Principal Editorial Policies
Publishing Ethics and Research Integrity Statement
For the Thieme Group, the integrity of our content and publishing process is of the utmost importance. The following principles provide a set of best practices that pertain to all our journals. They are intended for a variety of stakeholders, including authors, peer reviewers, editors, societies, publishing partners, and funders.
In addition to these general principles, there may be specific guidelines and policies for authors on research integrity and ethics that are appropriate to their subject matter and discipline. All are based on the recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and, where appropriate, the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME) and other relevant industry agencies.
Basing ourselves on the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, we support the production of scientific knowledge according to the tenets of accuracy, honesty, reproducibility, and transparency. In so doing, we expect that all research submitted to us for publication has been conducted along the following four principles:
Any concern will be handled by our internal research integrity group and dealt with according to COPE principles and practice. For further queries, please contact email@example.com.
For us, editorial independence is pivotal to the enterprise of publishing research, and we strive to protect it from competing interests and other influences. We do not discriminate against authors, editors, or peer reviewers because of race and ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religious beliefs, and disability, but actively encourage collaboration of scholars from all backgrounds.
All editorial decisions on manuscripts submitted are the responsibility of our editors, who are external academic subject experts. Editors commission and take into account independent peer review reports, in line with every journal’s peer review policy as stated in their Instructions for Authors.
Thieme will not allow any abusive behavior or correspondence towards its staff or anyone else engaging in the publishing process on our behalf. We reserve the right to take action to protect our staff as well as authors, editors, or reviewers from abuse, whether verbal, written or physical. This may include manuscript withdrawal, cancellations of contracts and other actions appropriate to the committed offense.
The appeal procedure allows authors to respond to the editorial decisions on their manuscript at any stage. To appeal, the authors can send a rebuttal letter addressed to the editor dealing with their manuscript. The letter should explain the reason for the appeal and provide clear point-by-point detailed explanations why the authors disagree with the decision. The editor will evaluate the appeal and, if it is granted, further assessment of the manuscript may be carried out by an external reviewer. The editor will then decide on the manuscript, and this will be a final decision. An appeal will be considered at the discretion of Thieme and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Peer review plays a pivotal role in maintaining the quality of our publications. To ensure this, we:
Peer Review Model
All scientific journals at Thieme perform either single- or double-anonymized peer review. Some journals use Select Crowd Review. We require our journals to display their peer review model on the journal homepage.
Some journals ask their authors to recommend reviewers to assess their work. Proposed reviewers must have no conflict of interest in relation to the content of the paper or its authors. This includes that they may not:
We aim to abide by the COPE Principles for Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing and encourage our partners in the publishing industry to do the same.
Integrity of the Scientific Record
Every version of record published by Thieme is recorded and stored on our servers. If we must alter this record in any way, for instance if we must retract articles due to research misconduct or need to publish an erratum, we aim to maintain the integrity of the scientific record. You can find more information on how we handle such instances in the paragraph on corrections and removals of this statement.
When selling or licensing our journal products, we always do so according to the specific license attached to the item. In case of open access publications this means the product may be used in agreement with the CC-license stipulated.
Authorship: Definition and Responsibilities
Thieme follows the recommendations of the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) to base authorship on the following criteria:
All other persons contributing to a scientific work but not fulfilling ALL four criteria should be mentioned in the Acknowledgements. More details on authorship vs. contributorship can be found below. We also recommend using CRediT taxonomy to help clarify roles.
Changes in authorship after submission, irrespective of the request being before or after publication, will only be permitted in exceptions and after a thorough examination of the case in hand, typically requiring a detailed description of the various tasks performed by individual authors and contributors according to the CRediT taxonomy. The same applies to changes in corresponding authorship.
Bearing the above principles in mind, authors of large, multi-center studies should agree on authorship status before work is started and before the paper is submitted for publication: all members of the authors group should fulfill all four criteria outlined above.
By the same token, we expect all authors that fulfill the authorship criteria outlined above to be included amongst the authors.
Corresponding authors have a special responsibility. The corresponding author is the person who will mostly handle the communication with the journal during the submission, peer review, and publication process, including manuscript correction, proof reading, signing the license to publish agreement and, where applicable, arrange the payment of any article processing charges.
The affiliation of the corresponding author is used to determine eligibility for open access waivers and discounts in transformative agreements.
As with all authorship changes, changing the corresponding author after submission will only be permitted in exceptions and after a thorough examination of the case in hand.
