Comments and complaints

Readers who have concerns or complaints about published articles should first contact the respective author to try to resolve the issue directly before contacting the editor.

The editorial office can be contacted in cases where it is impractical to contact the authors, if the authors did not respond, or if the problem was not resolved. The editors will coordinate with the applicant, author/s and editors-in-chief or members of the editorial board to investigate, correct or resolve any problems or complaints.

Complaints, comments or requests for updates regarding the scientific soundness, ethical or legal aspects of either the article or its peer review process will be further investigated where appropriate. All complaints, comments or requests for updates regarding published articles are investigated by the editors with the support of the editorial board and final approval by the editor-in-chief. For ethical reasons, the final decisions are made by the editor-in-chief or members of the editorial board, who are supported by the editors, in order to promote compliance with the basic principles of publication ethics formulated by the Committee on Publication Ethics. Where necessary, consultations will be held with other individuals and institutions, including university leaders or experts in the field. A lawyer may be requested if the complaint has legal implications.

Personal comments or criticism are not accepted. All complaints are investigated, including anonymous complaints. Complainants may request that the editors consider their complaint in confidence, and the editors, any editors-in-chief or other members of the editorial board will attempt to do so, to the extent appropriate and in accordance with our internal procedures.

Decisions on corrections, comments and answers, expressions of concern or denials as a result of the investigation are made by the editors-in-chief, section editors or members of the editorial board and are brought to the attention of the authors.

If the complaint is not considered to be justified, further communication will only be considered if additional information is provided to substantiate the concern.

Complainants may not receive an update on the status of the investigation until a final decision is made, however, complainants will be notified if an update is posted. The editors and members of the editorial board are not required to provide additional information. Communication will be terminated if it is not deemed fair or respectful. Readers with complaints or concerns should be aware that it takes time to investigate.

The editors of the journal work closely with authors and editors to promote adherence to the core principles of publishing ethics formulated by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). We encourage the use of the COPE resources available on their website. All manuscripts must meet standards of ethical conduct. When we become aware of ethical issues, we are committed to investigating and taking appropriate action.

The publisher and editors are always ready to publish corrections, clarifications, reviews and apologies if there is a legal need to do so.