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Lippincott® Preprints Editorial Policies

  1. Non-duplication
  2. Publication criteria and authorship
  3. Competing interests
  4. Ethical Policies
  5. Inappropriate image manipulation
  6. Registration of trials and systematic reviews
    6.1 Trial registration
    6.2 Systematic reviews registration
  7. Standards of reporting
  1. Data availability
  2. Permanency of content
    9.1 Correction
    9.2 Retraction
    9.3 Editorial Note
    9.4 Expression of Concern
  3. 10. Allegations of misconduct
  4. 11. Appeals and complaints

Publication of any material in Lippincott® Preprints denotes that all its authors have agreed to its content and have ensured that Lippincott® Preprints policies have been fully adhered to. Non-compliance with these policies may mean that an article fails the pre-publication checks and cannot be published.

1. Non-duplication

All articles submitted to Lippincott® Preprints must be original; the work, or large parts of it, must not have been published previously. If there is any significant overlap with another paper, this must be cited in the article and mentioned on submission. Lippincott® Preprints uses Crossref's similarity checker (iThenticate) to check for plagiarism in articles; if clear plagiarism (including self-plagiarism) is identified, the article will be rejected.
Articles previously posted on a preprint server, such as ArXiv, bioRxiv, agriRxiv or PeerJ PrePrints can be submitted for publication in Lippincott® Preprints.

Authors who wish to reproduce a figure or table from a previous copyrighted publication are responsible for obtaining the permission of copyright holders and for clearly referencing the original source. Figures that were previously published under a creative commons license may be reused under the condition of the specific license that applies to those figures.

2. Publication criteria and authorship

Lippincott® Preprints does not make an editorial judgement on whether results and data presented in a given article are 'valid'; this is ultimately the authors' responsibility.
Articles on Lippincott® Preprints must represent scholarly work that is suitable for formal peer review.

All authors should have made a clear contribution to the published article. As a guide, authors should refer to the criteria for authorship that have been developed by The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Each author's contribution must be detailed by selecting CRediT roles on the article submission form.

Anyone who has contributed but does not meet the criteria for authorship (for example, purely technical or writing assistance) should be listed in the 'Acknowledgments' section. The involvement of any professional scientific or medical writer assistance must be declared. Authors should obtain permission to include the name and affiliation, from all those mentioned in the Acknowledgments section.

Changes in authorship: If the author list of an article changes following its publication, a new version of the article can be published with an explanation included in the 'Amendments' section at the top of the new version. Any changes in authorship must be confirmed by all authors. If the editorial team is unable to contact an author, the corresponding author is responsible for facilitating communication. In agreement with COPE guidelines, the editorial team cannot take responsibility for resolving any disputes over authorship; any disagreements amongst the authors must be settled by the authors' institution(s).

Changes to author names: Lippincott® Preprints understands that authors, reviewers or commenters may wish to change their names for many reasons, including marriage, divorce, gender identity recognition and other personal reasons. Following a name change request, the editorial office will require confirmation of the identification of the individual, and in the event of a name change on an author list will notify the corresponding author. Any change of name will not require a new version to be created, all existing versions will be edited to reflect the change; the DOI will remain the same. A Notice of Change will be posted to make readers aware that a name change took place with the following standard text: 'A name change in the author list of this article was requested. The change was implemented on '. Please note that Lippincott® Preprints considers it a violation of publishing and personal ethics to request to change the name of another individual without their explicit consent. If an author, reviewer or commenter requires a name change, please contact the editorial office.

3. Conflict of Interest

Authors must include a 'Conflict of Interest' statement. A conflict of interest will not preclude publication, but it provides full transparency for the reviewers and readers. If there are no conflicts of interest to declare, the following standard statement is added: 'No conflicts of interest were disclosed'.
A conflict of interest may be of non-financial or financial nature. Examples of competing interests include (but are not limited to):

  • individuals receiving funding, salary or other forms of payment from an organization, or holding stocks or shares from a company, that might benefit (or lose) financially from the publication of the findings;
  • individuals or their funding organization or employer holding (or applying for) related patents;
  • official affiliations and memberships with interest groups relating to the content of the publication;
  • political, religious, or ideological competing interests.

Authors from pharmaceutical companies, or other commercial organizations that sponsor clinical trials, should declare these as conflicts of interest on submission. The relationship of each author to such an organization should be explained in the 'Conflicts of Interest' section. Publications in Lippincott® Preprints must not contain content advertising any commercial products.
The International Society for Medical Publication Professionals provides good practice guidelines, which are aimed at ensuring that “clinical trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies are published in a responsible and ethical manner".

If an undisclosed competing interest is brought to the attention of the editorial office after publication, Lippincott® Preprints will follow the COPE guidelines.