Thieme supports equity and inclusion, including allowing authors to change or update their name on articles hosted on our publication platform Thieme Connect. Given the potentially sensitive and private nature behind name change requests – including (but not limited to) alignment with gender identity, or as a result of marriage, divorce, or religious conversion – we will update and republish the paper without a correction notice and without informing the co-authors of the change. Authors wishing to change their name on a publication should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thieme strongly recommends the use of ORCID iDs as persistent digital identifier for authors.
Thieme values all contributions to research publications that do not fulfill the criteria for full authorship, e.g., writing assistance, help with data collection, help with data analysis, etc. Anyone who does not meet the criteria for authorship as outlined above but has contributed to the work should be mentioned in the Acknowledgement section. We recommend consulting the recommendations of the ICMJE on the subject of authorship and the CRediT taxonomy, as outlined above.
Artificial Intelligence and Authorship
Thieme aligns itself with the COPE Position Statement on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Authorship.
AI tools such as ChatGPT can make scholarly contributions to papers. The use of generative AI tools should be properly documented in in the Acknowledgements or Material and Methods sections. AI tools should not be listed as authors, as they do not fulfil all criteria for authorship: they cannot take responsibility for the integrity and the content of a paper, and they cannot take on legal responsibility.
Authors are liable for every part of their manuscript, including those parts created with the help of an AI.
We support our editors in handling any issues related to authorship, including seeking advice from COPE or other organizations, or escalating the dispute if necessary. Additionally, we encourage those involved in making editorial decisions to take advantage of the extensive resources on authorship and related disputes provided by COPE.
The affiliations listed in an article should reflect the organization(s) where the research was carried out, supported, or approved, which may differ from current affiliations. For non-research content, the affiliations should reflect the current institutional affiliation of each author.
Ethical Approval and Patient Consent
Research Involving Human Subjects
All research involving human subjects must have been conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki as revised in 2013; including the planning, conduct and reporting of the research. In accordance with and quoting from the recommendations of the ICJME, we also require that, if there is any reason to believe that the research may not have been conducted according to the Helsinki Declaration, “the authors must explain the rationale for their approach and demonstrate that the local, regional or national review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study.”
Research that involves human participants, tissue, or data must be approved by the appropriate institutional ethics committee and must follow international ethical and legal standards for research. The manuscript must include the name of the ethics committee that approved the research and the ethics committee approval number. If formal ethics committee approval was waived, the name of the ethics committee that granted the waiver must be included.
The authors must also secure permission from individual participants to publish any data that may identify them, such as photographs, videos, clinical data, quotes, demographic information, and other details. For children under 18 years of age, consent must be obtained from the child's parent or legal guardian. We provide downloadable forms in our Journal Author Lounge.
Consent to participate does not mean consent to publish. Authors must obtain prospective consent from the individuals involved to participate in the research and/or for their tissues (e.g., biopsy material) or data to be used, and the method of obtaining consent must be specified. The details of consent to participate should be included in the manuscript.
The requirements for consent and the method of obtaining it can be established by the authors' institutional ethics committee or other appropriate institution. In cases where consent was not or could not be obtained, the editor may request evidence that the ethics committee waived the need for consent.
Clinical Trial Registration
To be considered for publication, registration of clinical trials in a publicly accessible registry is mandatory. The ICMJE defines a clinical trial as any research project that prospectively assigns human participants to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate their effects on health outcomes. Trials must be registered before enrolling patients. The registry must be managed by a non-profit organization, accessible to the public for free, have a mechanism to validate registration data, and be electronically searchable. An acceptable registry must include a unique trial number, trial information, funding source, contact information, study details, ethical review, medical condition, interventions, inclusion/exclusion criteria, study type, start date, target sample size, recruitment status, and primary and secondary outcomes. Registry name, ID number, and URL must be included in the manuscript and/or entered during submission.
Recommended trial registries are ClinicalTrials.gov and any of the primary registries that participate in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform.
When reporting on health-related research, authors are best following the Enhancing QUAlity and Transparency Of Health Research (EQUATOR) guidelines. For randomized controlled trials, we recommend authors follow the CONSORT reporting guidelines, ideally providing a flow chart to show how participants progressed through the study. This flow chart should be submitted as a separate file.
Research Involving Animal Studies
Research involving vertebrates and regulated invertebrates should comply with relevant national and international animal welfare guidelines and, if possible, be approved by an ethics committee. The ethics committee should be named in the manuscript. Authors should detail the ethical treatment of their research animals; we recommend they go by the ARRIVE guidelines. Authors should also consult the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals (2020) for guidance on veterinary best practice for the anesthesia and euthanasia of animals.
