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Turkish Journal of Biology

Publishing Policy & Ethics

PUBLISHING POLICY

Goal and Scope

The academic journals of TUBITAK are open-access, peer-reviewed academic journals published electronically and bimonthly by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK). The goal of the journals is to improve the research culture and help knowledge spread rapidly in the academic world by providing a common academic platform. All TUBITAK Academic Journals are published in English.

TUBITAK Academic Journals are available online for free at https://journals.tubitak.gov.tr and http://dergipark.gov.tr/. All manuscripts published in our journals are licensed under CC BY 4.0 (Creative Commons license).

All responsibility for the scientific content and statements in an article published in the TUBITAK Academic Journals belongs to the authors.

Assessment and Publication

As a peer reviewed journal, it is our goal to advance scientific knowledge and understanding. We adhere to the guideline and ethical standards from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) regarding all aspects of publication ethics and cases of research and publication misconduct to ensure that all publications represent accurate and original work and that our peer review process is structured without bias. We have outlined a set of ethical principles that must be followed by all authors, reviewers, and editors.

All manuscripts submitted to our journals undergo preliminary evaluation for their compliance with the instructions for authors, language, contribution to science, and originality. Manuscripts that are evaluated as insufficient or noncompliant with the instructions for authors may be rejected without peer review.

Subject Editors and referees who are expert researchers in their fields assess scientific articles submitted to our journals. A blind peer review policy is applied to the evaluation process. The Editor-in-Chief, if he/she sees necessary, may assign an Editor for the article or may conduct the scientific assessment of the article himself/herself. Editors may also assign referees for the scientific assessment of the article and make their decisions based on reports by the referees. The Editor-in-Chief makes the final decision regarding the publishing of the article.

Articles are accepted for publication by the Editor-in-Chief in accordance with the journal’s Information for Authors. Authors can access these information online via the journals’ websites. Articles are accepted for publication on the understanding that they have not been published and are not going to be considered for publication elsewhere. Authors should certify that neither the manuscript nor its main contents have already been published or submitted for publication in another journal.

The journal adapts the COPE guidelines to satisfy the high-quality standards of ethics for authors, editors, and reviewers:

Duties of Editors-in-Chief

The crucial role of a journal Editor-in-Chief is to monitor and ensure the fairness, timeliness, thoroughness, and civility of the peer-review editorial process. The main responsibilities of Editors-in-Chief are as follows:

  • Selecting manuscripts suitable for publication while rejecting unsuitable manuscripts,
  • Ensuring a supply of high-quality manuscripts to the journal by identifying important “hot topics”,
  • Increasing the journal’s impact factor and maintaining the publishing schedule,
  • Providing strategic input for the journal’s development,
  • Organizing the flow of manuscripts by communicating with the authors, referees, and publishers,
  • Describing, implementing, and regularly reviewing policies for handling ethical issues and allegations or findings of misconduct by authors and anyone involved in the peer-review process,
  • Treating all authors with fairness, courtesy, objectivity, honesty, and transparency,
  • Protecting the confidentiality of every author’s work,
  • Setting up a reliable panel of expert reviewers.

Duties of Authors

For the authorship, please consider ICMJE’s 4 criteria here.

The main responsibilities of authors are as follows:

  • Author(s) should affirm that the material has not been previously published and that they have not transferred elsewhere any rights to the article.
  • Author(s) should ensure the originality of the work and that they have properly cited others work in accordance with the reference format.
  • Author(s) should not engage in plagiarism or in self-plagiarism.
  • In case of experimenting on humans, author(s) must certify that the research process is in accordance with the ethical standards of the Helsinki Declaration and the domestic and foreign committees that preside over the human experiment. If any doubts are raised whether the research proceeded in accordance with the declaration, the author(s) should explain it. In the case of experimenting on animals, the authors must comply with the U.K. Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 and associated guidelines ,EU Directive 2010/63/EU for animal experiments or the National Institutes of Health guide for the care and use of Laboratory animals (NIH Publications No. 8023, revised 1978) and certify that they followed the domestic and foreign guidelines related to experimentation on animals in a laboratory. See the Section named “Human and Animal Rights” below for details.
  • Author(s) should suggest no personal information that might make the identity of the patient recognizable in any form of description, photograph or pedigree. When photographs of the patient were essential and indispensable as scientific information, the author(s) have received consent in written form and have clearly stated as much.
  • Author(s) should provide the editor with the data and details of the work if there are suspicions of data falsification or fabrication. Fraudulent data shall not be tolerated. Any manuscript with suspected fabricated or falsified data will not be accepted. A retraction will be made for any publication which is found to have included fabricated or falsified data.
  • Author(s) should clarify everything that may cause a conflict of interests such as work, research expenses, consultant expenses, and intellectual property.
  • Authors must follow the submission guidelines of the journal.
  • Author(s) at any point of time, if discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in submitted manuscript then the error or inaccuracy must be reported to the editor.
  • Author(s) 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.
  • The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors and no inappropriate co-authors are included on the paper, and that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. Others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the research project should be acknowledged or listed as contributors.
  • Author(s) must agree not to pursue publication of their manuscript in additional journals once accepted for publication.

