On this page → Research Ethics and Patient Consent • Identification of Authorship & Contributorship • Citing Other Literature • Plagiarism, Redundant & Duplicate Publication • Declaration of Potential Conflicts of Interest • Copyright & Libel • Fabricated Data & Image Manipulation •
All submissions must comply with the ethical and legal guidelines stated here. Authors are asked to confirm their compliance with these guidelines upon submission, and following editorial acceptance as a prerequisite for publication where signed confirmation of compliance is required from each author. Failure to comply or misrepresentation of compliance may lead to investigation under applicable COPE guidelines, which may include referral to relevant external bodies in serious cases, such as institutional research ethics committees, and may also result in publication of a separate correction, expression of concern, or retraction. In exceptional cases misconduct may lead to withdrawal or removal of a paper, including in circumstances where there are legal infringements, defamation or other legal limitations, or false or inaccurate data that could pose a serious health risk where acted upon. In these exceptional circumstances a retraction statement will still be published.
Committee on Publication Ethics
SAGE is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and follows their best practice guidelines.
For authors submitting to medical journals, SAGE recommends that authors follow the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals formulated by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).
Medical research involving human subjects must be conducted according to the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki.
Submitted manuscripts should conform to the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, and all papers reporting animal and/or human studies must state in the methods section that the relevant Ethics Committee or Institutional Review Board provided (or waived) approval. Please ensure that you have provided the full name and institution of the review committee, in addition to the approval number.
For research articles, authors are also required to state in the methods section whether participants provided informed consent and whether the consent was written or verbal.
Information on informed consent to report individual cases or case series should be included in the manuscript text. A statement is required regarding whether written informed consent for patient information and images to be published was provided by the patient(s) or a legally authorized representative.
Please also refer to the ICMJE Recommendations for the Protection of Research ParticipantsAll research involving animals submitted for publication must be approved by an ethics committee with oversight of the facility in which the studies were conducted.
These journals apply the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines on authorship and contributorship. For further information on this authors should refer to the ICMJE guidelines. Manuscripts should only be submitted for consideration once consent is given by all contributing authors. Those submitting papers should carefully check that all those whose work contributed to the paper are acknowledged as contributing authors.
Identification as an Author
The list of authors should include all those who can legitimately claim authorship. This is all those who:
1. Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;
2. Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and
3. Final approval of the version to be published; and
4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
On its own, acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group does not constitute authorship, although all contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgments section. Please refer to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship guidelines for more information on authorship.
Individuals designated as authors should qualify for authorship and all those who qualify must be listed. Each author must have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate parts of the content.
Contributions by Scientific or Medical Writers
Involvement by scientific/medical writers or anyone else who assisted with the preparation of the manuscript content should be acknowledged. Funding sources should also be disclosed. If medical writers are not listed amongst the authors their role should be acknowledged explicitly. This reflects guidelines set out by the European Medical Writer's Association (EMWA).
Identification as a Contributor
Individuals who do not meet the criteria for authorship must be listed in the acknowledgements section. This may include individuals providing technical help and writing assistance. Entities supporting these contributions should also be identified.
Individuals identified as contributors should have their function or contribution described. Because endorsement of the paper may be inferred by their identification, these individuals must give the authors permission to be acknowledged.
Work Conducted by Large Multi-Center Groups
If a large, multi-center group has conducted the work, the group should identified the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship or contributorship. All individuals who are named as authors or contributors should fully meet the criteria for authorship or contributorship.
When submitting a manuscript authored by a large multi-center group the manuscript should clearly identify all individual authors and the group name. SAGE Publishing will list names of individuals in the group in the Acknowledgements.
The group should decide about contributors and authors before submission of the manuscript. The corresponding author must be able to explain the presence and order of individuals. It is not the role of SAGE Publishing or the Editor in Chief, Associate Editor or Editorial Board to make authorship or contributorship decisions or arbitrate conflicts.
Changes in Authorship
In accordance with COPE requirements we require that any proposed changes in authorship of submitted manuscripts or published articles are subject to signed approval from each author. Changes in authorship to published papers are only done through a separate correction article: the original published article will not be changed.
Under no circumstances will changes in authorship following submission or publication extending to all authors identified in the initially submitted manuscript be permitted.
Disagreement on Authorship
If there is a disagreement among authors concerning authorship and a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached, the author(s) must contact their institution(s) for a resolution. It is not the responsibility of the editor in chief or the publisher to resolve authorship disputes.
Articles should cite appropriate and relevant literature in support of the claims made. Self-citation that is excessive, inappropriate or coordinated efforts among several authors to collectively self-cite is strongly discouraged.
Authors should consider the following guidelines when preparing their manuscript:
- All statements relying on external sources of information (not the authors own new ideas or findings or general knowledge) should use a citation.
- Citation of derivations of an original work should be avoided. In practice this means that authors should cite the original work rather than a review article that cites an original work.
- Authors should ensure that their citations support the statement made in their manuscript and should not misrepresent another work by citing it if it does not support the authors' statement.
- Sources that the authors have not read should not be cited.
- Authors may not preferentially cite their own or their friends’, peers’ or institution’s publications.
- Where possible authors should cite sources that have undergone peer review.
- Authors should never cite advertisements or advertorial material.
SAGE takes issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of published articles. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the journal against malpractice. Submitted articles may be checked with duplication-checking software. Where an article, for example, is found to have plagiarised other work or included third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article; taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author's institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; or taking appropriate legal action.
We encourage authors to visit the website plagiarism.org to learn more. We also offer complimentary Similarity Check (formerly known as CrossCheck or iThenticate) scanning upon request.
