Policies, Licensing and COI

Policies, Licensing and COI


Open Access Policy

All research articles published in JOINTS are fully open access and immediately freely accessible. Articles are posted online as soon as they have completed the production process in a fully citable form associated with a universal digital object identifier (DOI). Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license (see the Licensing section below), which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format (but not for commercial use), provided that the original work is properly cited. Articles can be freely downloaded from our website without the need for journal subscription and/or log in.

A complete version of the article and related supplementary material (including a copy of the permission, as stated above) is deposited in CLOCKSS repository in a suitable standard electronic format immediately after the publication in JOINTS.


Editorial Process and Peer Review

JOINTS adopts single-blind peer review. Reviewers are anonymous unless they want to identify themselves by including their names in the review on our submission system. Selected reviewers need to declare the absence of a conflict of interest in order to proceed with the review process.

Reviewer selection is critical to the publication process, and we base our choice on many factors, including expertise, reputation, specific recommendations and our own previous experience of a reviewer’s characteristics.

All contributions are initially handled by the Editor-in-Chief (or by a handling Editor on behalf of the Editor-in-Chief), who conducts the first assessment of the manuscript by verifying whether it falls within the aims and scope of the journal. The subsequent decision may be peer-reviewing or rejecting the manuscript. Only the manuscripts that meet our editorial criteria pass this first step and undergo external and internal peer review. Papers judged by the handling Editor as weak or otherwise inappropriate are rejected without undergoing further external peer review (although this decision may be based on informal advice from experts in the field). After this step, the Editor-in-Chief or the Managing Editor assigns the manuscript to 2-4 internal and external peer reviewers. In order to be eligible for the peer review of the manuscript, reviewers must confirm that they did not co-author articles with one or more of the authors of the manuscript during the last 5 years, that they are affiliated with institutions different from those of the authors and that they do not have any conflict of interest in relation to the content of the manuscript. After receiving the comments and recommendations from peer reviewers, the Editor-in-Chief (or the handling Editor on behalf of the Editor-in-Chief) makes another evaluation of the manuscript based on the reviewers’ comments and retains final authority to either allow for manuscript revision or to reject the manuscript. In the final editorial decision, Editors evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments raised by each reviewer and of the authors’ replies. Editors may also take into account additional information which is not available to either party. Editors may also reassign the revised manuscript to additional reviewers (who were not involved in the first review) for further evaluation, particularly when reviewers disagree with each other, or when they may have misunderstood or misinterpreted crucial points of the manuscripts. Reviewers should bear in mind that manuscripts submitted to our journal contain confidential information, which should be treated as such.


Confidentiality and Pre-Publicity

Editors, authors and reviewers are required to keep confidential all details of the editorial and peer review process on submitted manuscripts. The peer review process is confidential and conducted anonymously; identities of reviewers are not released. Reviewers must maintain the confidentiality of manuscripts. Correspondence with the journal, referees’ reports and other confidential material must not be published, disclosed or otherwise publicized without prior written consent. It is our policy to keep their names confidential and we do our utmost to ensure this confidentiality. We cannot, however, guarantee to maintain this confidentiality in the face of a successful legal action to disclose identity.

Authors of papers that contain taxonomy should be aware that it is possible for third parties to exploit the prior publication of nomenclature at any time between the online posting of a preprint and the print publication date in a journal. Joints takes no responsibility for such assertions of priority in the case of manuscripts that it publishes if the content of those manuscripts has previously appeared in the public domain as online preprints or other forms of online posting.



Submission to JOINTS is taken by the journal to mean that all the listed authors have agreed on all the contents, including the author list and author contributions statements. The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that this agreement has been achieved and that all authors have agreed to the submission, and is also in charge of managing all communication between the journal and all co-authors, before and after publication. Any changes to the author list after submission need to be approved by every author.

The author list should include all appropriate researchers and no others. Authorship provides credit for a researcher’s contributions to a study and carries accountability. JOINTS does not prescribe the kinds of contributions that warrant authorship but encourages transparency by publishing author contributions statements since the Journal is not in a position to investigate or adjudicate authorship disputes before or after publication. Such disagreements, if they cannot be resolved amongst authors, should be brought up to the relevant institutional authority.

The primary affiliation for each author should be the institution where the majority of their work was done. If an author has subsequently moved, the current address may also be stated.


Corresponding Authors’ Responsibilities

The corresponding author is solely responsible for communicating with the journal and managing communication between coauthors. Before submission, the corresponding author ensures that all authors are included in the author list, its order has been agreed upon by all authors and that all authors are aware that the paper was submitted.

