Publication Policy and Ethics

Article Policies

  1. Originality
  2. Publication criteria and authorship
  3. Competing interests
  4. Ethical Policies
    4.1 Research involving humans
    4.2 Research involving animals
    4.3 Research involving plants
  5. Registration of trials and systematic reviews
    5.1 Trial registration
    5.2 Systematic reviews registration
  6. Standards of reporting
  7. Data availability
  8. Licenses
  9. Permanency of content
    9.1 Correction
    9.2 Retraction
    9.3 Editorial Note
    9.4 Expression of Concern
  10. Allegations of misconduct
  11. Policy for Comments on Articles
  12. Post-publication peer review
    12.1 Stopping peer review


Publication of any material in Injirr denotes that all its authors have agreed to its content and have ensured that Injirr’s policies have been fully adhered to. Non-compliance with these policies may mean that an article fails the pre-publication checks and cannot be published.

Authors of posters and slides must ensure that their research and presentations adhere to the policies outlined for posters and slides

1. Originality

All articles submitted to Injirr must be original; the work, or large parts of it, must not have been published previously or be currently under consideration or review elsewhere. If there is any significant overlap with another paper, this must be cited in the article and mentioned on submission. All articles are checked for plagiarism on submission; if clear plagiarism (including self-plagiarism) is identified, the article will be rejected.

Articles previously posted on a preprint server, such as ArXiv, bioRxiv, AgriXiv or PeerJ PrePrints can be submitted for publication in Injirr. Posters and slides already posted on Injirr can be written up as articles, following our article guidelines, and submitted to Injirr.

Submitted articles with content that infringes copyright may be rejected if the problematic sections cannot be removed.

Authors who wish to reproduce a figure or table from a previous copyrighted publication are responsible for obtaining the permission of copyright holders and for clearly referencing the original source. Figures that were previously published under a creative commons license may be reused under the condition of the specific license that applies to those figures.

2. Publication criteria and authorship

The Injirr platform is set up to make it easy for active life scientists and clinical researchers to share their research rapidly, and to facilitate a constructive scientific discussion. Injirr does not have Editors who make an editorial judgement on whether results and data presented in a given article are 'valid'; this is ultimately the authors’ responsibility and assessed by expert reviewers.

However, articles on Injirr must represent scholarly work that is suitable for formal peer review, so only authors with sufficient training as researchers in subject areas covered by Injirr are able to publish (for more background, please see this blog). An objective requirement for publication of an article presenting research is therefore primarily based on authorship, as outlined below. (Please note that some gateways have more specific criteria (e.g. a requirement for authors to be affiliated with a specific organisation); details can be found in each gateway under “About this gateway”.)

Publication criteria for research outputs presenting original data and results in the life sciences:

  • Authors must have a formal appointment at a recognized research or clinical institution (or at an organization clearly related to the life sciences) and have reached a certain level of research-based qualification (such as a PhD or MD). An author’s activities as a researcher within the life sciences should usually be obvious from his/her recent publication record.
  • At least one author on the article (who should have made a key contribution to the article) must meet these key criteria for it to be suitable for publication in Injirr.
  • Life scientists and clinical researchers who wish to submit their research, but who do not meet our standard authorship criteria, will need to be endorsed by an experienced researcher, who does meet our authorship criteria. The author(s) should send the name and details of their nominated endorser to the editorial office. Any nominated endorser will be asked to confirm the expertise of the author(s), as well as the scientific standard of the submission. A statement to explain this, along with the endorser’s name and affiliation will also be included in the published paper.

Publication criteria for research outputs presenting original data and results in the Publishing, Education & Communication section:

  • For authors who are not life scientists, but have a different type of appointment at a recognised institution, in particular those publishing research in our Publishing, Education & Communication section, a Masters qualification is usually sufficient, provided the researcher can demonstrate his/her activities within the community (e.g. previous scholarly publications).
  • For early-career scientists in this field without a publication record, an endorsement from a more experienced researcher may be possible.

Publication of Reviews and Opinion articles

Injirr encourages open, scholarly review and debate of biomedical research and topics that are of direct relevance to life scientists and clinical researchers in the form of Reviews and Opinion articles. Submissions of this type must represent a useful addition to the scientific literature and must be presented in a format that is suitable for peer review. While researchers who meet the criteria outlined above are entitled to publish any article presenting new research and data, the decision of whether a submitted review or opinion article is suitable for publication and subsequent open peer review by experts, ultimately lies with Injirr's Editorial Director.

