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Each Frontiersmed article strives for the highest quality, thanks to genuinely collaborative interactions between authors, editors and reviewers, who include many of the world’s best scientists and scholars. Frontiersmed is well aware of the potential impact of published research both on future research and on society and, hence, does not support superficial review, light review or no-review publishing models. Research must be certified by peers before entering a stream of knowledge that may eventually reach the public – and shape society. Therefore, Frontiersmed only applies the most rigorous and unbiased reviews, established in the high standards of the Frontiers Review System. Furthermore, only the top certified research, evaluated objectively through quantitative online article level metrics, is disseminated to increasingly wider communities.

Authors of articles published in Frontiers journals retain copyright on their articles, except for any third-party images and other materials added by Frontiersmed, which are subject to copyright of their respective owners. Authors are therefore free to disseminate and re-publish their articles, subject to any requirements of third-party copyright owners and subject to the original publication being fully cited. Visitors may also download and forward articles subject to the citation requirements and subject to any fees Frontiersmed may charge for downloading licenses. The ability to copy, download, forward or otherwise distribute any materials is always subject to any copyright notices displayed. Copyright notices must be displayed prominently and may not be obliterated, deleted or hidden, totally or partially.

Publication Ethics

Authorship and Author Responsibilities

Frontiersmed follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors guidelines which state that, in order to qualify for authorship of a manuscript, the following criteria should be observed:

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work;
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content;
  • Provide approval for publication of the content;
  • 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.

Contributors, who do not meet these criteria, but nonetheless provided important contributions to the final manuscript should be included in the acknowledgements section. It is the authors responsibility to get written approval by persons named in the acknowledgement section. In order to provide appropriate credit to all authors, as well as assigning responsibility and accountability for published work, individual contributions should be specified as an Author Contributions statement. This should be included at the end of the manuscript, before the References. The statement should specify the contributions of all authors. You may consult the Frontiers manuscript guidelines for formatting instructions. Please see an example here:

AB, CDE and FG contributed conception and design of the study; AB organized the database; CDE performed the statistical analysis; FG wrote the first draft of the manuscript; HIJ, KL, AB, CDE and FG wrote sections of the manuscript. All authors contributed to manuscript revision, read and approved the submitted version.

The corresponding author takes primary responsibility for communication with the journal and editorial office during the submission process, throughout peer review and during publication. The corresponding author is also responsible for ensuring that the submission adheres to all journal requirements including, but not exclusive to, details of authorship, study ethics and ethics approval, clinical trial registration documents and conflict of interest declaration. The corresponding author should also be available post-publication to respond to any queries or critiques.

Research Integrity

Material submitted to Frontiersmed must comply with the following policies to ensure ethical publication of academic work:

  • Original content and duplicate publication: Frontiersmed only publishes original content. Authors confirm the submission of original content in the Terms & Conditions upon submission. Manuscripts submitted to Frontiers must not have been previously published or be under consideration for publication elsewhere, either in whole or in part. If an article has been previously submitted for publication elsewhere, Frontiers will only consider publication if the article has been definitively rejected by the other publisher(s) at the point of submission to Frontiers.
  • Redundant publication: Frontiersmed considers the submission and publication of very similar articles based on the same experiment or study to be unethical.
  • Fabrication and falsification: Frontiersmed opposes both the fabrication of data or images (i.e. fake or made up data) and the falsification of data or images (i.e. the intentional misrepresentation or deceptive manipulation of data).
  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism occurs when an author attempts to present previously published work as original content. Every manuscript submitted to Frontiersmed is screened for textual overlap by the software CrossCheck, powered by iThenticate. Manuscripts found to contain textual overlap are not considered for publication by Frontiersmed.

We reserve the right to contact the affiliated institutions of authors, who have not acted according to good research and publication practices.


Frontiersmed accepts manuscript submissions that are exact translations of previously published work. This should be clearly stated in the manuscript upon submission. Permission from the original publisher and authors needs to be sought and also stated in the manuscript, and the relevant documents should be provided as supplementary data for verification by the Editor and the editorial office. The original work from which the manuscript has been translated should be clearly referenced.

  • „This is a (‘language’) language translation/reprint of (‘insert title here’) originally published in (‘insert name here’). (‘Insert name here’) prepared this translation with support from (insert name of funding source, if any). Permission was granted by (‘Insert name here’).”

Please note that Frontiersmed may request copies of related publications if there are any concerns about overlap or possible redundancy.

