Ethical Policy

Ethical Policy


The Ethical Policy describes the processes governing the European Publisher (EP) journals to ensure the ethical treatment of all participants in its publication process. EP authors, editors, and reviewers are encouraged to review these guidelines and address any questions or concerns at Corresponding authors are required to confirm they have read and understand this policy when they submit their manuscript to our journals.


Author Roles and Responsibilities



By submitting a manuscript to the EP journals, all persons included as authors agree that they have reviewed and approved the manuscript prior to submission, and that they accept responsibility for the information contained in the submission. Authorship credit should be based on:

  • substantial contributions to the conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;
  • drafting the manuscript or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and
  • final approval of the version to be published.


Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, and 3 as stated to be included as authors. Individuals who were not principal researchers or writers should not be listed as authors but should be acknowledged instead for their ancillary role in the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript.

In multicentre studies, the authors should fully meet the criteria for authorship /contributorship as defined above and need to complete a conflicts of interest disclosure form. All authors must also sign a copyright transfer form. The individual authors’ contributions to the manuscript must be explained in detail in the cover letter which must be submitted together with the manuscript. The names of all authors must be placed under the title of the manuscript. By submitting original research, the author/s agree that the original research data are available for review upon a formal request from the editors.

We strongly encourage authors to make specific attributions of their contribution in the cover letter accompanying the manuscript. We also encourage authors to use a taxonomy such as CRediT for standardised contribution descriptions.

Author responsibilities

  • To submit only original works, while citing and quoting the works of others in accordance with the journals’ stipulated citation formats.
  • To inform the editors in writing if the submitted research is funded.
  • To identify the sources of support for the research undertaken in the Acknowledgments section in the manuscript.
  • To ensure that submissions are free of plagiarism and/or self-plagiarism (also known as duplicate publication).
  • To notify the editors in writing about any related manuscripts under consideration by another publisher or in press and forward copies of these manuscripts to the editors.
  • To provide, when requested, the data and a detailed description of the research methods used.
  • To promptly notify the editors or publisher and cooperate with the editors to retract or correct any significant error or inaccuracy in the work.
  • To ensure that the copyright form has been signed, certifying that the manuscript is an original work, that it has not been published previously, and that is not under consideration for publication elsewhere in any form. In the case of multiple authors, the copyright needs to be signed by the corresponding author.

Corresponding author responsibilities

  • To ensure the affiliation and contact details for all co-authors are accurately provided at the submission stage.
  • To ensure all named co-authors have agreed to and accept responsibility for the manuscript’s submission for publication.
  • To respond to any queries or complaints which may arise after publication.

Changes in authorship

Any requests to change the author list after submission should be made to the editorial office at by providing an explanation for the requested change. Any modification in authorship after submission should be approved by all co-authors and justified to the editor in writing.


Conflicts of Interest

Our policy on conflicts of interest covers the understanding that author/s are not unduly pressured to manipulate their research to please external agents such as, but not limited to funders, institutional pressures, political pressures, socio-cultural trends and/or religious convictions. Personal bias and prejudice should also not interfere with the fair and transparent process of academic research. Other examples of conflicts of interest include manipulating data to appease political masters, funders, institution management, and other agencies with a direct or indirect influence on the author/s.

Author/s are encouraged to disclose all potential conflicts of interest as part of their adherence to the EP's policy on ethical research. The journals editors are cognizant of the fact that research data and findings can have profound repercussions on society, the environment, and human life. EP’s role in sharing and disseminating research is premised on the foundation that academic integrity is at the heart of ethical academic pursuits and as such, the EP values and supports author/s’ integrity in conducting and reporting research that is underpinned by the Ethical Policy. If there is no conflict of interest, a statement should be made to that effect after the Acknowledgments section or before the References Section in the manuscript. If the conference uses a double-blind review, then the full disclosure should be included in the title page of the manuscript/cover letter accompanying the manuscript.

Failure to declare conflicts of interest can result in the rejection of a manuscript. Conflicts of interest that may arise after submission and during the peer review and publication process must be immediately conveyed to the editors and the EP editorial office at with the details of the conflicts.


Funding Disclosure

To increase funding transparency, it is the responsibility of the author/s to declare their funding sources including grant numbers (if applicable) in the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript. It will allow us to match this information to funders listed in the Open Funder registry. For more information, please check the CrossRef’s Open Funder Registry.

