Ethical Policies

The Editorial Board of SSRR follows the recommended procedures outlined by COPE International Standards for responsible research publication for authors and editors when dealing with allegations of misconduct.

All authors are fully responsible for the originality and contents of their submitted manuscripts. All records and data presented in the manuscripts must be accurate, without any research misconducts such as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism, or any other research or publication misconduct.

I. Publication Misconduct

Fabrication is inventing data or results of research and recording or reporting them in order to deceive people.

Falsification is inaccurate presentation of research results with the intention to give a false impression. This includes manipulation of research instrumentation, materials, and processes, changing, adding or omitting data, manipulating images, and omitting research results.

Scientific images for publication must be minimally processed. We understand that some image processing may be necessary. Applications of adjustments, such as brightness, contrast, or color are permissible as long as these adjustments are applied to an entire image uniformly and do not selectively enhance, eliminate, or mispresent any elements in the original image, including the background.

Plagiarism is the use of another person’s ideas, processes, results, words, or theories as if they were the author’s own, without giving appropriate credit. This involves any part of the manuscript, including the figures and tables. All information and content that originate from other resources must be credited and cited, and included in the “References” section. Upon submission, the manuscript will be automatically checked for plagiarism by using plagiarism screening services or software to determine both text overlap and manuscript originality.

Redundant or Duplicate Publication
Articles that are being considered for publication in another journal, including advanced publications such as “in-press” or “E-pub ahead of print” articles, in any language will be regarded as redundant or duplicate publication.

SSRR does not accept submissions which have previously appeared on preprint servers such as bioRxiv and medRxiv, or other venues such as blogs.

The author should notify the editor formally about all submissions, postings, and previous reports that could be regarded as redundant or duplicate publication of the same or similar work. Any such material must be referred to and referenced in the submitted work. Copies of such work should be included with the submission. Abstracts or posters presented at scientific meetings are not considered previously published work.

Editorial actions should be expected if redundant or duplicate publication is attempted or occurs without such notification. Editorial actions may include: immediate rejection of the submitted manuscript, retraction of published work, a published notice of violation, and revocation of publishing privileges in the journal.

Citation Manipulation
Citation manipulation, such as inclusion of references from other publications without actually reading the cited work, or self-citing works that are irrelevant, must be avoided.

All authors listed in the manuscript must meet the following criteria of contribution described by the ICMJE in the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals.

  1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the research or the acquisition and analysis of data for the work; and
  2. Drafting the work 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.

Exclusion of authors who made a definite contribution, or inclusion of individuals as authors who have not made a definite contribution to the work is not permitted. Consent to submit to SSRR must be obtained explicitly from all authors prior to submitting a manuscript.

“Salami-slicing” or dividing a single study into several parts to increase the quantity of submissions to other journals or the same journal is not permitted.

Local Laws and Regulations
Authors must comply with local regulations and laws if the work involves animals or human subjects, or if it involves investigational drugs, recombinant products, new devices, or any chemical materials that may be hazardous in their use.

Copyright Infringement
All information and contents that originate from other resources must be credited and cited. If any copyrighted or previously published material, adapted, edited or otherwise, are used in the manuscript, the author must obtain permission from the copyright owner(s) prior to submitting the paper for review. Also, the authors must cite the source and indicate that permission has been received, as required by the copyright owner(s).

Clinical research included in articles, which report on human subjects or materials of human origin, must comply with the provisions of the Declaration of Helsinki, and it must be mentioned that the study has been approved by the relevant institutional or national review board (IRB). If no approval from any IRB was required, that must be explicitly stated in the manuscript.

Author’s Conflict of Interest (COI)
Authors must explicitly state whether potential conflicts of interest (COI) exist or not. This includes, but is not limited to, agreements for research support (including research funding and provision of equipment or materials), honoraria (such as lecture fees), consulting, employment, promotional fees, advisory role, stock ownership, patent/licensing fees, and any other financial, institutional or personal relationships with biotechnology manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, or other commercial organizations that have any interest in the subject matter, materials, or process(es) discussed in the manuscript. Any possible COI related to the study presented in the manuscript must be disclosed on the title page under the heading “Conflicts of Interest”

II. Handling Allegations of Misconduct

SSRR follows the Committee on Publication Ethics’ (COPE) guidelines and flowcharts for handling allegations of publishing misconduct pre- and post-publication. For any information that is not mentioned in the COPE guidelines, please refer to COPE’s flowcharts.

Procedure for handling allegations of misconduct in submitted manuscripts
When editors, reviewers, authors and/or editorial staff suspect any instances of ethical misconduct during peer review, they should bring them to the attention of the EIC. The manuscript will be placed on hold. The EIC will review the case and make the preliminary assessment. If the EIC finds that an explanation from the authors is necessary, the EIC will send the corresponding author a notification, which points out the allegation and requests an explanation.

