A central resource for users to access Chinese Optics' policies on publishing ethics & scholarly communication: authorship, duplicate publication, plagiarism and fabrication, competing interests, image integrity, bioethics policy, confidentiality and pre-publicity. All members of Chinese Optics should comply with fundamental principles to maintain academic integrity and publication ethics. The ethics policy is based on the guidelines and standards developed and published by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
Authorship provides credit for a researcher’s contributions to a study and carries accountability. Authors are expected to fulfil the criteria below:
Each author is expected to have made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data; or the creation of new software used in the work; or have drafted the work or substantively revised it
AND to have approved the submitted version (and any substantially modified version that involves the author's contribution to the study);
AND to have agreed both to be personally accountable for the author's own contributions and to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work, even ones in which the author was not personally involved, are appropriately investigated, resolved, and the resolution documented in the literature.
Chinese Optics does not require all authors of a research paper to sign the letter of submission, nor do they impose an order on the list of authors. Submission to the journal is taken by the journal to mean that all the listed authors have agreed all of the contents, including the author list and author contribution statements. The corresponding author is responsible for having ensured that this agreement has been reached that all authors have agreed to be so listed, and have approved the manuscript submission to the journal, and for managing all communication between the journal and all co-authors, before and after publication. The corresponding author is also responsible for submitting a competing interests' statement on behalf of all authors of the paper.
It is expected that the corresponding author (and on multi-group collaborations, at least one member of each collaborating group, usually the most senior member of each submitting group or team, who accepts responsibility for the contributions to the manuscript from that team) will be responsible for the following with respect to data, code and materials:
• ensuring that data, materials, and code comply with transparency and reproducibility standards of the field and journal;
• ensuring that original data/materials/code upon which the submission is based are preserved following best practices in the field so that they are retrievable for reanalysis;
• confirming that data/materials/code presentation accurately reflects the original;
• foreseeing and minimizing obstacles to the sharing of data/materials/code described in the work
• ensuring that all authors (or group leaders in multi-lab collaborations) have certified the author list and author contributions
At submission, the corresponding author must include written permission from the authors of the work concerned for mention of any unpublished material cited in the manuscript (for example others' data, in press manuscripts, personal communications or work in preparation). The corresponding author also must clearly identify at submission any material within the manuscript (such as figures) that has been published previously elsewhere and provide written permission from authors of the prior work and/or publishers, as appropriate, for the re-use of such material.
After acceptance, the corresponding author is responsible for the accuracy of all content in the proof, including the names of coauthors, addresses and affiliations.
After publication, the corresponding author is the point of contact for queries about the published paper. It is their responsibility to inform all co-authors of any matters arising in relation to the published paper and to ensure such matters are dealt with promptly. Authors of published material have a responsibility to inform the journal immediately if they become aware of any aspects that requires correction.
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. Chinese Optics editors are not in a position to investigate or adjudicate authorship disputes before or after publication. Such disagreements, if they cannot be resolved amongst authors, should be directed to the relevant institutional authority.
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 also be stated. Chinese Optics remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
If a consortium is listed as a collective of authors, all members of the consortium are considered authors and must be listed in the published article as such. If not all members of the consortium agree to the responsibilities of authorship, the members that are authors will be listed separately from those who are not. To facilitate submission of manuscripts with large author lists, please consult the journal editor before submission.
Author contribution statements
Chinese Optics encourages transparency by publishing author contribution statements. Authors are required to include a statement of responsibility in the manuscript, including review-type articles that specifies the contribution of every author. The level of detail varies; some disciplines produce manuscripts that comprise discrete efforts readily articulated in detail, whereas other fields operate as group efforts at all stages. Author contribution statements are included in the published paper.
Chinese Optics also allows one set of up to six co-authors to be specified as having contributed equally to the work or having jointly supervised the work. Other equal contributions are best described in author contribution statements. Corresponding authors have specific responsibilities (described above) and are usually limited to three.
As part of our efforts to improve transparency and unambiguous attribution of scholarly contributions, corresponding authors of published papers must provide their Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID) iD; co-authors are encouraged to provide ORCiD iDs.
Material submitted to Chinese Optics must be original and not published or submitted for publication elsewhere. This rule applies to material submitted elsewhere while Chinese Optics contribution is under consideration.
Authors submitting a contribution to Chinese Optics who have related material under consideration or in press elsewhere should upload a clearly marked copy at the time of submission, and draw the editors' attention to it in their cover letter. Authors must disclose any such information while their contributions are under consideration by Chinese Optics - for example, if they submit a related manuscript elsewhere that was not written at the time of the original submission.
If part of a contribution that an author wishes to submit to a Chinese Optics has appeared or will appear elsewhere, the author must specify the details in the covering letter accompanying the submission. Consideration by Chinese Optics is possible if the main result, conclusion, or implications are not apparent from the other work, or if there are other factors, for example if the other work is published in a language other than English.
