UCL Open Access Student Journals Editorial Policies


Open access policy

All articles are published open access and are licensed under the CC-BY 4.0 International licence agreement. Under this licence authors retain copyright, and unrestricted reuse of the content is allowed as long as proper attribution is given to the original author of the work. Further information regarding this can be found at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ and licensing terms and conditions can be found in the author contributor agreement.


Originality of article statement

All submitted articles must not be under consideration for publication anywhere else, nor have been published in any form prior to submission to any UCL Open Access Student Journal. By submitting, authors are agreeing that the submission is original except for material in the public domain and such excerpts of other works that have written permission of the copyright owner. Where there is potential for duplication authors must correctly reference and cite the work.

Co-publication of an article, as agreed with the publisher and journal, may be considered in accordance with the ICMJE guidelines on overlapping publication, at the discretion of the Editor.


Authorship and author consent policy

All listed authors must have made a significant contribution to the article and have approved all its claims. Authors are required to include an authorship statement in their article to outline how each author contributed to the article, after any acknowledgements in the article.

UCL Open Access Student Journals adhere to the statement of authorship as outlined by the ICMJE statement, and considers an author of an article to have:

  1. made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  2. drafted the work or revised it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  3. made final approval of the version to be published; AND
  4. agrees 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.

For suspected and incorrect authorship, UCL Open Access Student Journals will refer to the UCL description of authorship misconduct as outlined here and follow COPE guidelines.


Ethics approval

UCL Open Access Student Journals are committed to ensuring the highest standards of integrity in all aspects of its publication activities and expects that all authors submitting to a UCL Open Access Student Journal have secured all relevant ethics or institutional review board approval for their research. A statement declaring this must be included in the article, along with the name of the ethics or institutional review board granting approval.

Where ethics or institutional review board approval is waived, a statement declaring this must be included in the article along with the name of the ethics or institutional review board granting waiver status. Authors also declare that by submitting to a UCL Open Access Student Journal this information will be made freely available to the Editor(s) and/or Publisher upon request.


Retrospective ethics approval

If a study has not been granted ethics or institutional review board approval prior to commencing, retrospective ethics approval usually cannot be obtained and it may not be possible to consider the article for peer review. The decision on whether to proceed to peer review in such cases is at the Editor’s discretion.


Research involving humans

Any work or research that involves collecting data from human participants must comply in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and authors must have received any and all relevant ethics or institutional review board approval. A statement declaring this must be included in the article, along with the name of the ethics or institutional review board granting approval.

Where ethics or institutional review board approval is waived, a statement declaring this must be included in the article along with the name of the ethics or institutional review board granting waiver status. Authors also declare that by submitting to a UCL Open Access Student Journal this information will be made freely available to the Editor(s) and/or Publisher upon request.

If authors are unable to provide sufficient evidence to the Editor(s) and/or Publisher upon request, the Editor(s) and/or Publisher may reject the article and inform the author(s) institution and any other third parties where applicable.


Consent for publication

For all articles involving human subjects, including any images, videos, and any other personal and identifiable information, authors must have secured informed consent to participate in the study and to publication before submitting to the journal, and a statement declaring this must be included in the article.

Authors also declare that by submitting to a UCL Open Access Student Journal this information will be made freely available to the Editor(s) and/or Publisher upon request.


Research involving animals and plants

A statement detailing compliance with relevant guidelines and/or ethical approval (including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate) must be included in the article. Where ethics or institutional review board approval is waived, a statement declaring this must be included in the article along with the name of the ethics or institutional review board granting waiver status. Authors also declare that by submitting to a UCL Open Access Student Journal this information will be made freely available to the Editor(s) and/or Publisher upon request. UCL Open Access Student Journals reserve the right to contact the ethics committee for further information.

The below subheadings outline the policy regarding research involving animals and plants, however, authors are recommend to comply with the following, where applicable:

  1. Ethics and Animal Welfare Committee http://iclas.org/committees/ethics-and-animal-welfare-committee
  2. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora https://cites.org/
  3. IUCN Policy Statement on Research Involving Species at Risk of Extinction https://portals.iucn.org/library/efiles/documents/PP-003-En.pdf
  4. ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) guidelines https://www.nc3rs.org.uk/arrive-guidelines


Research involving animals

When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether the institutional and national guide for the care and use of laboratory animals was followed. Authors should follow the Basel Declaration http://www.basel-declaration.org/basel-declaration/ to further advance the implementation of ethical principles such as the 3Rs whenever animals are being used and to call for more trust, transparency and communication on the sensitive topic of animals in research. The Editor will take account of animal welfare issues and reserves the right to reject an article, especially if the research involves protocols that are inconsistent with commonly accepted norms of animal research.

Field studies and other non-experimental research on animals must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing compliance with relevant guidelines and/or appropriate permissions or licences must be included in the article at submission.


Research involving plants

Experimental research on plants (either cultivated or wild), including collection of plant material, must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines. Field studies should be conducted in accordance with local legislation, and the article should include a statement specifying the appropriate permissions and/or licences. We recommend that authors comply with the IUCN Policy Statement on Research Involving Species at Risk of Extinction (https://portals.iucn.org/library/efiles/documents/PP-003-En.pdf) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora https://cites.org/.

Voucher specimens must be deposited in a public herbarium or other public collection providing access to deposited material. Information on the voucher specimen and who identified it must be included in the article.


Competing interests

Authors must declare any and all conflicts of interest and competing interests that may relate to the submitted article, including all financial and non-financial competing interests. This must be stated in their article after the main text and acknowledgements under the heading ‘Competing interests’. Where there are no conflicts of interests or competing interests, authors must clearly declare this under the same heading.


