EDITORIAL POLICIES

Table of Contents

AUTHOR GUIDELINES

Authorship / Contributorship Requirements

Authors must ensure that no part of their manuscript has been published or is under review by another publishing house. Applied Radiation Oncology (ARO) only accepts original unpublished work. Portions of the manuscript presented at a conference as an abstract, poster, presentation or exhibit may be published with an acknowledgement of the disclosure. Authors must indicate any use of copyrighted material and provide permissions to reprint the material with their submission. Authors must also identify individuals who provide writing assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance.

The order of authors listed in a manuscript should indicate level of contribution (first author listed is the lead author; co-leads are acceptable). The ICMJE lists four requirements for authorship, which all authors must meet.

  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.
  3. Final approval of the version to be published.
  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.

All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. Contributors who do not meet all four criteria should be listed in an acknowledgement statement. As the ICMJE further states: In addition to being accountable for their parts of the work, an author should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific other parts of the work. (ARO advises that contributions be declared on submission using the roles, as applicable, outlined by CRediT – Contributor Roles Taxonomy www.casrai.org.) Each submission should list a corresponding author and their contact information; this author takes primary responsibility for communication with the journal during the manuscript submission, peer review, and publication process. Authors should have confidence in the integrity of their co-authors’ contributions. Concerns raised regarding authorship problems will be addressed using COPE guidance described at and within: COPE Council. COPE Flowcharts and infographics — How to recognize potential authorship problems — English. https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.2.22 ©2021 Committee on Publication Ethics (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Authors should follow the additional guidelines listed in the “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Requirements for Manuscripts” http://www.icmje.org/urm_main.html by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

ARO also follows the “Editorial Policy Statements” found at http://www.councilscienceeditors.org/resource-library/editorial-policies by the Council of Science Editors (CSE), which describes the rights and responsibilities of editors of peer-reviewed journals.

Fees

There are no fees for manuscript submission or related publishing services.

Conflicts of Interest

Authors must state any actual, potential, or apparent conflicts of interest on the article cover page, or by downloading the Disclosure of Interest form returning it to ARO. All sources of financial support for the study presented/article or any author relationships with manufacturers of any products mentioned in the article must be stated. Conflicts of interest will be included in final publication to maintain scientific integrity. Cases of potential undisclosed conflicts of interest will be investigated in accordance with guidelines by the Committee of Publication Ethics: COPE Council. COPE Flowcharts and infographics — Undisclosed conflict of interest in a submitted manuscript — English. https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.2.6. Peer reviewers, editors, and publishers must also disclose conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from any publishing activities in which a conflict exists.

Data Sharing and Reproducibility

ARO does not mandate data sharing. Authors must be transparent about their data-sharing intentions, and data should be made available to ARO for inspection upon request, when appropriate. ARO recommends the sharing and archiving of data and related artifacts that support the results stated in a manuscript in a relevant public repository, such as Dryad, Vivli, The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA), Figshare, Synapse, etc. A data availability statement, which will be published in the article, must be included in research manuscripts and state 1) the type of data used, 2) whether data are being shared for reuse and/or any restrictions thereof, 3) the data location or repository used along with a persistent identifier link (e.g., a digital object identifier [DOI]), 4) how to access the data, and 5) any relevant licensing information. If the data are not publicly available or accessible, this information should be indicated. Data noted in the data-sharing statement should be cited in the manuscript and included in the references. Manuscripts reporting a clinical trial must follow ICJME requirements for clinical trial data sharing as described at http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/publishing-and-editorial-issues/clinical-trial-registration.html and http://www.icmje.org/news-and-editorials/data_sharing_june_2017.pdf. ARO supports FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reproducible) data principles https://fairsharing.org/, and recommends adherence to the Data Citation Synthesis Group: Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles. Martone M. (ed.) San Diego CA: FORCE11; 2014 https://doi.org/10.25490/a97f-egyk, and New Models of Data Stewardship https://commonfund.nih.gov/data for NIH-funded biomedical data.

Data availability statements should begin with the following italicized language as it applies (or a combination thereof):

  • Data are available in a public, open access repository.
    Please list repository name, the persistent URL (e.g., DOI), and any reuse requirements (e.g., license, embargo).
  • Data are available upon reasonable request.
    Please state what the data are (e.g., deidentified participant data), who the data are available from, their publishable contact details (e.g., email address or ORCID identifier – permission must be granted for their use) and under what conditions reuse is allowed. Please note whether additional information is available (e.g., protocols, statistical analysis plans)?
  • Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.
    Please state what the data are (e.g., deidentified participant data), who the data are available from, their publishable contact details (e.g., email address or ORCID identifier – permission must be granted for their use) and under what conditions reuse is permitted. Please note whether additional information is available (e.g., protocols, statistical analysis plans)?
  • All data relevant to the study are provided in the article or supplement.
  • Data sharing is not applicable as no datasets were generated/analyzed for this study.
  • No data are available.