3.4. Plagiarism and Duplication

Frontiersmed checks all submitted manuscripts for plagiarism and duplication, and publishes only original content. Those manuscripts where plagiarism or duplication is shown to have occurred will not be considered for publication in a Frontiersmed journal. It is required that all submissions must consist as far as possible of content that has not been published previously. In accordance with COPE guidelines, we expect that “original wording taken directly from publications by other researchers should appear in quotation marks with the appropriate citations.” This condition also applies to an author’s own work.

For submissions adapted from theses, dissertations, conference abstracts or proceedings papers, please see the following sections for more information.

Theses and Dissertations

Frontiers allows the inclusion of content which first appeared in an author’s thesis so long as this is the only form in which it has appeared, is in line with the author’s university policy, and can be accessed online. If the thesis is not archived online, it is considered as original unpublished data and thus is subject to the unpublished data restrictions of some of our article types. This inclusion should be noted in the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript and the thesis should be cited and referenced accordingly in the Reference list. For some examples, please check our in Manuscript Requirements and Style Guide at 2.3.1

Conferences, Proceedings and Abstracts

Manuscripts that first appeared as conference papers must be expanded upon if they are to be considered as original work. You are required to add a substantial amount of original content in the form of new raw material (experiments, data) or new treatment of old data sets which lead to original discussion and/or conclusions, providing value that significantly exceeds the original conference version. As a rule of thumb, at least 30% of content must be original. Authors submitting such work are required to:

– Seek permission for reuse of the published conference paper if the author does not hold the copyright (proof of permission should be submitted as supplementary material or sent to editorial.office@frontiersin.org with the manuscript ID upon submission).

– Cite the conference in the Acknowledgements section, or the references section if applicable.


Although permissible, extended manuscript content which previously appeared online in non-academic media, e.g. blogs, should be declared at the time of submission in the acknowledgements section of the manuscript.

Image Manipulation

Frontiersmed takes concerns regarding image manipulation seriously. We request that no individual features within an image are modified (eg. enhanced, obscured, moved, recycled, removed or added). Image processing methods (e.g. changes to the brightness, contrast or color balance) must be applied to every pixel in the image and the changes should not alter the information illustrated in the figure. Where cropped images of blots are shown in figures, a full scan of the entire original gel(s) must be submitted as part of the supplementary material. Where control images are re-used for illustrative purposes, this must be clearly declared in the figure legend. If any form of image processing is legitimately required for the interpretation of the data, the software and the enhancement technique must be declared in the methods section of the manuscript. Image grouping and splicing must be clearly stated in the manuscript and the figure text. Any concerns raised over undeclared image modifications will be investigated and the authors will be asked to provide the original images.

Conflicts of Interest

A conflict of interest can be anything potentially interfering with, or that could reasonably be perceived as interfering with, full and objective peer review, decision-making or publication of articles submitted to Frontiersmed. Personal, financial and professional affiliations or relationships can be perceived as conflicts of interest.

All authors and members of Frontiersmed Editorial Boards are required to disclose any actual and potential conflicts of interest at submission or upon accepting an editorial or review assignment.

The Frontiersmed review system is designed to guarantee the most transparent and objective editorial and review process, and because handling editor and reviewers‘ names are made public upon the publication of articles, conflicts of interest will be widely apparent.

Failure to declare competing interests can result in the rejection of a manuscript. If an undisclosed competing interest comes to light after publication, Frontiers will take action in accordance with internal policies and Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines.

What Should I Disclose?

As an author, disclosure of any potential conflicts of interest should be done during the submission process. Consider the following questions and make sure you disclose any positive answers:

  • Did you or your institution at any time receive payment or services from a third party for any aspect of the submitted work?
  • Do you have financial relationships with entities that could be perceived to influence, or that give the appearance of potentially influencing, what you wrote in the submitted work?
  • Do you have any patents and copyrights, whether pending, issued, licensed and/or receiving royalties related to the research?
  • Do you have other relationships or activities that readers could perceive to have influenced, or that give the appearance of potentially influencing, what you wrote in the submitted work?

If you failed to disclose any of the potential conflicts of interest above during submission, or in case of doubt, please contact as soon as possible the Frontiers Editorial Office at editorial.office@frontiersin.org with the details of the potential conflicts.

Example statement: “Author xxx was employed by company xxxx. All other authors declare no competing interests.”

