• Editorial Policies

    Exploration of Targeted Anti-tumor Therapy endorses and applies the standards and recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), to ensure the rigorousness of its review and publication processes. Please note that we will update these policies periodically to maintain alignment with any new regulations recommended by the organizations listed above. 

    Open Access

    The journal provides immediate open access to all published content; all content is freely available without charge to users or their Institutes. Users may read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without obtaining prior permission from the publisher or the author.

    CC BY License

    The authors grant usage rights to others using CC BY license to facilitate open access and improve academic exchange among researchers.

    According to this license, users are free to:

    Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format;

    Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, including commercial.

    Under these terms:

    Attribution — you must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use;

    No additional restrictions — you may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

    Publication Fee

    To attract high quality submissions and relieve the financial burden for researchers, the journal currently provides authors with a free publication service. All journals are wholly financed by Open Exploration. There is no article processing charge (APC) or fees payable for article submission or publication.

    Editorial Freedom

    Defined by WAME, editorial freedom means that the Editors-in-Chief have full authority over the entire editorial content of their journal and the timing of the publication of that content. The journal respects editorial freedom, and will not interfere in the article review, selection, etc., or influence Editors' decision on acceptance of article for publication. The Editors-in-Chief of the journal make independent decisions based on the validity of the work and its importance to the journal's readers, independently of commercial considerations for the journal or its publisher.

    Peer Review Policy

    Peer Review Model

    The journal adopts a single-blind peer review model meaning that reviewers' identities are concealed from authors, but authors' identities are known to reviewers. All accepted articles (except for some Editorials released by the Editors) will have undergone a rigorous and thorough review process to evaluate their novelty, scientific content, academic integrity, etc.

    Peer Review Process

    Each submission is subject to an initial check operated by the managing editor and the Academic Editor. The managing editor conducts the plagiarism check and reviews the manuscript for suitability versus the scope of the journal and appropriate format. Manuscripts that pass this initial check are assigned to an Academic Editor who has no conflict of interest with the authors or the manuscript. The Academic Editor is usually an Editor-in-Chief although an Editor-in-Chief may assign the role of Academic Editor to another Editorial Board member or a Guest Editor for certain papers. The Academic Editor first takes a decision on whether the manuscript is sent for full peer review. If the Academic Editor finds that the manuscript is not of sufficient quality or that the subject of the manuscript is not appropriate for the journal, the manuscript will be rejected with no further evaluation. Manuscripts which pass the Academic Editor’s initial evaluation are passed on to experts for full peer review.

    Peer reviewers should have considerable expertise/experience in the subject of the article, who focus on the manuscript and are invited to evaluate the manuscript’s quality with regard to significance, novelty, integrity, presentation, scientific soundness, etc. Peer review usually requires at least two external review reports comprising detailed comments and an overall recommendation (“Acceptance”, “Minor Revision”, “Major Revision” or “Rejection”). The review reports will be submitted to the Academic Editor for decision on publication. In some cases, more review reports may be collected (for example, when the two previous reports express opposing opinions and/or when the Academic Editor thinks more reports are necessary to guide decision making).

    Peer Reviewers

    Suitable reviewers are selected based on the following points:

    ★ They are independent of all the authors and their institutions;

    ★ They focus on the same or similar research with the manuscript, and they are able to impartially assess the manuscript based on originality, validity, and significance;

    ★ They have recent publications in the same research area as the manuscript;

    ★ They can complete peer review within the required time.

    Authors may suggest potential reviewers, however, the managing editors have the discretion whether or not to consider these suggested reviewers.

