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Publishing Policies

As a publisher with a global reputation for scientific excellence, and in line with our Charter, CSIRO Publishing recognises the importance of high standards of ethical behaviour throughout the publication process. In addition to the general procedures listed here, authors should refer to the Author Instructions for the individual journals for specific policies relevant to their research communities.

CSIRO Publishing is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and supports the recommendations of the COPE Core Practices in our policies and procedures. Our journal editors are expected to work within the framework of the Core Practices.

COPE logo

It is essential that all authors agree to a manuscript’s submission, and to all stages of its revision. The corresponding authors should ensure that every author has approved all submissions, including revisions.

CSIRO Publishing requires the conditions around authorship credit follow the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), namely:

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content
  • Final approval of the version published
  • Agreement 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.

All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. Those who do not meet all four criteria should be acknowledged. Such contributors might include someone who provided technical help or writing assistance. Financial and material support should also be acknowledged. Anyone included in the Acknowledgements section should have granted permission to be listed.

In line with Principle 6 of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, we recognise the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be engaged in research that affects or is of particular significance to them. This principle is extended, in its broadest sense, to indigenous groups/communities in other geographic settings. Appropriate attribution of traditional knowledge may require sharing authorship with intercultural collaborators and this may differ from the approach to authorship credit recommended by the ICMJE.

Authorship problems generally occur when: (i) authorship is assigned to people who took little or no part in the research (gift authorship); or (ii) names of people who did take part are omitted (ghost authorship).

Changes to author attribution after initial submission must be approved by all authors. This applies to additions, deletions, a change of order to the authors’ names, or a change to the attribution of contributions. Authors should complete and return the request form.

Editors and Publishers cannot be asked to be involved in an authorship dispute. For guidance in resolving an authorship dispute the resources provided by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) may be of assistance.

Finally, in preparing the manuscript for publication, authors should ensure that they have followed the Author Instructions for the relevant CSIRO Publishing journal – a link can be found on the journal home page.

Author name changes after publication
CSIRO Publishing respects the rights of authors to their own identities and is committed to supporting authors who have changed their name for personal reasons, such as religious conversion, and gender identity change. Authors wishing to make such changes should contact us at Evidence of a legal name change is not necessary. Our journals staff will treat such requests confidentially and work with authors to ensure changes are made accurately and as quickly as possible. We will not notify co-authors of the request for change.

We will ensure that authors receive credit for all their work, by facilitating changes to author names, email addresses, biography photos, pronouns, and any other identifiers that may be necessary as a result of a change in author name. To protect the author's privacy, we will not publish a Corrigendum notice to the paper and rather update the author details directly in the article PDF and HTML. In addition to making changes to the article pdf and html, we will re-upload article metadata to the relevant abstracting and indexing services (such as Scopus, Web of Science, and PubMed).

We recommend an ORCID iD to all authors, to ensure that all of their publications are discoverable in one place, even if they change their name.

Please note that we will not correct spelling errors, out-of-date affiliation details, or changes to email addresses that do not result from name changes without issuing a Corrigendum. We are also unable to correct citations to papers in which a name change has been made until the original paper has been updated and associated metadata have been uploaded to Crossref.

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Conflicts of interest
Broadly, a conflict of interest may be seen to occur in scientific publishing when someone’s professional judgment about someone else’s research activity, the communication of that activity or its consideration for publication are influenced by a secondary interest – such as financial gain, career advancement, etc.

Importantly, the perception of a conflict of interest is as significant as an actual conflict of interest.

Financial or business relationships are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal and authors. Conflicts can also occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships or rivalries, academic competition, or intellectual or ideological beliefs.

All participants in the peer-review and publication process – authors, editors and reviewers – must identify potential conflicts of interest when fulfilling their roles and disclose all relationships that might be viewed as inappropriate.

When authors submit a manuscript of any type or format they are responsible for disclosing all financial and personal relationships that might bias or be seen to bias their work. At the end of their manuscripts, they should disclose financial and personal relationships with organisations or people that could inappropriately influence their work. If there are no conflicts of interest, authors should state that none exist. Submitted manuscripts should also disclose all sources of financial support for the research and/or preparation of the article.

Authors may identify reviewers or editors they wish to exclude from handling their manuscript due to an existing conflict of interest.

When asked to review a manuscript, reviewers should disclose to editors any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript. If reviewers believe that they cannot judge a manuscript impartially because of contact with the authors or a possible conflict of interest, they should decline the invitation to review and provide an explanation to the Editor. Possible conflicts of interest may occur when reviewers:

  1. have a history of serious (unresolved) disagreement with the authors,
  2. are co-researchers on a current research project,
  3. have jointly published papers in the past three years,
  4. were part of an internal review panel for the paper before submission.

If a reviewer is unsure whether the potential for bias exists, advice should be sought from the editor.

Reviewers must not use knowledge of the manuscript under review before its publication to further their own interests.

If an Editor has a conflict of interest or a relationship that may bias their treatment of the manuscript under consideration, they should excuse themselves from handling the manuscript.

The online submission and peer review system ScholarOne is configured to exclude authors who are Editors from viewing or being involved in the editorial process for their manuscript.