The handling editors and reviewers will be asked to consider the following potential conflicts of interest before accepting any editing or review assignment:

FAMILY1. Are any of the authors a spouse or significant other, a member of the same family or a very close personal friend? Review Editors should also not be a member of the same family as the handling editor.
COLLABORATIONS2. Are you currently hosting or have hosted a Frontiers Research Topic with any of the authors within the past 2 years? Are you currently hosting a Frontiers Research Topic with the Editor?
3. Are you currently collaborating or have you collaborated on a research project or a publication with any of the authors within the past 2 years?
4. Are you currently collaborating or have you collaborated with any of the authors as an advisor or in any other direct supervisory capacity in the past five years?
5. Are you currently collaborating or have you collaborated with any of the authors as a student or in any other direct subordinate capacity in the past five years?
Note: Review Editors should not accept assignments if they have a close professional relationship with the handling editor, which in their view could affect the objectivity of the review.
AFFILIATION6. Are you affiliated with the same institution as the editor? Are you affiliated with the same institution as any of the authors? If so, has this resulted in interactions, collaborations, or mutual interests with the authors that would compromise your impartiality in conducting this review?
7. Are you a current member of a committee or department that coincides with an affiliation with the editor or any of the authors?
FINANCIAL8. Do you have a business or professional partnership with any author?
9. Do you have financial interests or business relations with any organization involved in this research or in the preparation of the manuscript?
10. Do you have any financial interest or competing interests in the content of the manuscript that might affect your ability to perform an objective review?


All research submitted to Frontiersmed for consideration must have been conducted in accordance with Frontiersmed guidelines on study ethics. In accordance with COPE guidelines, Frontiersmed reserves the right to reject any manuscript that editors believe does not uphold high ethical standards, even if authors have obtained ethical approval or if ethical approval is not required.

Studies involving animal subjects

All research involving regulated animals (i.e. all live vertebrates and higher invertebrates) must be performed in accordance with relevant institutional and national guidelines and regulations. Frontiersmed follows International Association of Veterinary Editors guidelines for publication of studies including animal research. Approval of research involving regulated animals must be obtained from the relevant institutional review board or ethics committee prior to commencing the study. Confirmation of this approval is required upon submission of a manuscript to Frontiersmed; authors must provide a statement identifying the full name of the ethics committee that approved the study. For most article types, this statement should appear in the Materials and Methods section. An example ethics statement:

This study was carried out in accordance with the principles of the Basel Declaration and recommendations of [name of guidelines], [name of committee]. The protocol was approved by the [name of committee].

Should the study be exempt from ethics approval, authors need to clearly state the reasons in the declaration statement and in the manuscript. Studies involving privately owned animals should demonstrate the best practice veterinary care and confirm that informed consent has been granted by the owner/s, or the legal representative of the owner/s. Frontiersmed supports and encourages authors to follow the ARRIVE guidelines for the design, analysis and reporting of scientific research.

Humane Endpoints

All manuscripts describing studies where death is an endpoint will be subject to additional ethical considerations. Frontiers reserves the right to reject any manuscripts lacking in appropriate justification.

Studies involving human subjects

Research involving human subjects is expected to have been conducted in accordance with the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki. Studies involving human participants must be performed in accordance with relevant institutional and national guidelines, with the appropriate institutional ethics committee’s prior approval and informed written consent from all human subjects involved in the study including for publication of the results. Conformation of this approval is required upon submission of a manuscript to Frontiersmed; authors must provide a statement identifying the full name of the ethics committee that approved the work and confirm that study subjects (or when appropriate, parent or guardian) have given written informed consent. For most article types, this statement should appear in the Materials and Methods section. An example ethics statement:

This study was carried out in accordance with the recommendations of [name of guidelines], [name of committee]. The protocol was approved by the [name of committee]. All subjects gave written informed consent in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

Should the study be exempt from ethics approval, authors need to clearly state the reasons in the declaration statement and in the manuscript. In order to protect subject anonymity, identifying information should not be included in the manuscript unless such information is absolutely necessary for scientific purposes AND explicit approval has been granted by the subjects.

3.7.3. Inclusion of identifiable human data

Frontiers follows the ICMJE recommendations on the protection of research participants, which state that patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent. We require non-essential identifiable details to be omitted from all manuscripts, and written informed consent will be required if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained.

It is the responsibility of the researchers and authors to ensure that these principles are complied with, including the obtaining of written, informed consent.

Written informed consent can be documented on a form provided by an institution or ethics committee, and it must clearly state how the identifiable data will be used. Frontiersmed also makes available its own form , which may be used for this purpose, but use of the Frontiers form is not required if a suitable alternative form of consent, meeting the ICMJE recommendations, is used. We consider it to be the author‘ duty to encourage participants or patients whose consent for publication is required to read and understand the ICMJE guidelines, for their information prior to completing the consent form. Participants should also be encouraged to ask any questions and to ensure they are comfortable before they sign the consent form.

The completed consent forms should be stored by authors or their respective institutions, in accordance with institutional policies. Frontiersmed does not need to view the completed form, and this should not be included with the submission. The completed form should be made available on request from the editor or editorial office, both during the review process and post-publication.

