Publication Ethics, Principles of Transparency and Best Practice
Basic rules for ensuring the principles of transparency, good practice and ethics of publication
General conditions and information
Notulae Scientia Biologicae journal proposes the principle of transparency as the foundation of the evaluation of the scientific quality of the manuscripts, the capitalization of the research results by scientific publishing, the observance of the ethical norms in the research, as well as in the publication of the manuscripts. The editorial board assumes the transparency, full clarity and responsibility of the editorial processes, the dissemination of the complete list of information about the publishing process to all interested people and the key parameters that can be visible by the scientific community. The principle of transparency is addressed as the desire of the editorial staff to ensure the reliability and correctness of all editorial processes, from receipt of manuscripts, preliminary evaluation and the process of peer review, acceptance, publication and distribution of publications. Maintaining the principle of transparency by the editorial board provides responsible and accurate scientific publishing services, which are crucial for the scientific community.
Consequently, Notulae Scientia Biologicae adheres to "Publication Ethics", respectively to "Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing", as they were developed and/or described by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (Consort), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
Governing body: Notulae Scientia Biologicae is published by Horticulture and Forestry Society from Transylvania (SHST). Publisher (SHST) appears on the journal information web page (https://www.notulaebiologicae.ro/index.php/nsb/about). Journal editorial committee and board whose members are recognized experts in the subject areas are included within the journal's presentation and scope (https://www.notulaebiologicae.ro/index.php/nsb/about/editorialTeam).
Editorial team/contact information: the full names and affiliations of the journal editors and members of the committee and board are provided on the journal website: see Editorial Board. The journal also provides on the website the information for the editorial office (see Journal Contact).
Peer review process: peer review is defined as obtaining advice on individual manuscripts from reviewer experts in the field who are not part of the journal's editorial staff. This process, as well as any policies related to the journal peer review procedures, is clearly described on the journal website:
In addition to the peer review process, information on compliance with the principles of research and research ethics and publication of scientific papers is detailed in the 'Procedures', 'Author guidelines', and other sections of the 'Policies' and 'Submissions' chapters.
Author fees: There are no publication fees, due to SHST supports to increase the visibility, accessibility and reputation of the researchers, regardless of geography and their budgets.
Copyright: Copyright and licensing information is clearly described on the journal's website. Papers published in Notulae Scientia Biologicae journal are Open-Access articles distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution License: © Articles by the authors; licensee SHST, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
The papers are open access articles distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses).
Open Access Journal: users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. The journal allows the author(s) to hold the copyright/to retain publishing rights without restriction.
Material Disclaimer: The authors are fully responsible for their work and they hold sole responsibility for the articles published in the journal. The editors, editorial board and publisher do not assume any responsibility for the contents of the articles and the authors' views expressed in their contributions.
Scientific evaluation of the submissions and respect of ethical principles
Notulae Scientia Biologicae journal informs contributors about the submission process and offers complete information about the submission process (see ‘Manuscript Model - template‘, ‘Cover letter‘, 'Author's Statement' and Author Guidelines) and conditions needed for the articles to be published (the formal requirements and conditions of manuscripts, publication frequency, submission deadlines of the revised version after peer review, the estimated time of manuscript publication after acceptance, no publication fee/article processing charge - APC etc.).
Transparent criteria of manuscript rejection are provided to the contributors, in case of unfavourable decisions, i.e., when the topic of a submitted manuscript is inconsistent with the journal’s profile, publisher’s policy, or publisher’s requirements; when the scientific quality of the manuscript is not considered appropriate to be published; when problems of ethics in conducted research or professional deontology arise etc.).
The necessary conditions are assured for transparent principles of review, including the rigorous selection of reviewers, who are specialists in the topic of the manuscript; the proper review standards (qualitative evaluation of the manuscript, but also the ethical principles), as well as properly correspondence and feedback for the author on each step of the editorial process; sharing the opinions and reports of referees, respecting double-blind review imposed by journal. The journal recommends and provides the components of a proper scientific review and the parametric assessment of the manuscript based on the closed-ended questions in the review questionnaire has also an open regime, being published on 'Peer Review Process' page, see 'Journal Review Form'.
