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1. Overview

MRE Press follows the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.

Submission of a manuscript to a Signa Vitae implies that all authors have read and agreed to its content and that the manuscript conforms to the journal’s policies.

2. Studies involving humans

Ethics approval

Research involving human subjects, human material or human data must be performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. and must be approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing this, including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate, must appear in all manuscripts reporting such research. If a study was granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption). Further information and documentation to support this should be made available to the Editor on request. Manuscripts may be rejected if the Editor considers that the research has not been carried out within an appropriate ethical framework.

Retrospective ethics approval

If a study was not granted ethics committee approval prior to commencing, retrospective ethics approval usually cannot be obtained, and it may not be possible to consider the manuscript for peer review. The decision as to whether to proceed to peer review in such cases is at the Editor's discretion.

Clinical trials

Authors reporting the use of a new procedure or tool in a clinical setting, must give a clear justification in the manuscript for why the new procedure or tool was deemed more appropriate than usual clinical practice to meet the patient’s clinical need, and should obtain ethics approval and informed patient consent for participation in the study.

In case of clinical trials, which are defined 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", the trial registration number (TRN) and date of registration should be included in the last line of the manuscript abstract. Suitable publicly available registries are those listed on the ICMJE website.and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform.For clinical trials that have not been registered prospectively, MRE Press encourages retrospective registration to ensure the complete publication of all results. In such cases, the TRN, date of registration and the words 'retrospectively registered' should be included in the manuscript.

Consent to participate

Research that is performed on humans should follow international and national regulations in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, or any other relevant set of ethical principles. For all research involving human subjects, informed consent to participate in the study should be obtained from participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 16) and a statement to this effect should appear in the manuscript. Manuscripts reporting studies on vulnerable groups (for example unconscious patients), where there is the potential for coercion (for example prisoners) or where consent may not have been fully informed, will be considered at the Editor’s discretion. In the case of articles describing human transplantation studies, authors must include a statement declaring that no organs/tissues were obtained from prisoners and must also name the institution(s)/clinic(s)/department(s) via which organs/tissues were obtained.

3. Studies involving animals

Experimental research on vertebrates or any regulated invertebrates must comply with institutional, national or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing compliance with relevant guidelines (e.g. the revised Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in the UK and Directive 2010/63/EU in Europe) and/or ethical approval (including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate) must be included in the manuscript. This also applies to field studies and other non-experimental research on animals. For experimental studies involving client-owned animals, authors must also document informed consent from the client or owner and adherence to a high standard (best practice) of veterinary care. If a study was granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption and the reasons for the exemption). The Editor will take into consideration animal welfare issues and reserves the right to reject a manuscript, especially if the research involves protocols that are inconsistent with commonly accepted norms of animal research. When rodents are used as in vivo cancer models, the tumor burden should not exceed the recommendations of the University of Pennsylvania Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee guidelines.

4. Studies involving cell lines

If cell lines are used, authors are strongly encouraged to include the following information in the materials and methods section of their manuscript:

Confirm that mycoplasma testing has been done for the cell lines used

Confirm that the cell lines used have been authenticated and state what method was used for the authentication

Provide the source, supplier and, if available, catalogue number of all the specific cell lines used in the study

The authors are strongly encouraged to submit a detailed methodology stating the maintenance and culture of cell lines according to international guidelines on good cell culture practice ( fundamental techniques, mycoplasma contamination, passage number, etc.).

Furthermore, information regarding misidentified or cross-contaminated cell lines must be provided and cross-checked from the International Cell Line Authentication Committee and ExPASy Cellosaurus databases in order to exclude their contamination with other cell lines or their incorrect identification.

If a cell line has previously been reported to be contaminated or misidentified, an STR profile of the cell line used in the study must be available for evaluation by the journal’s editor.

5. Consent for publication

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent. Identifying information, including names, initials, date of birth or hospital numbers, images or statements should not be included in a manuscript unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) has provided written informed consent for publication. A statement must be included in the manuscript declaring that the patient, or parent, guardian or next of kin (in case of deceased patients) provided written informed consent for the publication of any associated data and accompanying images. The consent form that will be treated confidentially must be made available to the Editor if requested, and will be treated confidentially.

For case reports or other studies in which case details, personal information or images are included that may enable an individual to be identified, the individual or a parent, guardian or next of kin must consent to its publication, and this consent should be declared in the manuscript. Authors should disclose to patients that personally identifiable material would be available via the Internet under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 as well as in print after publication (http://www.icmje.org).