Research Involving Human & Animal Subjects

When a study involves human or live animal subjects, authors must include an appropriate ethical statement during the submission of the manuscript.

Research involving human subjects – author/s should have the approval of the appropriate institutional and/or national research ethics committee (where possible, details of compliance with national or international laws or guidelines should be included) and attest that the study was carried out in accordance with the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki. Informed consent for any research with human subjects is required.

Any research that involves the use of human subjects must show evidence of having followed the stipulations of the ethics committee or review board of the author/s’ institution/s. This means that documented approval, which includes the project identification code, date of approval, and the affiliation of the ethics committee/review board, should be attached as supplemental material in the manuscript. Alternatively, these details can also be mentioned in the Research Methods section of the manuscript with an accompanying statement such as “Informed consent was obtained from all participants prior to the research and for the research to be published. The research was approved by the Ethics Committee/ Review Board of (affiliated institution) under (Project Identification Code)”. The inclusion of these details and statement is clear and strong evidence that the ethical research protocols were followed.

It is the responsibility of the author/s to ensure that their affiliated institutions’ documents’ coverage of protocols for ethical research and publication are comprehensive enough to prevent any possibility of subsequent claims of unethical behaviour/unfulfilled promises of payment for participation in the research by any participant once the manuscript has been published. EP and the editors will not accept any responsibility for participants’ claims once the manuscript has been published. Any complaints of this nature will be forwarded to the corresponding author to deal with.

Research involving animal subjects – author/s should include a statement that all experiments and procedures were performed in compliance with ARRIVE guidelines and details of compliance with national or international laws or protocols (where possible, the approval or case number) should be included.


Research based on clinical trials – author/s are expected to follow international benchmarked standards in clinical trial registration and presentation (i.e., CONSORT, CARE, STROBE, SPIRIT).

Participant Consent

EP adheres to the
 ICMJE recommendations on the protection of research participants. According to these recommendations, all participants have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent.

Permission to use data that may include photographs of the participants must be obtained from the participants or parents/guardians in the form of written informed consent to use such images as part of the research findings and for publication. It is authors’ responsibility to ensure that these principles are complied with.

The author/s must be able to show proof of documented informed consent from the participants involved in the research to the editors, if the need arises.

The signed consent forms should be stored in a secure location by authors or their institutions, as described in the submitted ethics application. It is not required to submit completed consent forms during submission. However, consent forms should be made available upon request from the editors during review or after publication.

Even if consent has been obtained, possible identifying details (i.e., research subjects' names, initials, social security numbers or any form of identification) of participants should be omitted and necessary care should be taken that the description of the participants should not be disparaging or humiliating.

Consent is not required for the use of anonymised images from which the individual cannot be identified (i.e., x-rays, ultrasound images, brain scans).

Data Availability

Author/s must be able to provide the research data supporting their work for editorial review, if necessary. Author/s are strongly encouraged to deposit research data in public, community-supported repositories such as Figshareor Dryad Digital Repository.


Image Manipulation

Author/s are strongly advised to act sensitively when submitting images which might be offensive to any community, race, religion, or ethnic group or violate EP's copyright. EP holds the right to request authors to seek alternative images for the final publication.

Overall custom adjustments of contrast, colour intensity, brightness, and sharpness are acceptable if these do not distort any of the information contained in the original. Manipulation of original images, with the aim of passing off such manipulated material as one’s own or to provide distorted interpretations is considered a violation of publication ethics and will result in an immediate rejection of the manuscript.

Author/s should comply with any specific policy for images of the relevant journals.


Manuscript Writing and Reporting Standards

EP benchmarks its publication standards against reputable international journals. As such, manuscripts submitted for publication in the EP journals must fulfil certain criteria for writing and reporting standards. In a well-written manuscript, the background of the study should adequately reflect the purpose of the study and the research objective/s. The research design must be explained in adequate detail so that the validity and reliability of the research are established. The research findings should be accurately reported and discussed within the scope of the study’s stated significance and answer the research question/s. This, together with sufficient, timely references, would facilitate a replication of the study. Manipulation of findings is considered unethical and will result in a rejection of the manuscript.

