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Editorial policy


Portland Press, the publishing arm of the Biochemical Society, prides itself on being a community-owned, ethical publisher, aligning with key industry partners such as COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) and the ICMJE (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors).

The Portland Press Editorial Policy is set out below. If you have any questions in regard to any aspect of the policy, or if something is not covered below, please contact the Editorial department for clarification.

The full peer review process for all Portland Press journals is described in the Publishing Life Cycle. This includes information about how to appeal a decision received on a paper.


Ethical processes


a) Scientific publication


Portland Press is a member of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) and endorses its guidelines, including the Code of Conduct for Editors.

Portland Press believes that the Editorial Boards of its journals has a duty to protect the scientific record. Therefore, it will always fully investigate any matter of apparent misconduct that it becomes aware of with respect to both published and unpublished papers, in conjunction with the institution where the work was performed and/or with funding bodies as appropriate.

The Editorial Board will not accept papers where the ethical aspects are, in the Editorial Board’s opinion, open to doubt.

Portland Press journals follow the guidelines published by COPE in respect of the retraction of articles.

(i) Plagiarism


Portland Press will not tolerate plagiarism in manuscripts submitted to its journals. Passages quoted or closely paraphrased from other Authors (or from the submitting Authors’ own published work) must be identified as quotations or paraphrases and the sources of the quoted or paraphrased material must be acknowledged. Use of unacknowledged sources will be construed as plagiarism. If any manuscript is found to contain plagiarized material, the review process will be halted immediately and the matter fully investigated.  


(ii) Duplicate submission and prior publication


Portland Press defines duplicate and prior publication as set out in the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.

This does not preclude Portland Press from considering a paper that is an extension of preliminary work or work previously presented in abstract form; however, this should be clearly stated in the cover letter accompanying your submission.

Content published on preprint servers, such as bioRxiv, does not constitute prior publication. Portland Press is partnered with the bioRxiv B2J service where papers submitted as a preprint can be submitted to any Portland Press research journal for consideration with a click of a button.


(iii) Images


During peer review or following acceptance, images within a paper can be checked for manipulation. The Editorial Board may request that Authors supply the original data for comparison against the prepared figures. If Authors are unable to comply with such a request, the paper may be withdrawn from the peer review process or the acceptance of the paper may be withdrawn.

Guidelines for preparation of figures are provided in the Portland Press Data Policy.


(iv) General authorship


Submission of a paper to any Portland Press journal implies that:

    • it has been approved by all of the named authors;
    • that all persons entitled to authorship have been named;
    • that it reports unpublished work that is not under consideration for publication elsewhere (in any language);
    • that conflicts of interest are declared;
    • that, if the paper is accepted for publication, the authors will grant the Biochemical Society an exclusive licence to publish the paper.

Portland Press endorses the Vancouver Guidelines on authorship as defined in the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, namely that entitlement to authorship should be based on all of the following criteria:

    1. Substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;
    2. Drafting the article or revising it for important intellectual content;
    3. Final approval of the version to be published;
    4. 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.

Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, alone, does not justify authorship. All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an acknowledgements section in the paper.

On submission, a paragraph outlining the contribution of each author to the study should be included in your paper and will be published as part of the paper should your paper be accepted for publication.

Please note that the author list that is provided at submission (and on the accepted paper) is what will be included on the published paper and on abstracting and indexing services (for example, PubMed). Please ensure that the authorship is correct, and that author names are listed exactly as you would like them to appear on the published paper.


(v) Changes to authorship


In general

As a general rule, extensive changes to the authorship for an article are not permitted. During submission of the original and revised versions of the paper, the corresponding author takes responsibility that all persons listed on the paper should be authors (and are eligible for authorship given the criteria listed above). Extensive changes to the author list will be investigated on a case-by-case basis, and if it cannot be ascertained why an extensive change to the authorship has taken place, the paper may be rejected on that basis.

Authorship changes on submission of a revised version of a paper

Depending on the nature of the revisions asked for in decision letters sent to authors, new author(s) might be added to a revised version of a paper (particularly if new experimental work has been requested as part of the peer review process) and if the contributions of previously unnamed persons now merit authorship listing on the revised manuscript (as they now meet the criteria for authorship described above). In the event of the addition of authors at revision, the author contribution paragraph provided in the revised paper must be updated to reflect what the newly added authors contributed to the paper.

If any authors are being removed from a revised paper, then it should be clear why the author(s) has been removed, and written confirmation should be obtained from all authors (including the author who has been removed) confirming that they are aware of and agree with the removal of the author.

The Editorial Office will investigate any changes in authorship for revised papers, and if it cannot be ascertained that the change in authorship is justified, papers may be rejected on that basis.

Authorship changes following acceptance of a paper and/or during the proofing process

Accepted papers have been through peer review and at least one round of revision by the authors and have received a final ‘accept’ decision from the Editorial Board. Given this, Portland Press do not support addition or removal of authors post-acceptance.

If, for whatever reason, you wish to change the authorship of your paper post-acceptance, please contact production@portlandpress.com where this will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


b) Conflicts of interest


Authors/reviewers should clearly declare any conflicts of interest. Examples of conflicts of interest that should be declared are (but not limited to):

  • Employment (where you will receive financial gain)
  • Consultancy (where you will receive financial gain)
  • Personal relationships
  • Academic competition

c) Animal experimentation


Portland Press endorses the ARRIVE Guidelines for the reporting of any experiments with animals. Experiments with animals should comply with national legislation and local Institutional Review Board requirements and there should be a statement to this effect in the paper. In the absence of any national regulations, Authors/Reviewers can contact the Editorial Office for advice.

Please ensure that in your paper you state the site where the animal work has taken place and where the ethics approval has been obtained from.

Important note: Research where chloral hydrate has been used as an anaesthetic will not be considered (and will be rejected without peer review) on the grounds that the agent does not provide analgesia and its use in animal experimentation no longer reflects best practice.


d) Human experimentation


Papers describing any experimental work with humans should include a statement that the research has been carried out in accordance with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki. Research should comply with national and Institutional Review Board requirements for ethical approval, and all individuals taking place in the study should provide written informed consent. In the absence of any national regulations, Authors/Reviewers can contact the Editorial Office for advice.


e) Open Access


Portland Press provides a number of Open Access options to ensure that Authors are compliant with their funder mandates.

During the peer review process, all reviewers and Editors are blinded to the selection (or not) of Open Access by the authors.

For full details of the Open Access options available, please see our Open Access Policy.


f) Data


See our Data Policy for full information.


g) Reuse and permissions


For full details of the policy around reuse of work and requesting permissions (including the policy on sharing and public posting of articles), please see our Copyright and Permissions information.


h) Pre-publication policy


Portland Press welcomes submission of work that has previously been presented as a poster and/or work that has been posted as a pre-submission version to a preprint server (such as bioRxiv); Portland Press does not consider this to constitute prior or duplicate submission.

Portland Press is partnered with bioRxiv to allow authors to use the ‘B2J’ service, allowing submission of a paper posted on bioRxiv to a Portland Press journal for consideration with the click of a button.

Complaints against any Portland Press publication must be submitted in writing to the Editor-in-Chief. If a complaint is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant they have the option of referring the matter to COPE.

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