Publication Ethics and Malpractice
Ethical standards for publication
Ethical standards for publication exist to ensure high-quality scientific publications and public trust in scientific findings. The editors shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, and in no case shall they encourage such misconduct.
The editors expect research published by the journal to meet the following criteria:
- honesty in all aspects of research;
- scrupulous care, thoroughness and excellence in research practice;
- transparency and open communication;
- care and respect for all participants in and subjects of research.
Research involving humans or animals should be approved by relevant ethics committee(s) and should conform to international ethical and legal standards for research. Authors should respect human participants’ right to privacy, do their best to anonymize personal details, especially in reporting case studies, and gain any necessary consent to publish before submitting to the journal.
All manuscripts are subject to peer review and are expected to meet high academic standards. If approved by the editor, submissions will be considered by peer reviewers, whose identities will remain anonymous to the authors. Peer-review is defined as obtaining advice on individual manuscripts from reviewers’ expert in the field. The peer-review is single blinded. We may sometimes ask additional reviewer(s) in papers requiring specific expertise. The reviewers should adhere to the following rules:
- Judgments should be objective.
- Reviewers may point out relevant published work which is not yet cited.
- Reviewed articles should be treated confidentially.
- Reviewers should have no conflicts of interest. Editors and reviewers should decline to be involved with a submission when they are in a conflict of interest (see more in the Conflicts of interest section below).
Authors must not use words, figures, or ideas of others without attribution. All sources must be cited at the point they are used, and reuse of wording must be limited and be attributed or quoted in the text. The editorial board can use specific tools (e.g. Crossref Similarity Check) to detect submissions that overlap with published and submitted manuscripts.
Manuscripts that are found to have been plagiarized from a manuscript by other authors, whether published or unpublished, will be rejected. Any published articles may need to be corrected or retracted.
Duplicate submission and redundant publication
Only original content will be considered, i.e. articles that have not been previously published, including in a language other than Bulgarian or English. Articles based on content previously reported on conferences or in a thesis will be considered. Manuscripts submitted to the journal must not be submitted elsewhere while under consideration and must be withdrawn before being submitted elsewhere.
If authors have used their own previously published work, or work that is currently under review, as the basis for a submitted manuscript, they must cite the previous articles and indicate how their submitted manuscript differs from their previous work.
Submitted manuscripts whose authors are found to include citations whose primary purpose is to increase the number of citations to a given author’s work, or to articles published in a particular journal, will be rejected.
Fabrication and falsification
Submitted manuscripts whose authors are found to have fabricated or falsified the results, including the manipulation of images, will be rejected, or already published articles may be retracted.
Authorship and acknowledgements
All listed authors must have made a significant contribution to the research in the manuscript, approved its claims, and agreed to be an author. We refer to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines. Anyone who contributed to the research or manuscript preparation, but is not an author, should be acknowledged with their permission.
Conflicts of interest
Conflicts of interest (COIs) occur when issues outside research can be reasonably perceived to affect the neutrality or objectivity of the work or its assessment. This can happen at any stage in the research, while the manuscript is being written, or during its review assessment. If unsure, it is better to declare a potential interest or discuss with the editorial office. Submissions with undeclared conflicts that are later revealed may be rejected. For more information on COIs, see the guidance from the ICMJE. Possible conflicts of interest do not always stop work from being published, however they must be declared—thus allowing others to make informed decisions about the work and its review process.
If conflicts of interest are found after publication, it may require be necessary to publish a corrigendum.
Conflicts include (and are not limited to) the following:
- Financial — funding or other payments, goods and services received or expected by the authors relating to the subject of the work or from an organization with an interest in the outcome of the work
- Affiliations — being employed by, on the advisory board for, or a member of an organization with an interest in the outcome of the work
- Intellectual property — patents or trademarks owned by someone or their organization
- Personal — friends, family, relationships, and other close personal connections
- Academic — competitors or someone whose work is critiqued.
If there are no conflicts of interest, the authors should clearly state this also.
All funding, whether a conflict or not, must be declared in a funding statement.
Editors and reviewers should decline to be involved with a submission when they: have a close collaboration or personal connection to any author; have a financial interest in the subject of the work; or, feel unable to be objective.
Errors by the authors may be corrected by a corrigendum and errors by the publisher by an erratum.
No fees or charges are required for manuscript processing and/or publishing materials in the journal.
The journal allows for limited, appropriate and sometimes targeted advertising on its last pages. The advertising must:
- be independent from editorial decisions on what is published, and
- be clearly distinct from content.
The editors reserve the right to reject or remove any advertising where they have concerns it contravenes scholarly research publishing best practice or our ethical principles.