Chinese Optics are happy to consider submissions containing material that has previously formed part of a PhD or other academic thesis which has been published according to the requirements of the institution awarding the qualification.
Chinese Optics supports prior publication on recognized community preprint servers for review by other scientists in the field before formal submission to a journal.
Chinese Optics allows publication of meeting abstracts before the full contribution is submitted. Such abstracts should be included with the submission and referred to in the cover letter accompanying the manuscript.
In case of any doubt, authors should seek advice from the editor handling their contribution.
If an author of a submission is re-using a figure or figures published elsewhere, or that is copyrighted, the author must provide documentation that the previous publisher or copyright holder has given permission for the figure to be re-published. Chinese Optics editors consider all material in good faith that their journals have full permission to publish every part of the submitted material, including illustrations.
Plagiarism and fabrication
Plagiarism is unacknowledged copying or an attempt to misattribute original authorship, whether of ideas, text or results. As defined by the ORI (Office of Research Integrity), plagiarism can include, "theft or misappropriation of intellectual property and the substantial unattributed textual copying of another's work". Plagiarism can be said to have clearly occurred when large chunks of text have been cut-and-pasted without appropriate and unambiguous attribution. Such manuscripts would not be considered for publication in Chinese Optics. Aside from wholesale verbatim reuse of text, due care must be taken to ensure appropriate attribution and citation when paraphrasing and summarising the work of others. "Text recycling" or reuse of parts of text from an author's previous research publication is a form of self-plagiarism. Here too, due caution must be exercised. When reusing text, whether from the author's own publication or that of others, appropriate attribution and citation is necessary to avoid creating a misleading perception of unique contribution for the reader.
Chinese Optics editors assess all such cases on their individual merits. When plagiarism becomes evident post-publication, we may correct or retract the original publication depending on the degree of plagiarism, context within the published article and its impact on the overall integrity of the published study.
Discussion of unpublished work
Manuscripts are sent out for review on the condition that any unpublished data cited within are properly credited and the appropriate permission has been sought. Where licenced data are cited, authors must include at submission a written assurance that they are complying with originators' data-licencing agreements.
Referees are encouraged to be alert to the use of appropriated unpublished data from databases or from any other source, and to inform the editor of any concern they may have.
Discussion of published work
When discussing the published work of others, authors must properly describe the contribution of the earlier work. Both intellectual contributions and technical developments must be acknowledged as such and appropriately cited.
In the interests of transparency and to help readers form their own judgements of potential bias, Chinese Optics requires authors to declare any competing financial and/or non-financial interests in relation to the work described. The corresponding author is responsible for submitting a competing interests' statement on behalf of all authors of the paper.
For the purposes of this policy, competing interests are defined as financial and non-financial interests that could directly undermine, or be perceived to undermine the objectivity, integrity and value of a publication, through a potential influence on the judgements and actions of authors with regard to objective data presentation, analysis and interpretation.
Financial competing interests include any of the following:
Funding: Research support (including salaries, equipment, supplies, and other expenses) by organizations that may gain or lose financially through this publication. A specific role for the funder in the conceptualization, design, data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript, should be disclosed.
Employment: Recent (while engaged in the research project), present or anticipated employment by any organization that may gain or lose financially through this publication.
Personal financial interests: Stocks or shares in companies that may gain or lose financially through publication; consultation fees or other forms of remuneration (including reimbursements for attending symposia) from organizations that may gain or lose financially; patents or patent applications (awarded or pending) filed by the authors or their institutions whose value may be affected by publication. For patents and patent applications, disclosure of the following information is requested: patent applicant (whether author or institution), name of inventor(s), application number, status of application, specific aspect of manuscript covered in patent application.
We do not consider diversified mutual funds or investment trusts to constitute a competing financial interest.
Non-financial competing interests:
Non-financial competing interests can take different forms, including personal or professional relations with organizations and individuals. We would encourage authors and referees to declare any unpaid roles or relationships that might have a bearing on the publication process. Examples of non-financial competing interests include (but are not limited to):
· Unpaid membership in a government or non-governmental organization
· Unpaid membership in an advocacy or lobbying organization
· Unpaid advisory position in a commercial organization
· Writing or consulting for an educational company
· Acting as an expert witness
Application to authors
Authors must disclose and specify any competing interest during the submission process, via declarations in the manuscript submission system. The corresponding author is responsible for providing a declaration on behalf of all authors.
In addition to any declarations in submission systems or forms, all authors regardless of peer review model are required to include a statement at the end of their published article to declare whether or not they have any competing interests. The published article indicates the authors' response using one of the following standard sentences:
· The authors declare the following competing interests:
· The authors declare no competing interests.