Duties of Editors

The main responsibilities of editors are as follows:

  • An editor must evaluate the manuscript objectively for publication, judging each on its quality without considering the nationality, ethnicity, political beliefs, race, religion, gender, seniority, or institutional affiliation of the authors. Editors should decline any assignment when there is a potential for conflict of interest.
  • Editors must ensure the document sent to the reviewers does not contain information on the author, and vice versa.
  • Editors’ decisions should be provided to the authors accompanied by the reviewers’ comments unless they contain offensive or libelous remarks.
  • Editors should respect requests from authors that an individual should not review the submission if such requests are well reasoned and practicable.
  • Editors and all staff members should guarantee the confidentiality of the submitted manuscript.
  • Editors will be guided by the COPE flowcharts if there is suspected misconduct or disputed authorship.
  • Editors should have no conflict of interest with respect to articles they reject/accept. They must not have a conflict of interest with the authors, funder, or reviewer of the manuscript.
  • Editors should strive to meet the needs of readers and authors and to constantly improve the journal.
  • Editors should maintain the integrity of the academic record and preclude business needs from compromising intellectual standards.
  • Editors should always be willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions, and apologies when needed.
  • Editors should preserve the anonymity of reviewers.
  • Editors or editorial staff must not use unpublished content in a submitted manuscript in their own personal research without written consent of the author.

Duties of Reviewers/Referees

The main responsibilities of reviewers/referees are as follows:

  • Reviewers should keep all information regarding papers confidential and treat them as privileged information.
  • Reviews should be conducted objectively, with no personal criticism of the author.
  • Reviewers assist in the editorial decision process and as such should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.
  • Reviewers should complete their reviews within a specified timeframe. In the event that a reviewer feels it is not possible for him/her to complete review of manuscript within a stipulated time, then this information must be communicated to the editor so that the manuscript could be sent to another reviewer.
  • Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer’s personal research without written permission of the author. Information contained in an unpublished manuscript will remain confidential and must not be used by the reviewer for personal gain.
  • Reviewers should not review 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.
  • Reviewers should identify published work in manuscripts that has not been cited by the author. Reviewers should also notify the Editors of significant similarity or overlap between the manuscript and any other published or unpublished material.

Cancellations/Returns

Articles may be returned to authors in order to increase the authenticity and reliability and to prevent ethical breaches, and even if articles have been accepted or published, they can be withdrawn from publication if necessary. The Editors- in-Chief of the journals have the right to return or withdraw articles in the following situations:

  • When there is proof of ruling out the findings obtained by the research,
  • When the article is undergoing an assessment or publication process by another journal, congress, conference, etc.,
  • When the article is not within the scope of the journal,
  • When the scientific quality and content of the article does not meet the standards of the journal and a referee review is not necessary,
  • When the article was not prepared in compliance with scientific publication ethics,
  • When one of the authors of the article is banned by TUBITAK’s Committee on Research and Publication Ethics (TUBITAK AYEK),
  • When high similarity to another work is detected by the plagiarism detection software (iThenticate) used by TUBITAK,
  • When any other plagiarism is detected in the article,
  • When the authors do not perform the requested corrections within the requested time,
  • When the author does not submit the requested documents/materials/data etc. within the requested time,
  • When the requested documents/materials/data etc. submitted by the author are missing for the second time,
  • When the article could not pass the preliminary language check for the second time,
  • When the study includes outdated data,
  • When the authors make changes that are not approved by the editor after the article was submitted,
  • When an author is added/removed, the order of the authors is changed, the corresponding author is changed, or the addresses of the authors are changed without the consent of the Editor-in-Chief,
  • When a statement is not submitted indicating that approval of the ethics committee or permission of the related hospital administration was obtained for the following (including retrospective studies):
    • Studies in which hospital records services are used,
    • Studies in which pathology preparations are reevaluated or additional stainings are applied,
    • Studies in which social insurance/ministerial records systems are used,
  • When human rights or animal rights are violated,
  • When data used in the study cannot be provided upon request.