Publication without written consent may be considered if all identifying information is removed, public interest considerations outweigh the potential harm, it is impossible to obtain permission and a reasonable individual would be unlikely to object to publication. The final decision on whether consent to publish is required lies with the Editor.

For datasets containing clinical data, authors have an ethical and legal responsibility to respect participants’ rights to privacy and to protect their identity. Ideally, authors should gain informed consent for publication of the dataset obtained from participants at the point of recruitment to the trial. If this is not possible, authors must demonstrate that publication of such data does not compromise anonymity or confidentiality or breach local data protection laws, for the dataset to be considered for publication. Authors must consider whether the dataset contains any direct or indirect identifiers and consult their local ethics committee or other appropriate body before submission if there is any possibility that participants will not be fully anonymous. Authors must state in their manuscript on submission whether informed consent was obtained for publication of patient data. If informed consent was not obtained, authors must state the reason for this, and which body was consulted in the preparation of the dataset.

6. Availability of data and materials

Submission of a manuscript to MRE Press implies that the materials included in the manuscript, including all relevant raw data, will be made freely available to any researchers who wish to use them for non-commercial purposes, while preserving any necessary confidentiality and anonymity.

For MRE Press journals, it is strongly encouraged that all datasets on which the conclusions of a manuscript depend should be available to readers, unless they are already provided as part of the submitted article. Where datasets are included in the study, authors should include an “Availability of data and materials” section in the article, stating where the data supporting their findings may be found. Authors who do not wish to share their data must state this fact, and also provide an explanation as to why the data are unavailable.

Availability of data and materials statements can take one of the following forms (or a combination of more than one if required for multiple datasets):

The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are available in the [NAME] repository, [PERSISTENT WEB LINK TO DATASETS].

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article.

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available due to [REASON WHY DATA ARE NOT PUBLIC] but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Data sharing is not applicable to this article, as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study.

The data that support the findings of this study are available from [THIRD PARTY NAME] but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study, and so are not publicly available. Data are however available from the authors upon reasonable request and with permission of [THIRD PARTY NAME].

Not applicable. If your manuscript does not contain any data, please state 'Not applicable' in this section.

Authors are encouraged to deposit their datasets in publicly available repositories, where available and appropriate. Publicly available datasets must be fully referenced in the reference list with an accession number or unique identifier such as a digital object identifier (DOI). We leave the selection of the repository is left entirely to the author’s discretion, although note that the data must be freely available to readers. A list of recommended repositories is featured below; consulting the Registry of Research Data Repositories (http://www.re3data.org/) may also be useful in this regard.

MRE Press supports the prospective registration of systematic reviews and encourages authors to register their systematic reviews in a suitable registry (such as PROSPERO), including the registration number as the last line of the manuscript abstract. Authors of systematic reviews should also provide a file describing all details of the search strategy. For an example of how a search strategy should be presented, see the Cochrane Reviewers' Handbook

Statistical methods

Authors should provide information on the statistical methods and measures used in their research, including the name, version and supplier of the statistical software used, and the P-value considered to be significant.

Cell line authentication

If cell lines are used in a research article, authors are encouraged to include the following information in their manuscript:

The source of the cell line and the culture conditions

Whether the cell line has recently been authenticated (indicating by what method) and/or tested for mycoplasma contamination

Further information is available from the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC). We recommend that authors check the NCBI database and Cellosauru ExPASy for misidentification and contamination of human cell lines.

7. Competing interests

Authors, reviewers and editors must declare whether there are any competing interests with regard to the publication of a study. A competing interests exists when the authors’ interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by, or may be perceived to be influenced by, their personal or financial relationship with other people or organizations, such as reimbursement for salaries, equipment or supplies, or a personal belief that may influence their objectivity and motivation, and consequently affect the data interpretation. This can include competing patents, grants, funding, employment, personal relationships and strong ethical beliefs, among other factors. Such conflicts must be declared, as they may affect the integrity or reliability of the science in the study, as well as that of otherwise unassociated studies in the same journal. Competing interests statements for public funding sources, including government agencies, charitable or academic institutions, need not be included. For example, if a charitable foundation sponsored the study and a pharmaceutical company provided the drugs, only the pharmaceutical company should be mentioned.

