6.4 All authors should agree to be listed and should approve the submitted and accepted versions of the publication. Any change to the author list should be approved by all authors including any who have been removed from the list. The corresponding author should act as a point of contact between the editor and the other authors and should keep co-authors informed and involve them in major decisions about the publication (e.g. responding to reviewers’ comments).
6.5 Authors should not use acknowledgements misleadingly to imply a contribution or endorsement by individuals who have not, in fact, been involved with the work or given an endorsement.
7 Accountability and responsibility
7.1 All authors should have read and be familiar with the reported work and should ensure that publications follow the principles set out in these guidelines. In most cases, authors will be expected to take joint responsibility for the integrity of the research and its reporting. However, if authors take responsibility only for certain aspects of the research and its reporting, this should be specified in the publication.
7.2 Authors should work with the editor or publisher to correct their work promptly if errors or omissions are discovered after publication.
7.3 Authors should abide by relevant conventions, requirements, and regulations to make materials, reagents, software or datasets available to other researchers who request them. Researchers, institutions, and funders should have clear policies for handling such requests. Authors must also follow relevant journal standards. While proper acknowledgement is expected, researchers should not demand authorship as a condition for sharing materials.
7.4 Authors should respond appropriately to post-publication comments and published correspondence. They should attempt to answer correspondents’ questions and supply clarification or additional details where needed.
8 Adherence to peer review and publication conventions
8.1 Authors should follow publishers’ requirements that work is not submitted to more than one publication for consideration at the same time.
8.2 Authors should inform the editor if they withdraw their work from review, or choose not to respond to reviewer comments after receiving a conditional acceptance.
8.3 Authors should respond to reviewers’ comments in a professional and timely manner.
8.4 Authors should respect publishers’ requests for press embargos and should not generally allow their findings to be reported in the press if they have been accepted for publication (but not yet published) in a scholarly publication. Authors and their
institutions should liaise and cooperate with publishers to coordinate media activity (e.g. press releases and press conferences) around publication. Press releases should accurately reflect the work and should not include statements that go further than the
9 Responsible reporting of research involving humans or animals
9.1 Appropriate approval, licensing or registration should be obtained before the research begins and details should be provided in the report (e.g. Institutional Review Board, Research Ethics Committee approval, national licensing authorities for the use
9.2 If requested by editors, authors should supply evidence that reported research received the appropriate approval and was carried out ethically (e.g. copies of approvals, licences, participant consent forms).
9.3 Researchers should not generally publish or share identifiable individual data collected in the course of research without specific consent from the individual (or their representative). Researchers should remember that many scholarly journals are now freely available on the internet, and should therefore be mindful of the risk of causing danger or upset to unintended readers (e.g. research participants or their families who recognise themselves from case studies, descriptions, images or pedigrees).
9.4 The appropriate statistical analyses should be determined at the start of the study and a data analysis plan for the prespecified outcomes should be prepared and followed. Secondary or post hoc analyses should be distinguished from primary analyses and those set out in the data analysis plan.
9.5 Researchers should publish all meaningful research results that might contribute to understanding. In particular, there is an ethical responsibility to publish
the findings of all clinical trials. The publication of unsuccessful studies or experiments that reject a hypothesis may help prevent others from wasting time and resources on similar projects. If findings from small studies and those that fail to reach statistically significant results can be combined to produce more useful information (e.g. by meta-analysis) then such findings should be published.
9.6 Authors should supply research protocols to journal editors if requested (e.g. for clinical trials) so that reviewers and editors can compare the research report to the protocol to check that it was carried out as planned and that no relevant details have
been omitted. Researchers should follow relevant requirements for clinical trial registration and should include the trial registration number in all publications arising from the trial.