Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement
Our publication ethics and publication malpractice statement are based on the Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and the Core practices of COPE by using the Publishing Ethics Resource Kit and in compliance with Elsevier recommendations:
Honesty and integrity
Authors, editors, and reviewers should be honest and transparent in their conduct. This includes accurately reporting research findings, avoiding plagiarism, and disclosing any conflicts of interest.
Editors and reviewers should be objective and impartial in their assessments of manuscripts. This means avoiding personal bias and conflicts of interest.
Authors, editors, and reviewers should treat all authors and manuscripts fairly. This means avoiding discrimination and ensuring that all manuscripts are reviewed in a timely and rigorous manner.
Authors, editors, and reviewers are accountable for their work. This means being willing to correct errors and take responsibility for any misconduct.
Duties of the Publisher
Guardianship of the Scholarly Record
The publisher has a supporting, investing, and nurturing role in the scholarly communication process, but they are also ultimately responsible for ensuring that best practices are followed in their publications. Publishing House for Science and Technology (PHST) of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), as an international publisher, takes its duties of guardianship over the scholarly record extremely seriously.
These guidelines have been written with all of these requirements in mind, and especially with the recognition that it is an important role of the publisher to support the huge efforts made by journal editors and the often unsung volunteer work undertaken by peer reviewers in maintaining the integrity of the scholarly record. Although ethical codes inevitably focus on the infractions that sometimes occur, it is a testament to scholarly practice that the system works so well and that problems are comparatively rare.
PHST's policies and procedures support editors, reviewers, and authors in performing their ethical duties under these guidelines. We work with other publishers and industry associations to set standards for best practices on ethical matters, errors, and retractions.
Safeguarding editorial independence
PHST is committed to ensuring that the potential for advertising, reprinting, or other commercial revenue has no impact or influence on editorial decisions.
Collaborating to set industry best practice
We promote best practice by providing editors with Crossref Similarity Check reports for all submissions to our editorial systems.
Providing editors with technical, procedural, and legal support
We support editors in communicating with other journals and/or publishers where this is helpful, and we are prepared to provide specialized legal review and counsel if necessary.
Educating researchers on publishing ethics
We also provide extensive education and advice on publishing ethics standards, particularly for early career researchers.
Duties of Editors
The editor is solely responsible for deciding which articles to publish. Decisions should be based on the validity and importance of the work to researchers and readers, in accordance with the journal's editorial policies and any applicable legal requirements. The editor may consult with other editors, or reviewers in making these decisions.
The editor must ensure that the peer review process is fair, unbiased, and timely. Research articles should typically be reviewed by at least two external and independent reviewers, with additional opinions sought as needed. The editor should select reviewers with expertise in the relevant field, considering the need for appropriate, inclusive, and diverse representation. Best practices should be followed to avoid selecting fraudulent peer reviewers. The editor should review all disclosures of potential conflicts of interest and suggestions for self-citation made by reviewers to determine whether there is any potential for bias.
The editor should evaluate manuscripts based on their intellectual content, without regard to the race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors. When nominating potential editorial board members, the editor should consider the need for appropriate, inclusive, and diverse representation.
The journal's editorial policies should encourage transparency and complete, honest reporting. The editor should ensure that peer reviewers and authors have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. The editor should use the journal's standard electronic submission system for all journal communications.
In collaboration with the publisher, the editor should establish a transparent mechanism for appealing editorial decisions.
Editors must not artificially increase journal metrics to influence the journal's ranking. Specifically, editors must not require authors to reference their own articles or products or services in which they have an interest, unless there is a genuine scholarly reason.
Editors must protect the confidentiality of all submitted materials, communications with reviewers, and unpublished materials disclosed in submitted manuscripts. Exceptions may be made in consultation with the publisher to investigate cases of research misconduct or to share reviewer identities with authors who have agreed to open peer review.
Use of Generative AI and AI-Assisted Technologies in the Journal Editorial Process
Editors must not upload submitted manuscripts or any part of them into generative AI tools, as this may violate authors' confidentiality and proprietary rights. This confidentiality requirement also extends to all communication about the manuscript, including notification or decision letters.
Editors must not use generative AI or AI-assisted technologies to assist in the evaluation or decision-making process of a manuscript. The critical thinking and original assessment needed for this work are outside of the scope of this technology, and there is a risk that the technology will generate incorrect, incomplete, or biased conclusions.
Declaration of Competing Interests
Editors must declare any potential editorial conflicts of interest to the publisher in writing before appointment and whenever new conflicts arise.
Editors must not be involved in decisions about papers they have written, papers written by family members or colleagues, or papers related to products or services in which they have an interest. Any such submission must be subject to all of the journal's usual procedures, peer review must be handled independently of the relevant author/editor and their research groups, and a clear statement to this effect must be published on any such paper that is published.
Vigilance over the Published Record
Editors must work to safeguard the integrity of the published record by reviewing and assessing reported or suspected misconduct. This may include contacting the author of the manuscript or paper and giving due consideration to the respective complaint or claims made, but may also include further communications to the relevant institutions and research bodies. Editors must also make appropriate use of the publisher's systems for the detection of misconduct, such as plagiarism.
If presented with convincing evidence of misconduct, editors must coordinate with the publisher (and/or society) to arrange the prompt publication of a correction, retraction, expression of concern, or other correction to the record, as may be relevant.
Duties of Reviewers
Contribution to editorial decisions
Peer review is an essential part of scholarly communication and helps editors make decisions about manuscripts. Reviewers should treat authors and their work with respect and observe good reviewing etiquette.
Reviewers must treat all manuscripts received for review as confidential documents. They should not share the review or information about the paper with anyone or contact the authors directly without permission from the editor.
