Research Integrity

Authorship Guidelines

It is important that the correct list of authors is attributed to an article from the start of the submission process. All authors listed on a submission must have given prior approval to have their name attributed to the file(s) that are being submitted and agree to the publication. The corresponding author has responsibility to ensure that all authors qualify for, and have agreed to, authorship of the submission. They are also responsible for informing all co-authors of relevant editorial information during the review process.

Our recommendations are based on the ICMJE criteria for authorship. Authors must have:

  • made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work
  • contributed to the drafting the work, or revising it critically for important intellectual content
  • provided final approval of the version to be published
  • agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved
  • agreed to be named on the author list, and approved of the full author list

Those that meet some but do not meet all of the above criteria should be acknowledged in the publication but not listed as an author. Examples that do not qualify for authorship but should be acknowledged are sources of funding, supervision of research groups, administrative support, language editing, and proofreading. Written permission should be obtained from those being acknowledged, as in some cases being named in such a way may be seen as an endorsement of the publication.

Competing Interests

We are committed to transparent and bias-free research. To ensure that all publications are as open as possible all authors, reviewers and editors are required to declare any interests that could appear to compromise, conflict, or influence the validity of the publication. This process is designed to reinforce the readers' trust in the research data.

Please declare any competing interests that you have. A conflict of interest must be declared if there is any reason why the information or the interpretation of information being produced may be influenced by a personal or financial relationship with other organizations or individuals, or if these relationships could be reasonably perceived from other people as having influencing objective data or decision-making. Everyone involved in the submission, editorial processing, peer review and publication should declare any competing interests that they may have as early as possible.

Competing interests can take the form of both financial and non-financial relationships. The declaration of such relationships helps to ensure that academic rigour is maintained and that publications cannot be accused of undue bias or misinformation.

Examples of competing interests:

  • receipt of payment, in any form, from an organization or individual related to the subject matter
  • ownership of stocks or shares in organizations directly related to the subject matter
  • receipt of grants or funding
  • membership of relevant boards
  • related patents/applied for patents
  • gifts
  • known relationships that will hinder impartiality (e.g. colleagues, family, mentor, previous supervisor/student).
  • political, religious, ideological interests
  • commercial

Competing interests should generally be declared to cover at least the previous 5 years - e.g., if a reviewer supervised the author's PhD then (and if they feel comfortable reviewing the work) their professional relationship should have ended over 5 years ago. This is a minimum requirement, and individuals must declare if they have had a previous relationship with someone/an organization relevant to the submission that could be deemed to influence decision making.

For authors

Please place the competing interests section at the end of the manuscript, immediately before the reference list. The authors’ initials should be used to denote differing competing interests. For example:

“TW completed paid consultancy work from [company name] as part of the data acquisition for this study. BH has minority shares in [company name], which part funded the research grant for this project. SM is a member of the editorial board for [journal name], which is on a voluntary basis. All other authors have no competing interests."

If there are no competing interests, please add the below statement:

"The author has no competing interests to declare" for papers with a single author or "The authors have no competing interests to declare” when multiple authors are contributing.

For reviewers

If you have any competing interests, please list them in the text box available on your reviewer page. For example:

"I was previously employed by the laboratory that collected this data."

 If you do not have competing interests, please add the below statement:

"I have no competing interests to declare."