Description of Peer Review
All contributions are initially handled by the Editor-in-Chief (EiC), who together with Associate Editors (AE) make the initial evaluation of the manuscript by verifying whether it falls within the aims of the journal; decision may then be peer-reviewing or rejected. To facilitate either authors or peer-reviewers, only those papers that seem most likely to meet our editorial criteria are sent for formal review. Those papers judged by the editors as weak or otherwise inappropriate, are rejected promptly without external review (although these decisions may be based on informal advice from specialists in the field). After this step, the EiC or an AE assigns the manuscript to 2 or 3 reviewers, among the editorial board members or external reviewers expert in the field. To be selected, reviewers must not have published papers in the last 5 years with none of the authors of the manuscript, must belong to different institutions from authors and must not have any conflict of interest with the content of the manuscript. Following the recommendations from the reviewers, the EiC, or an AE, will evaluate them and have final authority on acceptance, revision or rejection. In the final editorial decision, we try to evaluate the strength of the arguments raised by each reviewer and by the authors, and we may also consider other information not available to either party. We may return to reviewers for further advice, particularly in cases where they disagree with each other, or where the authors believe they have been misunderstood on points of fact. We take reviewers’ criticisms seriously; in particular, we are very reluctant to disregard technical criticisms. In cases where one reviewer alone opposes publication, we may consult the other reviewers as to whether she/he is applying an unduly critical standard.
Reviewer’ selection is critical to the publication process, and we base our choice on many factors, including expertise, reputation, specific recommendations and our own previous experience of a reviewer’s characteristics.
Reviewers should bear in mind that these messages contain confidential information, which should be treated as such.
Submission to Microbiota in Health and Disease is taken by the journal to mean that all the listed authors have agreed on all of the contents, including the author list and author contributions statements. The corresponding author is responsible for having ensured that this agreement has been achieved, that all authors have agreed to the submission, and is in also in charge for managing all communication between the journal and all co-authors, before and after publication. Any changes to the author list after submission, need to be approved by every author.
The author list should include all appropriate researchers and no others. Authorship provides credit for a researcher’s contributions to a study and carries accountability. Microbiota in Health and Disease does not prescribe the kinds of contributions that warrant authorship but encourage transparency by publishing author contributions statements since the Journal is not in a position to investigate or adjudicate authorship disputes before or after publication. Such disagreements, if they cannot be resolved amongst authors, should be brought up to the relevant institutional authority.
The primary affiliation for each author should be the institution where the majority of their work was done. If an author has subsequently moved, the current address may also be stated.
Author Contributions Statements
Authors are required to include a statement of responsibility in the manuscript that specifies the contribution of every author.
Corresponding Authors’ Responsibilities
The corresponding author is solely responsible for communicating with the journal and with managing communication between coauthors. Before submission, the corresponding author ensures that all authors are included in the author list, its order has been agreed by all authors, and that all authors are aware that the paper was submitted.
At submission, the corresponding author must include written permission from the authors of the work about the mention of any unpublished material included in the manuscript. The corresponding author also must clearly identify at submission any material within the manuscript that has previously been published elsewhere by other authors (for example, figures) and provide written permission from those authors and/or publishers for the re-use of such material.
After acceptance, the proof is sent to the corresponding author, who shares it with all coauthors and deals with the journal on their behalf; the journal will not necessarily correct errors after publication if they result from errors that were present on a proof that was not shown to coauthors before publication. The corresponding author is responsible for the accuracy of all contents in the proof, in particular, that names of coauthors are present and correctly spelled, and that affiliations are right.
The name and e-mail address of the corresponding author are published in the paper.
Authors of published material have a responsibility to inform the journal promptly if they become aware of any part that requires correcting. Any published correction requires the consent of all coauthors, so time is saved if requests for corrections are accompanied by a signed agreement by all authors. In cases where one or some authors do not agree with the correction statement, the coordinating author must include correspondence to and from the dissenting author(s).
Microbiota in Health and Disease editors treat the submitted manuscript and all communication with authors and referees as confidential. Authors must also treat communication with the journal as confidential: correspondence with the journal, reviewers’ reports and other confidential material must not be posted on any website or otherwise publicized without prior permission from the editors, whether or not the submission is eventually published.
Plagiarism or Other Types of Unethical Publication Practice
About plagiarism or other types of unethical publication practice, we follow the COPE ( HYPERLINK “https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines” https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines) and PERK ( HYPERLINK “http://www.elsevier.com/editors/perk” http://www.elsevier.com/editors/perk) guidelines.
