Based on the ICMJE recommendations "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".
Any change in authorship (i.e. order, addition, and deletion of authors) after initial submission must be approved by all authors via written confirmation, in line with COPE guidelines. It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure that all authors confirm they agree with the proposed changes. If there is disagreement amongst the authors concerning authorship and a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached, the authors must contact their institution(s) for a resolution. It is not the journal editor’s responsibility to resolve authorship disputes. A change in authorship after publication of an article can only be amended via publication of an Erratum.
Disclosure of Financial and Non-financial Relationships and Activities
The potential for conflict of interest and bias exists when professional judgment concerning a primary interest (such as patients’ welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain). Perceptions of conflict of interest are as important as actual conflicts of interest. Thus, the lead corresponding author should complete the Disclosure Form to demonstrate a commitment to transparency and helps to maintain trust in the scientific process. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership or options, honoraria, patents, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable, the ones most often judged to represent potential conflicts of interest and thus the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and science itself.
Other interests may also represent or be perceived as conflicts, such as personal relationships or rivalries, academic competition, and intellectual beliefs. Authors should avoid entering into agreements with study sponsors, both for-profit and nonprofit, that interfere with authors’ access to all of the study’s data or that interfere with their ability to analyze and interpret the data and to prepare and publish manuscripts independently when and where they choose. Policies that dictate where authors may publish their work violate this principle of academic freedom. Authors may be required to provide the journal with the agreements in confidence. Purposeful failure to report those relationships or activities specified on the ATR’s Disclosure Form is a form of misconduct.
All participants in the peer-review and publication process must consider and disclose their relationships and activities when fulfilling their roles in the process of article review and publication:
When authors submit a manuscript of any type or format they are responsible for disclosing all relationships and activities that might bias or be seen to bias their work. The lead corresponding author is responsible to complete and submit the Disclosure Form.
2. Peer Reviewers
Reviewers should declare if they have relationships or activities that could complicate their review. Reviewers must disclose to editors any relationships or activities that could bias their opinions of the manuscript and should recuse themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if the potential for bias exists. Reviewers must not use knowledge of the work they are reviewing before its publication to further their own interests.
Reporting Relationships and Activities
The lead corresponding author, on behalf of all co-authors, should declare the following items on the ICMJE Disclosure Form:
1. Duplicate Submission
Authors should not submit the same manuscript, in the same or different languages, simultaneously to more than one journal. The rationale for this standard is the potential for disagreement when two (or more) journals claim the right to publish a manuscript that has been submitted simultaneously to more than one journal, and the possibility that two or more journals will unknowingly and unnecessarily undertake the work of peer review, edit the same manuscript, and publish the same article.
2. Duplicate and Prior Publication
Duplicate publication is a publication of a paper that overlaps substantially with one already published, without clear, visible reference to the previous publication (Please see COPE flowcharts for more information).
3. Manuscripts Based on the Same Database
If we receive manuscripts from separate research groups or from the same group analyzing the same data set (e.g., from a public database, or systematic reviews or meta-analyses of the same evidence), the manuscripts will be considered independently because they may differ in their analytic methods, conclusions, or both. If the data interpretation and conclusions are similar, it may be reasonable although not mandatory for editors to give preference to the manuscript submitted first. Editors might consider publishing more than one manuscript that overlaps in this way because different analytical approaches may be complementary and equally valid. But, manuscripts based upon the same dataset should add substantially to each other to warrant consideration for publication as separate papers, with appropriate citation of previous publications from the same dataset to allow for transparency.
Secondary analyses of clinical trial data should cite any primary publication, clearly state that it contains secondary analyses/results, and use the same identifying trial registration number as the primary trial and unique, persistent dataset identifier (please find more information from ICMJE).