Editorials are published by journal editors or on invitation only. No submission by third parties are published as editorials.

All authors should have made a clear contribution to the published article. Each author's contribution may be detailed with a footnote in the article's first page.

Anyone who has contributed but does not meet the criteria for authorship (for example, purely technical or writing assistance) should be listed in the 'Acknowledgments' section. The involvement of any professional scientific or medical writer assistance must be declared. Authors should obtain permission to include the name and affiliation, from all those mentioned in the Acknowledgments section.

Changes in authorship: If the author list of an article changes following its publication, a new version of the article can be published, with an explanation included in the ‘Amendments’ section at the top of the new version. Any changes in authorship must be confirmed by all authors, and the corresponding author is responsible for obtaining this confirmation from his/her co-authors. In agreement with COPE guidelines, the Injirr editorial team cannot take responsibility for resolving any disputes over authorship; any disagreements amongst the authors must be settled by the authors’ institution(s).

3. Competing interests

Authors must include a ‘Competing interests’ statement. A competing interest will not preclude publication, but it provides full transparency for the referees and readers. If there are no competing interests to declare, the following standard statement is added: ‘No competing interests were disclosed’.

A competing interest may be of non-financial or financial nature. Examples of competing interests include (but are not limited to):

  • individuals receiving funding, salary or other forms of payment from an organization, or holding stocks or shares from a company, that might benefit (or lose) financially from the publication of the findings;
  • individuals or their funding organization or employer holding (or applying for) related patents;
  • official affiliations and memberships with interest groups relating to the content of the publication;
  • political, religious, or ideological competing interests.

Authors from pharmaceutical companies, or other commercial organizations that sponsor clinical trials, should declare these as competing interests on submission. The relationship of each author to such an organization should be explained in the ‘Competing interests’ section. Publications in Injirr must not contain content advertising any commercial products.

The International Society for Medical Publication Professionals provides good practice guidelines, which are aimed at ensuring that “clinical trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies are published in a responsible and ethical manner”.

Referees are also required to declare any competing interests in their reports, as are readers who contribute comments on the site.

4. Ethical Policies

4.1 Research involving humans

Ethics approval

All studies involving humans (individuals, human data or material) must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. Approval must have been obtained for all protocols from the authors’ institutional or other relevant ethics committee (Institutional Review Board, IRB) to ensure that they meet national and international guidelines. Details of this approval must be provided when submitting an article, including the institution, review board name, and permit number(s).

Human studies categorized by race/ethnicity, age, disease/disabilities, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, or other socially constructed groupings, should include a justification of the choice of definitions and categories, including whether any rules of human categorization were required by the relevant funding agencies. Appropriate non-stigmatizing language should be used when describing different groups.

Ethics approval must be obtained before the research is conducted; retrospective approval can usually not be obtained and it may not be possible to publish the study.

Patient privacy and informed consent for publication

As stated in the Uniform Requirements of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors: “Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that the patient be shown the manuscript to be published. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the published article.”

Consent to participate: For all studies involving human participants, including personal genomics studies, case reports, clinical trials, questionnaires, observations etc, informed written consent to take part in the research must have been obtained, and this should be stated in the article in a section entitled ‘Consent’. You can use our consent form, or your own institution’s form as you prefer. If only oral consent was obtained (rather than written), the reasons need to be explained, confirmation of IRB approval that oral consent was adequate must be provided, and a statement of how it was documented included in the Consent section.

Consent for publication of identifiable data: For any articles that include information that can potentially identify an individual, please ensure that you have obtained written, informed consent from all patients or healthy participants (or their legal guardians for minors, or next of kin if the participant is deceased), confirming that the results and any accompanying images can be published. This includes large clinical datasets with direct or indirect identifiers (see this article for information), specific details about individuals, images and so on.

If your article contains any identifiable images of individuals, you must include a statement confirming that you have permission to publish these images. If your article contains any clinical images or identifiable data then you must include an explicit consent statement under a separate heading of the ‘Consent’ section (we suggest: “We confirm that we have obtained permission to use [images/data] from the participants/patients/individuals included in this presentation”). Please also state the conditions under which the permission was obtained.

Alternatively, if no consent for publication was required (e.g. the data has been anonymised), then this should be clearly stated and a note should be added confirming that such alterations have not distorted scientific meaning.

Signed consent forms should be made available to the Injirr editorial office if requested.

