Ethical responsibilities of authors
Conflicts of interest
Appeals and Complaints
The responsibilities of the Editorial Board
The role of Editors
Copyright and information
Please be advised:
● The manuscript has not been published previously (partly or in full), unless the new work concerns an expansion of previous work (please provide transparency on the re-use of material to avoid the hint of text-recycling (‘self-plagiarism’)).
● A single study is not split up into several parts to increase the quantity of submissions and submitted to various journals or to one journal over time (e.g. ‘salami-publishing’).
● No data have been fabricated or manipulated (including images) to support your conclusions.
● No data, text, or theories by others are presented as if they were the author’s own (‘plagiarism’). Proper acknowledgements to other works must be given (this includes material that is closely copied (near verbatim), summarized and/or paraphrased), quotation marks are used for verbatim copying of material, and permissions are secured for material that is copyrighted.
● Important note: the journal may use software to screen for plagiarism.
● Consent to submit has been received explicitly from all co-authors, as well as from the responsible authorities - tacitly or explicitly - at the institute/organization where the work has been carried out, before the work is submitted.
● Authors whose names appear on the submission have contributed sufficiently to the scientific work and therefore share collective responsibility and accountability for the results.
● Authors are strongly advised to ensure the correct author group, corresponding author, and order of authors at submission. Changes of authorship or in the order of authors are not accepted after acceptance of a manuscript.
● Adding and/or deleting authors at revision stage may be justifiably warranted. A letter must accompany the revised manuscript to explain the role of the added and/or deleted author(s). Further documentation may be required to support your request.
● Requests for addition or removal of authors as a result of authorship disputes after acceptance are honored after formal notification by the institute or independent body and/or when there is agreement between all authors.
● Upon request authors should be prepared to send relevant documentation or data in order to verify the validity of the results. This could be in the form of raw data, samples, records, etc. Sensitive information in the form of confidential or proprietary data is excluded.
If, after investigation, the allegation seems to raise valid concerns, the accused author will be contacted and given an opportunity to address the issue. If misconduct has been established beyond reasonable doubt, this may result in the Editor-in-Chief’s implementation of the following measures, including, but not limited to:
● If the article is still under consideration, it may be rejected and returned to the author.
● If the article has already been published online, depending on the nature and severity of the infraction, either an erratum will be placed with the article or in severe cases retraction of the article will occur. The reason must be given in the published erratum or retraction note. Please note that retraction means that the paper is maintained on the platform, watermarked “retracted” and explanation for the retraction is provided in a note linked to the watermarked article.
● The author’s institution may be informed.
All manuscripts submitted to QB will undergo extensive peer review organized by Editorial Board Members (EBM). QB adopts a single-blind review mode: the reviewers know the names of the authors, but the authors do not know who reviewed their manuscript unless the reviewer chooses to sign their report. QB considers articles that are scientifically valid and a useful contribution to the field. Manuscripts are initially assessed by our experienced team of in-house editors, and those that are deemed of interest are sent for peer review. Reviewers are expected to respond promptly to requests to review and to submit reviews within the time agreed. Reviewers’ comments should be constructive, honest, and polite.
All manuscripts submitted to Quantitative Biology will undergo extensive peer review organized by our Editorial Board Members (EBM).
1. All Manuscripts are submitted to the editorial office through the online submission system https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/qb.
2. Scientific editor send the manuscripts to an Associate Editor of EBM after reviewing the manuscripts.
3. Associate Editor selects one from the following two lanes, or reject manuscript that do not meet QB standards, after reviewing the manuscripts.
1) Normal track: Assign it to a Corresponding Editor of EBM, who will then invite 2-5 reviewers and send recommendation back to Associate editor.
2) Fast lane track: Invite 2-5 board members or external reviewers to review the papers.
4. Associate Editor makes the decision based on Corresponding Editor’s recommendation (if normal track) or directly based on reviewers’ comment (if Fast lane), and informs the authors.
5. Authors revise the manuscript according to the Editor’s suggestions and re-submit the revised version for further evaluation, which will be processed again until it is accepted or rejected (repeat the above 2 and 3 steps).
6. Associate Editor will then recommend to accept or reject the manuscript based on the Corresponding Editor’s recommendation (if normal track) or reviewers’ comments (if Fast lane). The Editor-in-chief will make final decision.
No publication fee is charged for papers published in QB. QB also charges no fees for article submission and processing.
Papers published in QB are all free access over the world, furthermore the authors of the paper do not need to pay for it.
Authors must disclose all relationships or interests that could have direct or potential influence or impart bias on the work. Although an author may not feel there is any conflict, disclosure of relationships and interests provides a more complete and transparent process, leading to an accurate and objective assessment of the work. Awareness of a real or perceived conflicts of interest is a perspective to which the readers are entitled. 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.
