical materials.
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.

Appropriation of an author's ideas or data by a reviewer
Peer review is an essential part of the academic publication process. Peer reviewers are given privileged access to the unpublished work of others and they are entrusted in this role. In very rare instances peer reviewers may breach this trust and appropriate the work they were assigned to review. Despite cases of this being extremely rare, 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.

Updated 23 May 2019