We recognize that some authors may be bound by confidentiality agreements. In such cases, in place of itemized disclosures, we require authors to state: "The authors declare that they are bound by confidentiality agreements that prevent them from disclosing their competing interests in this work."
We do not require authors to state the monetary value of their financial interests.
Application to referees
Chinese Optics invites peer-reviewers to exclude themselves in cases where there is a significant conflict of interest, financial or otherwise. However, just as financial interests need not invalidate the conclusions of an article, nor do they automatically disqualify an individual from evaluating it. We ask peer-reviewers to inform the editors of any related interests, including financial interests as defined above, that might be perceived as relevant. Editors will consider these statements when weighing reviewers' recommendations.
Application to editors
Chinese Optics editorial staff are required to declare to their employer any interests — financial or otherwise — that might influence, or be perceived to influence, their editorial practices. Failure to do so is a disciplinary offence.
Chinese Optics thrives on their independence. Their strict policy is that editorial independence, decisions and content should not be compromised by commercial or financial interests, or by any specific arrangements with advertising clients or sponsors. Our policy is to disclose such arrangements where there is any risk of a perception of compromise.
Images submitted with a manuscript for review should be minimally processed (for instance, to add arrows to a micrograph). Authors should retain their unprocessed data and metadata files, as editors may request them to aid in manuscript evaluation. If unprocessed data are unavailable, manuscript evaluation may be stalled until the issue is resolved. All digitized images submitted with the final revision of the manuscript must be of high quality and have resolutions of at least 300 d.p.i. for colour, 600 d.p.i. for greyscale and 1,200 d.p.i. for line art.
A certain degree of image processing is acceptable for publication (and for some experiments, fields and techniques is unavoidable), but the final image must correctly represent the original data and conform to community standards. The guidelines below will aid in accurate data presentation at the image processing level; authors must also take care to exercise prudence during data acquisition, where misrepresentation must equally be avoided.
Authors should list all image acquisition tools and image processing software packages used. Authors should document key image-gathering settings and processing manipulations in the Methods.
Images gathered at different times or from different locations should not be combined into a single image, unless it is stated that the resultant image is a product of time-averaged data or a time-lapse sequence. If juxtaposing images is essential, the borders should be clearly demarcated in the figure and described in the legend.
The use of touch-up tools, such as cloning and healing tools in Photoshop, or any feature that deliberately obscures manipulations, is to be avoided.
Processing (such as changing brightness and contrast) is appropriate only when it is applied equally across the entire image and is applied equally to controls. Contrast should not be adjusted so that data disappear. Excessive manipulations, such as processing to emphasize one region in the image at the expense of others (for example, through the use of a biased choice of threshold settings), is inappropriate, as is emphasizing experimental data relative to the control.
When submitting revised final figures upon conditional acceptance, authors may be asked to submit original, unprocessed images.
Positive and negative controls, as well as molecular size markers, should be included on each gel and blot—either in the main figure or an expanded data supplementary figure. For previously characterized antibodies, a citation must be provided. For antibodies less well characterized in the system under study, a detailed characterization that demonstrates not only the specificity of the antibody, but also the range of reactivity of the reagent in the assay, should be published as Supplementary Information or in an antibody profile database.
The display of cropped gels and blots in the main paper is encouraged if it improves the clarity and conciseness of the presentation. In such cases, the cropping must be mentioned in the figure legend. (Some journals require full-length gels and blots in supplementary information wherever possible.)
Quantitative comparisons between samples on different gels/blots are discouraged; if this is unavoidable, the figure legend must state that the samples derive from the same experiment and that gels/blots were processed in parallel. Vertically sliced images that juxtapose lanes that were non-adjacent in the gel must have a clear separation or a black line delineating the boundary between the gels. Loading controls (e.g. GAPDH, actin) must be run on the same blot. Sample processing controls run on different gels must be identified as such, and distinctly from loading controls
Cropped gels in the paper must retain important bands.
Cropped blots in the body of the paper should retain at least six band widths above and below the band.
High-contrast gels and blots are discouraged, as overexposure may mask additional bands. Authors should strive for exposures with gray backgrounds. Multiple exposures should be presented in supplementary information if high contrast is unavoidable.
For quantitative comparisons, appropriate reagents, controls and imaging methods with linear signal ranges should be used.
Authors should be prepared to supply the editors with original data on request, at the resolution collected, from which their images were generated. Cells from multiple fields should not be juxtaposed in a single field; instead multiple supporting fields of cells should be shown as Supplementary Information.
Specific guidelines: Adjustments should be applied to the entire image. Threshold manipulation, expansion or contraction of signal ranges and the altering of high signals should be avoided. If "Pseudo-colouring" and nonlinear adjustment (for example "gamma changes") are used, this must be disclosed. Adjustments of individual colour channels are sometimes necessary on "merged" images, but this should be noted in the figure legend.