If the corresponding author does not respond and/or provide sufficient rationale for the raised concern, or the EIC is presented with evidence that establishes the ethical breach, regardless of the severity, the EIC will refer the case to the Editorial Committee, which discusses the allegations, explanations, evidence, possible sanctions, and corrective actions, such as publishing an erratum, expression of concern, or retraction. Possible sanctions may include:

-official warning to the author
-immediate rejection of the manuscript
-publication of formal notice of misconduct
-formal notice to an author’s institution
-formal embargo on future contributions to SSRR.

The authors will be notified of the Editorial Committee’s decision. The authors may appeal the decision by sending an appeal letter to the Editorial Committee.

Complaints and Appeals
We consider complaints an opportunity to improve our peer review process, manuscript handling procedures, and management for journal publishing. All received complaints are dealt with constructively and in a timely manner. For procedures not summarized below, please refer to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Best Practice Guidelines in dealing with complains and appeals.

Making a Complaint
To submit a complaint about the policies, procedures, or actions of the editorial staff of SSRR, send an e-mail to

For all allegations of misconduct related to fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, copyright or intellectual property infringement, breach of research ethics, authorship or contributorship disputes, conflicts of interest, or any other unethical conduct either pre- or post-publication, please submit a letter of complaint by e-mail to The letter of complaint should include factual information and related evidence.

Process for Dealing with Complaints
Once a letter of complaint is received, an e-mail confirming the receipt will be sent to the complainant within 3 business days (JST), with assurance that the appropriate action will be taken immediately.

The received complaint will be reported to the EIC, who will refer it to the editors and other officials that are relevant to the issue. In a case of a publication ethics violation, the allegations will be investigated and the necessary decisions will be made in accordance with the COPE’s guidelines and flowcharts. The result of the investigation will be determined within 4 weeks, if possible. If this is not possible, the progress of the investigation will be sent to the complainant until the issue is resolved.

Post-publication Discussions
If readers have a concern on any articles published, they can begin a post-publication discussion by submitting a letter to the editor. The editor will review the letter and may ask other experts in the field to review the content. If appropriate, the editor will ask the authors of the original article to comment and publish both the original letter and the response together.

Appeals for Editorial Decisions
Editors of SSRR apply their best efforts to provide fair and unbiased reviews and decisions. However, if an author strongly feels that an inappropriate decision has been made by the editors, SSRR allows a single appeal of the manuscript’s editorial decision. An appeal should include the detailed information and the clear reasons for the appeal, and it should be e-mailed to

All received complaints will be forwarded to the EIC, who will refer it to the editor who handled the manuscript, or the editorial committee, and they will review the appeal and determine whether any changes to the decision should be made. This may require re-review of the manuscript. The new decision made after the appeal is considered final.

III. Erratum, Express of Concern and Retraction

In order to ensure that retractions, erratum and expressions of concern are handled according to industry best practice, SSRR follows the Retraction Guidelines, provided by COPE, including

SSRR adopts the following retraction process:

  1. Instances requiring an investigation are brought to the attention of the EIC.
  2. The EIC investigates the case following the step-by-step guidelines provided in the COPE flowcharts. The EIC may contact the authors to request an explanation, which will be evaluated.
  3. The final decision as to whether to retract is then communicated to the author and, if necessary, any other relevant bodies, such as the author’s institution.
  4. The retraction statement is then posted online and published in the next available issue of the journal.

SSRR may issue retractions to alert the readers of seriously erroneous data that invalidate the conclusion of the study presented in the published article or of ethical misconduct. Retractions are published if the EIC has convincing evidence for the following cases, either as a result of ethical violations or honest error:

  1. The findings or data are unreliable or misleading
  2. Plagiarism
  3. Duplicate publication without permission
  4. Unethical research.

The retraction will include

  1. Information of the retracted article, such as title and authors.
  2. Link to the retracted article
  3. Reasons for retraction.

To preserve the integrity of the published record, the Journal will not remove the retracted article. It will be maintained on the platform. The PDF will be replaced with a version watermarked with the word “Retracted,” but the original text will remain accessible. A retraction notice will also be published in the next available issue.

An erratum may be issued to notify readers of important errors such as spelling, data, terms, typography, or omission, which occurred during the production process of an accepted article, which may mislead the readers. An erratum is also issued for the correction of author and contributor information.

Expression of Concern
An expression of concern will be issued if the investigation of an issue concerning a published article raised suspicion but does not provide conclusive evidence, and yet the EIC feels the article contains invalid results or has strong concerns that readers should be made aware of potentially misleading information contained in the article. Also an expression of concern may be issued if the investigation requires a considerable amount of time to reach a resolution.