4.2 Research involving animals

Studies involving animals must have been conducted in line with the Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments’ (ARRIVE) guidelines, developed by NC3Rs to improve standards of reporting, ensuring that the data from animal experiments can be fully scrutinized and utilized. The relevant information outlined in these guidelines should be included in the appropriate section of the article.

Experiments involving vertebrates or regulated invertebrates must be carried out within the ethical guidelines provided by the authors’ institution and national or international regulations. Where applicable, a statement of ethics permission granted or animal licenses should be included. If animals were used but ethical approval was not required, a clear statement should be included stating why this approval was unnecessary.

In all cases, a statement should be made to confirm that all efforts were made to ameliorate any suffering of animals and details of how this was achieved should be provided.

Authors should comply with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

4.3 Research involving plants

Studies on plants must be carried out within the guidelines provided by the authors’ institution and national or international regulations. Where applicable, a statement of permissions granted or licenses should be included. Authors should comply with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

5. Registration of trials and systematic reviews

5.1 Trial registration

Injirr uses the WHO definition of a clinical trial to decide what constitutes a clinical trial:

“A clinical trial is 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. Interventions include (but are not restricted to) drugs, cells and other biological products, surgical procedures, radiologic procedures, devices, behavioural treatments, process-of-care changes, preventive care, etc”.

Trials should be registered prospectively and the trial registration number and registration date must be included in the article. Further information can be found at the ICMJE faq on trial registration and the WHO provides a list of approved registries.

Although we expect trials to be registered before patient recruitment starts, several initiatives (such as the AllTrials campaign) have recognized that retrospective trial registration will encourage publication of both positive and negative results, and trials that were conducted before registration was possible. In line with these initiatives, Injirr will consider retrospectively registered trials, provided an explanation for the late registration is provided in the article. Again, the trial registration number and date of registration must be included in the Methods section of the article.

5.2 Systematic reviews registration

We encourage authors to register their systematic reviews in PROSPERO or another registry for systematic reviews. The registration number should be included in the article.

6. Standards of reporting

Standards of reporting guidelines help authors to ensure that they have provided a comprehensive description of their research, making it easier for others to assess and reproduce the work; for more detail and a comprehensive overview, see the FAIRSharing initiative. Comprehensive lists of available reporting guidelines can be found on the EQUATOR network website for health research, and on the MIBBI website for biological research.

Specifically, articles in Injirr that report clinical trials must adhere to the CONSORT reporting guidelines. We ask authors to include a copy of the original trial protocol and a completed CONSORT checklist and flow diagram as supporting files, which will be published alongside the article. The trial registration number and registration date must be included in the Methods section. Any deviation from the original trial protocol must be explained in the article.

Articles that report systematic reviews must adhere to the PRISMA guidelines, and authors should also include a completed PRISMA checklist and flow diagram as supporting files. Study protocols of systematic reviews must adhere to the PRISMA-P guidelines. We ask authors to include a completed PRISMA-P checklist as supplementary material.

7. Data availability

All articles in Injirr that report original results should include the source data underlying the results, together with details of any software used to process the results. It is essential that others can see the source data in order to be able to replicate the study and analyse the data, as well as in some circumstances, reuse it. Failure to provide the source data for publication without good justification is likely to result in the article being rejected. For detailed information about the type of data authors need to include when publishing an article in Injirr, where the data can be stored, and how they should be presented, see our data guidelines.

We recognize that there may be cases where openly sharing data may not be feasible (because of ethical or security considerations, or data protection issues). If you think that this applies to your article, please let the editorial team know at the submission stage, as we have policies in place to allow the publication of papers associated with such data, whilst maintaining the appropriate level of security.

Exceptions may be made for:

Ethical and security considerations

If data access is restricted for ethical or security reasons, the manuscript must include:

  • a description of the restrictions on the data; and
  • all necessary information required for a reader or referee to apply for access to the data and the conditions under which access will be granted.
Data protection issues

Where human data cannot be effectively de-identified, data must not be shared in order to protect patient/participant privacy unless the individuals have given explicit written consent that their identifiable data can be made publicly available.

In instances where the data cannot be made available, the manuscript must include:

  • an explanation of the data protection concern;
  • any intermediary data that can be de-identified without compromising anonymity;
  • what, if anything, the relevant Institutional Review Board (IRB) or equivalent said about data sharing; and,
  • where applicable, all necessary information required for a reader or referee to apply for access to the data and the conditions under which access will be granted.
Large data

It is not always feasible to share large data sets. In these cases, authors should include a description of the data, including the file types and sizes, when submitting their manuscript. The editorial team can then advise on hosting.