    Notes for Peer Reviewers

    ★ Declare any relevant conflicts of interest before starting the review. If a relevant conflict of interest exists, reviewers may withdraw from the review;

    ★ Respect the confidentiality of peer review. Peer reviewers should not divulge any information about the manuscript or contact authors without prior permission from the journal editors;

    ★ Destroy copies of the manuscript after completing their review reports;

    ★ Provide an objective and unbiased evaluation regardless of nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender or other characteristics of the authors, origins of a manuscript or other commercial considerations;

    ★ Report potential misconduct. Reviewers should alert the editorial office if they come across any potential research or publication misconduct, such as duplicate publication, plagiarism, or breaches to research ethics;

    ★ Not request that authors cite the peer reviewer’s own papers, unless there is a strong scholarly rationale for this;

    ★ Submit review reports in a timely manner. It is acceptable to request an extension.

    For more information about peer review, please refer to Peer Review and Peer Review Guidelines

    Authorship

    Authorship Criteria

    The journal endorses the authorship criteria defined by ICMJE. Individuals who fulfill the following criteria can be defined as authors.

    Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND

    Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND

    Final approval of the version to be published; AND

    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.

    Corresponding Author

    When a manuscript has multiple authors, one of them should be designated as the corresponding author. The corresponding author is responsible for communicating with the journal and managing communication between coauthors; handling all submission requests, such as providing details of authorship, ethics committee approval, clinical trial registration documentation; and gathering conflicts of interest statements and other statements. The corresponding author should be available throughout the submission, peer review and production process and should be available after publication to respond to critiques of the work, answer any questions arising about the paper, and deal with any request from the journal for data or additional information.

    Dual Authorship

    The journal allows dual first/last authorship when two authors contribute equally to a work. Other equal contributions are best described in the Author Contributions statement.

    Group Authorship

    When a large multi-author group has conducted the work, the group ideally should decide who will be listed as authors. All members of the group named as authors should meet all above four criteria, and they should be able to take public responsibility for the work and should have full confidence in the accuracy and integrity of the work of other group authors.

    Some large multi-author groups designate authorship by a group name, with or without the names of individuals. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding author should specify the group name if one exists, and clearly identify the group members who can take credit and responsibility for the work as authors.

    Authorship Disputes

    The individual who is responsible for identifying who meets these criteria should ideally do this when planning the work, and he/she should make modifications as appropriate as the work progresses. It is the collective responsibility of the authors, not the journal to which the work is submitted, to determine that all people named as authors meet all four criteria; it is not the role of journal editors to determine who qualifies or does not qualify for authorship or to arbitrate authorship conflicts. If agreement cannot be reached about who qualifies for authorship or the order of authors, the institution(s) where the work was performed, not the journal editor, should investigate. To manage authorship disputes, editors should refer to the flowcharts from COPE and “How to spot authorship problems”. Authorship disputes will often need to be referred to institutions if the authors cannot resolve the dispute themselves.

    Authorship Changes

    Authorship can be changed only before a manuscript is officially accepted. 

    Authors can ask to remove or add authors. Under this circumstance, a signed statement of agreement including the reason and the requested change from all listed authors and from the author to be removed or added should be provided to the editorial office.

    Author Contributions

    To provide appropriate credit for all authors and assign responsibility and accountability for published work, authors are required to include an Author Contributions statement in the Declarations part of the manuscript to specify the contribution of each author.

    ORCID

    Authors are encouraged to provide an ORCID (Open Researcher Contributor ID). An ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier to distinguish individuals from others with similar names and links individuals to their research outputs.

    Acknowledgments

    Other individuals who have participated in the generation of the research paper but do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgments section with a brief description of their contributions. Minors who have been involved in a piece of research (for example, children using technology) are typically acknowledged as they cannot be fully accountable for all aspects of the research.

    Conflicts of Interest

    Conflicts of interest in publishing can be defined as conditions in which an individual holds conflicting or competing interests that could bias editorial decisions. Conflicts of interest may be potential or perceived, or they may be factual. Personal, political, financial, academic, or religious considerations can affect objectivity in numerous ways. COPE has published flowcharts that illustrate a suitable process for investigations of suspected undisclosed conflicts of interest.

    Definition of Conflicts of Interest

    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).

    Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership or options, honoraria, patents, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself.

