Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement
Publication in the peer-reviewed journal Acta Biologica Slovenica contributes to the international body of research committed to broad field of biology. Each publication reflects upon the quality of the authors, their supporting institutions, the editor and editorial board, as well as the publisher. This cooperation is furthered by the explicit statement of ethical standards for all parties involved. These standards are based on recommendations made by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and as informed by the aspirational principles outlined in COPE’s Core Practices. The aim of these guides is to promote thorough honesty, transparency, accountability, and respect for others.
As publisher of the journal Acta Biologica Slovenica, the Ljubljana University Press (i.e. faculties and academies of University of Ljubljana) takes seriously the role of guardian of all stages of the publication process. As publisher, the Ljubljana University Press is responsible to maintain the integrity of past and current research scholarship published in Acta Biologica Slovenica. The publisher is committed to ensure that advertising, reprint purchase, or other commercial revenue has no impact or influence on editorial decisions. In addition, the publisher and the editorial board of Acta Biologica Slovenica will exchange information with other journals and/or publishers when useful and necessary.
Duties of authors
Reporting standards: Authors of reports of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the paper. A paper should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements are unethical and unacceptable.
Data access and retention: Authors may be asked to provide the underlying data of a submission for editorial review. Authors should be prepared to provide public access to such data, if practicable, and data should be retained for a reasonable time after publication.
Originality and plagiarism: All manuscripts must be the original work of the author(s). The inclusion of the work of others must be clearly indicated with appropriate citation of the source material. Plagiarism takes many forms, from attempts to ‘pass off’ another’s paper as the author’s own paper, to copy or paraphrase substantial parts (e.g. copying equations, figures, or tables) of other work by the same authors or by other researchers without attribution, or to claim results from research conducted by others. Plagiarism also includes “Verbatim” (word for word) or almost verbatim copying, or intentionally paraphrasing portions of another author's work without clearly indicating the source or identifying the copied fragment (e.g., by quotation marks). Plagiarism in all its forms is unethical and unacceptable. Plagiarism may also constitute a violation of copyright law, which may be legally punishable.
If plagiarism is suspected during the submission and review process, the authors will be notified and allowed to clarify the situation within one week of notification. Without a reasonable and timely explanation of apparent plagiarism, the manuscript will be withdrawn from consideration by the journal.
Manuscripts that include work previously presented with limited circulation such as at a symposium or conference or as part of a student’s thesis or dissertation are acceptable for consideration with proper citation of the earlier work.
Multiple, redundant, or concurrent publication: Generally, an author should not describe the same research findings in more than one primary research journal article. Simultaneous submission of essentially the same manuscript to more than one journal is unethical and unacceptable. Multiple publications that describe different aspects of results derived from a single set of research experiments or observations may be justified with explicit statements of how the multiple manuscripts are distinctly different from each other.
Acknowledgement of sources: Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Authors should cite publications that were influential to determine the context, relevance, and impact of the reported work. Information obtained privately, as in conversation, correspondence, or discussion with third parties, must not be used or reported without explicit, written permission from the source. Information obtained in the course of confidential services, such as review of manuscripts or grant applications, must not be used without the explicit written permission of the author of the work involved.
Authorship of the paper: Authorship denotes both credit and responsibility for the manuscript and resulting publication. Authorship is limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. Only those who significantly contributed to the research should be listed as co-authors. Less significant contributions should be acknowledged.
The submitting author should ensure that that the co-author list is complete, correct, and listed in the proper sequence. The submitting author should also ensure that all co-authors have seen and approved the manuscript prior to submission. Any addition, deletion, or rearrangement of author names in the authorship list should be made only before the manuscript has been accepted and only if approved by the journal Editor. To request such a change, the Editor must receive the following from the corresponding author: (a) the reason for the change in author list and (b) written confirmation (e-mail, letter) from all authors that they agree with the addition, removal, or rearrangement. In the case of addition or removal of authors, this includes confirmation from the author being added or removed. Only in exceptional circumstances will the Editor consider the addition, deletion, or rearrangement of authors after the manuscript has been accepted.