Full disclosure of the competing interests is to be made in the cover letter and manuscript at the time of submission, even if the author judges that it has not influenced the work. If no conflict exists, this must also be stated clearly in the manuscript as follows: 'Competing interests', 'The authors declare that they have no competing interests', and all authors should confirm its accuracy. If there is a conflict, please include it in a 'Competing interests' section. Examples of conflict of interest statements include ‘The present study was supported by Jones Women's University, grant no. 12345’, ‘XY University provided a graduate scholarship to Dr. Jones’, ‘The compound xyz was kindly provided by ABC Company, city, country’. Authors may be asked to confirm or update, or provide further details regarding such disclosure statements following acceptance of the manuscript. Further details regarding requirements for conflict of interest statements are provided in http://www.icmje.org.

External peer reviewers must disclose any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should disqualify themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if they believe it appropriate. Should any such competing interests be declared, the journal editor will judge whether the reviewer’s comments should be recognized or will interpret the reviewer’s comments in the context of any such declaration.

8. Authorship

Authors’ contributions

An 'author' is generally considered to be someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study. According to the ICMJE guidelines, to qualify as an author one should have 1) made substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) been involved in drafting the manuscript or revising it critically for important intellectual content; 3) given final approval of the version to be published. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content; and 4) agreed 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 usually justify authorship.

The individual contributions of authors to the manuscript should be specified, and initials should be used to refer to each author's contribution (e.g. FC analyzed and interpreted the patient data regarding the hematological disease and the transplant. RH performed the histological examination of the kidney, and was a major contributor in writing the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript).

Please note that changes to authorship cannot be made after acceptance of a manuscript by any of the MRE Press’ journals. If any changes to the list of authors of a manuscript are necessary after the initial submission but before publication, the corresponding author must contact the journal staff and provide a clear reason for the change. If the change to the authorship list is appropriate and in keeping with the guidelines given above, the corresponding author will be asked to provide written confirmation that all other authors listed on the manuscript at that time give their consent. MRE Press will individually inform anyone who is added or removed from the author list.

Acknowledgements

All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the ‘Acknowledgements’ section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help or writing assistance, or a department chair who provided only general support. The involvement of scientific (medical) writers or anyone else who assisted with the preparation of the manuscript content should be acknowledged, along with their source of funding, as described in the European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) guidelines. The role of medical writers should be acknowledged explicitly in the ‘Acknowledgements’ or ‘Authors’ contributions’ section as appropriate.

9. Citations

Articles (e.g. Opinion, Review and Commentary articles) must cite appropriate and relevant literature in support of the claims made. Excessive and inappropriate self-citation or coordinated efforts among several authors to collectively self-cite is strongly discouraged. Authors should consider the following guidelines when preparing their manuscript:

Any statement in the manuscript that relies on external sources of information (i.e. not the authors' own new ideas or findings or general knowledge) should use a citation.

Authors should avoid citing derivations of original work (e.g. authors should cite the original work rather than a review article that cites an original work).

Authors should ensure that their citations are accurate (i.e. they should ensure the citation supports the statement made in their manuscript and should not misrepresent another work by citing it if it does not support the point the authors wish to make).

Authors should not cite sources that they have not read.

Authors should not preferentially cite their own, or their friends’, peers’ or institution’s publications.

Authors should avoid citing work solely from one country.

Authors should not use an excessive number of citations to support one point.

Authors should cite sources that have undergone peer review where possible.

Authors should not cite advertisements or advertorial material.

10. Multiple, duplicate, concurrent publication/simultaneous submission

All manuscripts submitted to our journals must be original. Upon submission of a manuscript, it is assumed that no similar manuscript has been or will be submitted to any other journal for publication. It is considered unethical to submit an identical manuscript to more than one journal at the same time. Multiple submissions of the same paper can damage the reputation of journals if published in more than one journal. Duplicate publications or redundant publications (re-packaging in different words of data already published by the same authors) will be rejected.

11. Plagiarism and other fraud

It is the responsibility of the authors to ensure that they pay particular attention to the originality of their work. Upon submission, all manuscripts are rigorously evaluated to identify any previously published material. MRE Press utilizes a combination of iThenticate, and searching on titles in PubMed and Google, to screen submitted manuscripts against published studies and other relevant sources. Concerning the submitted figures, images are routinely examined for the presence of duplicated, or otherwise apparently anomalous, data. Authors should therefore retain their unprocessed data and metadata files, as the Editor may request them to aid in the evaluation of the manuscript. Authors should note that, if the unprocessed data are unavailable, this may lead to a delay in manuscript evaluation until the issue is resolved.