    Conflicts can also occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships or rivalries, academic competition, and intellectual beliefs.

    Author

    The journal requires authors to provide a statement at the end of their manuscripts to disclose any potential or existing conflict of interest relevant to the work. The corresponding author must ensure that all authors are aware of the requirement to disclose any conflict of interest.

    Reviewer

    When asked to evaluate a manuscript, reviewers must disclose any association that poses a conflict of interest in connection with the manuscript. Reviewers are asked to recuse themselves from handling a paper if the conflict makes them unable to, or lead to the perception that they may be unable to, form an impartial scientific judgment. A reviewer who has a potential conflict but believes that it does not preclude his or her from making a proper judgment must disclose the conflict to the editorial office. Such conflict is taken into account when the editors make decisions.

    Editors, Board Members, Editorial Staff

    When editors, members of editorial boards, and other editorial staff are presented with papers where their own interests may be perceived to impair their ability to make an unbiased editorial decision, they should withdraw from discussions, deputize decisions, or suggest that authors seek publication in a different journal.

    The manuscripts submitted by the editorial board members are handled separately by other editors, and the submitting editor is not involved in the decision-making or the review process.

    Funding

    All sources of funding should be declared by naming financially supporting bodies followed by any associated grant numbers in square brackets under the heading “Funding” at the end of the manuscript. Authors must describe the role of the study sponsor(s) in the study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the paper for publication, if any.

    Research Ethics

    Human Subject Research

    ★ Ethical Approval

    For any study involving human subjects or samples, authors should provide an Ethical Approval statement in the Declarations part of their manuscripts to state that the study is approved by an institutional ethics committee and complies with the Declaration of Helsinki. The researchers must have conducted the study according to the approved protocol and acceptable research standards.

    ★ Consent to Participate

    For any study involving human subjects, written informed consent to participate should be obtained from the participants. Authors should provide a statement to attest that they have received and archived the written consent, and such consent can be available if requested.

    ★ Consent to Publication 

    For manuscripts involving privacy issues, e.g., showing the individual details in images or videos, authors must obtain the consent to publication from the participants. Authors should provide a statement to attest that they have received and archived the written consent, and such consent can be available if requested.

    Animal Research

    Any research involving animals should be approved by an animal care and use committee and conducted according to the approved protocol and acceptable research standards for animal experimentation. Authors should provide an ethical statement at the end of their manuscripts to state that the study was approved by certain animal care and use committee.

    Registration of Clinical Trials

    Definition of Clinical Trials

    The journal endorses the clinical trial defined by ICMJE. A clinical trial is any research project that prospectively assigns people or a group of people to an intervention, with or without concurrent comparison or control groups, to study the relationship between a health-related intervention and a health outcome. Health-related interventions are those used to modify a biomedical or health-related outcome; examples include drugs, surgical procedures, devices, behavioral treatments, educational programs, dietary interventions, quality improvement interventions, and process-of-care changes. Health outcomes are any biomedical or health-related measure obtained in patients or participants, including pharmacokinetic measures and adverse events.

    Requirements of Clinical Trials

    ★ The journal requires registration of all clinical trials;

    ★ The journal requires the registration of clinical trials in a public trials registry at or before the time of first patient enrollment;

    ★ The journal accepts publicly accessible registration in any registry that is a primary register of the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) or in ClinicalTrials.gov;

    ★ The trial registration number should be listed at the end of the Abstract;

    ★ Secondary data analyses of primary (parent) clinical trials should not be registered as separate clinical trials, but instead should reference the trial registration number of the primary trial.

    Authors who are not sure whether they need trial registration may refer to ICMJE FAQs for further information.

    Confidentiality

    Editors, authors and reviewers are required to keep confidential all details of the editorial and peer review process on submitted manuscripts. Correspondence as part of the review process is also to be treated confidentially by all parties, including authors.