When submitting research papers involving cell lines, the Materials and Methods section must clearly indicate the origin of the cell lines used. If established cell lines were used, it is important to mention their source and provide references to either a published paper or a commercial supplier. In the case of newly created cell lines that have not been published before, including those received as gifts from other laboratories, approval by the institutional review board or ethics committee must be provided. Additionally, if the cell line originates from humans, written informed consent must be provided.
Research Involving Biological Samples and Specimen
We expect all our authors submitting research papers involving the collection of biological specimens and samples to have done so in accordance with the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, which is aligned with the Convention on Biological Diversity. Legal permits from the country of origin must have been obtained and must be made available upon request. It is imperative that all such samples are collected in a manner that is both ethical and fair, in accordance with the applicable laws that are relevant to the specific context.
Authors must disclose any conflict of interest during the submission process and a conflict of interests statement is mandatory in all published articles, even if it is to declare that there is no conflict of interest. Referees and editors of our journals must inform the Editor, Publisher, or Editorial Office of any potential conflicts of interest that could compromise the quality, impartiality or authenticity of the publication. Competing interests refer to circumstances that may be seen as exerting undue influence on the creation, evaluation, or publishing of a piece of work and can be financial, non-financial, professional, contractual, or personal in nature. The relevant editor or email@example.com should be informed if there is an undisclosed conflict of interest related to a published or pending publication.
Funding must always be acknowledged if received, including the name of the grant-giving body or institution as well as the grant number (if applicable), and is requested during submission. A funding statement is mandatory in all articles.
Data and Supporting Evidence
Data Availability Policy
Reproducibility of scientific research is at the heart of the scientific enterprise. Hence, we promote transparency and openness of research data. Authors should keep accurate records of their data that are needed to help others understand, check, and reproduce new discoveries. When it is appropriate and permitted, we encourage authors to:
Some publications also allow authors to submit and publish supplementary materials that are not essential to the main text but would be beneficial to the reader. Unless stated otherwise, these supplementary materials are not subjected to peer review.
As we hold patient privacy in the highest regard, Thieme encourages all authors to make the underlying data of their articles publicly available, where ethically and legally possible. As every community is different, we have developed different levels of our data availability policies. Prior to submission, please visit the journal’s Instructions for Authors for more information on the particulars of the journal’s policy.
Data Availability Policy Levels
Data Availability Statements
Please see below for examples of Data Availability Statements that all authors are welcome to use.
|Data Availability||Example Data Availability Statement|
Data is available within the published article in the Supporting Material
The underlying research data of this article is available in the Supplementary Material file section of the published article.
Data is publicly available in a repository with DOI
The underlying research data of this article is publicly available in [Repository name, e.g. Zenodo] at [link to DOI].
Data is available upon request to authors due to ethical or legal issues
The underlying research data of this article is not publicly available due to [ethical, legal issues, e.g., patient privacy]. The data is available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
Data is available via a source in the public domain
The underlying research data of this article is available in [Repository, e.g. Zenodo] at [link to DOI]. The underlying research data is derived from sources in the public domain, available at: [link to public domain].
Data is available upon request to authors as it is owned by a third party
The underlying research data of this article was provided by [third party] with permission / under license. The data is available from the corresponding author on reasonable request with permission granted by [third party].
No new data is available
No new data was generated or analyzed for this article.
Data is not available
The underlying research data is not available.
Thieme has partnered with Zenodo, a generalist open access repository developed by CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research, that allows researchers to easily deposit underlying research data sets.
Authors who wish to make their underlying research data publicly available should deposit the data to Zenodo prior to submission. Zenodo will assign a DOI to the underlying research data, which should then be uploaded with the primary data at the time of manuscript submission. Please visit the respective journal’s Instructions for Author for more information.
Following the ICJME, we define misconduct in research and non-research publication to include (though not necessarily be limited to) data fabrication, data falsification (including deceptive image manipulation), plagiarism, or purposeful failure to disclose relationships and activities. We also consider non-compliance with agreed protocols that results in harm to humans, animals, or the environment, and knowingly aiding or concealing such acts, as misconduct.
Misconduct is not to be confused with honest mistakes, differing interpretations or assessments of research methods or results, all of which are part of the normal course of conducting and reporting research. We aim to differentiate between misconduct and mistakes and handle all allegations with diligence and care, realizing that academic careers may be at risk.
Our Approach to Reported Misconduct
If there are any concerns about misconduct or inaccuracies in our published content, we follow the recommendations given by COPE.