The detailed criteria suggested by the editorial office provides common background for both authors and reviewers, including regarding the structure of the work and also the topicality of discussed subjects, originality of the research, working hypotheses and the value of research results, and their contribution to knowledge. The form provided to both authors and reviewers (who will use it to express their opinions on the manuscript) is extremely advantageous to all participants in the publishing process. This offers a general framework for a high-level scientific publication, beneficial especially for young researchers, whose support has been assumed by the publisher's policies. We consider this procedure to be particularly transparent and at the same time useful to assure the substantive level of publications and proper control of their own work for the authors, but also for the reviewers, which can assess the manuscripts and express their particular opinions using this template if they want. However, the reviewers can choose the procedure of review, from those proposed by the journal, or according to their preferences.
Measures to avoid misconduct in publishing
Reasonable procedures in order to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred
Publisher and editors of Notulae Scientia Biologicae journal will take reasonable steps in order to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, including data fabrication/falsification and plagiarism, citation manipulation and others. In no case, the journal or its editors accept such misconduct or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place. In the event that the publisher or journal editors are made aware of any allegation of research misconduct relating to a published article in the journal, they will follow ethical publication's guidelines in dealing with allegations. Consequently, the journal imposes the respect of all standards of ethical behaviour for all parties involved in the act of publishing: the authors, the editors, the reviewers, the publisher, the societies and sponsors.
Basic rules for ensuring the principles of transparency, good practice and ethics of publication
Measures to prevent such unethical, fraudulent or malicious situations, as well as others, are clearly stipulated by the above-mentioned bodies, including COPE. The publisher and the Notulae Scientia Biologicae journal, through the editorial board, have assumed these measures, as a fundamental policy for fulfilling the scientific and ethical norms and principles of the magazine's publications. The suggested procedures and protocols for these issues or other ones can be seen below or by clicking on the links provided for a specific situation. The COPE flowcharts clearly indicate how the ethical issues can be addressed for the submitted manuscripts and during the editorial stages, but also after the publication of the articles. Following these guidelines, Notulae Scientia Biologicae has adopted a systematic protocol to approach and deal with allegations of misconduct, whether before publication or after the publication of an article, following the sequence of actions provided by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
Research misconduct and scholarly misconduct are defined and divided into different basic types, including the following, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development Global Science Forum, 'Best Practices for Ensuring Scientific Integrity and Preventing Misconduct' (see OECD PDF page):
Core “Research Misconduct”
- Fabrication of data
- Falsification of data
FFP normally includes:
- Selectively excluding data from analysis
- Misinterpreting data to obtain desired results (including inappropriate use of statistical methods)
- Doctoring images in publications
- Producing false data or results under pressure from a sponsor
Research practice misconduct
- Using inappropriate (e.g., harmful or dangerous) research methods
- Poor research design
- Experimental, analytical, computational errors
- Violation of human subject protocols
- Abuse of laboratory animals
- Not preserving primary data
- Bad data management, storage
- Withholding data from the scientific community
- NB: The above applies to physical research materials as well
- Claiming undeserved authorship
- Denying authorship to contributors
- Artificially proliferating publications (“salami-slicing”)
- Failure to correct the publication record
- Inappropriate personal behaviour, harassment
- Inadequate leadership, mentoring, counselling of students
- Insensitivity to social or cultural norms
Financial, and other misconduct
- Peer review abuse e.g., non-disclosure of conflict of interest, unfairly holding up a rival’s publication
- Misrepresenting credentials or publication record
- Misuse of research funds for unauthorised purchases or for personal gain
- Making an unsubstantiated or malicious misconduct allegation
Analysis and identification of potential cases of data fabrication, data falsification or plagiarism
1) Data fabrication
The fabrication of the data constitutes an intentional distortion of the research results and represents an extremely serious deviation from the norms of ethics and scientific principles. Such facts denote the total lack of professional probity and the greed to accumulate scientific production but in a false and impermissible way. There are different ways in which data can be fabricated in research. Experimental data can be fabricated by writing papers with the results of experiments that have never been performed or papers in which the exact data can be counterfeit, influenced or distorted to match an anticipated result. Sometimes, as mentioned above by the OECD, the production of false data or results may occur due to pressure from a sponsor. An experienced specialist can identify the lack of credible elements in the material and method chapter, or in correlating data from false or formal results presented in such a 'manuscript'. Such situations also highlight the importance of the peer review process, the selection and assignment as reviewers of researchers with scientific recognition in the field.