At submission, the corresponding author must include written permission from the authors of the work about the mention of any unpublished material included in the manuscript. The corresponding author also must clearly identify at submission any material within the manuscript that has previously been published elsewhere by other authors (for example, figures) and provide written permission from those authors and/or publishers for the re-use of such material. He/She/Them have 3 months to submit the revised version of the manuscript.

After acceptance, the galley proof is sent to the corresponding author, who shares it with all coauthors and deals with the journal on their behalf; the journal will not necessarily correct errors after publication if they result from errors that were present on a galley proof that was not shown to coauthors before publication. The corresponding author is responsible for the accuracy of all contents in the galley proof, in particular, that the names of coauthors are present and correctly spelled and that affiliations are right.

The name and e-mail address of the corresponding author are published in the paper.

Authors of published material have a responsibility to inform the journal promptly if they become aware of any part that requires correcting. Any published correction requires the consent of all co-authors, so time is saved if requests for corrections are accompanied by a signed agreement by all authors. In cases where one or some authors do not agree with the correction statement, the coordinating author must include correspondence to and from the dissenting author(s).

Conflicts of Interest (COI)

At the time of submission, JOINTS policy requires that authors disclose potential conflicts of interest (COI), including financial interests, direct and indirect connections, or any other situation that could raise questions of bias in either the reported work or its conclusions, implications, or related opinions. Potential COI to be disclosed include any relevant commercial or noncommercial source of funding for either author(s), the sponsoring institution, the associated department(s) or organization(s). When considering whether you should declare a COI, please consider the following question: “Is there any arrangement that would embarrass you or any of your co-authors, which you did not declare and would emerge after publication?”.

As an integral part of the online submission process, Corresponding Authors are required to confirm whether they or their co-authors have any COI to disclose. If the Corresponding Author is unable to confirm this information on behalf of all co-authors, the other authors will then be required to send a completed COI form to the Editorial Office. It is the Corresponding Author’s responsibility to ensure that all authors adhere to this policy. Information on potential COI must be reported in the manuscript (see Instructions for authors).

  • COI in Industry-Sponsored Research

Authors whose manuscripts are submitted for publication must declare all relevant sources of funding in support of the preparation of a manuscript. JOINTS requires full disclosure of financial support as to whether it is from the tobacco industry, the pharmaceutical or any other industry, government agencies, or any other source. This information should be included in the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript (see Instructions for authors). Authors are required to specify sources of funding for the study and to indicate whether the text was reviewed by the sponsor prior to submission (e.g., whether the study was written with full investigator access to all relevant data and whether the sponsor exerted editorial influence over the written text). This information should be included in the Cover letter. In addition to the disclosure of direct financial support to the authors or their laboratory and prior sponsor’s review of the paper, authors are required to disclose all relevant consultancies within 12 months prior to submission, since the views expressed in the contribution could be influenced by the opinions they have expressed privately as consultants. This information should be included in the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript. In the event that a previously undisclosed potential competing interest for an author of a published paper comes to the attention of the Editors and is subsequently confirmed by the authors, the undeclared interest will be published as an erratum in a future volume of the journal.

  • COI Policy: Reviewers and Editors

Reviewers must disclose to Editors any COI that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should disqualify themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if they deem it as appropriate. As in the case of authors, silence on the part of reviewers concerning potential COI may mean either that such COI exists but they have not been properly disclosed or that COI does not exist. Reviewers must therefore also be asked to state explicitly whether COI exist or do not exist. Reviewers must not use knowledge of the work before its publication to further their own interests. COI for a given manuscript exist when a participant in the peer review and publication process (e.g., author, reviewer, editor) has ties to activities that could inappropriately influence his or her judgment, regardless of whether the judgment is affected. Financial relationships with industry (e.g., employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, expert testimony), either directly or through immediate family, are usually considered the most important COI. However, COI can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion. External peer reviewers should disclose to Editors any COI that could bias their opinions of the manuscript and they should disqualify themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if they deem it as appropriate. The Editors must be aware of the reviewers’ COI to interpret the review reports and evaluate whether the reviewer should be disqualified from the peer review process. Additional details are available from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Annals of Internal Medicine 118, (8) 646-647.

Authors who wish to publish in JOINTS must follow the guidelines on Good Publication Practice as reported in COPE and Council of Science EditorsThese guidelines aim to ensure that articles are published in a responsible and ethical manner.