    Reviewers must keep the content of the manuscript confidential and destroy copies at the end of the review process. In addition, the unpublished information described in the manuscript cannot be used for their own interests. If reviewers wish to discuss with anyone outside the review process for assistance, they must inform the editorial office first.

    Reviewers must keep their identities confidential since the journal adopts a single-blind peer review. Reviewers are not allowed to disclose their identities to authors or contact authors without the permission of the editorial office.

    Whether a submitted manuscript is eventually published, correspondence with the journal, review reports and other confidential materials must not be disclosed or otherwise publicized without prior written consent.

    Once a manuscript is rejected for publication, all the copies of the manuscript should be deleted from the editorial system. If the editorial office needs to retain a rejected manuscript, they must obtain the author’s permission.

    The journal will not share the information of a manuscript and its authors with other third parties before the manuscript is formally published, except in cases of suspected of misconduct. If the editorial office has to break confidentiality because of alleged dishonesty or fraud, the editorial office will inform authors and reviewers first.

    When a manuscript is published, the journal should keep copies of the original submission, reviews, revisions, and correspondence for at least three years and possibly in perpetuity, depending on local regulations, to help answer future questions about the work that may arise.

    Availability of Data and Materials

    To enable reuse and enhance reproducibility, we strongly suggest that all materials used to conduct the research and data generated by the research that supports the articles should be available for other researchers when the works are published, wherever legally and ethically possible.

    Authors may be asked to detail the location of the raw data underlying the conclusions made in the manuscript, and whether it will be made available to other researchers. Authors may also be asked for the details of any existing dataset that has been analyzed in the manuscript.

    Examples of Appropriate Public Repositories

    DNA/RNA Sequence: Genbank, Genome, BankIt, Sequence Read Archive (SRA), European Nucleotide Archive (ENA), DNA DataBank of Japan (DDBJ).

    Protein Sequence: Uniprot Knowledgebase (UniprotKB).

    Genetic polymorphisms: dbSNP, the Database of Genomic Variants Archive (DGVa), or the Database of Genomic Structural Variation (dbVAR).

    Sequencing Data/Microarray Data: NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) or ArrayExpress.

    Structures of Macromolecules: Worldwide Protein Data Bank, Protein Data Bank in Europe, EMDataBank.

    Structures of Small Molecules: Cambridge Structural Database (CSD), PubChem.

    Availability of Data and Materials Statement

    Authors are required to provide an Availability of Data and Materials statement at the end of their manuscripts. See the following examples.

    ★ Datasets are in a publicly accessible repository:

    The datasets [GENERATED/ANALYZED] for this study can be found in the [NAME OF REPOSITORY] [LINK].

    ★ Datasets are available on request:

    The raw data supporting the conclusions of this manuscript will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation, to any qualified researcher.

    ★ All relevant data is contained within the manuscript:

    All datasets [GENERATED/ANALYZED] for this study are included in the manuscript and the supplementary files.

    ★ The datasets request access:

    The datasets for this manuscript are not publicly available because: [VALID REASON]. Requests for accessing the datasets should be directed to [NAME, EMAIL].

    ★ Data has been obtained from a third party:

    The data analyzed in this study was obtained from [SOURCE]. Requests for access to these datasets should be directed to [NAME, EMAIL].

    ★ No datasets were generated for this study:

    Not applicable.

    Citation

    Authors must cite relevant literature to support any statement that relies on external sources of information in their manuscripts. Authors should consider the following guidelines when preparing their manuscript:

    ★ Authors should cite the original work rather than a review article which cited an original work;

    ★ Authors should ensure that their citations are accurate, i.e. they should ensure the citation supports the statement made in their manuscripts and should not misrepresent another work by citing it if it does not support the point authors wish to make;

    ★ Authors should avoid citing works solely from one country;

    ★ Authors should not use an excessive number of citations to support one point.

    However, citation manipulation may exist when articles are found to contain references that do not contribute to the scholarly content of the article and have been included solely as a mechanism of increasing citations. According to COPE, Citation Manipulation refers to the following types of behavior.