4. Ethical Policies

Lippincott® Preprints adheres to the COPE guidelines relating to ethical oversight.
Ethics approval
All studies involving humans (individuals, human data or material) must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. Approval must have been obtained for all protocols from the authors' institutional or other relevant ethics committee (Institutional Review Board, IRB) to ensure that they meet national and international guidelines. Details of this approval must be provided when submitting an article, including the institution, review board name, and permit number(s).
Human studies categorized by race/ethnicity, age, disease/disabilities, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, or other socially constructed groupings, should include a justification of the choice of definitions and categories, including whether any rules of human categorization were required by the relevant funding agencies. Appropriate non-stigmatizing language should be used when describing different groups.

Ethics approval must be obtained before the research is conducted; retrospective approval can usually not be obtained and it may not be possible to publish the study.

Patient privacy and informed consent for publication
As stated in the Recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors: “Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that the patient be shown the manuscript to be published. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the published article."
Consent to participate: For all studies involving human participants, including personal genomics studies, case reports, clinical trials, questionnaires, observations, written consent to take part in the research must have been obtained, and this should be stated in the article in a section entitled 'Consent'. If only oral consent was obtained (rather than written), the reasons need to be explained, confirmation of IRB approval that oral consent was adequate must be provided, and a statement of how it was documented included in the Consent section.

Consent for publication of identifiable data: For any articles that include information that could potentially identify an individual, please ensure that you have obtained written, informed consent from all patients or healthy participants (or their legal guardians for minors, or next of kin if the participant is deceased), confirming that the results and any accompanying images can be published. This includes large clinical datasets with direct or indirect identifiers, specific details about individuals, images and so on.

If your article contains any identifiable images of individuals, you must include a statement confirming that you have permission to publish these images. If your article contains any clinical images or identifiable data then you must include an explicit consent statement under a separate heading of the 'Consent' section (we suggest: “We confirm that we have obtained permission to use [images/data] from the participants/patients/individuals included in this presentation"). Please also state the conditions under which the permission was obtained.

Alternatively, if no consent for publication was required (e.g. the data has been anonymized), then this should be clearly stated and a note should be added confirming that such alterations have not distorted scientific meaning.

Signed consent forms should be made available to the Lippincott® Preprints editorial office if requested.

5. Inappropriate image manipulation

Photographic images published in Lippincott® Preprints should accurately reflect the original image. As such, we require that all images, whether submitted as figures or uploaded as data, are not manipulated so that readers are not misled about what the images indicate. We understand that it is standard practice to use software to modify images to make them clearer and easier to interpret. However, any modifications that are made to images should be minor and must be made uniformly to the whole image.

Modifications that alter the scientific meaning of the image, whether conducted on specific regions or the whole image, are not permitted. Where parts of the same gel are spliced together, this should be indicated on the figures with a dividing line, making it clear where the image has been joined. Areas from different gels should not be spliced together. Where loading controls are present, these should always be included in the image; if spliced together, any modifications to the loading control and area of interest must be identical.

Authors are required to include details of all modifications made to images published as figures or uploaded as data in the Methods section of an article, including the name of the software (with version number) used to make these modifications.

6. Registration of trials and systematic reviews

6.1 Trial registration

Lippincott® Preprints uses the WHO definition of a clinical trial to decide what constitutes a clinical trial:
“A clinical trial is any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes. Interventions include (but are not restricted to) drugs, cells and other biological products, surgical procedures, radiologic procedures, devices, behavioral treatments, process-of-care changes, preventive care, etc".

Trials should be registered prospectively, and the trial registration number and registration date must be included in the article. Further information can be found at the ICMJE faq on trial registration and the WHO provides a list of approved registries.

6.2 Systematic reviews registration

We encourage authors to register their systematic reviews in PROSPERO or another registry for systematic reviews. The registration number should be included in the article.

7. Standards of reporting

Articles in Lippincott® Preprints that report clinical trials must adhere to the CONSORT reporting guidelines. We ask authors to include a copy of the original trial protocol and a completed CONSORT checklist and flow diagram as supporting files, which will be published alongside the article. The trial registration number and registration date must be included in the Methods section. Any deviation from the original trial protocol must be explained in the article.

Articles that report systematic reviews must adhere to the PRISMA guidelines, and authors should also include a completed PRISMA checklist and flow diagram as supporting files. Study protocols of systematic reviews must adhere to the PRISMA-P guidelines. We ask authors to include a completed PRISMA-P checklist.

8. Data availability

Articles in Lippincott® Preprints that report original results should include the source data underlying the results, together with details of any software used to process the results.
We recognize that there may be cases where openly sharing data may not be feasible (because of ethical or security considerations, or data protection issues). If you think that this applies to your article, please let the editorial team know at the submission stage, as we have policies in place to allow the publication of papers associated with such data, whilst maintaining the appropriate level of security.

Exceptions may be made for:

Ethical and security considerations
If data access is restricted for ethical or security reasons, the manuscript must include:

  • a description of the restrictions on the data; and
  • all necessary information required for a reader or reviewer to apply for access to the data and the conditions under which access will be granted.

Data protection issues
Where human data cannot be effectively de-identified, data must not be shared in order to protect patient/participant privacy unless the individuals have given explicit written consent that their identifiable data can be made publicly available.

