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

Libertas takes seriously its responsibility to maintain the integrity of published literature.  We are a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and will apply relevant COPE guidelines in resolving issues of possible ethical misconduct. 

Authors must not have committed any form of research misconduct.  Libertas applies the definition of research misconduct given in the US Federal Policy on Research Misconduct:

"Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results."

Where an editor in chief has reason to believe that misconduct has taken place in most instances the journal will request investigations by research institutions, employers, funders, or the relevant national statutory body.  In some cases of specific relevance to the journal (image manipulation, plagiarism, etc) it will be more appropriate for the journal to investigate, although generally in such cases relevant external parties may also be informed.  

Submission of manuscripts containing plagiarised material, including self-plagiarised or 'recycled' material, is strictly forbidden. All manuscripts received are scanned by iThenticate and those containing plagiarised material will be declined for peer review after consultation with the applicable journal's editor in chief.  We reserve the right to inform authors' institutions in egregious cases or upon request by the editor in chief in accordance with COPE guidelines.  Papers entering production following editorial processing are also assessed for possible plagiarism.

We encourage authors to visit the website to learn more.  We also offer complimentary iThenticate scanning upon request.


Self-plagiarism, where an author re-uses significant, identical or nearly-identical parts of the author's own work without acknowledgement or citing the original work, is considered to be multiple publication.  It is not uniformly regarded as plagiarism but it is very likely to be a breach of copyright, either because copyright in the original work is held by a publisher exclusively, or because it is held by a group of authors in addition to the author who has re-used the matierial.  To avoid disputes arising with either group we recommend that authors treat self-plagiarism as a form of plagiarism and remedy it accordingly.

Redundant and duplicate publication

Any manuscript must be original and the manuscript, or substantial parts of it, may not be under consideration by any other journal.  Authors should declare any potentially overlapping publications upon submission and where possible upload them as additional files with the manuscript.  Overlapping publications should be cited and “in-press” or unpublished manuscripts should be made available upon request.

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.

All Libertas 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. Authors are asked to confirm their compliance with these guidelines upon submission and again as a condition of publication.

Identification as an author

Giving an individual credit as an author should be based on that individual meeting three criteria:

  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.

On its own, acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group does not constitute 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.  Libertas 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 Libertas 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 done with a separate correction article.

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 advertisments or advertorial material.

Declaration of potential conflicts of interest

Authors are responsible for declaring potential conflicts of interest in accordance with the ICMJE guidelines.  Where authors are uncertain whether they are in a conflict of interest they should refer to the ICMJE guidelines and complete and return an ICMJE Uniform Disclosure form.  If they remain uncertain after reviewing the guidelines they should err towards caution by declaring the possible conflict.  All authors are required to review and complete the form twice: upon submission and during production as a prerequisite of publication.

Project funding

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. 

Editors as authors

Editors in chief, deputy editors in chief, associate editors, and editorial board members may not be involved in editorial decisions on their own work.  Where the author of a paper is associated with the journal in any of these capacities this must be disclosed.  

Patient identifiability

Where a patient is identifiable, even if their name or a picture is not used, a signed letter must be supplied from the patient or their family indicating that their consent has been given for their information to be used in the article. Non-essential identifying details should be omitted and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be obtained.  Masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection for anonymity.

IRB approval, informed consent, and Declaration of Helsinki compliance

Where a paper reports on a medical study involving human participants authors must provide a statement identifying the ethics committee that approved the study and confirmation that the study conforms to recognized standards, such as those contained in the Declaration of Helsinki, the US Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, or the European Medicines Agency Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice.  The US Office for Human Research Protection has a searchable database of independent community institutional review boards.  Written informed consent must have been obtained from human study participants or their next of kin if under the age of 16. 

Studies involving animals

Papers must contain confirmation that ethical and legal approval was obtained prior to the commencement of the study, and provide the name of the body giving the approval.  Confirmation must also be given that experiments were performed in accordance with relevant institutional and national guidelines and regulations.

Figures and copyrighted material

Authors must have obtained permission from copyright holders to reproduce any figures or other material covered by copyright, and must cite the original source.  Documentary evidence to support this permission must be made available upon request.  Although in some cases authors need not obtain permission we recommend that authors excercise caution and seek confirmation on this point before proceeding.

Libelous or defamatory content

Libertas 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 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 ever 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).

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What Your Colleagues Say About Libertas Academica
The submission process for publication in Clinical Medicine Insights: Case Reports is extremely smooth.  The editors were very fast in their response and provided detailed instructions about all procedures.  They were happy to answer to all our questions.  The whole process was fast and efficient.  Congratulations to Libertas Academica.
Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos (Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Kallithea, Greece)
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