More information:

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Peer review
Peer review is key to ensuring journal quality and the publication of high quality science. All authors are required to submit their manuscript to the peer review process before it can be accepted for publication.

Authors may request particular individuals to be excluded as peer reviewers. The Editor will endeavour to accommodate such requests, but reserves the right to invite non-preferred reviewers if the validity of the request is deemed unreasonable. Authors may also propose suitable independent reviewers. Approaching author-suggested reviewers is at the discretion of the Editor. Intentionally falsifying reviewer details will result in rejection of a manuscript.

All submissions undergo preliminary assessment by an Editor, who may reject a paper before peer review when it is outside the journal's scope or is of insufficient quality. Manuscripts felt to be suitable for consideration will either be sent out for ‘single-blind review’, in which the reviewer's name is not disclosed to the author, or ‘double-blind review’ in which the identity of the reviewers and the authors are not disclosed to either party. Journals published by CSIRO Publishing utilise these two types of peer review; please refer to the Author Instructions of the journal for more information.

Authors may request withdrawal of their manuscript from submission to acceptance; however, this is not considered good practice unless you have a strong reason to do so (e.g., the manuscript contains significant errors that affect the reliability and hence the value of its content). Given the significant time and effort editors and reviewers invest in the process, an early request for withdrawal is more likely to be considered. A submitted manuscript may not be withdrawn from peer review until a clear and concise letter, signed by all authors, explaining the reason(s) for the manuscript’s withdrawal is supplied to the editorial office, and the request agreed by the Editor(s)-in-Chief. Authors who do not withdraw their manuscript yet submit their paper to another journal may be in breach of submission requirements for that journal.

The basic principles to which we expect our peer reviewers to adhere, and expectations of peer reviewers are set out in the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. Timeliness is key to the review process and reviewers are expected to communicate with the Editorial Office regarding the timely delivery of their review.

Authors may appeal editorial decisions by writing to the Editor-in-Chief.

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Ethics approval
In reporting research regarding human subjects, authors are required to document that a formally constituted review board (Institutional Review Board or Ethics committee) has granted approval for the research to be done, or that the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki regarding human experimentation have been met. Investigators who do not have access to an institutional review board are required to provide a statement to the editor outlining why it was not possible to gain formal ethics approval. If the study is judged exempt from review, a statement from the committee is required.

Authors should state that the research was undertaken with appropriate informed consent of participants or guardians. In reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether institutional and national standards for the care and welfare of animals were followed and provide a statement within the manuscript regarding the use of appropriate measures to minimize pain or discomfort.

Authors should make an ethics statement within the manuscript to this effect.

Editors should ensure that peer reviewers consider ethical and welfare issues raised by the research they are reviewing, and to request additional information from authors where needed. In situations where there is doubt as to the adherence to appropriate procedures or approval by the relevant ethics committee, editors are required to reject these papers.

CSIRO Publishing encourages journal editors to work within the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and CSIRO’s own guidelines on ethical human research and guidelines provided by the CSIRO Animal Ethics committee.

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Scientific misconduct, expressions of concern, and retractions
Scientific misconduct includes but is not necessarily limited to data fabrication, data falsification including deceptive manipulation of images, duplicate publication (repeated publication of data or ideas) and plagiarism (see our policy below). When scientific misconduct is alleged, or concerns are otherwise raised about the conduct or integrity of work described in submitted or published papers, appropriate procedures will be initiated. CSIRO Publishing is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and supports the recommendations of the COPE Core Practices in our policies and procedures. Our journal editors are expected to work within the framework of the Core Practices. When there are allegations of misconduct, CSIRO Publishing follows the COPE Best Practice Guidelines and the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Plagiarism policy
Plagiarism is the unattributed appropriation of someone else’s published work as an author’s own, or more commonly, the re-use of chunks of text from published papers by the same author(s) (self-plagiarism). Plagiarism is not acceptable in CSIRO Publishing journals.

If plagiarism is detected by an Editorial Board member or reviewer before acceptance, the author(s) will be asked to rewrite the content and / or to cite the references from where the content has been taken. In some cases the paper may be rejected.

If plagiarism is detected after a paper is published, the journal will conduct an investigation following COPE guidelines, and appropriate procedures will be initiated. If plagiarism is found, a Corrigendum may be published. In some cases the paper may be formally retracted.

CSIRO Publishing will consider issuing a corrigendum to correct errors of fact to ensure an accurate publication record. A corrigendum will not usually be published for spelling or grammatical errors. A published corrigendum will be linked to the article of record that it corrects. The ‘Online Early’ version of a paper is considered the version of record and is not an opportunity to make further changes prior to inclusion in an issue.

Please contact the Journal Publisher from the Journal’s homepage (via Contacts) for Corrigenda or Retraction requests.

A formal retraction will be considered after careful investigation if it is found that a published paper contains errors serious enough to invalidate its results and conclusions. CSIRO Publishing follows the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines for retracting articles. The author(s) will be encouraged to assist in the investigation.

If a retraction is published, it will officially replace the original publication on the website. A 'RETRACTED' watermark will be added to the original paper. The retraction will be published in the current issue of the journal to be picked up by indexing and abstracting services, and will be linked to the article of record that it retracts.

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Committee on Publication Ethics

Editorial Enquiries

We are publishing upcoming Special Issues. More