Publication Ethics

Science in the Tropics is committed to upholding the highest standards of publication ethics and takes all possible measures against publication malpractices. The Editorial Board is responsible for preventing publication malpractice. Unethical behavior is unacceptable, and Science in the Tropics does not tolerate it in any form. Editors, authors, and reviewers within the Science in the Tropics are to be fully committed to good publication practice and accept the responsibility for fulfilling the following duties and responsibilities, as set by the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors. COPE has written guidelines on as part of the Core Practices.

Section A: Authorship and Contributors
1. Definition of Authorship
Science in the Tropics assumes that all authors agreed with the content and that all gave explicit consent to submit, and that they obtained permission from the responsible authorities at the institute/organization where the work has been carried out before the work is submitted. The journal does not prescribe the kinds of contributions that warrant authorship. Authors are recommended to adhere to the guidelines for authorship that apply to their specific research field. In the absence of specific guidelines, it is recommended to adhere to the following guidelines:

All authors whose names appear on the submission should:
a. made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data; or the creation of new software used in the work;
b. drafted the work or revised it critically for important intellectual content;
c. approved the version to be published; and
d. agree 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.

Science in the Tropics encourages collaboration with colleagues in the locations where the research is conducted and expects their inclusion as co-authors when they fulfill all authorship criteria described above.

2. Disclosures and declarations
All authors are requested to include information regarding sources of funding, financial or non-financial interests, study-specific approval by the appropriate ethics committee for research involving humans and/or animals, informed consent if the research involved human participants, and a statement on the welfare of animals if the research involved animals (as appropriate).

The decision on whether such information should be included is not only dependent on the scope of the journal but also the scope of the article. Work submitted for publication may have implications for public health or general welfare. In those cases, it is the responsibility of all authors to include the appropriate disclosures and declarations references to Helsinki Declaration.

3. Role of the Corresponding Author
One author is assigned as the Corresponding Author, acts on behalf of all co-authors, and ensures that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately addressed. The Corresponding Author is responsible for the following requirements:
a. ensuring that all listed authors have approved the manuscript before submission, including the names and order of authors;
b. managing all communication between the journal and all co-authors before and after publication. In case communication between the journal and all co-authors during submission and proofing may be delegated to a Contact or Submitting Author, please make sure the Corresponding Author is clearly indicated in the manuscript;
c. providing transparency on the re-use of material and mentioning any unpublished material (for example, manuscripts in press) included in the manuscript in a cover letter to the Editor;
d. making sure disclosures and declarations on data statements from all authors are included in the manuscript as appropriate).

4. Author contributions
Please check the Author Guidelines of this journal for specific instructions regarding contribution statements. Science in the Tropics encourages transparency by publishing author contribution statements. Authors must include information about responsibility in the manuscript, including review-type articles that specify the contribution of every author. Please mention the various contributions of each author, such as study conception and design, data collection, analysis and interpretation, and manuscript preparation and revision. Author contribution statements are included in the published paper.

Science in the Tropics also allows one set of co-authors to be specified as having contributed equally to the work and one set of co-authors to be specified as having jointly supervised the work. Other equal contributions are best described in the author’s contribution statements.

5. Affiliation
The primary affiliation for each author should be the institution where the majority of their work was done. If an author has subsequently moved, the current address may additionally be stated. Addresses will not be updated or changed after the publication of the article.

6. Changes to authorship
Authors are strongly advised to ensure the correct author group, the Corresponding Author, and the order of authors at submission. Any changes to the author list after submission, such as a change in the order of the authors or the deletion or addition of authors, must be approved by every author. Changes of authorship by adding or deleting authors, and/or changes in Corresponding Authors, and/or changes in the sequence of authors are not permitted after acceptance of a manuscript. Please note that author names will be published exactly as they appear on the accepted submission. Please ensure that all authors' names are present and correctly spelled and that addresses and affiliations are current. Adding and/or deleting authors at the revision stage is generally not permitted, but in some cases, it may be warranted. The reasons for these changes in authorship should be explained. Approval of the change during revision is at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief.

7. Author identification
Authors are recommended to use their ORCID ID when submitting an article for consideration or acquire an ORCID ID via the submission process.