On a practical level, the first thing we do is conduct an early investigation using our anti‐plagiarism software. Our Journal makes a plagiarism checker by a certificate program on all the articles. Also, articles that are related to the suspected case of plagiarism or other unethical practice are checked accuracy by either the reviewer feedback and observations or the Editors own observations. Our anti‐plagiarism software, however, will not identify “salami slicing”. So it is imperative that each case is looked at individually and, therefore, we do not advocate the use of one statement of actions to penalize the offender. Each case is considered separately and, as editors, we will need to decide if it is a deliberate action on the part of the author or it is due to lack of understanding of the requirements of ethical writing. This can happen for new authors or some authors where translation to English is often difficult. An example of this is where there are no words/phrases in that language that translate into English, and a developing practice that we noted is the ‘borrowing’ of words, phrases or often sentences that are considered appropriate for what authors mean to say.
Microbiota in Health and Disease disapproves any kind of malpractice and unethical practice.
Material submitted to Microbiota in Health and Disease must be original and not published or submitted for publication elsewhere. This rule applies to material submitted elsewhere while the Microbiota in Health and Disease contribution is under consideration.
If part of a contribution that an author wishes to submit to Microbiota in Health and Disease has appeared or will appear elsewhere, the author must specify the details in the covering letter accompanying the submission. Consideration by the Microbiota in Health and Disease is possible if the main result, conclusion, or implications are not apparent from the other work, or if there are other factors, for example if the other work is published in language other than English.
If an author of a submission is re-using a figure or figures published elsewhere, or that is copyrighted, the author must provide documentation that the previous publisher or copyright holder has given permission for the figure to be re-published. Microbiota in Health and Disease editors consider all material in good faith that their journal have full permission to publish every part of the submitted material, including illustrations.
Images submitted with a manuscript for review should be minimally processed (for instance, to add arrows to a micrograph). Authors should retain their unprocessed data and metadata files, as editors may request them to aid in manuscript evaluation. All digitized images submitted with the final revision of the manuscript must be of high quality.
Positive and negative controls, as well as molecular size markers, should be included on each gel and blot – either in the main figure or an expanded data supplementary figure.
Authors should provide the editors with original data on request. Cells from multiple fields should not be juxtaposed in a single field; instead multiple supporting fields of cells should be shown as Supplementary Information. Threshold manipulation, expansion or contraction of signal ranges and the altering of high signals should be avoided. If “pseudo-colouring” and nonlinear adjustment (for example “gamma changes”) are used, this must be disclosed. Adjustments of individual color channels are sometimes necessary on “merged” images, but this should be noted in the figure legend.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST (COI)
At the time of submission, Microbiota in Health and Disease policy requires that authors reveal any COI, including financial interests or connections, direct or indirect, or any other situations that could raise questions of bias in either the reported work or the conclusions, implications, or opinions stated. Disclosed potential COIs should include any relevant commercial or other source of funding for either author(s), or the sponsoring institution, the associated department(s) or organization(s). When considering whether you should declare a COI please consider the following question: is there any arrangement that would embarrass you or any of your co-authors did not declare and that would emerge after publication and you had not declared it?
As an integral part of the online submission process, corresponding authors are required to confirm whether they or their co-authors have any conflicts of interest to declare, and to provide details of these. If the corresponding author is unable to confirm this information on behalf of all co-authors, the authors in question will then be required to submit a completed COI form to the Editorial Office. It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure that all authors adhere to this policy.
If the manuscript is submitted, COI information needs to be communicated in a statement within the work (e.g. The authors declare they have no conflict or financial interests).
About unethical publication practice, we follow the COPE ( HYPERLINK “https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines” https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines) and PERK ( HYPERLINK “http://www.elsevier.com/editors/perk” http://www.elsevier.com/editors/perk) guidelines.
Competing Financial Interests
Authors submitting their manuscripts using the journal’s online manuscript tracking system are required to make their declaration as part of this process and to specify the competing interests in cases where they exist. Authors are required to include a statement at the end of their article to declare whether or not they have any competing financial interests.
Competing interests are defined as those of a financial nature that, through their potential influence on behavior or content or from perception of such potential influences, could undermine the objectivity, integrity or perceived value of a publication.
Funding: Research support (including salaries, equipment, supplies, reimbursement for attending symposia, and other expenses) by organizations that may gain or lose financially through this publication.
Employment: Recent (while engaged in the research project), present or anticipated employment by any organization that may gain or lose financially through this publication.