Editors and reviewers are also required to declare any competing interests and may be excluded from the peer review process if a competing interest exists. For the submissions from editors, employees, or members of the editorial board, any competing interests must be included at the end of the manuscript listing all competing interests (financial and non-financial) to ensure unbiased review.
Examples of potential conflicts of interests that are directly or indirectly related to the research may include but are not limited to the following:
● Research grants from funding agencies (please give the research funder and the grant number)
● Honoraria for speaking at symposia
● Financial support for attending symposia
● Financial support for educational programs
● Employment or consultation
● Support from a project sponsor
● Position on advisory board or board of directors or other type of management relationships
● Multiple affiliations
● Financial relationships, for example equity ownership or investment interest
● Intellectual property rights (e.g. patents, copyrights and royalties from such rights)
● Holdings of spouse and/or children that may have financial interest in the work
In addition, interests that go beyond financial interests and compensation (non-financial interests) that may be important to readers should be disclosed. These may include but are not limited to personal relationships or competing interests directly or indirectly tied to this research, or professional interests or personal beliefs that may influence your research. The corresponding author collects the conflict of interest disclosure forms from all authors. In author collaborations where formal agreements for representation allow it, it is sufficient for the corresponding author to sign the disclosure form on behalf of all authors.
This information should be mostly included in Compliance with Ethics Guidelines section of the published paper and the Conflict of Interest statements should list each author separately by name:
See below examples of disclosures:
Acknowledgements: This study was funded by X (grant number X).
Conflict of Interest: Author A has received research grants from Company A. Author B has received a speaker honorarium from Company X and owns stock in Company Y. Author C is a member of committee Z.
If no conflict exists, the authors should state:
Conflict of Interest: Author A, Author B, and Author C declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All individuals have individual rights that are not to be infringed. Individual participants in studies have, for example, the right to decide what happens to the (identifiable) personal data gathered, to what they have said during a study or an interview, as well as to any photograph that was taken.
Hence it is important that all participants gave their informed consent in writing prior to inclusion in the study. Identifying details (names, dates of birth, identity numbers and other information) of the participants that were studied should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and genetic profiles unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the participant (or parent or guardian if the participant is incapable) gave written informed consent for publication. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve in some cases, and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt.
The following statement should be included:
Informed consent: “Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.”
If identifying information about participants is available in the article, the following statement should be included:
“Additional informed consent was obtained from all individual participants for whom identifying information is included in this article.”
QB is a member of the CrossCheck plagiarism detection initiative.
QB uses CrossCheck's iThenticate software to screen submitted manuscripts for similarity to published material. CrossCheck is a multi-publisher initiative allowing screening of published and submitted content for originality. We also embedded the plagiarism detection tool iThenticate into our ScholarOne submission system, thereby manuscript will be automatically checked by iThenticate when it is submitted successfully.
If plagiarism is indicated then the matter should be investigated by the Editor-in-Chief(s) of the journal and/or the Editor. This may result in the Editor-in-Chief’s implementation of the following measures mentioned in “Ethical responsibilities of authors”.
Appeals and Complaints
The below procedure applies to appeals to pre-publication and post-publication, including editorial decisions, complaints about failure of processes, scientific content and complaints about publication ethics, etc. The complaint should be directly handled by the Editor-in-Chief(s) of the journal and/or the Editor who handled the paper. If they are complained please approach the in-house publishing contact. (Please check the contacts page on the journal homepage).
1. Complaint about editorial decision or scientific content e.g., against rejection
You should contact the Editor-in-Chief(s) and/or Editor through the journal website about the final editorial decision in the first instance. In general, an appeal against a rejection decision on a manuscript will only be considered if: the authors can demonstrate that a referee or the Editors has made a determination by mistake or if important additional data can be provided. On this occasion, authors should submit a formal appeal letter where the manuscript tracking number is included to the journal.
2. Complaint about processes, e.g., time taken to review
For complaints about processes, such as time taken for review, the Editor-in-Chief and/or in-house contact will investigate the matter. The Editorial office will give some feedback to the author. The journal will improve processes and procedures.
3. Complaint about publication ethics
The Editor-in-Chief or Editor follows the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The Editor decides on a course of action and provides feedback to the complainant.
The responsibilities of the Editorial Board
The journal operate under the guidance of an editorial board, providing expert advice on content, attracting new authors and encouraging submissions. Members of the Editorial Board are regularly and actively recruited to participate in the review process. Specific individuals are selected on the basis of their personal areas of expertise. An active and conscious effort is made to ensure that all reviewer panels have at least one member of the Editorial Board as a means of ensuring consistency and rigor in the overall review process.
The responsibilities of Editorial Board:
• Review submitted manuscripts and make decisions on the basis of the peer reviewers’ reports and their own assessment.