8. Deceased or incapacitated authors
For cases in which a co-author dies or is incapacitated during the writing, submission, or peer-review process, and the co-authors feel it is appropriate to include the author, co-authors should obtain approval from a (legal) representative, which could be a direct relative.

9. Confidentiality
Authors should treat all communication with the journal as confidential, which includes correspondence with direct representatives from the journal, such as Editors-in-Chief and/or Handling Editors and reviewers’ reports, unless explicit consent has been received to share information.

10. Authorship issues or disputes
In the case of an authorship dispute during peer review or after acceptance and publication, the journal will not be in a position to investigate or adjudicate. Authors will be asked to resolve the dispute themselves. If they are unable, the journal reserves the right to withdraw a manuscript from the editorial process or, in the case of a published paper, raise the issue with the authors’ institution(s) and abide by its guidelines.

11. Artificial Intelligence Generated Content
Artificial Intelligence Generated Content (AIGC) tools—such as ChatGPT and others based on large language models (LLMs)—cannot be considered capable of initiating an original piece of research without direction by human authors. They also cannot be accountable for a published work or for research design, which is a generally held requirement of authorship (as discussed in the previous section), nor do they have legal standing or the ability to hold or assign copyright. Therefore—in accordance with COPE’s position statement on AI tools—these tools cannot fulfill the role of, nor be listed as, an author of an article. Suppose an author has used this kind of tool to develop any portion of a manuscript. In that case, its use must be described transparently and in detail in the Methods or Acknowledgements section. The author is fully responsible for the accuracy of any information provided by the tool and for correctly referencing any supporting work on which that information depends. Tools that are used to improve spelling, grammar, and general editing are not included in the scope of these guidelines.  

12. Author name revision after publication
In cases where authors wish to change their name the following publication, Science in the Tropics will update the metadata to indexing services. Our editorial and production teams will use discretion in recognizing that name changes may be of a sensitive and private nature for various reasons. Accordingly, to protect the author's privacy, we will not publish a correction notice to the paper or notify co-authors of the change. Authors should contact the journal's Editorial Office with their name change request.

13. Editors and journal staff as authors
Editors and editorial team members are excluded from publication decisions when they are authors or have contributed to a manuscript in this journal.

14. Ethical responsibilities of authors
Authors should refrain from misrepresenting research results that could damage the journal's trust, the professionalism of scientific authorship, and ultimately the entire scientific endeavour. Maintaining the integrity of the research and its presentation is helped by following the rules of good scientific practice, which include:
a. The decision to reject should stand;
b. Another independent opinion is required;
c. The appeal should be considered.

15. Fundamental errors
Authors have an obligation to correct mistakes once they discover a significant error or inaccuracy in their published article. The author(s) is/are requested to contact the journal and explain in what sense the error is impacting the article. A decision on how to correct the literature will depend on the nature of the error. This may be a correction or retraction. The retraction note should provide transparency on which the error impacts parts of the article.

16. Suggesting reviewers
Authors are welcome to suggest suitable reviewers of certain individuals when they submit their manuscripts. When suggesting reviewers, authors should make sure they are totally independent and not connected to the work in any way. It is strongly recommended to suggest a mix of reviewers from different countries and different institutions. When suggesting reviewers, the Corresponding Author must provide an institutional email address, a link to the publication record, and ORCID ID for each suggested reviewer in the submission letter. Please note that the journal may not use the suggestions, but suggestions are appreciated and may help facilitate the peer review process.

Section B: Complaint and Appeals
1. Policy and Process
The procedure applies to appeals to editorial decisions, complaints about the failure of processes such as long delays in handling papers, and complaints about publication ethics. The complaint should, in the first instance, be handled by the Editor-in-Chief(s) responsible for the journal and/or the Editor who handled the paper.  

2. Complaint about scientific content, e.g. an appeal against rejection
The Editor-in-Chief or Handling Editor considers the authors’ argument, and the reviewer reports and decides whether:
a. The decision to reject should stand;
b. Another independent opinion is required;
c. The appeal should be considered.