    ★ Excessive citation of an author’s research by the author (i.e. self-citation by authors) as a means solely of increasing the number of citations of the author’s work;

    ★ Excessive citation of articles from the journal in which the author is publishing a research article as a means solely of increasing the number of citations of the journal; or

    ★ Excessive citation of the work of another author or journal, sometimes referred to as “honorary citations” (e.g., the Editor(s)-in-Chief of the journal to which one is submitting a manuscript or a well-known scholar in the field of the researcher) or “citation stacking” solely to contribute to the citations of the author(s)/journal(s) in question.

    Citation manipulation will result in the article being rejected. The journal reserves the right to report the case to authors’ institutions. Similarly, any attempts by peer reviewers or editors to encourage such practices should be reported by authors to the publisher. Editors who practice citation manipulation are deemed to have violated norms of best practice in publishing and may be removed from their positions after investigations confirm practices of citation manipulation. The journal recognizes legitimate reasons for self-citation; see COPE discussion document Citation Manipulation.

    Plagiarism

    Plagiarism is not acceptable in the journal, and includes, but is not limited to, copying or reusing text, ideas, images or data from other sources without clear attribution, and goes against the principle of academic publishing. Reuse of parts of text from an author's previous research publication without clear attribution is a form of self-plagiarism. When reusing text, all sources must be cited at the point they are used, and reuse of wording must be limited and be attributed or quoted in the text.

    The journal uses iThenticate to screen submitted content for originality before publication. iThenticate checks submissions against millions of published research papers, and billions of web content. Any issues detected by the software will be addressed by a follow-up investigation in line with COPE guidelines and if plagiarism is detected the manuscript may be rejected, corrected or retracted, as appropriate. In some cases, we may inform the authors' institutions about the case. We expect that the editors and peer reviewers will inform the journal about any concerns related to plagiarism at any stage of peer-review, publication, or post-publication. We also encourage readers to report suspicious plagiarism after publication. COPE have flowcharts for how to handle cases of potential plagiarism in a submitted manuscript or a published article.

    Duplicate Publication

    The journal considers only original content, meaning that articles must not have been previously published or submitted for publication, including in a language other than English. If related materials are under consideration or in press elsewhere, authors should point this out in their cover letter.

    If authors have used their own previously published work, or work that is currently under review, as the basis for a submitted manuscript, they must cite the previous articles and indicate how their submitted manuscript differs from their previous work. Anyway, publishing or not publishing these materials is at the Editor’s discretion. Reuse of the authors’ own figures or substantial amounts of wording may require permission from the copyright holder and the authors are responsible for obtaining this.

    The journal will consider the following exceptions if justified and made clear upon submission.

    ★ Preprint servers

    Posting a manuscript on a preprint server or an author's personal or institutional website does not constitute previous publication. Please see our Preprint Policy for further information.

    ★ Theses

    A PhD or other academic thesis including those that have been made publicly available according to the requirements of the institution awarding the qualification.

    ★ Conference Abstracts/Posters

    The journal allows publication of meeting abstracts or posters before the full contribution is submitted. Such abstracts should be cited in their submission and referred to in the cover letter accompanying the manuscript.

    ★ Datasets

    Making scientific data sets publicly available before associated manuscripts are submitted will not preclude consideration by the journal. More and more research funding agencies require that their grant holders share the 'raw data' research outputs, such data sharing is encouraged by the journal.

    ★ Summary of clinical trial results in public registries

    Posting of summary clinical trial results in publicly accessible databases is generally not considered duplicate publication. The journal requires authors of manuscripts reporting clinical trials to have registered their trial in a suitably accessible registry (see Registration of Clinical Trials for more information).

    ★ Translations

    The journal may choose to publish materials that have been accurately translated from an original publication in a different language at the Editor's discretion. The journal may translate and publish material that has been published elsewhere should ensure that they have appropriate permission from the original journal/publisher. They should indicate clearly that the material has been translated and re-published under CC BY license, and should identify the original source of the material.