In the event of suspected misconduct, our first step will be to inform the authors and editors involved. Then, the journal editor will investigate the concern and, if necessary, resolve it through discussions with relevant parties or by referring it to a proper institution for further investigation. If the investigation shows that the content needs to be corrected or retracted, we will do so following COPE’s Retraction Guidelines, while still preserving the integrity of the scientific record and of any other related works by keeping associated metadata and the abstract (if legally possible).
Any actions taken due to proven or suspected misconduct will follow COPE's guidance. For more information, please see the Corrections, Retractions, and Removals section below.
Our Malpractice Policies
Conducting research on humans, human tissue, or data without obtaining informed consent from the individuals involved, or without considering their safety, dignity, or privacy rights, is considered misconduct. Additionally, it is also misconduct if the research is conducted without obtaining necessary approvals and permissions or failing to comply with national laws.
Research that does not abide by our policies regarding human subjects or data, or that violates the ethical and humane conduct policies for animal research and collection of biological specimens and samples, may be subject to retraction.
Publication Misconduct: Data and image falsification and fabrication
Altering data or images in a deceptive manner (referred to as data falsification) or creating fake data, images, or results (known as data fabrication) is considered clear misconduct and will most likely result in the retraction of the affected publication. We are investing in the use of software to help detect image manipulation and fabrication.
Publication Misconduct: Paper mills
We strongly believe that paper mills and the fake research papers they turn out pose a serious threat to the integrity of the scientific record. We are doing our best to train our editors and staff to recognize these papers and are investing in appropriate software. Confirmed cases of paper mill publications are retracted and the authors are banned from submitting further papers to Thieme journals.
Publication Misconduct: Plagiarism
We follow COPE’s definition of plagiarism as instances “when somebody presents the work of others (data, words or theories) as if they were his/her own and without proper acknowledgment.” This can involve all types of sources and media, including text, illustrations, and may include material obtained from websites, manuscripts, or other sources, both published and unpublished, including lectures, presentations, and grey literature.
We do not allow plagiarism in our publications and reserve the right to check submissions to our journals by means of suitable plagiarism detection tools. Submissions found to contain plagiarism, in whole or in part, will be rejected. Should plagiarism be discovered after publication, we follow the guidance outlined in the Corrections, Retractions, and Removals section of this statement.
Thieme expects readers, reviewers, and editors to report any suspected plagiarism by contacting the relevant editor.
Publication Misconduct: Text Recycling
Text recycling is a form of self-plagiarism and occurs when an author reuses parts of their own previously published material without proper citation or acknowledgement. This is different from “redundant” or “duplicate” publication, which describes repeating text or data with at least one common author on a much larger scale.
Whether text recycling in a manuscript is deemed acceptable is determined by considering
If text recycling is found to be unacceptable, a submitted manuscript may be rejected. For a published article, retraction or a post-publication change may be necessary, as outlined in the Corrections, Retractions, and Removals section.
Publication Misconduct: Redundant Publication
According to COPE, redundant (duplicate) publication happens when an author(s) publishes the same work, or sizeable parts of it, more than once without proper referencing or explanation for the repetition; independent of publication languages.
Authors must not submit manuscripts to our journals when they have already submitted the same material to another publication or entity (such as a journal, book, or similar). Authors should also share information about any related works they have published or that are currently under review at another journal, even if written in a different language. We do not tolerate extensive overlap in publications unless the editors decide that it will improve the academic discourse, there is permission from the original source and the proper citation included.
We expect our readers, reviewers, and editors to report any suspected cases of duplicate or redundant publication by reaching out to the appropriate editor. Handling redundant publication when they are discovered after publication is in alignment with the procedures outlined in the Corrections, Retractions, and Removals section below.
Placing a preprint on the author’s personal website, in an institutional repository, or in a preprint archive will not be considered prior or duplicate publication.
Journal Policy on Prior Publication
Thieme journals encourage the submission of papers that have been deposited in an initial draft version in preprint repositories such as ChemRxiv, arXiv, bioRxiv, Research Square, arXiv, and medRxiv. When posting to a preprint server, authors should retain copyright on their publication. Drafts of short conference abstracts or degree theses posted on the website of the degree-granting institution, and draft manuscripts deposited on authors’ or institutional websites are also welcome. All other prior publication is not acceptable.
During submission, authors should (1) note use of the preprint repository in the cover letter, (2) state what adjustments and/or updates the draft has undergone between deposition and submission and (3) cite the preprint, including the DOI, as a reference in the manuscript.
The submitted manuscript (which is under review for publication in a journal) may be deposited on a preprint server at any time. Upon publication authors should add a link from the preprint to the published article.