Ethical Issues

Plagiarism

The use of someone else’s ideas or words in their original form or slightly changed without a proper citation is considered plagiarism and will not be tolerated. Even if a citation is given, if quotation marks are not placed around words taken directly from other authors’ work, the author is still guilty of plagiarism. Reuse of the authors’ own previously published words, with or without a citation, is regarded as self-plagiarism. All manuscripts received are submitted to iThenticate®, a sophisticated plagiarism checking system, which compares the content of the manuscript with a vast database of web pages and academic publications. Manuscripts judged to be plagiarized or self-plagiarized, based on the iThenticate® report or any other source of information, will not be considered for publication. Open-access theses are considered as published works and they are included in the similarity checks. Submissions containing plagiarism in whole or part, duplicate, and redundant publication or self-plagiarism will be rejected.

Conflicts of Interest

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors definition of conflicts of interest is as follows: "A conflict of interest exists when professional judgment concerning a primary interest (such as patients’ welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain). Perceptions of conflict of interest are as important as actual conflicts of interest."

A conflict of interest defines the situations that might raise the question of bias, direct or indirect, in the work reported. These situations occur when an individual’s objectivity is potentially compromised by a desire for financial gain, prominence, professional advancement, or a successful outcome. Conflicts can also arise for other reasons, such as personal relationships or rivalries, academic competition, and intellectual beliefs.

Authors should avoid entering into agreements with study sponsors, both for- profit and nonprofit, that interfere with authors’ access to all of the study’s data or that interfere with their ability to analyze and interpret. In order to preserve the reliability of the TUBITAK academic journals, authors are required to disclose all and any potential conflicts of interest when they submit their manuscripts.

Conflicts of interest are the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and science itself. That is why our editors are working diligently to ensure that what is published in our journals is balanced, evidence-based, and evaluated independently. In this manner, editors and reviewers are required to notify the journal if they find they do not have the necessary expertise to assess the relevant aspects of a manuscript, if they decide that the manuscript is very similar to one in preparation or under consideration by another journal, or if they suspect the identity of the author(s), which raises potential competing or conflicting interests.

Human and Animal Rights

Ensuring that the studies published in our journals are conducted in a fair and ethical manner is one of our major missions. We publish across multiple research areas, many of which have their own standards and methods of governing research practice.

When reporting experiments with human subjects, authors should indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation. For manuscripts reporting medical studies involving human participants, authors are required to provide a statement identifying the ethics committee that approved the study and confirming that the study conforms to recognized standards, for example:

  • Declaration of Helsinki
  • US Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects
  • European Medicines Agency Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice

These standards encourage authors to conduct studies in a way that ensures adequate steps have been taken to minimize harm to participants, to avoid coercion or exploitation, to protect confidentiality, and to minimize the risk of physical and psychological harm.

If the editors or referees doubt whether the research was conducted in accordance with ethical standards, they may ask the authors to explain the rationale for their approach and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. The Editorial Board has the right to reject any studies not meeting the criteria.

One of our main principles in studies involving human subjects is to ensure that a patient’s right to privacy has not been infringed without prior informed consent. Authors are encouraged to follow the ICMJE guidelines for reporting on human subjects. For publication of material that contains detailed patient information about a living individual, it is compulsory for a signed patient consent form to be obtained. Any identifier that might reveal a patient’s identity must be removed (from X-rays, MRIs, charts, photographs, etc.). Written informed consent is required from any potentially identifiable patient or legal representative and should be presented in either the Materials and Methods section or the Acknowledgments.

Research involving animals should be conducted with the same rigor as research involving humans. When reporting experiments on animals, authors are asked to indicate whether the institutional and national standards for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.

Where animals are used in research we expect them to have been treated in a humane manner and complying with the ARRIVE guidelines and the Consensus Author Guidelines For Animal Use developed by the International Association of Veterinary Editors. Our editors and referees also handle submissions involving these guidelines. Editors may ask authors to describe in their manuscripts how discomfort, distress, and pain were avoided and minimized, and to confirm that animals did not suffer unnecessarily at any stage of an experiment. Editors may request that reviewers comment on the standard of experimental reporting, experimental design, or any other aspects of the study reported that might cause concern. If concerns are raised or clarifications are needed, they may need to request evidence of ethical research approval or question the authors.

Animal ethics-based criteria for manuscript rejection are:

  • Manuscripts and authors that fail to meet the aforementioned requirements,
  • Studies that involve unnecessary pain, distress, suffering, or lasting harm to animals.

Editors retain the right to reject manuscripts on the basis of ethical or welfare concerns.

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The TUBITAK Academic Journals do not accept advertising and sponsorships that are believed to create a potential conflict of interest.