  • Specific Policies

Submission by an Editor: A paper submitted by an Editor will be handled by one of the journal Editors who does not have any COI to disclose in relation to the review process and who is not affiliated with the same institution as the submitting Editor. The handling Editor will recruit and select reviewers and make all the decisions on the paper.

Submission by authors affiliated with the same institution of one of the journal Editors: A paper submitted by an author for whom potential COI exists (or who is affiliated with the same institution of one of the Editors) will be handled by a handling Editor who does not have any COI to disclose in relation to the review process and who is affiliated with a different institution. The handling Editor will recruit and select reviewers and make all the decisions on the paper. The same policy will apply to articles submitted by a member of the Editor’s family or by an author whose relationship with the Editor may create the perception of bias (e.g., close friendship or conflict/rivalry). In the presence of any doubt on potential COI or sources of bias, the handling Editor will consult with the Editor-in-Chief.

Potential COI for Reviewers: The invitation letter to reviewers will include the following paragraph: “If you know or believe to know the identity of one or more of the authors, and if you feel that there is any potential conflict of interest in your review of this paper due to your relationship with the author (e.g., in terms of close friendship or conflict/rivalry) or due to any other reason, please declare it. By accepting this invitation, it is assumed there is no potential conflict of interest to disclose.


Plagiarism and Other Types of Unethical Publication Practice

JOINTS disapproves any kind of malpractice and unethical publication practice. With regard to plagiarism or other types of unethical publication practice, Authors who wish to publish in our journal must follow the guidelines on Good Publication Practice as reported in COPE and Council of Science Editors. These guidelines aim to ensure that articles are published in a responsible and ethical manner.

Our journal uses certified plagiarism checker software (Grammarly®) to verify the authenticity of articles and detect duplications from each article’s content online against billions of web pages. By submitting manuscripts to the journal, authors accept that their work will be checked for plagiarism from previously published articles.

First, we conduct a pre-emptive investigation using our certified anti-plagiarism software. Articles that represent suspected cases of plagiarism or other unethical practices undergo a careful check for accuracy by the reviewer(s) and Editors. Our anti-plagiarism software, however, is not able to identify the so-called “salami slicing”. Therefore, it is imperative that each case is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. We do not advocate the use of one statement of actions to penalize the offender. Each case is considered separately, and, as Editors, we will need to decide if the suspected case of plagiarism or unethical publication practice is a deliberate action on the part of the author or if it is due to a lack of understanding of the requirements of ethical writing. This can happen for new authors or some authors for whom English translation is difficult. An example of this is when there are no words/phrases in the author-specific language that properly translate into English.


Duplicate Publication

Material submitted to JOINTS must be original and not published or submitted for publication elsewhere. This rule applies to material submitted elsewhere while the JOINTS contribution is under consideration.

If part of a contribution that an author wishes to submit to JOINTS has appeared or will appear elsewhere, the author must specify the details in the cover letter accompanying the submission.

If an author of a submission is re-using a figure or figures published elsewhere or that is copyrighted, the author must provide documentation that the previous publisher or copyright holder has given permission for the figure to be re-published. JOINTS editors consider all material in good faith that their journal has full permission to publish every part of the submitted material, including illustrations.


Image Integrity

Images submitted with a manuscript for review should be minimally processed (for instance, to add arrows to a micrograph). Authors should retain their unprocessed data and metadata files, as editors may request them to aid in manuscript evaluation. All digitized images submitted with the final revision of the manuscript must be of high quality.

Positive and negative controls, as well as molecular size markers, should be included on each gel and blot – either in the main figure or an expanded data supplementary figure.

The authors should provide the editors with original data on request. Cells from multiple fields should not be juxtaposed in a single field; instead, multiple supporting fields of cells should be shown as Supplementary Information. Threshold manipulation, expansion or contraction of signal ranges, and the altering of high signals should be avoided. If “pseudo-coloring” and nonlinear adjustment (for example, “gamma changes”) are used, this must be disclosed. Adjustments of individual color channels are sometimes necessary on “merged” images, but this should be noted in the figure legend.



JOINTS applies a Creative Commons Attribution license (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License; CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) to all articles published in the journal. If authors submit their paper for consideration for publication in our journal, they agree to have the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license applied to their work as follows:

BY: Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

NC: NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

ND: NonDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.

No additional restrictions: You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

Notices: You do not have to comply with the license for elements of the material in the public domain or where your use is permitted by an applicable exception or limitation.

No warranties are given. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material.