• Advise on journal policy and scope.
• Identify new topics for special issues, which they may guest edit.
• Approach potential contributors.
• Promote the journal to their colleagues and peers.
• Report any cases of suspected plagiarism, duplicate submission or other unethical practices to journal staff immediately.
• Recommend suitable candidates to join the board.
The role of Editors
We follow the recommendations of International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE):
A. Responsibility of editors
Editors should encourage authors to strive for, and adhere themselves to, the highest standards of publication ethics. Furthermore, editors are in a unique position to indirectly foster responsible conduct of research through their policies and processes. To achieve the maximum effect within the research community, ideally all editors should adhere to universal standards and good practices. While there are important differences between different fields and not all areas covered are relevant to each research community, there are important common editorial policies, processes, and principles that editors should follow to ensure the integrity of the research record.
● Take responsibility for everything they publish.
● Make fair and unbiased decisions independent from commercial consideration and ensure a fair and appropriate peer review process.
● Adopt editorial policies that encourage maximum transparency and complete, honest reporting.
● Guard the integrity of the published record by issuing corrections and retractions when needed and pursuing suspected or alleged research and publication misconduct.
● Pursue reviewer and editorial misconduct.
● Critically assess the ethical conduct of studies in humans and animals.
● Tell peer reviewers and authors what is expected of them.
● Have appropriate policies in place for handling editorial conflicts of interest.
B. Corrections and Version Control
When genuine errors in published work are pointed out by readers, authors, or editors, which do not render the work invalid, a correction (or erratum) should be published as soon as possible. The online version of the paper may be corrected with a date of correction and a link to the printed erratum.
Honest errors are a part of science and publishing and require publication of a correction when they are detected. Corrections are needed for errors of fact. Matters of debate are best handled as letters to the editor, as print or electronic correspondence, or as posts in a journal-sponsored online forum. Updates of previous publications (e.g., an updated systematic review or clinical guideline) are considered a new publication rather than a version of a previously published article.
If a correction is needed, QB should follow these minimum standards:
● Publish a correction notice as soon as possible detailing changes from and citing the original publication; the correction should be on an electronic or numbered printpage that is included in an electronic or a print Table of Contents to ensure proper indexing.
● Post a new article version (Erratum) with details of the changes from the original version and the date(s) on which the changes were made.
● Archive all prior versions of the article. This archive can be either directly accessible to readers or can be made available to the reader on request.
● Previous electronic versions should prominently note that there are more recent versions of the article.
● The citation should be to the most recent version. Errors serious enough to invalidate a paper’s results and conclusions may require retraction.
C. Expressions of Concern, and Retraction
If the error renders the work or substantial parts of it invalid, the paper should be retracted with an explanation as to the reason for retraction (i.e., honest error). Expressions of concern and retractions should not simply be a letter to the editor. Rather, they should be prominently labelled, appear on an electronic or numbered print page that is included in an electronic or a print Table of Contents to ensure proper indexing, and include in their heading the title of the original article. Online, the retraction and original article should be linked in both directions and the retracted article should be clearly labelled as retracted in all its forms (Abstract, full text, PDF). Ideally, the authors of the retraction should be the same as those of the article, but if they are unwilling or unable the editor may under certain circumstances accept retractions by other responsible persons, or the editor may be the sole author of the retraction or expression of concern. The text of the retraction should explain why the article is being retracted and include a complete citation reference to that article. Retracted articles should remain in the public domain and be clearly labelled as retracted.
The validity of previous work by the author of a fraudulent paper cannot be assumed. Editors may ask the author’s institution to assure them of the validity of earlier work published in their journals, or they may retract it. If this is not done, editors may choose to publish an announcement expressing concern that the validity of previously published work is uncertain.
All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. Where there are others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the research project, they should be acknowledged or listed as contributors. The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors and no inappropriate co-authors are included on the article, and that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the article and have agreed to its submission for publication.
Quantitative Biology is supported by Higher Education Press, Beijing National Research Center for Information Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, and Center for Quantitative Biology, Peking University. The journal is also subscribed by Academic journal data repository.
We now accepts such non-commercial advertisements to be published in QB as important article introduction, call for papers, scholar recommendations. Editors-in-Chief and Editorial Office make decisions regarding advertisements. Advertisements is kept separate from the published content.
Copyright and information
Higher Education Press applies the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) to the articles published in the journal on an Open Access basis. This license grants users the right of unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the user gives appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provides a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The licensor is not represented as endorsing the use made of the work.
QB articles are made freely available on our website (https://journal.hep.com.cn ) as soon as possible after they are accepted and are also formally archived in China Academic Library & Information System (CALIS). CALIS is one of the three public service systems approved by the State Council of China. The management centre of CALIS is located in Peking University.