Use of generative AI and AI-assisted technologies in the journal peer review process
Reviewers should not upload submitted manuscripts or peer review reports into generative AI tools, as this may violate authors' confidentiality and proprietary rights. Generative AI or AI-assisted technologies should not be used to assist in the scientific review of a paper, as the critical thinking and original assessment needed for peer review are outside of the scope of this technology.
Alertness to ethical issues
Reviewers should be alert to potential ethical issues in the paper and bring these to the attention of the editor, including any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper.
Objectivity and competing interests
Reviews should be conducted objectively. Reviewers should be aware of any personal biases they may have and take them into account when reviewing a paper. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Reviewers should express their views clearly and support them with arguments.
Reviewers should consult with the editor before agreeing to review a paper if they have potential conflicts of interest due to competitive, collaborative, or other relationships with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the paper.
If a reviewer suggests that an author cite their own work (or the work of their associates), it must be for genuine scientific reasons, not to increase their citation count or enhance the visibility of their work (or that of their associates).
Duties of Authors
Authors of original research reports must provide an accurate account of their work and an objective discussion of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the paper, and sufficient detail and references should be provided to allow others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements are unethical and unacceptable.
Review and professional publication articles must also be accurate and objective. Editorial opinion pieces should be clearly identified as such.
Data Access and Retention
Authors may be asked to provide the research data supporting their paper for editorial review and/or to comply with the journal's open data requirements. Authors should be prepared to provide public access to such data, if practicable, and to retain it for a reasonable number of years after publication.
Originality and Acknowledgment of Sources
Authors must ensure that their work is entirely original. If they have used the work or words of others, they must properly cite or quote the source and obtain permission where necessary.
Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Authors should cite publications that have influenced their work and that provide appropriate context within the larger scholarly record.
Plagiarism takes many forms, from passing off another's paper as one's own to copying or paraphrasing substantial parts of another's paper (without attribution) to claiming results from research conducted by others. Plagiarism in all its forms is unethical and unacceptable.
Multiple, Redundant, or Concurrent Publication
Authors should avoid publishing manuscripts describing essentially the same research in multiple journals. Submitting the same manuscript to multiple journals concurrently is unethical and unprofessional.
Additionally, authors should not submit a paper for consideration in another journal if it has already been published elsewhere, except in the form of an abstract, lecture, thesis, or electronic preprint.
However, there are some cases where publication of the same article in multiple journals is justified, such as clinical guidelines or translations. In these cases, the authors and editors of the journals involved must agree to the secondary publication, which must be a faithful reproduction of the primary document, and the primary reference must be cited in the secondary publication.
Information obtained during confidential services, such as manuscript review or grant evaluation, must not be used without the express written consent of the author(s) of the work being reviewed.
Authorship of the paper
Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made substantial contributions should be listed as co-authors. Others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the paper (e.g., language editing or support research) should be recognized in the acknowledgments section.
The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that all appropriate co-authors and no inappropriate co-authors are included in the paper, that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper, and that they have agreed to its submission for publication.
Authors are expected to carefully consider the list and order of authors before submitting their manuscript and to provide the definitive list of authors at the time of the original submission. Only in exceptional circumstances will the editor consider (at their discretion) the addition, deletion, or rearrangement of authors after the manuscript has been submitted. The author must clearly flag any such request to the editor, and all authors must agree with any such addition, removal, or rearrangement.
Authors take collective responsibility for the work. Each individual author is accountable for ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
The use of generative AI and AI-assisted technologies in scientific writing
This policy has been created in response to the rise of generative AI and AI-assisted technologies, which are expected to be increasingly used by content creators. The policy aims to provide greater transparency and guidance to authors, readers, reviewers, editors, and contributors. This policy applies to the use of AI and AI-assisted technologies in the writing process, but not to their use in data analysis and interpretation.
Where authors use AI and AI-assisted technologies in the writing process, these technologies should only be used to improve the readability and language of the work. Authors should carefully review and edit the results, as AI can generate authoritative-sounding output that may be incorrect, incomplete, or biased. Authors are ultimately responsible and accountable for the contents of the work.
Authors should not list AI and AI-assisted technologies as an author or co-author, nor cite AI as an author. Authorship implies responsibilities and tasks that can only be attributed to and performed by humans. Each (co-)author is accountable for ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved, and authorship requires the ability to approve the final version of the work and agree to its submission.
The use of generative AI and AI-assisted tools in figures, images, and artwork
We do not allow the use of generative AI or AI-assisted tools to create or alter images in submitted manuscripts. This includes enhancing, obscuring, moving, removing, or introducing a specific feature within an image or figure. Adjustments of brightness, contrast, or color balance are acceptable if and only if they do not obscure or eliminate any information present in the original. We may use image forensics tools or specialized software to identify suspected image irregularities.
Declaration of competing interests
Authors should disclose any financial or personal relationships with other people or organizations that could influence their work, as well as all sources of financial support for the research and/or preparation of the article. Potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed at the earliest possible stage.
Notification of fundamental errors
Authors have an obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher of any significant errors or inaccuracies in their published work. If the editor or publisher learns of an error from a third party, the author must cooperate with the editor, including providing evidence to the editor where requested. The editor will determine whether to retract or correct the paper.
Authors should not enhance, obscure, move, remove, or introduce a specific feature within an image, except to make minor adjustments to brightness, contrast, or color balance without obscuring or eliminating any information present in the original. Manipulating images for other purposes is considered scientific ethical abuse and will be dealt with accordingly. Authors should comply with any specific policy for graphical images applied by the relevant journal, such as providing the original images as supplementary material with the article or depositing them in a suitable repository.