Once a manuscript is accepted for publication, it becomes the property of Anderson Publishing, Ltd., publisher of ARO. All authors must sign the Copyright Transfer Agreement https://cdn.agilitycms.com/applied-radiation-oncology/PDFs/forms/AR-ARO_copyright-transfer_form.pdf. The assignment of rights to Anderson Publishing, Ltd. includes, but is not limited to, rights to edit, publish, reproduce, distribute copies, and publish in electronic form or other media. Authors retain the right to revise, adapt, prepare derivative works, present orally, or distribute the article, provided notice of copyright is given. For reprint permission, authors should submit the Request for Permission to Reprint Form https://cdn.agilitycms.com/applied-radiation-oncology/PDFs/forms/AR-ARO_permission-form.pdf to Sharon Breske, managing editor, at <mailto:sharon@appliedradiationoncology.com>sharon@appliedradiationoncology.com

REVIEWER GUIDELINES

Peer Review Process and Reviewer Policies

All review articles, case reports and research articles are reviewed by radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related experts whose expertise most closely matches the article topic. A minimum of 2 peer reviewers is required for each submission. Authors may suggest peer reviewers, which we may or may not use in addition to peer reviewers from our peer review panel. We do not ask authors for a list of reviewers they wish to exclude but will consider supported requests. The ARO peer review panel is a continually growing stable of volunteer peer reviewers suggested or approved by the ARO editorial advisory board; we also regularly invite qualified ARO authors to become peer reviewers. Peer reviewers are responsible for critically evaluating a submission and providing constructive and honest feedback to authors about their submission. Peer reviewers should examine the strengths and weaknesses of the article and suggest ways to heighten the quality of the work. Reviews are double-blind and assess the practicality, originality, scope, accuracy, organization, clarity, presentation, usefulness, and overall content and quality of the manuscripts, as well as adherence to the article submission policies. Reviewers typically have 2 weeks to comment and recommend one of the following via our standard review form: reject, unacceptable/major revision, acceptable/minor revision, accept. Authors receive a summary of comments, which may include tracked changes; they must address each point when submitting revisions. The reviewers may recommend accepting or rejecting revisions or may ask for additional corrections/revisions. The editor-in-chief makes the final publishing decision.

ARO follows the recommendations for peer reviewers as set forth in “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals” by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). These recommendations state that because manuscripts submitted to journals are privileged communications, reviewers must keep manuscripts and the information they contain strictly confidential. Reviewers must not publicly discuss authors’ work and must not appropriate authors’ ideas before manuscript publication. Reviewers who solicit aid with a review from other experts (who must also ensure confidentiality of the manuscript) should acknowledge these contributions in the written comments provided to the editor. Reviewers must not retain the manuscript for personal use and should destroy copies of manuscripts after submitting their reviews. Reviewers are expected to respond promptly to requests to review, and to submit reviews within the time agreed. Reviewers’ comments should be constructive, honest, and polite; hostile or unprofessional reviews will not be accepted. Reviewers should declare their conflicts of interest using the form at http://www.icmje.org/conflicts-of-interest/ or equivalent and recuse themselves from the peer-review process if a conflict exists. In addition, reviewers should be on the lookout for and flag any possible ethical concerns in the article such as citation manipulation, image manipulation, plagiarism, and data falsification/fabrication.

ARO only edits reviews to address issues of tone, language/grammar, and deviations from journal policy and reviewer guidelines. The journal will not alter the meaning or intention of the review or change the reviewer’s professional opinion regarding the submission’s quality, content, or intellectual validity. If significant edits are needed for a review, ARO will inform the reviewer and ask for revisions.

ARO also follows the Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers developed by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) found at https://publicationethics.org/files/cope-ethical-guidelines-peer-reviewers-v2_0.pdf, and provides these and additional resources/directions to reviewers to assist with training.

Appeals

If an author believes their manuscript was rejected because of an error or misunderstanding, they may contact the editorial office in writing to describe their concern. Reasons for an appeal, which are not commonly granted, may not be based on conflicting opinions regarding manuscript originality, interest, or suitability. Rather, an appeal must provide strong evidence or new data that addresses and alleviates concerns with a manuscript. The editor-in-chief will consider the appeal, and the response will be final. Re-evaluation may require additional peer review, significant revisions, and/or additional mechanisms of assessment such as editorial advisory board review.