2) Data falsification
Data falsification can be used by manipulating results, resources, equipment or research processes, including omitting results or falsifying results, in order to give the impression of consistent or original results. According to the OECD framework above, data falsification could include: Selectively excluding data from analysis; Misinterpreting data to obtain desired results (including inappropriate use of statistical methods); Doctoring images in publications. All these unethical procedures are also serious deviations from the normal conduct of scientific research, which must be rigorous, absolutely correct and honest. These unethical behaviours also apply to cases of manipulation of results, including tables or figures with falsified or modified values, with interpretations directed in a deliberately false direction. Falsification of data may also refer to incorrect or incomplete information on sources of funding, or other information related to the competing interests of the authors. The results are classified as misleading also in the case of modified, truncated, or artificially 'improved' images.
The overall measures of the journal about possible issues related to fabrication or falsification data in the submitted manuscripts will be conducted according to the protocols recommended by the Committee of Publication Ethics, mentioned in the following flowcharts:
Before Publication: Suspected fabricated data in a submitted manuscript
After Publication: Suspected fabricated data in a published article
3) Anti-Plagiarism and Scientific Integrity
All submitted manuscripts are evaluated in terms of plagiarism before the peer review process, in the first stage of analyses (scanned for plagiarism in the preliminary editorial evaluation). The manuscripts with a similarity ratio of plagiarism considered too high (eg. 10-20%) are the subjects of an in-depth analysis by the editorial board. Depending on the result of the analysis, these manuscripts may be rejected directly or returned to the authors together with the anti-plagiarism report, for possible new submission. Consequently, before submitting manuscripts to the journal, the authors are invited to check the similarity status/ratio in the work with appropriate plagiarism software programs (iThenticate, Turnitin, etc.).
If some issues or suspicions appear related to plagiarism, the cases will be handled according to the recommendations of the Core Practices of the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE), given below in the COPE flowcharts.
Before Publication: Suspected plagiarism in a submitted manuscript
After Publication: Suspected plagiarism in a published article
Adherence to the Ethics Policy of the Core Practices of the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE), the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), and other recognised bodies with similar responsibilities
The journal assumes and applies the principles of publication ethics outlined in the Core Practices of the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE), the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) etc. in order to ensure and maintain the integrity of scientific publications. Unbiased consideration is granted to all manuscripts submitted for publication in the journal, regardless of race, gender, religious belief, ethnicity, citizenship, political philosophy, sexual orientation, age or reputation of the authors.
The journal policy is applied in conjunction with the guidelines for authors and reviewers presented in the sections about the submission process (see 'Author Guidelines', ‘Manuscript Model' - template, ‘Cover letter‘, 'Author's Statement' etc.) and 'Peer Review Process', see 'Journal Review Form'. As shown in these sections, the corresponding authors are requested to confirm that they have read and understood the journal policy when they submit their contributions. All co-authors must assume participation in the submitted manuscript and agree to the submitted version and the journal's policies, including the open access policy offered by the journal. Consequently, all authors mentioned in the manuscript have agreed and approved the authorship, manuscript, and given their consent for submission and subsequent publication of the manuscript.