Personal Financial Interests: Stocks or shares in companies that may gain or lose financially through publication; consultation fees or other forms of remuneration from organizations that may gain or lose financially; patents or patent applications whose value may be affected by publication.
COI in Industry Sponsored Research
Authors whose manuscripts are submitted for publication must declare all relevant sources of funding in support of the preparation of a manuscript. Microbiota in Health and Disease requires full disclosure of financial support as to whether it is from the tobacco industry, the pharmaceutical or any other industry, government agencies, or any other source. This information should be included in the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript.
Authors are required to specify sources of funding for the study and to indicate whether or not the text was reviewed by the sponsor prior to submission, i.e., whether the study was written with full investigator access to all relevant data and whether the sponsor exerted editorial influence over the written text. This information should be included in the cover letter. In addition to disclosure of direct financial support to the authors or their laboratory and prior sponsor-review of the paper, submitting authors are asked to disclose all relevant consultancies within the 12 months prior to submission, since the views expressed in the contribution could be influenced by the opinions they have expressed privately as consultants. This information should be included in the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript.
In the event that a previously undisclosed potential competing interest for an author of a published paper comes to the attention of the editors and is subsequently confirmed with the authors, the undeclared interest will be published as an erratum in a future issue.
COI: Application to Reviewers and Editors
Reviewers must disclose to editors any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should disqualify themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if they believe it to be appropriate. As in the case of authors, silence on the part of reviewers concerning potential conflicts may mean either that such conflicts exist that they have failed to disclose, or that conflicts do not exist. Reviewers must therefore also be asked to state explicitly whether conflicts do or do not exist. Reviewers must not use knowledge of the work, before its publication, to further their own interests. COI for a given manuscript exists when a participant in the peer review and publication process – author, reviewer, and editor – has ties to activities that could inappropriately influence his or her judgment, regardless of whether judgment is, in fact, affected. Financial relationships with industry (for example, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, expert testimony), either directly or through immediate family, are usually considered the most important conflicts of interest. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion. External peer reviewers should disclose to editors any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript and they should disqualify themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if they believe it appropriate. The editors must be made aware of reviewers’ COI to interpret the reviews and judge for themselves whether the reviewer should be disqualified.” (From the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Annals of Internal Medicine 118, (8) 646-647).
Submission by an Editor: A paper submitted by an editor will be handled by one of the other editors who does not have a conflict with the review and who is not at the same institution as the submitting editor. The other editor will select referees and make all decisions on the paper.
Submission by author at same institution as one of the editors. A paper submitted by an author for which there is a potential conflict with who is at the same institution as one of the editors will be handled by one of the other editors. The other editor will select referees and make all decisions on the paper. Submission by family member of editor or by author whose relationship with editor might create the perception of bias. A paper submitted by a family member of one of the editors, or by an author whose relationship with one of the editors might create the perception of bias (e.g., in terms of close friendship or conflict/rivalry), will be handled by another editor. The other editor will select referees and make all decisions on the paper. If in doubt, the editors will consult with the Journal editor.
Potential COI for Reviewers: The invitation letter to reviewers will include the following paragraph: If you know or think you know the identity of the author, and if you feel there is any potential COI in your refereeing this paper because of your relationship with the author (e.g., in terms of close friendship or conflict/rivalry) or for any other reason, please declare it. By accepting this invitation, it is assumed there is no potential COI. Standard policy will be not to use a referee if a COI has been declared, but the editors may use their discretion after consulting with one another.
COI: Application to Publishing Policy
Microbiota in Health and Disease thrives on its independence. Our strict policy is that editorial independence, decisions and content should not be compromised by commercial or financial interests, or by any specific arrangements with advertising clients or sponsors.
Confidentiality and Pre-publicity
Editors, authors and reviewers are required to keep confidential all details of the editorial and peer review process on submitted manuscripts. The peer review process is confidential and conducted anonymously; identities of reviewers are not released. Reviewers must maintain confidentiality of manuscripts. Correspondence with the journal, referees’ reports and other confidential material must not be published, disclosed or otherwise publicized without prior written consent. It is our policy to keep their names confidential and that we do our utmost to ensure this confidentiality. We cannot, however, guarantee to maintain this confidentiality in the face of a successful legal action to disclose identity.
Authors of papers that contain taxonomy should be aware that it is possible for third parties to exploit the prior publication of nomenclature at any time between online posting of a preprint and the print publication date in a journal. Microbiota in Health and Disease takes no responsibility for such assertions of priority in the case of manuscripts that it publishes if the content of those manuscripts have previously appeared in the public domain as online preprints or other form of online posting.