If the journal Editor has a reason to suspect that a manuscript is plagiarized or fraudulent, they reserve the right to raise their concerns to the authors' sponsoring institution and any other relevant bodies. In cases where plagiarism is suspected, a preliminary investigation will be conducted following the guidance offered in the flowcharts of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the guidelines of ICMJE. Every suspected act of unethical publishing behavior will be looked into. If plagiarism is detected, the manuscript containing the plagiarism will be obviously marked on each page of the PDF. Manuscripts in which plagiarism has been detected will not be considered for publication. In cases where the paper has already been published, depending on the extent of the plagiarism, the paper may also be formally retracted.

Image manipulation

All digital images in manuscripts considered for publication will be scrutinized for any indication of manipulation that is inconsistent with the following guidelines. Manipulation that violates these guidelines may result in delays in manuscript processing or rejection, or retraction of a published article:

No specific feature within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced.

The grouping of images from different parts of the same gel, or from different gels, fields or exposures, must be made explicit by the arrangement of the figure and in figure legend.

Adjustments of brightness, contrast or color balance may be acceptable if they are applied to every pixel in the image and as long as they do not obscure, eliminate or misrepresent any information present in the original, including the background. Non-linear adjustments (e.g. changes to gamma settings) must be disclosed in the figure legend.

Any questions raised during or after the peer review process will be referred to the Editor, who may request the original data from the author(s) for comparison with the prepared figures. If the original data cannot be produced, the manuscript may be rejected or, in the case of a published article, retracted. Any case in which the manipulation affects the interpretation of the data will result in rejection or retraction. Cases of suspected misconduct will be reported to the author(s)’ institution(s).

12. Misconduct

If misconduct by authors or reviewers is suspected, either pre- or post-publication action will be taken. In cases where misconduct, or otherwise unethical behaviour, on the part of the authors is suspected after a paper is published (even several years after the paper has been published), a preliminary investigation will be conducted following the guidance offered in the flowcharts of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the guidelines of ICMJE. An explanation will be sought from the party or parties considered to be involved. If the response is unsatisfactory, then an appropriate authority (ordinarily, the Head of the Department where the research was conducted) will be asked to investigate fully. MRE Publications will make all reasonable attempts to obtain a resolution in any such eventuality and correct the record or archive as necessary. In cases where misconduct is proven beyond all reasonable doubt, the paper may be formally retracted.

13. Peer review and confidentiality

Peer review is an integral part of scientific publishing that confirms the validity of the science reported. Peer reviewers are experts who volunteer their time to help improve the journal manuscripts they review. MRE Press follows COPE’s Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers and employs ‘double-blind’ reviewing, in which the referees remain anonymous to the author(s) throughout and following the refereeing process, whilst the identity of the author(s) is likewise unknown to the reviewers.

Through the peer-review process, manuscripts should become:

More robust: Peer reviewers may point out gaps in your paper that require more explanation or additional experiments.

Easier to read: If parts of your paper are difficult to understand, reviewers can tell you so that you can fix them. After all, if an expert cannot understand what you have done, it is unlikely that a reader in a different field will understand.

More useful: Peer reviewers also consider the importance of your paper to others in your field and can make suggestions to improve or better highlight this to readers.

Of course, in addition to offering authors advice, another important purpose of peer review is to make sure that the manuscripts published in the journal are of the correct quality for the journal’s aims.

Please note:

Manuscripts with contents outside the scope will not be considered for review.

Manuscripts usually will be refereed by 2 experts as suggested by the editorial board.

Editors will have the option of seeking additional reviews when needed. Authors will be informed when Editors decide further review is required.

All publication decisions are made by the journal's Editors-in-Chief on the basis of the referees' reports. Authors of papers that are not accepted are notified promptly.

All submitted manuscripts are treated as confidential documents. Editors, reviewers and editorial stuff involved in the review process should disclose conflicts of interest resulting from direct competitive, collaborative, or other relationships with any of the authors, and remove oneself from cases in which such conflicts preclude an objective evaluation.

Privileged information or ideas that are obtained through peer review must not be used for competitive gain.

Our peer review process is confidential and identities of reviewers cannot be revealed.

A reviewer should, therefore, treat a manuscript sent for review as a confidential document. It should neither be shown to nor discussed with others except, in special cases, to persons from whom specific advice may be sought; in that event, the identities of those consulted should be disclosed to the Editor. Reviewers should not use or disclose unpublished information, arguments or interpretations contained in a manuscript under consideration, except with the consent of the author. Reviewers should notify MRE Press if they have any conflict of interest regarding a specific manuscript, and should not review the article.