The complainant is informed of the decision with an explanation if appropriate. Decisions on appeals are final and new submissions take priority over appeals.

3. Complaint about processes, e.g. time taken to review
The Editor-in-Chief, together with the Handling Editor (where appropriate) and/or in-house contact (where applicable), will investigate the matter. The complainant will be given appropriate feedback. Feedback is provided to relevant stakeholders to improve processes and procedures.

4. Complaint about publication ethics, e.g., researcher's author's, or reviewer's conduct
The Editor-in-Chief or Handling Editor follows guidelines published by the Committee on Publication Ethics. The Editor-in-Chief or Handling Editor may ask the publisher via their in-house contact for advice on difficult or complicated cases. The Editor-in-Chief or Handling Editor decides on a course of action and provides feedback to the complainant. If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint, they can submit the complaint to the Committee on Publication Ethics.

Section C: Competing Interests
Authors are requested to disclose interests directly or indirectly related to the work submitted for publication. Disclosure of interests provides a complete and transparent process and helps readers form their judgments of potential bias. This is not meant to imply that a financial relationship with an organization that sponsored the research or compensation received for consultancy work is inappropriate. Interests that should be considered and disclosed include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Research grants from funding agencies (please give the research funder and the grant number) and/or research support (including salaries, equipment, supplies, reimbursement for attending symposia, and other expenses) by organizations that may gain or lose financially through publication of this manuscript.
  2. Employment. Recent (while engaged in the research project), present, or anticipated employment by any organization that may gain or lose financially through the publication of this manuscript. This includes multiple affiliations (if applicable).
  3. Financial interests. Stocks or shares in companies (including holdings of spouse and/or children) that may gain or lose financially through publication of this manuscript; consultation fees or other forms of remuneration from organizations that may gain or lose financially; patents or patent applications whose value may be affected by publication of this manuscript.
  4. Non-financial interests. In addition, authors are requested to disclose interests that go beyond financial interests that could impart bias on the work submitted for publication, such as professional interests, personal relationships, or personal beliefs (amongst others). Examples include but are not limited to position on an editorial board, advisory board or board of directors, or another type of management relationship; writing and/or consulting for educational purposes; expert witness; mentoring relations; and so forth.


Section D: Post-publication Discussion
In exceptional circumstances, Science in the Tropics reserves the right to remove an article online platform. Such action may be taken when:

  1. Science in the Tropics has been advised that content is defamatory, infringes a third party’s intellectual property right, right to privacy, or other legal right, or is otherwise unlawful;
  2. A court or government order has been issued, or is likely to be issued, requiring removal of such content;
  3. Content, if acted upon, would pose an immediate and serious risk to health.

Removal may be temporary or permanent. Bibliographic metadata (e.g., title and authors) will be retained and will be accompanied by a statement explaining why the content has been removed.

Section E: Reviewers’ responsibilities

  1. Reviewers should keep all information regarding papers confidential and treat them as privileged information.
  2. Reviews should be conducted objectively, with no personal criticism of the author
  3. Reviewers should express their views clearly with supporting arguments
  4. Reviewers should identify and suggest relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors.
  5. Reviewers should also call to the Editor in Chief’s attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.
  6. Reviewers should not review manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers

Section F: Editors’ responsibilities

  1. The editor has full responsibility and authority to reject/accept an article.
  2. The editor is responsible for the content and overall quality of the publication.
  3. Editors should always consider the needs of authors and readers when trying to improve the publication.
  4. The editor must guarantee the quality of the paper and the integrity of the academic record.
  5. Editors should base their decisions solely on the importance, originality, clarity, and relevance of the paper to the scope of the publication.
  6. Editors should not reverse their decisions or overturn the decisions of previous editors without good reason, unless there are allegations of ethical violations.
  7. Editors must maintain the confidentiality of reviewers.
  8. Editors should ensure that all research materials they publish conform to internationally accepted ethical guidelines.
  9. Editors should only accept manuscripts if they are confident.
  10. Editors should act if they suspect misconduct, whether published or not, and make all reasonable efforts to persist in getting the matter resolved.
  11. Editors must not allow conflicts of interest between staff, authors, reviewers, and the board.