In instances where the data cannot be made available, the manuscript must include:

  • an explanation of the data protection concern;
  • any intermediary data that can be de-identified without compromising anonymity;
  • what, if anything, the relevant Institutional Review Board (IRB) or equivalent said about data sharing; and,
  • where applicable, all necessary information required for a reader or reviewer to apply for access to the data and the conditions under which access will be granted.

Large data
It is not always feasible to share large data sets. In these cases, authors should include a description of the data, including the file types and sizes, when submitting their manuscript. The editorial team can then advise on hosting.

Where data is too large to be feasibly hosted by a recommended repository, the manuscript should include:

  • any intermediary data that can be easily shared; and
  • all necessary information required for a reader or reviewer to access the data alongside a description of this process.

Data under license by a third party
In cases where data has been obtained from a third party and restrictions apply to the availability of the data, the manuscript must include:

  • all necessary information required for a reader or reviewer to access the data by the same means as the authors;
  • any intermediary data that can be shared legally; and
  • publicly available data that is representative of the analyzed dataset and can be used to apply the methodology described in the manuscript.

In cases where data from human studies has been obtained from government level organizations (e.g. the Ministry of Health), and strict restrictions regarding availability of the data apply, the authors must include a clear explanation about the restrictions, and all the necessary information required for a reader or reviewer to request access from the data owners. This option will be discussed with authors on a case-by-case basis and can only be considered if there are no discernible competing interests, especially if these are commercial in nature.

9. Permanency of content

All articles published in Lippincott® Preprints receive a DOI and are permanently published. This applies regardless of the outcome of the peer review that follows publication.
Authors can revise, change and update their articles by publishing new versions, which are added to the article's history; however, the individual versions, once published, cannot be altered or withdrawn and are permanently available on the Lippincott® Preprints website.

In order to maintain the integrity and completeness of the scholarly record, the following policies will be applied when published content needs to be corrected; these policies take into account current best practice in the scholarly publishing and library communities:

9.1 Correction to an Article

Authors can publish revised versions, and any errors that become apparent during peer review or later can be corrected through the publication of new versions. Corrections and changes relative to the previous version are always summarized in the 'Amendments' section at the start of a new version.

9.2 Retraction

Articles may be retracted for several reasons, including:

  • honest errors reported by the authors (for example, errors due to the mixing up of samples or use of a scientific tool or equipment that is found subsequently to be faulty)
  • research misconduct (data fabrication)
  • duplicate or overlapping publication
  • fraudulent use of data
  • clear plagiarism
  • unethical research

For any retracted article, the reason for retraction and who is instigating the retraction will be clearly stated in the Retraction notice. The retraction notice will be linked to the retracted article (which usually remains on the site) and the article will be clearly marked as retracted (including the PDF).
An article is usually only retracted at the authors' request or by the publisher in response to an institutional investigation. It is important to note in the context of Lippincott® Preprints publication model, that ‐ as in traditional journals ‐ a retracted article is not 'unpublished' or 'withdrawn' in order for it to be published elsewhere. The reasons for retraction are usually so serious that the whole study, or large parts of it, are not appropriate for inclusion in the scientific literature anywhere.

The content of a retracted article would only be removed where legal limitations have been placed upon the publisher, copyright holder or author(s), for example, if the article is clearly defamatory or infringes others' legal rights, or if the article is the subject of a court order. In such cases, the bibliographic information for the article will be retained on the site along with information regarding the circumstances that led to the removal of the content.

Under rare circumstances, for example, if false or inaccurate data have been published that, if acted upon, pose a serious health risk, the original incorrect version(s) may be removed and a corrected version published. The reason for this partial removal would be clearly stated on the latest version.

9.3 Editorial Note

If there is a potential, not yet resolved, problem with an article, it may be appropriate to alert readers with an Editorial Note. Such an Editorial Note may be added, for example, if Lippincott® Preprints receives information that research or publication misconduct might have taken place, or that there is a serious dispute between authors or between the authors and third parties. The Editorial Note will usually be posted while further investigations take place and until a more permanent solution has been found (e.g. the publication of a revised 'corrected' version, or a Retraction).

9.4 Expression of Concern

In rare cases, Lippincott® Preprints may decide to publish an Expression of Concern, which is linked to the problematic article, if there are serious concerns about an article but no conclusive evidence can be obtained that would unequivocally justify a Retraction. This may include:
·        if there is inconclusive evidence of research or publication misconduct

  • there is evidence that there are problems with the article, but the authors' institution will not investigate the case
  • an investigation into alleged misconduct has not been impartial or conclusive

10. Allegations of misconduct

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) provides an ethical publishing framework in accordance with COPE's codes of conduct for editors and publishers.
Research misconduct includes data fabrication or falsification, or cases where research involving animals or humans has not been carried out within an appropriate ethical framework. Publication misconduct includes duplicate publication of articles or clear plagiarism. Honest errors or differences of opinion are not considered 'misconduct'.

11. Appeals and complaints

Lippincott® Preprints follows the COPE guidelines in relation to complaints and appeals. If you wish to make an appeal about an editorial decision or make a complaint you should contact the editorial office.