ETHICAL CONCERNS

Ethical Guidelines – Overview

ARO adheres to the “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals” (www.icmje.org) with regard to suspected scientific misconduct. Authors involved in ethical misconduct may be banned from submitting future manuscripts, and articles that violate ethical practices will be retracted. Ethical misconduct in publishing includes plagiarism, data falsification, duplicate publishing, and inappropriate authorship (e.g., article submission with author agreement, inclusion of authors who did not significantly contribute to the work, or exclusion of authors contributed extensively). ARO follows guidelines set forth by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) https://publicationethics.org/ in dealing with ethics allegations. See ARO’s individual policies for details.

Post-Publication Discussions

Post-publication critiques are a way for readers to voice concerns or seek clarification about published articles. Readers may submit a commentary to the managing editor of ARO for consideration. If accepted, ARO will invite the article authors to respond within a suggested time frame of two weeks. The critique and response may undergo peer review, if deemed appropriate. Critiques should contain reasonable content that focuses on the substance of the article, and be timely, constructive, and useful to readers, adding to the value of the manuscript. Critiques should be less than 1,000 words, must not contain libelous or defamatory content, and must provide evidence/data to uphold claims. The comment and reply are published in the same journal edition, with the reply following the comment. If several similar comments are received, the editors may publish only a portion of them. An editorial decision will be made within two weeks if possible whether any additional action is appropriate regarding a critique, such as article corrections, retraction or related amendments. This policy follows COPE’s “Post-publication discussions and corrections,” policy https://cope.onl/corrections-2. Citation: COPE Council. COPE Flowcharts and infographics — Handling of post-publication critiques — English. https://doi.org/10.24318/o1VgCAih ©2021 Committee on Publication Ethics (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Complaints

ARO abides by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Core Practices https://publicationethics.org/files/editable-bean/COPE_Core_Practices_0.pdf. Authors, reviewers, readers, and associated parties who have a well-founded concern that the conduct of the journal, its staff, editorial board or publisher deviates from the Core Practices should email Editor-in-Chief Dr. John Suh at SUHJ@ccf.org and Group Publisher Kieran Anderson at kieran@appliedradiology.com. Valid concerns will be addressed as promptly as possible.

Corrections (Errata)

Errors or important omissions made by authors or introduced by editors, production staff or printers will be corrected at the first opportunity. For print, this means providing a correction notice in the next available journal issue; online, this means correcting the error within the article in question as soon as possible. Corrections in print will be noted in the table of contents.

Allegations of Research Misconduct

Should the editors, publisher or other affiliates of ARO be made aware of any misconduct allegation involving pre-publication or post-publication in the journal, the editors/publisher will adhere to guidelines set forth by COPE https://publicationethics.org/guidance/Guidelines to address allegations. Such allegations include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication.

To help identify and prevent research misconduct, peer reviewers and editors should flag any concerns including but not limited to potential plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data fabrication/falsification, so that ARO may investigate accordingly using additional specialized reviews and COPE protocols. Plagiarism is defined as “unauthorized appropriation of other people’s ideas, processes or text without giving correct credit and with intention to present it as own property. Appropriation of own published ideas or text and passing it as original is denominated self-plagiarism and considered as bad as plagiarism.”1 There are four types of self-plagiarism: publishing an article in more than one journal; partitioning one study into several publications (salami-slicing); text recycling; and copyright infringement.2

Citation manipulation occurs when references are listed only to expand the number of citations in an article without supporting article content. Including or suggesting citations that are self-promotional to any party (author, reviewer, editor, etc.) is a violation of publication ethics. Citations of the journal or the editor-in-chief’s work must not be included with any expectation that it will foster publication acceptance. In addition, to help prevent image manipulation, ARO requests that authors submit original radiographical images when applicable; however, is acceptable for authors to provide images that are technically adjusted for readability (e.g., improved color balance, contrast or brightness if applied to the entire digital image vs select parts). Unacceptable manipulation involves augmenting, obscuring, or omitting/adding elements to an image. If technical adjustments are made, the author should note this during the submission process. Concerns raised regarding image manipulation will be investigated according to COPE protocols found at: COPE Council. COPE Flowcharts and infographics — Image manipulation in a published article — English. https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.2.4 ©2021 Committee on Publication Ethics (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Additional concerns about potential data fabrication will be addressed using the protocol: COPE Council. COPE Flowcharts and infographics — Fabricated data in a published article — English. https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.2.4 ©2021 Committee on Publication Ethics (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
References

  1. Mehić B. Plagiarism and self-plagiarism. Bosn J Basic Med Sci. 2013;13(3):139. doi:10.17305/bjbms.2013.2344
  2. Roig M. Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical writing (Revised on-line version published in August. 2013). [Avgest 20.2013].

Preprint Servers

ARO allows for submission of manuscripts previously deposited on preprint servers. The author must link any preprint version to the final published article. The name and website of the server, as well as the preprint DOI, must be provided. Submissions are subject to peer review.