Where data is too large to be feasibly hosted by a recommended repository, the manuscript should include:

  • any intermediary data that can be easily shared; and
  • all necessary information required for a reader or referee to access the data alongside a description of this process.
Data under license by a third party

In cases where data has been obtained from a third party and restrictions apply to the availability of the data, the manuscript must include:

  • all necessary information required for a reader or referee to access the data by the same means as the authors;
  • any intermediary data that can be shared legally; and
  • publicly available data that is representative of the analysed dataset and can be used to apply the methodology described in the manuscript.

In cases where data from human studies has been obtained from government level organisations (e.g. the Ministry of Health), and strict restrictions regarding availability of the data apply, the authors must include a clear explanation about the restrictions, and all the necessary information required for a reader or referee to request access from the data owners. This option will be discussed with authors on a case-by-case basis and can only be considered if there are no discernible competing interests, especially if these are commercial in nature.

8. Licenses

Injirr articles are usually published under a CC BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and leaves the copyright of the article with the current copyright holder (usually the author or his/her institution). Additional waivers are used for some governmental employees, as appropriate.


Data associated with Injirr articles are made available, where possible, under the terms of a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0 license). This facilitates and encourages re-use and helps prevent the problems of attribution stacking when combining multiple datasets each authored by multiple authors that use multiple different licences.

Referee reports that are published with a given article are also available under the CC BY license.

9. Permanency of content

All articles published in Injirr receive a DOI and are permanently published. This applies regardless of the outcome of the peer review that follows after publication.

All content, including articles that have not (yet) passed peer review, is permanently archived in Portico. All versions of all articles that have passed peer review will be archived in PubMed and elsewhere.

Authors can revise, change and update their articles by publishing new versions, which are added to the article’s history; however, the individual versions, once published, cannot be altered or withdrawn and are permanently available on the Injirr website. Injirr participates in the CrossMark scheme, a multi-publisher initiative that has developed a standard way for readers to locate the current version of an article. By applying the CrossMark policies, Injirr is committed to maintaining the content it publishes and to alerting readers to changes if and when they occur.

Clicking on the CrossMark logo (at the top of each Injirr article) will give you the current status of an article and direct you to the latest published version; it may also give you additional information such as new referee reports.

In order to maintain the integrity and completeness of the scholarly record, the following policies will be applied when published content needs to be corrected; these policies take into account current best practice in the scholarly publishing and library communities:

9.1 Correction to an Article

In traditional journals, where articles are peer reviewed before publication, Corrections (or Errata) are published to alert readers to errors in the article that became apparent following the publication of the final article.

By contrast, articles in Injirr undergo peer review post publication and publication is not ‘final’ as new versions can be added at any stage. Possible mistakes that come to light during the peer review process may be highlighted in the published referee reports, which are part of the article. Authors can publish revised versions, and any errors that become apparent during peer review or later can be corrected through the publication of new versions. Corrections and changes relative to the previous version are always summarized in the ‘Amendments’ section at the start of a new version.

9.2 Retraction

Articles may be retracted for several reasons, including:

  • honest errors reported by the authors (for example, errors due to the mixing up of samples or use of a scientific tool or equipment that is found subsequently to be faulty)
  • research misconduct (data fabrication)
  • duplicate or overlapping publication
  • fraudulent use of data
  • clear plagiarism
  • unethical research

For any retracted article, the reason for retraction and who is instigating the retraction will be clearly stated in the Retraction notice. The retraction notice will be linked to the retracted article (which usually remains on the site) and the article will be clearly marked as retracted (including the PDF).

An article is usually only retracted at the authors’ request or by the publisher in response to an institutional investigation. It is important to note in the context of Injirr’s publication model, that ‐ as in traditional journals ‐ a retracted article is not ‘unpublished’ or ‘withdrawn’ in order for it to be published elsewhere. The reasons for retraction are usually so serious that the whole study, or large parts of it, are not appropriate for inclusion in the scientific literature anywhere.

The content of a retracted article would only be removed where legal limitations have been placed upon the publisher, copyright holder or author(s), for example, if the article is clearly defamatory or infringes others’ legal rights, or if the article is the subject of a court order. In such cases, the bibliographic information for the article will be retained on the site along with information regarding the circumstances that led to the removal of the content.

Under rare circumstances, for example, if false or inaccurate data have been published that, if acted upon, pose a serious health risk, the original incorrect version(s) may be removed and a corrected version published. The reason for this partial removal would be clearly stated on the latest version.