Hazards and human subjects: For research that involves human subjects, the author should ensure that the manuscript contains a statement that all procedures were performed in compliance with relevant laws and institutional guidelines and that the appropriate institutional committee(s) has approved them. Authors should include a statement in the manuscript that informed consent was obtained for experimentation with human subjects. The privacy rights of human subjects must always be observed.
Disclosure and conflicts of interest: Authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or other substantive conflict of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed. Examples of potential conflicts of interest which should be disclosed include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations, and grants or other funding. Potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed at the earliest stage possible.
Fundamental errors in published works: In the event that an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in the published work, the author is obliged to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper. If the editor or the publisher learns from a third party that a published work contains a significant error, the author is obliged to promptly retract or correct the paper or provide evidence to the editor of the correctness of the original paper. In rare cases, a publication may be corrected or retracted as determined by the Editor.
Duties of the editor and editorial board
Publication decisions: The editor of the journal Acta Biologica Slovenica is responsible to select which submitted articles will be published. The validation of the work and its importance to researchers and readers must always drive such decisions. The editor will also consider evaluations made by the editorial board and by the peer reviewers. The editor may confer with other technical experts, editorial board members, or reviewers to make publication decisions. In rare instances, editorial decisions may be constrained by legal requirements in regards to alleged libel, copyright infringement, and plagiarism.
Fair play and inclusivity: the editor evaluates manuscripts solely for their intellectual content without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors.
Confidentiality: Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. The Editor and editorial staff must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, and the publisher, as appropriate.
Disclosure and conflicts of interest: Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript are not to be used by the editor or editorial board member without the express written consent of the author. Editors should recuse themselves (i.e. should ask another member of the editorial board instead to review and consider) from consideration of manuscripts in which they have apparent conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers. Editors require all contributors to disclose relevant competing interests and to publish corrections if competing interests are revealed after publication. If needed, other appropriate action may be taken, such as article retraction or expression of concern. Every potential breach of publishing ethics will be reviewed, even if discovered years after publication.
Retraction Policy: Legal restrictions imposed by the publisher, copyright holder, or author(s), violations of professional ethics, such as multiple submissions, false claims of authorship, plagiarism, fraudulent use of data, or any major misconduct will require retraction of an article.
Occasionally, a retraction may be used to correct numerous serious errors that cannot be covered by publishing corrections. A retraction may be published by the Editor in Chief/Editorial Board, the author(s), or by mutual agreement of both parties.
Duties of reviewers
Contribution to editorial decisions: Peer review assists the author to improve the manuscript and assists the editor in making editorial decisions. Consequently, any potential reviewer should decline the opportunity to review work outside of their expertise.
Promptness: Reviews should be completed within the agreed upon reviewing period.
Confidentiality: Reviewers must treat manuscripts received for review as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must remain confidential and not be used for personal advantage. Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript may not be used in the reviewers' own research without the express written consent of the authors.
Standards of objectivity: Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.
Acknowledgment of sources: Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation.
Ethical awareness: A reviewer should be alert to potential ethical issues in the paper and should bring these to the attention of the editor, including any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which the reviewer has personal knowledge. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation.
Disclosure and conflict of interest: Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer’s own research without the express written consent of the author. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should recuse themselves (i.e., should ask another member of the editorial board instead to review and consider) from considering manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.
ETHICS IN RESEARCH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LJUBLJANA
Journal Acta Biologica Slovenica also follows Code of ethics for researchers at the University of Ljubljana. The University of Ljubljana adopted the Code of Ethics in order to provide ethical behavior standards to guide teachers, researchers and doctoral students when ethical issues arise. All decisions in regard to their academic research work (irrespective of the source of funding) require compliance with the ethical principles of the UL as adopted in the Code of Ethics of the UL, the Code of Ethics for researchers at the UL and the Code of Ethics for researchers in the EU.