Guidelines for Ethical Publication and Presentation of Scientific Information and Data

Members of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention subscribe to the Code of Ethics adopted by the Society membership on June 8, 1990, and updated on February 8, 2021. These guidelines for publication and presentation are complementary to the Code of Ethics and are an extension of the philosophy embodied in the Code as it applies specifically to publication and presentation of information by members of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention as they function as authors, reviewers, editors, consultants and experts to government, universities, industry and the courts.

Responsibilities for Authors
  1. Avoid the following unethical practices, which are unacceptable in publications or presentations:
    1. Plagiarism-presenting the work of others, in whole or in part, as one’s own.
    2. Fraud-fabrication of results or reports, in whole or in part.
    3. Suppression or distortion of data.
    4. Submission of the same data simultaneously to more than one journal unless it has been justified openly to the editors of both journals or upon request of an editor as in a review article.
  2. Co-authors should have full knowledge of and agreement with the contents and conclusions of the paper and have made a substantial contribution to the work.
  3. Manuscripts should reference published preliminary accounts or abstracts from the same work to permit association of preliminary and full reports of studies.
  4. “Personal communication” citations or references (oral presentations) should have the approval of the cited individual.
  5. The author must cite fairly the work of others. Appropriate citations are an important component of scholarship.
  6. For all studies involving human subjects or tissues, the following conditions should be met:
    1. The principles in the Declaration of Helsinki must be followed.
    2. These studies must have received formal approval from the appropriate institutional review board, ethical review committee or equivalent, and such approval should be indicated in the manuscript.
    3. If there is significant risk or discomfort to subjects, the manuscript must indicate that informed consent was obtained.
    4. Photographs of patients’ faces should be included only if there is scientific relevance, and written consent must have been obtained for the publication of such photographs.
  7. For all studies involving the use of animals, the following conditions should be met:
    1. All research animals must have been obtained and used in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and institutional regulations.
    2. The Society recommends that animals be maintained in accordance with the guidelines of the NIH (Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 1996). Any veterinary accreditation should be noted in the manuscript.
    3. The author must have received permission from their institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and the manuscript must indicate that such approval was received.
  8. Authors must specify all sources of funding for the submitted work and must also indicate any potential financial or other interests that might be perceived to bias the research. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
    1. The author acknowledges that he/she (or spouse or dependent) is employed by a company which owns the patent on the compound that appears in the manuscript.
    2. The author acknowledges that he/she (or spouse or dependent) do(es) consulting work for an organization that competes with the organization that holds the patent on the compound that appears in the manuscript.
    3. The author acknowledges that he/she has a grant from a company to do this research; the funding organization does not have control over the resulting publication.
    4. The author acknowledges his/her professional affiliation, whether it be academia, government, industry or special interest group. If the paper is the result of work-for-hire, the sponsor of the research is acknowledged.
  9. For reports of original data, at least one author (e.g., the corresponding or principal investigator) is expected to have full access to all of the data in the study and to take responsibility for its accuracy.

Responsibilities of Reviewers
  1. Reviewers are obligated to make expert, critical, and unbiased scientific and literary appraisals of reports of research, or other publications as requested, in the fields of the reviewers’ knowledge.
  2. Reviews should be done in a timely manner to not impede release of information.
  3. If the reviewer wishes to ask a colleague to review the paper, the colleague’s name must first be identified, and permission obtained from the Editor. The person must be qualified in the opinion of the editorial staff of the journal.
  4. A reviewer should not review a paper if:
    1. The reviewer does not feel it is in his or her area of expertise.
    2. The reviewer feels there may be a conflict of interest, or,
    3. The reviewer feels that a close personal, professional or competitive relationship with the author or one of the co-authors might bias the review.
  5. The reviewer’s criticisms must be sufficiently detailed to justify the conclusion and should be referenced if necessary, to help the author.
  6. The reviewer should assess whether the work of others is properly cited.
  7. If the paper substantially resembles a published paper or another paper under review, this should be reported to the editor.
  8. Unpublished contents of a paper under review must be considered privileged information and must not be disclosed to anyone outside of the review process.

Responsibilities of Editor-In-Chief and Editors
  1. The Editor-in-Chief and Editors manage and implement the policies of the journal and are responsible for the scientific and literary quality.
  2. The Editor-In-Chief and Editors, to the best of their ability must assure that all authors receive confidential, expert, critical and unbiased reviews of their work in a timely fashion.
  3. The Editor-in-Chief or Editors may not take part in the editorial management of the review of their own papers. They also should avoid conflict of interest in the review of papers closely related to their own work or organizational affiliation.
  4. If an Editor becomes aware that the main substance or conclusion of a paper published in the journal may be erroneous, the Editor should communicate such to the Editor-in-Chief and the Publisher. They will investigate as necessary, communicate the findings with the original author, and work with the author and the publisher to facilitate publication of a correction.
  5. If an Editor becomes aware of scientific misconduct related to a manuscript published or about to be published in the journal, he or she should consult with the Editor-in-Chief and the Publisher, with copy to the Chair of the Society’s Publications Committee, concerning the appropriate course of action.

Responsibilities of the Publisher
  1. As the owner of the journal, the Publisher holds immediate responsibility over ethical issues that arise which affect the journal. The publisher will work through its standard channels of investigation of alleged publication ethics violations and will consult with the Society’s Publications Committee as appropriate.
  2. If an alleged ethics violation occurs within the context of the journal and is brought directly to the Society and not the Editor-in-Chief or the Publisher, the Society should cede primary oversight of the investigation to the Publisher. However, if it is deemed crucial for the Society’s best interests to initiate an investigation, a collaboration between the Publisher and the Society should be maintained.

Responsibilities of the Publications Committee
  1. The Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention Publications Committee, in consultation with the Publisher, will cooperate in any investigation of any breach of these policies and/or those of the Publisher, which follow generally the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines. They will make recommendations to Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention Council, as appropriate, for actions which directly affect the Society, its members, and its good standing.


In preparing these guidelines, liberal use was made of the following sources:

  1. Wiley Publishing Best Practice Guidelines on Research Integrity and Publishing Ethics. https://authorservices.wiley.com/ethics-guidelines/
  2. Birth Defects Research Journal Author Guidelines. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/page/journal/24721727/homepage/forauthors.html
  3. Endocrinology Journal Instructions to Authors. http://endo.endojournals.org/
  4. National Research Council. 1996. Guide for the care and use of laboratory animals. Washington DC: National Academy Press.
  5. Toxicological Sciences Journal Instructions to Authors. http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/
  6. Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention website. http://www.birthdefectsresearch.org/

Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention © Copyright 2019

You may view the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention Privacy Policy and Disclaimers, provide consent to the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention to email you communications, or unsubscribe to stop receiving further communication.
Privacy Policy and Disclaimers | Provide Consent | Unsubscribe