Informed Consent and Patient Details

To comply with laws and regulations regarding the privacy and security of personal information, identifying details of patients should be omitted from all articles if they are not essential, and informed consent must be obtained if there is any doubt regarding patient anonymity. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published. When obtained, informed consent will be indicated in the published article. Informed consent is required for all case reports submitted to ARO, and any other article submissions that may potentially involve identifying details of patients. Authors may use our informed consent form at https://cdn.agilitycms.com/applied-radiation-oncology/PDFs/other/Patient-consent-form_05-22.pdf. If the patient or proxy has signed a form that differs from that provided by ARO, the authors should provide a blank copy of the form to ARO to ensure all the required elements were included. If the authors do not have permission from the patient or appropriate party, they must remove personal information of those concerned in the article, illustrations and related materials; it is generally not sufficient to use eye bars or face-blurring techniques. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning. In manuscripts involving potentially vulnerable groups and in which informed consent may have required extra attention among the study authors and the institutions hosting the work/research, ARO advises that editors and other involved parties pay added attention to confidentiality and related details to ensure standards are met and are stated in applicable articles. Vulnerable groups are those who are incapable of protecting their own interests; they may have insufficient power, intelligence, education, resources, strength, or other necessary traits to protect their interests.

Human, Animal Rights

Authors/researchers must ensure that the planning conduct and reporting of human research comply with the Helsinki Declaration (www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-declaration-of-helsinkiethical-principles-for-medical-research-involving-humansubjects/). Authors should secure approval to conduct research from an independent local, regional, or national review body such as an institutional review board, ethics committee, etc. If unsure whether the research complied with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach and show that the review body approved any doubtful elements of the study.

Any animal experiments should comply with the ARRIVE guidelines and be carried out in accordance with the U.K. Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 and associated guidelines, EU Directive 2010/63/EU for animal experiments, or the National Institutes of Health guide for the care and use of Laboratory animals (NIH Publications No. 8023, revised 1978). The manuscript should state that such guidelines have been met. Additional guidelines on animal research ethics are available from the International Association of Veterinary Editors’ Consensus Author Guidelines on Animal Ethics and Welfare (http://veteditors.org/ethicsconsensusguidelines.html).

JOURNAL MANAGEMENT

Revenue Sources and Advertising Policies

ARO is supported by advertisements featured online and in print. ARO follows the recommendations for advertising set forth by the ICMJE’s “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.” These recommendations state that advertisements should not be juxtaposed with editorial content on the same product and should be clearly identifiable as advertisements. Editors have full and final authority for approving print and online advertisements and for enforcing advertising policy. ARO will not carry advertisements for products proven to be seriously harmful to health and will consider all criticisms of advertisements for publication. Advertisements are not related in any way to editorial decision making. Online advertisements are displayed at random vs. being linked to content or reader behavior. Advertising opportunities include video advertisements; display advertisements in the journal, web site, e-newsletters, and e-blasts; webinar sponsorships; and sponsorships of case reports and editorial supplements that are clearly labeled as vendor sponsored and are designed differently than other editorial content.

Business and Marketing Practice

ARO, published by Anderson Publishing in Scotch Plains, NJ, engages in various methods of direct marketing to foster brand recognition, build its subscriber base, and increase awareness of the journal content and its online offerings such as free continuing medical education credit opportunities, free educational webinars, blogs, and industry news. Direct marketing methods include use of social media (Twitter and Facebook), enewsletters, eblasts, house ads, cover wraps, and website pop-ups.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

ARO supports the Joint Statement of Principles Joint Statement of Principles – Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications (c4disc.org) set forth by the Coalition for Diversity & Inclusion in Scholarly Communications (C4DISC). These principles state: “In principle and in practice, collectively, C4DISC member and partner organizations value and seek accessibility, diversity, and equitable and inclusive practices within the scholarly communications ecosystem. Our goal is to promote involvement, innovation, and expanded access to leadership opportunities that maximize engagement across identity groups and professional levels.” Among initiatives, ARO and its publisher Anderson Publishing strive to advance diversity, equity and inclusion throughout its editorial operations and policies by promoting these principles among the editorial advisory board, team of editors and publication professionals, peer reviewers and authors. To help lead these efforts, ARO has appointed a DEI editor.

Software

ARO has contracted with and is in the process of implementing Editorial Manager by Aires Systems, a leading cloud-based manuscript submission and peer-review tracking system for scholarly journals, reference works, books and other publications. The EM system requests that authors provide an ORCID ID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), available through www.orcid.org. An industry standard, this ID is a free unique, persistent identifier for individuals to use as they engage in research, scholarship, and innovation activities.

Archiving

Anderson Publishing, Ltd., and its journals Applied Radiation Oncology and Applied Radiology, use the Portico archive (www.portico.org) to guarantee long-term electronic backup and digital preservation of journal content.

 


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