Scientific Integrity: A Crucial Component of Academic Publishing

Oncotarget Mission Statement

The mission of Oncotarget aims to maximize research impact through insightful peer-review, eliminate borders between specialties by linking different fields of oncology and biomedical science, and foster application of basic and clinical science.

This mission cannot be accomplished without following strong ethical standards.

Scientific integrity is a crucial component of scholarly publishing. At Oncotarget, a growing industry of digital technologies, tools, and ideas are constantly being added to our robust scientific integrity process.

Click to view Enlarged Image

Overview of Oncotarget Scientific Integrity Process

Our scientific integrity process is built around several components:
  1. Presence of ethics statements
  2. Adherence to Industry Standards for Scientific Publishing
  3. Rigorous and Insightful Peer Review
  4. Elimination of Plagiarism
  5. Image Forensics Service
  6. If a problem arises post-publication, we conduct investigations following COPE guidelines in cooperation with the authors and their affiliated institution.

Presence of Ethics Statements

Our detailed ethical statements are publicly available and published on Oncotarget website. We encourage authors to read and follow our Code of Conduct
  • Oncotarget follows the recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)
  • The Journal also follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editor's Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals
  • Publication Ethics Statements are easily accessible from the main navigation panel on the Oncotarget homepage
  • The statements are also displayed on the author submission portal
  • A detailed description of the ethical guidelines can also be found at the Editorial Policies / Instructions for Authors pages

Adherence to Scientific Publishing Standards

Oncotarget's Editorial Policies are consistent with internationally accepted standards for best research practices and reporting.
  • Oncotarget complies with the COPE Code of Conduct and adheres to its Best Practice Guidelines.
  • The Journal also follows the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki of 1975 (as revised in 2000) for all research involving human participants. All research involving human participants must have been approved by the authors' institutional review board or equivalent committee(s) and that board must be named by the authors in the manuscript. For research involving human participants, informed consent must have been obtained (or the reason for lack of consent explained, for example, if the data were analyzed anonymously). All clinical investigations must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. Authors should also submit a statement from their ethics committee or institutional review board indicating approval of their research.
  • Information about human and animal ethics can be found in the relevant section on our Editorial Policies web page
  • Oncotarget also requires animal studies to be conducted in accordance with the recommendations of the Weatherall report on "The use of non-human primates in research". All animal work must have been conducted according to relevant national and international guidelines. In accordance with the recommendations of the Weatherall report, we specifically require authors to include details of animal welfare and steps taken to ameliorate suffering in all work involving non-human primates.
  • All policies have a functioning link to the full text of these guidelines
  • All articles are consistent with the best practices accepted by scholarly journals. Oncotarget requires authors to follow essential publishing standards regarding data management, figure preparation, chemical nomenclature, clinical trials, and reporting. For additional information about these policies, please visit the Editorial Policies sections of our website.
  • All articles include the following sections (where applicable): Title, Authors, Affiliations, Contact Information, Keywords (5), Abstract, Introduction, Results, Discussion, Methods or Materials and Methods, Abbreviations, Conflicts of Interest, Author Contributions, Funding, References.

Rigorous and Insightful Peer-Review

Oncotarget is committed to peer review and editorial oversight of all published content.

Oncotarget peer review policy statements are easily accessible from the main navigation panel on the home page of the journal (for reference, please see the Publication Ethics Statements and Editorial Policies pages on our website.

In summary: Editors select experts in the field, based on their published work. After receiving an average of 3-4 (at least 2 and for some papers more than 4) reviews, Editors make decisions as to whether the paper must be rejected outright or should be returned to the authors for revision. After revision and resubmission, the Editors send the revised article and the authors' detailed responses back to the reviewers for their comments. No more than 3 rounds of revision are allowed, after which the Editors must make a final decision. Editors do not participate in the peer review or decision-making for their own manuscripts.

Oncotarget uses single blind peer review. It is a conventional method of peer review. In this type of peer review the authors do not know who the reviewers are. However, the reviewers know who the authors are.

Oncotarget utilizes a submission system created by eJournalPress (EJP) to facilitate the peer review process. The login portal for the submission system can be found on the journal homepage.

Testimonials from authors about Oncotarget's peer-review process can be found by visiting our Videos with Outstanding Authors web page.

Oncotarget also uses a tracking manuscript system (JPS) created by eJournalPress to track all accepted manuscripts to maintain a quick and efficient publication process.


Elimination of Plagiarism

Here at Oncotarget, we take a very serious approach to the elimination of plagiarism.
  • All articles must be original, and plagiarism in any form is never acceptable.
  • If plagiarism is identified, Oncotarget follows COPE guidelines to investigate and rectify such issues.
  • Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, any form of copying (such as text, images, data, or ideas) without proper attribution.
  • We use CrossCheck, a special service provided by Crossref, to check submitted papers for plagiarism
  • If plagiarism is detected after publication, we may issue a correction or retract the paper.

Image Forensics

At Oncotarget, we seek to do everything we can to ensure that problematic images are not published.
  • Currently, we use advanced image forensics services to check images in all submitted papers. We utilize in-house-developed as well as commercial (including ImageTwin software) image forensics tools.
  • We screen newly submitted papers for different irregularities, such as duplications, splitting, manipulated background etc.
  • Impact Journals has also developed multiple sophisticated in-house tools to screen newly submitted tables and images against content that exists already both on the Internet and in our own journals.

    In summary:

    We typically perform 3 types of image forensics for the papers:

    1. Search for irregularities within the paper.
    2. Search for image matches in other papers within our journals.
    3. Search for image matches within other journals.

  • We are currently applying online software (a program called Seek & Blastn) that spots incorrect gene sequences reported in experiments.
  • Information about image forensics can be found in the relevant section on our Editorial Policies web page, and on the author submission portals.
  • In addition to these tools, we maintain our own database containing information about all questionable papers. New submissions are checked against the database during quality control. This database works in tandem with the submission process to ensure that institutions and authors who are associated with higher rates of questionable papers are “red flagged” in the submission system.

Post Publication Investigations

If a problem arises post-publication, we conduct investigations following COPE guidelines in cooperation with the authors and their affiliated institution.
  • Any instance of unethical publishing behavior will be investigated, even if it is discovered years after publication.
  • Editors/Publishers follow COPE recommendations as a guideline for ensuring that investigations are effective.
  • If an error or misconduct are confirmed, a correction or retraction is published in the journal.
  • We investigate any misconduct in cooperation with the Ethical Committee of the corresponding University/Clinical center.
  • While investigating an article, we also publish the statement “This article is currently undergoing investigation”. This note remains in place until the concern is resolved.

Scientific Integrity: Conclusion

Widely disseminating high-quality science is incumbent upon strong ethical standards for academic integrity.

Oncotarget continues to search for new digital technologies and new ideas to maintain and improve on the high scientific standards we strive to achieve when publishing papers.

To learn more about Oncotarget, please visit www.oncotarget.com. Also, be sure to follow us on social media for our latest updates.

Oncotarget Facebook page Oncotarget Twitter Channel Oncotarget YouTube Channel

Copyright © 2024 Impact Journals, LLC
Impact Journals is a registered trademark of Impact Journals, LLC