The authorship criteria should be based on the ICMJE guidelines:
The full names of the authors, institutional affiliations, address and e-mail address must be clearly stated in the submitted manuscript, including the metadata of the journal's electronic platform. The journal recommends that authors include their ORCiD ID, which is an excellent code to uniquely identify the authors and contributors of academic communication, as well as their bibliographic results.
Statements of ethical approval of the submitted manuscript and related declarations
When submitting the manuscript, the author(s) must read and follow the policies and guidelines of the journal (Procedures; Author Guidelines; Model - template; Peer review process; Publication ethics). In the above-specified sections of the journal, the necessary details are mentioned, and the authors must declare the following:
The submitted manuscript has not been submitted or published anywhere, and the manuscript is not a duplicate publication.
The manuscript will not be submitted elsewhere until the editorial process is completed. If the manuscript contains previously published content (including figures or tables), authors should submit a statement of permission to reproduce the material or parts of these signed by the authors and publishers concerned.
Authors should declare any previous or pending publication of the manuscript’s abstract or content in any conference proceedings or communications, or as pre-prints on repositories like arXiv, biorXiv, Figshare, etc. If the abstract of the manuscript submitted has been published in any workshop or conference proceedings, the authors must ensure that it is not copyrighted or that the embargo period has ended. If the abstract is in a collection copyrighted by the publishers, the authors must request permission to reuse the material.
If the manuscript is based on data and information that formed the basis of previous research, the authors must ensure transparency and refer to the previous publication. If there is a set of data and information associated with the manuscript, the authors should specify where the data supporting the results or analyses presented in the work can be accessed. Where appropriate, it should include hyperlinks to publicly archived datasets, DOIs, or other persistent identifiers associated with the datasets.
Authors are invited to follow scientific principles and ethics and to respect others when determining the credit for a piece of work, ensuring that all (and only) those who have made a significant contribution are included as co-authors of their submission.
Except for the author(s) who has made a significant intellectual contribution to the article, other persons who have contributed to the study in a lesser capacity should be mentioned and acknowledged, but not cited as authors. According to the requirements and instructions of the journal, in the Acknowledgments section, must specify the contribution of each author and, where applicable, those who are not authors but who contributed to the research and the results presented in the manuscript. Consequently, for multi-authored research articles, all submitted manuscripts must include the authors' contributions specifying the role and work of each author, in order to ensure full transparency.
According to the requirements of the journal, at the end of the manuscript, before the presentation of the References, several sections on ensuring the good practices of scientific and ethical publication of research and publication are mandatory:
The contributions of authors to the manuscript should be specified in this section; according to the type of contribution (choosing only the appropriate ones), the authors are mentioned by initials: Conceptualization (e.g. ‘Conceptualization: AB and CDE’ etc.); Data curation; Formal analysis; Funding acquisition; Investigation; Methodology; Project administration; Resources; Software; Supervision; Validation; Visualization; Writing - original draft; Writing - review and editing. Please note: Authorship must be limited to those who have contributed substantially to the work reported. Please add at the end: All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Ethical approval (for researches involving animals or humans)
Interventional studies involving animals or humans, and other studies require ethical approval and it is mandatory to list the authority that provided approval and the corresponding ethical approval code. For research involving human research participants, authors must identify the committee approving the research, and include with their submission a statement confirming that informed consent was obtained from all participants.
Acknowledgements - quick thanks should be mentioned only to the fund providers or supporters. The recommended form is: “This work was supported by the …, grant number xxx”. If no specific funding was provided, use the following sentence: “This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.”
Conflict of Interests
A conflict of interest is a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple interests, financial or otherwise, and serving one interest could involve working against another. Authors must identify and declare any personal circumstances or interests that may be perceived as inappropriately influencing the representation or interpretation of reported research results. If no conflict exists, the authors can state “The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest related to this article”. Any role of the funders in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results must be declared in this section. If there is no role, please state “The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results”.