Originality and Referencing

Duplicate/Multiple publication

EP only publishes original works. The submission of the manuscript must be accompanied with the completed copyright form and conflict of interest disclaimer that the submitted content is original, has not been previously published or under consideration for publication elsewhere.


Global, mosaic, and verbatim plagiarism are viewed by EP as copying of words, ideas, models, images, and/or data from other works, without giving due credit to the original author/s. All forms of plagiarism constitute unethical behaviour and as a serious threat to the integrity of the research process. Manuscripts in which plagiarism is detected will be handled on a case-by-case basis depending on the extent of plagiarism detected. Submitted manuscripts will undergo a plagiarism check before being processed for review; hence, detection of plagiarism will result in the manuscript being either rejected either with or without an offer to resubmit depending on the extent of plagiarism detected.

There is a possibility that the original manuscript is not freely accessible to manuscript indexing services due to restrictions by programmers, journals or publishers; in that case, it may not be possible to detect plagiarism/duplicate publication in a manuscript.

EP is a participant of Similarity Check, a service offered by CrossRef and powered by iThenticate software which is used to screen new submissions for plagiarism.


Proper acknowledgment always should be attributed to the owner of the work. Submitted manuscripts must present the author/s’ own work. If the authors have used the work and/or ideas of others, this must be appropriately cited or quoted in the manuscript. Failure to do so will result in the rejection of the manuscript.

It is the author/s’ responsibility to ensure that permission has been obtained from the original owner/s to use images, figures, models or other significant content in their manuscript if the original publisher holds the copyright.

Fabrication and falsification

Fabrication is construed as the misrepresentation of research processes and the manipulation of reported data and results with the aim of misleading the readers.

Falsification is construed as misrepresentation and/or omitting of research processes, data and/or results with the aim of misleading the readers. Manipulation of original images, models, concepts, and data with the aim of passing off such manipulated material as one’s own or providing distorted interpretations of such material is also classified as falsification.

In both cases, the authenticity of the research processes and the reporting of data, its analysis and results are compromised and the manuscript will be rejected for publication. Once evidence of plagiarism, duplicate publication, fabrication, and falsification has been detected in a manuscript during the review process, the manuscripts are rejected and the editor will contact the corresponding author, the author/s’ institution/s and/or funder/s to inform them of the situation. This underscores the EP's editorial policy of rejection of any form of ethical misconduct. If, despite the editor’s best efforts, such a manuscript has already been published, a retraction and apology will be published by the editor in a subsequent issue of the journals.

If detected that a manuscript was produced using manuscript mills, the manuscript will be rejected the manuscript either before or during the peer review stage and it will not be considered for publication.

In cases that may require manuscript withdrawal, retraction, replacement, and corrections, the editor’s actions are guided by policies stipulated in the Committee on Publication Ethics (2019).


Complaints to the publisher must be related to author/s, reviewer/s, the manuscript, editor/s, and/or publisher. Any potential conflict of interest should be directed to the editor. The editor is responsible for the timely and thorough investigation of all complaints and for reporting the outcome of the investigation to the complainant. The decision of the editorial board is final.



Reviewers are expected to understand and accept their role as pivotal in the publication process.


Contribution to Editorial Decisions

Reviewers must ensure that they have sufficient expertise to provide a satisfactory review of the offered manuscripts. Reviewers who feel that they are unqualified to review the assigned manuscript should notify the editor and decline to review the manuscript.

Conflicts of Interests


Reviewers should consider any potential conflict of interest listed below before accepting any review assignment:

  • If any of the authors has a personal relationship with you (i.e., a family member, close personal friend, colleague, partner, or spouse)
  • If you are currently collaborating or have collaborated on a research project or a publication within the past two years.
  • If you are affiliated with the same institution (faculty or department) as one of the authors
  • If you have any financial interest or competing interests which prevents you from giving an objective opinion of the work.
  • If you have any business relations with any organization involved in the research

In case of doubt, reviewers need to notify the editor of any potential conflict of interest. In the event of a conflict of interest, the editor will select an alternative reviewer.



In cases where reviewers feel that their objectivity may be compromised due to potential competitive, collaborative, personal, or financial conflicts of interest connected to authors, institutions or manuscripts, they should inform the editor before accepting any review assignments.


Reviewers should respect the confidentiality of the review process as any manuscript received for review is considered private and confidential. Reviewers should not discuss or share the review or information about the manuscript with any colleague or authors during the review process before publication. 