14. Corrections and retractions

Authors are obliged to notify the relevant journal Editor if they find that a published manuscript contains an error, plagiarism or fraudulent data. Changes to published articles that affect the interpretation and conclusion of the article, but do not fully invalidate the article, will, at the Editor’s’ discretion be corrected via publication of an erratum, correction, retraction or notice of concern at the earliest possible date. Authors are encouraged to contact the journal Editor to discuss the most appropriate course of action.

If the scientific information in an article is substantially undermined, it may be necessary for published articles to be retracted. MRE Press will follow the COPE guidelines in such cases. Retraction articles are indexed and linked to the original article.

15. Appeals and complaints

MRE Press adheres to COPE guidelines regarding appeals to editorial decisions and complaints. Where an author believes that an editor has made an error in declining a paper, they may submit an appeal. The appeal letter should clearly state the reasons why the author considers the decision to be incorrect and provide detailed, specific responses to any comments relating to the rejection of the review. Further advice from members of the journal’s Editorial Advisory Panel and external experts will be sought regarding eligibility for re-review.

16. Editorial responsibilities

The editor of a journal has complete responsibility and authority to accept a submitted paper for publication or to reject it. The editor may confer with associate editors or reviewers for an evaluation to use in making this decision.

An editor should give prompt and unbiased consideration to all manuscripts offered for publication, judging each on its merits without regard to race, gender, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship or political philosophy of the authors, and respecting the intellectual independence of the authors. Situations that may lead to real or perceived conflicts of interest should be avoided.

The editor and the editorial staff should not disclose any information about a manuscript under consideration to anyone other than reviewers and potential reviewers. Unpublished information, arguments or interpretations disclosed in a submitted manuscript should not be used in an editor's own research except with the consent of the author.

An editor presented with convincing evidence that the substance or conclusions of a published paper are erroneous should promote the publication of a correction or retraction.

17. Biosafety and biosecurity

The research submitted to Signa Vitae should follow the items of relevant institutional and national and/or international biosafety and biosecurity protocols or policies.

The WHO information DURC for life sciences research has remind researchers of the dual-use concerns related to their work and take actions to reduce the bio-risk of their work. For any manuscript we suspect with a potential dual use risk, the editor will keep the right to ask authors to provide details about how such a risk has been minimized and how it matches their institutional and funder’s requirements, as well as national and/or international biosafety and biosecurity protocols or policies. The editor may ask the authors to revise their manuscript before the journal peer review process, if we believe that the manuscript needs to undergo peer review specifically to assess the dual use risk.

Abstracted / indexed in

Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch) The Science Citation Index (SCI) is a citation index originally produced by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and created by Eugene Garfield. It (Science Citation Index Expanded) covers more than 8,500 notable and significant journals, across 150 disciplines in science and technology, from 1900 to the present.

Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition aims to evaluate a journal’s value from multiple perspectives including the journal impact factor, descriptive data about a journal’s open access content as well as contributing authors, and provide readers a transparent and publisher-neutral data & statistics information about the journal.

Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index The CAS Source Index (CASSI) Search Tool is an online resource that can quickly identify or confirm journal titles and abbreviations for publications indexed by CAS since 1907, including serial and non-serial scientific and technical publications.

IndexCopernicus The Index Copernicus International (ICI) Journals database’s is an international indexation database of scientific journals. It covered international scientific journals which divided into general information, contents of individual issues, detailed bibliography (references) sections for every publication, as well as full texts of publications in the form of attached files (optional). For now, there are more than 58,000 scientific journals registered at ICI.

Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research The Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research (GFMER) is a non-profit organization established in 2002 and it works in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). The overall objectives of the Foundation are to promote and develop health education and research programs.

Scopus Scopus is Elsevier's abstract and citation database launched in 2004. Scopus covers nearly 36,377 titles (22,794 active titles and 13,583 Inactive titles) from approximately 11,678 publishers, of which 34,346 are peer-reviewed journals in top-level subject fields: life sciences, social sciences, physical sciences and health sciences.

Embase Embase (often styled EMBASE for Excerpta Medica dataBASE), produced by Elsevier, is a biomedical and pharmacological database of published literature designed to support information managers and pharmacovigilance in complying with the regulatory requirements of a licensed drug.

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