Previous Distribution and/or Publication
The author should disclose any prior distribution and/or publication of any portion of the material to the Editor for the Editor’s consideration and ensure that appropriate attribution to the prior distribution and/or publication of the material is included. For more information, visit our Prior Publication page on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway.
Duplicate Information Published In Translation
If a paper has previously been published in a different language, authors must disclose this upon submission to the journal, and provide accompanying evidence that they have permission from the copyright holder and co-authors, if any, for submission of the paper to the journal. The manuscript must contain a clear indication that the paper has previously been published and cite the original work appropriately. Whether the paper is to be considered for publication will be determined by the editor in chief.
Declaration of Potential Conflicts of Interest
A Declaration of Conflicting Interests policy refers to a formal policy a journal may have to require a conflict of interest statement or conflict of interest disclosure from a submitting or publishing author.
The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) states in its Guidelines on Good Publication Practice (2003) that:
‘Conflicts of interest arise when authors, reviewers, or editors have interests that are not fully apparent and that may influence their judgments on what is published. They have been described as those which, when revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived.’
Many scholars, researchers and professionals may have potential conflicts of interest, that could have an effect on – or could be seen to – have an effect on their research. As a result, some SAGE journals require a formal declaration of conflicting interests enabling a statement to be carried within the paginated published article.
A potential conflicting interest might arise from relationships, allegiances or hostilities to particular groups, organizations or interests, which may influence excessively one’s judgments or actions. The issue is particularly sensitive when such interests are private and/or may result in personal gain.
Articles will be evaluated fairly and will not necessarily be rejected when any competing interests are declared.
Examples of conflicts of interest might include the following, although it is not an exhaustive list:
- Having received fees for consulting.
- Having received research funding.
- Having been employed by a related company.
- Holding stocks or shares in a company which might be affected by the publication of your paper.
- Having received funds reimbursing you for attending a related symposia, or talk.
If there are other interests which the reasonable reader might feel has affected your research you may also wish to declare them.
*Please note that it is not expected that details of financial arrangements be disclosed when a competing interest is declared.
Authors must describe the role of any project funding source in respect to study design, collection, analysis, interpretation of data, writing of the manuscript and the decision as to whether and to which journal it should be submitted to. Where such involvement exists this information must be stated in the manuscript's Methodology or Acknowledgements section. If the project funding source had no such involvement this should also be stated.
Author Obligations Regarding Conflicting Interests
In your Journal Publishing Contributor Agreement you will be asked to certify that:
1. All forms of financial support, including pharmaceutical company support, are acknowledged in your Contribution.
2. Any commercial or financial involvements that might present an appearance of a conflict of interest related to the Contribution are disclosed in a covering letter accompanying the Contribution and all such potential conflicts of interest will be discussed with the Editor as to whether disclosure of this information with the published Contribution is to be made in the journal.
3. That you have not signed an agreement with any sponsor of the research reported in the Contribution that prevents you from publishing both positive and negative results or that forbids you from publishing this research without the prior approval of the sponsor.
4. That you have checked the manuscript submission guidelines to see whether the journal requires a Declaration of Conflicting Interests and have complied with the requirements specified where such a policy exists.
Editor Obligations Regarding Conflicting Interests
The same obligations equally apply to editors or guest editors writing an editorial that will be published in the journal.
How Do I Make a Declaration?
If you are submitting to or publishing your article in a journal which requires you to make a Declaration of Conflicting Interests, please include such a declaration at the end of your manuscript after any Acknowledgements and prior to the Funding Acknowledgement, Notes (if relevant) and References, under the heading 'Declaration of Conflicting Interest'. If no conflict exists, please state that 'The Author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest'.
Open Access Contributor's Publishing Agreement
SAGE open access journals all publish articles under Creative Commons licences. The standard licence is Creative Commons by Attribution Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC), which allows others to re-use the work without permission as long as the work is properly referenced and the use is non-commercial. Alternative licence arrangements are available, for example, to meet particular funder mandates, made at the author's request. For more information, you are advised to visit SAGE's open access licences page.
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. Documents confirming this must be made available upon request. While in some cases authors need not obtain permission we recommend exercising caution by always seeking confirmation from the copyright holder. This recommendation extends to include material re-used from sources published with Creative Commons non-commercial licenses. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway
Libelous or Defamatory ContentSAGE Publishing is legally responsible to ensure that its journals do not publish material that infringes copyright or that contain libelous or defamatory content. If a manuscript is regarded as containing potentially libelous content we will work with authors to remove problematic material. Manuscripts containing material that infringes copyright or is potentially libelous or defamatory may be rejected at the editor’s discretion.
Manuscripts may not contain fabricated data. Peer reviewers and editorial decision-makers are asked to be vigilant, and where fabrication is suspected COPE guidelines will be applied.
All images in manuscripts will be evaluated for indication of manipulation violating the guidelines outlined here. Manipulation that violates these guidelines may result in delays in processing or rejection, or retraction of a published article.
- No specific feature in an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced.
- The grouping of images from different parts of the same gel, or from different gels, fields, or exposures, must be made explicit by the arrangement of the figure and in the text of the accompanying legend.
- Adjustments of brightness, contrast, or color balance are acceptable if they apply to every pixel in the image and do not obscure, eliminate, or misrepresent any information present in the original. Non-linear adjustments (i.e. to gamma settings) must be disclosed in the figure legend.
Any concerns will be referred to the editor in chief who will request the original data from the author(s) for comparison with the prepared figures. If the original data cannot be produced the manuscript will be rejected or the paper will be retracted. Cases of suspected misconduct will be referred to author(s)’ institution(s).