The determination of what constitutes identifiable data lies with our editors and editorial office staff, and manuscripts may be rejected if the required consent documents cannot be provided. Please note that written informed consent for publication is required for all case report articles where the patient or subject is identified or identifiable.

3.7.4. Clinical Trials

The World Health Organization defines a clinical trial as „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.“ In accordance with the Clinical Trial Registration Statement from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMEJ), all clinical trials must be registered in a public trials registry at or before the onset of participant enrolment. This requirement applies to all clinical trials that begin enrolment after July 1, 2005. To meet the requirements of the ICMJE, and Frontiersmed’, clinical trials can be registered with any Primary Registry in the WHO Registry Network or an ICMJE approved registry.

Clinical trial reports should be compliant with the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) both in terms of including a flow diagram presenting the enrolment, intervention allocation, follow-up, and data analysis with number of subjects for each and taking into account the CONSORT Checklist of items to include when reporting a randomized clinical trial.

The information on the clinical trial registration (Unique Identifier and URL) must be included in the abstract.


Frontiersmed recognizes our responsibility to correct errors in previously published articles. If it is necessary to communicate important, scientifically relevant errors or missing information, and compelling evidence can be shown that a major claim of the original article was incorrect, a Correction should be submitted detailing the reason(s) for and location(s) of the change(s) needed using the below template. Corrections can be submitted if a small portion of an otherwise reliable publication proves to be misleading, e.g. an error in a figure that does not alter conclusions OR an error in statistical data not altering conclusions OR mislabeled figures OR wrong slide of microscopy provided, or if the author / contributor list is incorrect when a deserving author has been omitted or somebody who does not meet authorship criteria has been included. The contribution to the field statement should be used to clearly state the reason for the Correction. Please note, a correction is not intended to replace the original manuscript.

The title of the submission should have the following format: „Corrigendum: Title of original article“.


As a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), Frontiersmed abides by their guidelines and recommendations in cases of potential retraction.

Frontiersmed also abides by two other key principles, as recommended by COPE:

  • Retractions are not about punishing authors.
  • Retraction statements should be public and linked to the original, retracted article.

While all potential retractions are subject to an internal investigation and will be judged on their own merits, Frontiers considers the following reasons as giving cause for concern and potential retraction:

  • Clear evidence that findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (e.g. data fabrication) or honest error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error)
  • Findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper attribution, permission or justification (i.e. cases of redundant publication)
  • Major plagiarism
  • The reporting of unethical research, the publication of an article that did not have the required ethics committee approval
  • Legal issues pertaining to the content of the article e.g. libellous content
  • Major authorship issues i.e. proven or strongly suspected cases of ghostwriting or sold (‘gift’) authorship
  • Politically-motivated articles where objectivity is a serious concern
  • The singling out of individuals or organizations for attack
  • Faith issues (e.g. intelligent design)
  • Papers that have made extraordinary claims without concomitant scientific or statistical evidence (e.g. pseudoscience)

Readers who would like to draw the editors‘ attention to published work that might require retraction should contact the authors of the article and write to the journal, making sure to include copies of all correspondence with authors.

Open Access Statement

The first definition of open access was provided by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in February 2002 and it envisages “free and unrestricted online availability” of journal literature, i.e. readers can access publications free of charge.

Open access is often – rather mistakenly – associated with the idea of free publication, despite the fact that open access literature is not without cost to produce – but what is the cost for free dissemination of scholarly research?

  • Why should research findings be freely available?
    Each year, the world spends over $2 trillion of tax-payer money on research and development, to produce about 2.5 million scholarly articles per year. One of the driving forces in support of open access is the argument that society collectively provides the means to enable research activity and therefore its results should be returned to all without any price barriers.
  • Are open access articles peer-reviewed?
    Yes. Just like subscription-based journals, open access journals must maintain high quality standards of publications in order to be competitive. Frontiers went through extra-lengths to ensure rigorous, yet also fair, constructive, efficient and transparent reviews by putting into place our trademark Collaborative Review. Our review process provides thorough and unbiased peer-reviews to all submitted manuscripts, and all our articles and e-books are a landmark of high quality.
  • Is it free to produce an open access article?
    No. The costs of producing an article are somewhat fixed and cover among others manuscript editing, formatting, standardizing, indexing, etc. The introduction of the electronic format has allowed to significantly reduce these expenses, but they still remain a cost that needs to be covered to allow quality publications. Even though the recent advances of technology nowadays allow efficient cost control on the support of online publications, the costs consistently include server space for database storing, maintenance of a professional editorial team, and constant IT development – at the least.
  • How is open access publishing supported?
    A variety of business models were invented to allow open access of scholarly publishing.