Textual overlap and suspected plagiarism

All authors are responsible for the content written and published in their articles. In cases where unacceptable textual overlap and suspected plagiarism is found, UCL Open Access Student Journals will follow COPE’s guidelines, as well as refer to UCL’s policy on plagiarism as outlined here. Editors also have access to use TurnItIn plagiarism detection software.

UCL and UCL Open Access Student Journals define plagiarism as the presentation of another person’s thoughts or words or artefacts or software as their own. Any quotation from another person’s published or unpublished works must be clearly identified as such by correct citation and referencing.

Self-plagiarism is defined as the presentation of a person’s own thoughts or words or artefacts or software where it has been previously published as a new publication, without clear identification as such by correct citation and referencing.

UCL Open Access Student Journals make every effort to ensure that published content does not infringe any person’s rights, or applicable UK laws. If you believe or have cause for concern that content in any of UCL Open Access Student Journals may infringe on copyright, textual overlap, and/or plagiarism, please contact the Publisher who will review the complaint and take appropriate action.

To avoid such cases and for best practice, authors should be transparent and ensure proper and correct referencing and citation.


Reviewer policy

Reviewers must declare any and all conflicts of interests and competing interests when returning their review for the Editor’s consideration. Where there are no conflicts of interest or competing interests, reviewers must clearly declare this in the review form online, or by contacting the Editor. The Editor may decide to reject a review after considering any and all conflicts of interest and the reviewer will be informed of this decision. The Editor’s decision is final.


Ethical Obligations of Reviewers of articles

To ensure the highest quality research in UCL Open Access Student Journal publications, reviewers are expected to uphold the following when reviewing:

  1. Provide clearly written, unbiased feedback in a timely manner on the scholarly and/or scientific merits and value of the work, together with a documented basis for the reviewer’s opinion. Judge the paper on its merits without regard to personal bias, ethnic origin, race, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, appearance, age, or economic class, seniority, or institutional affiliation of the author(s)
  2. Thoroughly address all review criteria provided by the journal
  3. Decline to review articles for which the reviewer lacks sufficient time, is not qualified, or has a conflict of interest with any of the authors, including personal or competitive relationships
  4. Explain and support judgements adequately so that Editors and authors may understand the basis of their comments. Any statement by a reviewer on an observation, derivation, or argument that has been previously published should be accompanied by the relevant citation
  5. Provide citations to relevant work by other scholars/scientist as appropriate
  6. Alert the Editor to any significant similarity between the article under consideration and any other published paper or article submitted concurrently to another journal. Report any plagiarism or the appearance of plagiarism by contacting the Editor
  7. Never use or disclose unpublished information, arguments, or interpretations contained in an article under consideration, except with the consent of the author
  8. Never include personal criticism of the author in reviewing an article


Student Editor policy

Every Student Editor of a UCL Open Access Student Journal has the responsibility to establish and maintain guidelines that adhere to the highest ethical standards for selecting and accepting article submitted to that journal. 

Student Editors must declare any and all conflicts of interests and competing interests when assessing an article, and therefore not be involved with a submission when they:

  1. have a recent publication or current submission with any author in the submission.
  2. share or have recently shared an affiliation with any author in the submission.
  3. collaborate or have recently collaborated with any author in the submission.
  4. have a close personal connection to any author in the submission.
  5. have a financial interest in the subject of the work of the submission.
  6. feel unable to be objective.


Article deposit

The UCL Open Access Student Journal Publication Service works to include journals in various indexes and open access depositories to ensure article permanency as far as possible. In addition to subject specific indexing, officially published articles are deposited into UCL’s institutional open access repository, called UCL Discovery, where articles are freely available to access and download.


Corrections and retractions

When corrections and retractions are necessary to maintain the integrity of published content, UCL Open Access Student Journal publication service will publish erratum, corrigendum, addendum, and retraction articles but will not make alterations to the version of record initially published, other than to provide a URL link to the erratum, corrigendum, addendum, or retraction article.

UCL Open Access Student Journals will follow COPE guidelines where corrections and retractions may be required.


Misconduct and grievance procedure

In the event of any suspected allegations of publication and/or research misconduct, UCL Open Access Student Journals will follow COPE guidelines. This can result in UCL Open Access Student Journals contacting the author’s institution raising concern over findings and can lead to sharing article and submission information to other third parties, including but not limited to: author(s); institution(s); ethics committee(s).


Research misconduct

Any research that involves humans, animals, or plants, must have been carried out within the appropriate ethical framework, as above. Should research submitted to a UCL Open Access Student Journal be suspected of not having taken place within an appropriate ethical framework, the Editors may reject the article and inform the author’s institution and any other third parties where applicable. In addition, where misconduct has been proven, UCL Open Access Student Journals will follow COPE retraction guidelines.


Publication misconduct

In the event of any suspected allegations of publication misconduct concerning any submission or publication, UCL Open Access Student Journals will follow COPE guidelines.


Appeals and complaints

UCL Open Access Student Journals follow the COPE code of conduct when dealing with any appeals and complaints. In the first instance, contact the Editorial office and Editor. Further information including contact information can be found in the individual journal’s information pages.


Advertising policy

UCL Open Access Student Journals do not currently place any advertising on journals’ web pages or include any advertising in journal issues.


Article-processing charges

UCL Open Access Student Journals do not currently charge an Article-Processing Charge (APC) upon publication or for submission. Authors of accepted papers will not be requested or required to make an APC payment before publication of their article.