These above issues are clearly defined and presented in the 'Policies' and 'Procedures' sections of the journal, including links to bodies and agencies that have assumed responsibilities in this regard, which the journal adopts. As stated previously, Notulae Scientia Biologicae follows also the ICMJE Recommendations and the authors, reviewers, editors and publisher are therefore invited to comply with the requirements presented in the following sections of the ICMJE:
Statements of ethical approval for studies involving human subjects and/or animals
If the manuscript involves human subjects or animals in the research, case reports or case series, the authors must provide appropriate data and information, including the following:
Research procedures must be carried out in accordance with national and institutional regulations. The name of the ethical approval committee or institutional review board from which the authors have obtained consent, along with the approval regulation or documents. They should confirm that the study was conducted in accordance with Helsinki Declaration, revised in 2013.
The authors must state that written informed consent was obtained from the participants of the study. In addition, relevant document(s) must be provided when requested by the journal, in some specific cases. If verbal informed consent was obtained, the reason(s) for the absence of written consent must be provided.
For case reports or case series involving minor subjects, authors should confirm that the statements of written informed consent from legally authorized representatives, parents, guardians etc. are available; if verbal informed consent was obtained, reasons for this must be mentioned.
Since patients have a right to privacy, identifying information (including patients’ images, names, initials, or hospital numbers) should not be included in recordings, written descriptions, or photographs, unless the information is essential for scientific purposes. In any case, written informed consent from the patient must be obtained for the publication of such data. If such consent has not been obtained, personal details of patients in any part of the paper and in any supplementary materials (including illustrations) must be removed before submission.
Where appropriate, editors will request additional information and documents that research and procedures involving animals have complied with accepted codes of experimental conditions and procedures to avoid or minimize harm to animals, and the research presented is unlikely to offend most readers.
The journal's approach to other cases related to publication ethics, principles of transparency and best practice in scientific publications
As mentioned previously, any other cases related to irregularities or suspicions regarding the observance of the rules of ethics, norms and correctness in scientific publications will be treated by the Notulae Scientia Biologicae journal according to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) protocols.
Duplicate Submission/Publication and Redundant Publication
Undeclared Conflict of Interest
The overall cases will be handled according to the following COPE guidelines:
Suspected Manipulation of Peer Review/Bias of Peer Review
The overall matter will be dealt with according to the recommended policies of COPE.
Manipulation of Citations
Violation of Research Ethics
Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers
Other conditions and information
Editors of Notulae Scientia Biologicae journal recommend that potential contributors read and follow the useful recommendations and information published by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) in order to prepare and submit manuscripts to the journal.
On the ICMJE website, readers can find the list of journals stating that they follow the ICMJE recommendations. Notulae Scientia Biologicae can be found on the following page:
Principles of Transparency
Journal Name: Notulae Scientia Biologicae
Publisher: Horticulture and Forestry Society from Transylvania - SHST
Under aegis - ownership and management
©SHST is a professional, scientific, non-profit, apolitical and non-governmental registered Romanian society. SHST ensures all the costs and needs of the journal from its own funds, represented from sources attracted by donations, sponsorships, membership fees, etc. The support of the journal aims to develop Romanian horticulture, forestry and life sciences knowledge and research in the field, promoting the new and integration of leaders and young people in this sciences at the Romanian and international level. In addition, the publication of results by researchers in the field is free of charge and free access to published information of all readers, regardless of country, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, politics, opinions and budget.
Aim and Scope
Notulae Scientia Biologicae is a peer-reviewed quarterly journal aimed at disseminating significant research and original papers, critical reviews and short reviews in the agricultural and biological sciences (horticulture, forestry, plant science, biology, ecology etc.), biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology, medicine. Articles should make a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge or toward a better understanding of these concepts. An Editorial Board advises the journal. The total content of the journal may be used for educational, non-profit purposes without regard to copyright. The distribution of the material is encouraged with the condition that the authors and the source (Notulae Scientia Biologicae or abbreviated Not Sci Biol) are mentioned.