    If a manuscript is published and later found to be redundant, the editor should refer to the COPE flowcharts and work with the publisher to retract the duplicate paper.

    Misconduct

    The journal deals with any scientific misconduct on a case-by-case basis according to the guidance produced by COPE, WAME and ICMJE.

    Misconduct Definition

    The journal endorses the summary of misconduct provided by WAME as follows.

    ★ Falsification of data: ranges from fabrication to deceptive selective reporting of findings and omission of conflicting data, or willful suppression and/or distortion of data;

    ★ Plagiarism: the appropriation of the language, ideas, or thoughts of another without crediting their true source, and representation of them as one's own original work;

    ★ Improprieties of authorship: improper assignment of credit, such as excluding others, misrepresentation of the same material as original in more than one publication, inclusion of individuals as authors who have not made a definite contribution to the work published; or submission of multi-authored publications without the concurrence of all authors;

    ★ Misappropriation of the ideas of others: an important aspect of scholarly activity is the exchange of ideas among colleagues. Scholars can acquire novel ideas from others during the process of reviewing grant applications and manuscripts. However, improper use of such information can constitute fraud. Wholesale appropriation of such material constitutes misconduct;

    ★ Violation of generally accepted research practices: serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing or carrying out research, improper manipulation of experiments to obtain biased results, deceptive statistical or analytical manipulations, or improper reporting of results;

    ★ Material failure to comply with legislative and regulatory requirements affecting research: including but not limited to serious or substantial, repeated, willful violations of applicable local regulations and law involving the use of funds, care of animals, human subjects, investigational drugs, recombinant products, new devices, or radioactive, biologic, or chemical materials;

    ★ Inappropriate behavior in relation to misconduct: this includes unfounded or knowingly false accusations of misconduct, failure to report known or suspected misconduct, withholding or destruction of information relevant to a claim of misconduct and retaliation against persons involved in the allegation or investigation.

    In addition, the journal considers the following practices as misconduct:

    ★ Duplicate publication: submission of a work, in the same or different languages, simultaneously to more than one journal. For cases where secondary publication is justifiable and acceptable, please refer to Duplicate Publication;

    ★ Lack of declaration: lack of conflicts of interest, funding, or other failures of transparency.

    Dealing with Allegations of Misconduct

    The journal adopts iThenticate to detect possible plagiarism, which ensures the originality of submitted content. We encourage all reviewers to report potential misconduct of the manuscripts they reviewed. We also encourage all readers to contact us to report potential misconduct related to published content. The journal deals with all allegations of potential misconduct in a serious manner based on the COPE flowchart.

    Crossmark, Corrections and Retractions

    The journal will consider correcting or retracting articles in rare cases. Such practices will follow the guidelines of COPE and ICMJE.

    Crossmark

    Open Exploration participates in the Crossmark service. Crossmark is a multi-publisher initiative from Crossref to provide a standard way for readers to locate the current version of a piece of content. By applying the Crossmark logo, the journal is committing to maintaining the content it publishes, and to alerting readers to any changes when they occur.

    Clicking on the Crossmark logo will tell you the current status of a document, and may also give you additional publication record information about the document.

    Corrections

    According to ICMJE Recommendations, honest errors are a part of science and publishing and require publication of a correction when they are detected. It is our responsibility to correct errors in previously published articles. In such case, the corrections will be published under the following guidelines:

    ★ Corrections will be published as soon as possible once honest errors are confirmed;

    ★ Corrections should state the detailed corrections they made, and link to the original articles;

    ★ The published original version will not be deleted from the public domain. A link of its correction and a brief note will be displayed together with the original version to warn readers that this article has a correction.

    The format of the correction depends on the article’s stage of publication. For online first articles which have been published on an early view service (or equivalent), corrections may be made directly to the article online. In these cases, an audit trail must be added to highlight what changes have been made to the online version of the article since its initial publication and the date these changes were made.