9.3 Editorial Note

If there is a potential, not yet resolved, problem with an article, it may be appropriate to alert readers with an Editorial Note. Such an Editorial Note may be added, for example, if Injirr receives information that research or publication misconduct might have taken place, or that there is a serious dispute between authors or between the authors and third parties. The Editorial Note will usually be posted while further investigations take place and until a more permanent solution has been found (e.g. the publication of a revised ‘corrected’ version, or a Retraction).

9.4 Expression of Concern

In rare cases, Injirr may decide to publish an Expression of Concern, which is linked to the problematic article, if there are serious concerns about an article but no conclusive evidence can be obtained that would unequivocally justify a Retraction. This may include:

  • if there is inconclusive evidence of research or publication misconduct
  • there is evidence that there are problems with the article, but the authors’ institution will not investigate the case
  • an investigation into alleged misconduct has not been impartial or conclusive

10. Allegations of misconduct

Injirr is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and provides an ethical publishing framework in accordance with COPE’s codes of conduct for editors and publishers.

If a case of suspected research or publication misconduct is brought to our attention, we will follow COPE guidelines. This may involve contacting the authors’ research institution, an ethics committee or other third parties.

Research misconduct includes data fabrication or falsification, or cases where research involving animals or humans has not been carried out within an appropriate ethical framework. Publication misconduct includes duplicate publication of articles or clear plagiarism. Honest errors or differences of opinion are not considered ‘misconduct’.

11. Policy for Comments

We encourage unsolicited open scientific discussion on all research outputs. Such contributions are published through our Comment system. To ensure that comments contribute to, and focus on, the scholarly debate, we usually only allow comments from readers who have a formal affiliation with a research institution, or other relevant organization. Alternatively, we may also allow comments from readers who have demonstrable expertise in a relevant area of research. Consistent with our commitment to full transparency, the reader’s full name and affiliation appear on their public comment.

Comments should focus on the scholarly content presented in the article with which they are associated.

Comments that appear to be advertising, are potentially libellous or legally problematic (including comments revealing patient information) will not be published. We will not accept Comments that are offensive, indecent or contain negative comments of a personal, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, or religious character.

All Comments must be written in good English; a Comment may be rejected if it is deemed unintelligible.

Readers who wish to comment on an article are asked to declare any competing interests. Competing interests can be of a financial nature (e.g. holding a patent or receiving fees from a company that may lose or gain financially from the publication of the Comment), or they can be personal, religious, political or other non-financial interests. When completing your declaration, please consider the issues summarized in the Declaration of Competing Interests.

While we welcome open scientific debate and discussion, we will not tolerate abusive behaviour towards our authors and reviewers via our Comment system or via social media. In extreme cases we will consider contacting the affiliated institution to report the abusive behaviour of individuals.

12. Post-publication peer review

All articles undergo formal peer review by invited experts who meet our criteria for referees; these criteria are aimed at ensuring that referees have sufficient expertise and qualifications to judge the content of the article and that they have no conflicts of interest.

Peer review takes place after publication and is driven by the authors who must suggest the referees and who decide when and how to address any criticisms raised by the referees. Communication with the referees is done by the editorial team, on behalf of the authors.

The peer-review process is completely transparent: the referee names and their reports are published alongside the article, and the authors’ responses to the referees (or to reader comments) are also posted for readers to see.

Revisions and updates are published as new versions, with clear explanations (in an “Amendments” section) of the changes the authors made.

Usually, an article receives 2 or 3 referee reports. The referees choose an approval status, which contributes to determining whether the article has ‘passed peer review’ and is indexed in bibliographic databases, such as PubMed.

12.1 Stopping Peer Review

Peer review may be discontinued on some articles that have not received sufficient referee reports after a long period of time. As a general rule, authors may choose to stop peer review if their article has not received any reports after 6 months, or if only 1 report has been received after 9 months. In some cases, where authors have not actively pursued peer review, the Injirr team may add an explanation on the article to alert readers that the peer review of the article is not active.

Articles with 0 or 1 report have not passed peer review and are not indexed in PubMed and other bibliographic databases; if peer review is stopped in consultation with the Injirr team, the article (which is permanently published with a DOI and cannot be removed) can be considered equivalent to a preprint and the authors may choose to submit the manuscript to a journal for peer review and publication elsewhere (it is at the discretion of the journal editors the authors are submitting to how they consider the history of the article at Injirr).

Peer review of these articles can be reactivated at a later stage at the authors’ request, provided the article has not been peer reviewed and published elsewhere in the meantime.