Reviewers are strictly forbidden from using any unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript in their own research.


Reviewers should ensure that the timelines stipulated for the completion of the review are strictly adhered to, except in unforeseen circumstances when an extension may be required. In such circumstances, reviewers are strongly advised to contact the editor without delay to seek an extension or withdraw from the process so that the review process is not disrupted or delayed.

Suspected Misconduct

Reviewers should be observant of any signs of fraudulent content or and report any suspicions to the editor for further action. Such fraudulent content or misconduct may include plagiarism, duplicate publication, data fabrication / falsification, image manipulation, author conflict of interest etc.).



Editors should abide by the guidelines below regarding the standards of appropriate ethical behaviour and responsibilities for supporting and maintaining the integrity of scientific research, review, and publication processes.

Series editors are expected to abide adhere to the precepts of editorial independence as set out in COPE’s Core Practices on managing scholarly publications and the COPE’s Flowcharts when investigating allegations of misconduct.

Editorial Decisions

EP adheres to the precepts of editorial independence as set out in COPE’s Core Practices on managing scholarly publications.

The editorial decisions made by the editors are independent and free from undue pressures from any parties in accordance with the EP's ethical policy. The editors’ decisions regarding a manuscript's acceptance or rejection for publication are solely based on the manuscript's contribution to the field, originality, and clarity.

In the case of conflicting decisions by reviewers and/or the editor, the editor will have to communicate with the Editor-in Chief who will appoint one of the editors from the Series editorial board to act as an independent reviewer. The decision of the independent reviewer will be final. 

For sponsored publications, sponsors are expected to be neutral and not exert undue influence over editorial decisions. Sponsors will also not be involved in any of the processes involving editorial and policy decision making. The name of the sponsor, its role, and responsibilities will be disclosed in all published content under the sponsor’s auspices.

Conflicts of Interest

Editors should inform the Editor-in-Chief before accepting the appointment as the editor, and then update if any new conflicts arise. Editors should consider any potential conflict of interest listed below before accepting any review assignment:

  • If any of the authors have a personal relationship with you (i.e., a family member, close personal friend, colleague, partner, or spouse)
  • If you are currently collaborating or have you collaborated on a research project or a publication within the past two years.
  • If you are affiliated with the same institution (faculty or department) as one of the authors
  • If you have any financial interest or competing interests which prevents you from giving an objective opinion of the work.
  • If you have any business relations with any organization involved in the research


The editor must not be involved in editorial decisions regarding manuscripts in cases of potential conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, personal or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected with the manuscripts. In such circumstances, the editor needs to communicate with the Editor-in Chief for further action.

If any conflicts of interest are detected, the Editor-in Chief is authorised to remove the editor and replace him/her with another candidate.


The editor should respect the confidentiality of all submitted manuscripts and protect the confidentiality of reviewers’ identities and all material submitted to the series.

In case of suspected ethical misconduct, after consulting the Editor-in-Chief, the editor may share limited information about the investigation of the potential misconduct with reviewers/other editors.

The editors are strictly forbidden from using any unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript in their own research.


Fair Play

The editors should apply consistent standards in peer review processes and evaluate manuscripts fairly without regard to the author/s' race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ethnic origin, citizenship, institutional affiliation, or political philosophy.

Submission and Peer Review Process

The editors should apply consistent standards in their editorial processes while ensuring transparency, fairness, and lack of bias.

The editors should acknowledge receipt of submitted manuscripts within two working days of submission, select reviewers who have suitable expertise in the relevant field, monitor the performance of peer reviewers, and consider manuscripts submitted for publication with reasonable speed. Once a decision has been made, the editor should provide author/s with a brief but cogent explanation regarding the editorial decision pertaining to manuscript submitted.

The editors should encourage reviewers to consider ethical issues related to the research under review.

Suspected Misconduct

The editors should ascertain that submissions do not contain any copied material from previously published or copyrighted work.

The editors must initiate in a timely manner a thorough investigation of all complaints and report the outcome of the investigation to the complainant. When any convincing evidence of misconduct is presented, the editor should cooperate with the publisher to publish as and when needed, clarifications (errata), corrections, retractions, apologies or other corrections.

EP benchmarks its ethical policies and processes against the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Flowcharts when investigating allegations of misconduct.