Open Acces Journal
Notulae Scientia Biologicae is an open-access journal that was founded to develop a reliable platform and to provide unrestricted access to the scientific literature for the rapid dissemination of recent updates in agricultural and biological sciences (horticulture, forestry, plant science, biology, ecology etc.), environmental sciences, biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology, medicine. Through its new approach, the journal adheres to the mission of developing a reliable bridge of communication among people interested in the mentioned topics of science and technology, bringing authentic and novelty scientific contributions.
Authors and Contributors
Researchers, faculty members and academics in the journal domains and various related disciplines are invited to submit their new contributions in the form of original manuscripts. They will be subject to quality verification (through the double-blind peer-review process) before being approved for publication. The publisher will promote the articles published in the journal, in accordance with the regulations on free access.
Copyrights and Licensing
© Articles by the authors. The journal allows the author(s) to hold the copyright/to retain publishing rights without restriction by Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0). The articles are open access (OA), distributed under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Author fees/Article Processing Charge (APC)
There are no fees for authors (no APC - Article Processing Charge, or other costs). The authors retain the copyright of their work and allow it to be shared and reused, provided that it is correctly cited.
Readers' Accessibility to Articles
Readers have free access to the entire content of the journal. Readers anywhere in the world may download, share or use the work, free of charge.
Editorial board. The members and their institutions and relevant details are presented on:
Peer Review Process
Double-blind, described in detail on https://www.notulaebiologicae.ro/index.php/nsb/prp
Proccess for Identification of, and Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct
The publisher and editors follow COPE’s guidelines (https://publicationethics.org/).
All publication procedures, the responsibilities of the editor-in-chief and of the editors, members of the scientific board, reviewers and authors and the conditions of ethics and correctness in scientific research and publication are specified on the journal’s website. The rules imposed by the journal are clear and unequivocal. These must be assumed and respected by all actors involved in the publication process.
Details on the responsibilities of all those involved in the publication of manuscripts and the observance of professional deontology and ethical norms in scientific research and the publication of its results are above and on the sections 'Procedures' and 'Author Guidelines'.
Quarterly (four issues per volume/year). The journal appears quarterly, with the next coverage over the four annual numbers (combined months):
Issue 1: January-March
Issue 2: April-June
Issue 3: July-September
Issue 4: October-December
PKP Preservation Network (PN) provides free preservation services for any OJS journal that meets a few basic criteria. LOCKSS is enabled to store and distribute journal content at participating libraries via a LOCKSS Publisher.
Journal Platform and Workflow
OJS and PKP. Open Journal Systems (OJS) is a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research.
Notulae Scientia Biologicae is an open-access journal, which offers free, immediate, and unrestricted access to peer-reviewed research and scholarly work, due to SHST supports and the mission assumed "to increase the visibility, accessibility and reputation of the researchers, regardless of geography and their budgets". A remarkable fact is that throughout its publication, Notulae Scientia Biologicae journal attracted and involved in the work processes, corresponding to their level, many masters and doctoral students (starting with the requirements of word processing and references, etc.), some becoming researchers and scientists trained and educated in the spirit of seriousness and fairness, the diligence of research work, respect for fair and honest conduct, respect for ethics in research and scientific publications. In addition, the journal has supported and contributed to the scientific development of many young researchers in various life sciences domains around the world, providing them with scientific support and advice through editorial and peer review processes, as well as free publication and wide international visibility, in open access (OA) publishing model.
The editors-in-chief of Notulae Scientia Biologicae thank everyone for their volunteer work and especially express their gratitude to the invited reviewers who accept and work hard for no benefit, only for the benefit of the scientific community and our society, contributing to the reveal and relevance of new knowledge, the improvement of research and education, the formation of new scientific human resources in these areas essential for the progress of humanity and, finally, for increasing the quality of our lives.