In subscription and hybrid open access journals, the preprint version may be updated with the author accepted manuscript (AAM) twelve months after publication. The author accepted manuscript (AAM) is the version that has been accepted for publication. It usually includes revisions resulting from peer review but will be further modified by copyediting and typesetting before final publication.
What and when authors may post to non-commercial preprint repositories:
|Version of paper||Preprint repository|
Papers published in Thieme open access journals
At any time
Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM)
At any time after acceptance
Version of Record (VoR)
Abstract, plus link to VoR
Papers published in Thieme
subscription and hybrid journals
At any time
Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM)
12-Month embargo after acceptance
Version of Record (VoR)
Abstract, plus link to VoR
Publication Misconduct: Undeclared conflict of interest
Not disclosing a potential conflict of interest (COI) can be considered misconduct and may result in the rejection of a submission or the retraction of a publication.
Other Types of Misconduct and Fraud
The following behaviors may be considered fraud and, in addition to fabricating or falsifying data and images, may also be regarded as misconduct:
• Deliberately providing false or fraudulent information about author(s) affiliation(s)
• Selling or buying authorship in a publication
• Attempting to influence peer review to achieve a desired outcome.
If any of the above is suspected, it may lead to the rejection or retraction of the affected paper(s).
Corrections, Retractions, and Removals
If any malpractice concerns described in the Misconduct section are raised, we follow the procedures outlined in this section. The journal editors will evaluate retractions, corrections, or expressions of concern in accordance with COPE’s Retraction Guidelines.
Retractions are typically reserved for articles deemed so flawed that their findings or conclusions cannot be trusted; or for articles that contain significant plagiarism or content that poses a risk to human life. A corrigendum or erratum is published in cases where an article contains a significant error but is not fundamentally flawed.
Where a journal publishes Author Accepted Manuscripts (AAM), any substantial corrections will be made in accordance with COPE’s Retraction Guidelines. Only small changes, as may typically occur during copyediting, typesetting or at the proof-reading stage, will be carried out.
Exceptionally, we may remove an article from online publication completely, if we believe it to be necessary to comply with our legal obligations, for instance, if the article is defamatory, violates personal privacy or confidentiality laws, is subject to a court order, or poses a serious risk to public health. In these cases, we will make efforts to publish a notice that clearly states why the full article has been removed.
Post-publication discussion and peer review
As per the Core Practices of COPE, our journals encourage post-publication discussion and criticism of their published works. This usually takes the shape of follow-up letters and responses published; typically, only one criticism from a single source, along with one response from the author, will be considered for publication.
Guidelines Regarding International Sanctions Affecting Submitted Papers
Thieme is obliged to comply with international sanctions imposed amongst others by the EU, USA, and UK, which sanction certain territories, persons, and entities.
Before a paper is considered for peer review and publication in a Thieme journal, these checks are carried out by the person responsible in the manuscript submission systems, including ScholarOne and Editorial Manager:
Does the submitted paper come from Russia, Belarus, Crimea, the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Iran, North Korea, Syria, or Cuba?
If Yes, additional steps need to be taken:
Do any authors (all authors, not just the corresponding author) and their institutions appear on these four lists of specific individuals and entities with whom it is illegal to conduct business?
If Yes, the paper is withdrawn.
Libel, Defamation, and Freedom of Expression
As academic publishers, we regard freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. By the same token, we do not condone the publication of false information that damages the reputation of individuals, groups, or organizations. If allegations of libel are made in any of our publications, our legal team will handle the matter.
We are a member of Research4Life and other programs that enable researchers in low- or middle-income countries to access our content; and we are also partaking in various global access initiatives to make sure that scholars from these countries have the opportunity to publish in our open-access journals. Additionally, we asses every request for waivers from scholars who do not have the sufficient funds to pay the article processing charges for our open-access journals.
We adhere to COPE’s Statement on Censorship.
We permit limited, appropriate, and targeted advertising on our digital platforms and in our print publications within the framework of the German Press Laws and according to the German Medical Advertising Act. Advertising is strictly separated from editorial decisions and clearly distinct from content. We reserve the right to reject or remove any advertising that goes against our internal compliance processes and research integrity standards.
Metrics, Usage, and Reporting
We aim to maintain compliance with industry standards and the COUNTER Code of Practice when assessing content usage. We collaborate with various third-party organizations, such as commercial services and Altmetric and Crossref, to provide users with metrics that show the impact and reception of our content. We support these third-party organizations, but we do not control or influence them and are not responsible for the metrics and rankings they produce.