    For those articles which have been published in an issue, a corresponding correction statement should be published and linked to the original article. In these cases, the changes should usually not be made directly to the article.

    Retractions

    On rare occasions, published articles may be retracted. The journal believes that the aim of retraction is not to punish authors but to revise the literature and to alert the reader to such publications which may contain serious errors or erroneous data, and whose conclusions are unreliable. Please note that articles will be retracted by publishing a retraction, but will not be deleted from the public domain. Each retraction will be discussed case by case.

    COPE has published guidelines for retracting articles which suggest that journals should consider publishing retractions for articles when:

    ★ They have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of major error (e.g., miscalculation or experimental error), or as a result of fabrication (e.g., of data) or falsification (e.g., image manipulation);

    ★ It constitutes plagiarism;

    ★ The findings have been previously published elsewhere without proper attribution to previous sources or disclosure to the editor, permission to republish, or justification (i.e. redundant publication);

    ★ It contains material or data without necessary authorization for use;

    ★ Copyright has been infringed or there is some other serious legal issue (e.g., libel, privacy);

    ★ It reports unethical research;

    ★ It has been published solely on the basis of a compromised or manipulated peer review process;

    ★ The author(s) failed to disclose a major competing interest or conflict of interest that, in the view of the editor, would have unduly affected interpretations of the work or recommendations by editors and peer reviewers.

    Retractions will be published under the following guidelines:

    ★ Retractions should be linked to the retracted articles in all electronic versions;

    ★ Retraction titles should be clearly identified as a retraction;

    ★ Retractions should include the title of the retracted article, the specific reason for retraction, who is retracting the article, etc.;

    ★ Retractions should be published as soon as possible to minimize the harmful effect.

    Communication Prior to Publication

    We believe it is important that the peer-reviewed and published version of a paper should be available when the work is discussed in the public media, allowing the press to provide informed comments based on this version. Authors may respond to requests from the media in response to a preprint or conference presentation by providing explanation or clarification of the work, or information about its context. In these circumstances, media coverage will not hinder editorial handling of the submission. Moreover, we suggest authors to make it clear if the paper has not yet undergone peer review, and the findings are provisional and that the conclusions may change.

    Preprint Policy

    The journal allows authors to post preprints of Original Version, Accepted Manuscript, and Version of Record, on preprint servers, authors’ or institutional websites, and open communications between researchers whether on community preprint servers or preprint commenting platforms. Authors who post their work as a preprint should identify the preprint server and include the accession number or DOI during submission.

    After accepted, an online version will be published as soon as possible to make the manuscript freely accessible. After publication, authors should update all the preprint server records to include a journal reference (including DOI), link to the published article on the journal website.

    Readers may visit Sherpa Romeo to view our Preprint Policy.

    Archive

    To ensure long-term digital preservation, all published articles will be archived on the Portico platform. Authors are also encouraged to deposit their articles in PubMed Central/Europe PMC, and other appropriate archives. It is the authors' responsibility to ensure that any Institutional or funders' requirements for archiving are met.

    Appeals and Complaints

    Authors have the right to appeal editorial decisions or review reports during the editorial process. Please contact the editorial office at etatjournal@explorationpub.com to submit your appeals. Editors should allow appeals to override earlier decisions following appropriate reconsideration of the editorial process and decision making (for example, additional factual input by the authors, revisions, extra material in the manuscript, or appeals about conflicts of interest and concerns about biased peer review). Editors should mediate all exchanges between authors and peer reviewers during the peer-review process. Editors may seek comments from additional peer reviewers to help them make their final decision. The editor’s decision following an appeal is final. Author protest alone should not affect decisions.

    Complaints on editorial process or publication ethics should be delivered to the editorial office at etatjournal@explorationpub.com, and will be handled by the editor who responsible for the journal. If the editor is involved in your complaints, please contact the publisher at info@explorationpub.com. For complaints about publication ethics, the Editor will follow guidelines published by COPE.