We encourage inclusion of the following with the final revised version of the manuscript for publication:
In the Methods, specify the type of equipment (microscopes/objective lenses, cameras, detectors, filter model and batch number) and acquisition software used. Although we appreciate that there is some variation between instruments, equipment settings for critical measurements should also be listed.
A single Supplementary Methods file (or part of a larger Methods section) titled "equipment and settings" should list for each image: acquisition information, including time and space resolution data (xyzt and pixel dimensions); image bit depth; experimental conditions such as temperature and imaging medium; and fluorochromes (excitation and emission wavelengths or ranges, filters, dichroic beamsplitters, if any).
The display lookup table (LUT) and the quantitative map between the LUT and the bitmap should be provided, especially when rainbow pseudocolor is used. If the LUT is linear and covers the full range of the data, that should be stated.
Processing software should be named and manipulations indicated (such as type of deconvolution, three-dimensional reconstructions, surface and volume rendering, "gamma changes," filtering, thresholding and projection).
Authors should state the measured resolution at which an image was acquired and any downstream processing or averaging that enhances the resolution of the image.
All research involving vertebrates or cephalopods must have approval from the authors' Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or equivalent ethics committee(s), and must have been conducted according to applicable national and international guidelines. Approval must be received prior to beginning research.
All research involving human participants must have been approved by the authors’ Institutional Review Board (IRB) or by equivalent ethics committee(s), and must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. Authors should be able to submit, upon request, a statement from the IRB or ethics committee indicating approval of the research.
Subjects must have been properly instructed and have indicated that they consent to participate by signing the appropriate informed consent paperwork. Authors may be asked to submit a blank, sample copy of a subject consent form. If consent was verbal instead of written, or if consent could not be obtained, the authors must explain the reason in the manuscript, and the use of verbal consent or the lack of consent must have been approved by the IRB or ethics committee.
Confidentiality and pre-publicity
Editors, authors and reviewers are required to keep confidential all details of the editorial and peer review process on submitted manuscripts. Unless otherwise declared as a part of open peer review, the peer review process is confidential and conducted anonymously; identities of reviewers are not released. Reviewers must maintain confidentiality of manuscripts. If a reviewer wishes to seek advice from colleagues while assessing a manuscript, the reviewer must consult with the editor and should ensure that confidentiality is maintained and that the names of any such colleagues are provided to the journal with the final report. Regardless of whether a submitted manuscript is eventually published, correspondence with the journal, referees' reports and other confidential material must not be published, disclosed or otherwise publicised without prior written consent. Reviewers should be aware that it is our policy to keep their names confidential and that we do our utmost to ensure this confidentiality. We cannot, however, guarantee to maintain this confidentiality in the face of a successful legal action to disclose identity.
Chinese Optics reserves the right to contact funders, regulatory bodies, journals and the authors’ institutions in cases of suspected research or publishing misconduct.
Chinese Optics authors must not discuss contributions with the media (including other scientific journals) until the publication date; advertising the contents of any contribution to the media may lead to rejection. The only exception is in the week before publication, during which contributions may be discussed with the media if authors and their representatives (institutions, funders) clearly indicate to journalists that their contents must not be publicized until the journal's press embargo has elapsed. Authors will be informed of embargo dates and timings after acceptance for publication of their articles.
Presentation and discussion of material submitted to Chinese Optics at scientific meetings is encouraged (including at scientific conferences that are streamed or recorded for academic audiences), but authors must indicate that their work is subject to press embargo and decline to discuss it with members of the media. Authors are free to publish abstracts in conference proceedings and to distribute preprints of submitted or "in press" papers to professional colleagues, but not to the media.
Occasionally, journalists and editors hear about work at talks given at scientific meetings and mention this work in meeting reports or editorials in their journals. In these cases, Chinese Optics will assess the extent to which authors have solicited this interest or cooperated with journalists. If, in the judgement of the editors, the journal's embargo policy has been broken, the submitted paper may be rejected, even if it is technically "in press."
Contributions being prepared for or submitted to Chinese Optics can be posted on recognized preprint servers (such as arXiv), and on collaborative websites such as wikis or the author's blog. The website and URL must be identified to the editor in the cover letter accompanying submission of the paper, and the content of the paper must not be advertised to the media by virtue of being on the website or preprint server. Material in a contribution submitted to Chinese Optics may also have been published as part of a PhD or other academic thesis.
Taxonomic descriptions. Authors of papers that contain taxonomy (that is, the formal nomenclature and description of a newly discovered species) should be aware that it is possible for third parties to exploit the prior publication of nomenclature at any time between online posting of a preprint and the print publication date in a journal, by publishing the name in print and asserting priority according to the rules of the Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Chinese Optics takes no responsibility for such assertions of priority in the case of manuscripts it publishes if the content of those manuscripts have previously appeared in the public domain as online preprints or other form of online posting.