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Journals policies and procedures

EDITORIAL TEAM

The Editorial team consists of the Editor-in-Chief, three Deputy Editors, the Editorial Office Team, the Editorial Board (consisting of the Associate Editors) and finally the pre-review Editorial Board (consisting of former Associate Editors).

REVIEW PROCEDURE

Except where clearly stated to the contrary, all submitted manuscripts are externally peer reviewed. Each manuscript is allocated to an Associate Editor according to specific subject area. Associate Editors may recommend that papers, which they consider would have only a limited chance of acceptance following full peer review, be sent to two members of the journal’s ‘pre- review panel’, composed of former Associate Editors. Where agreement is reached between the panel members and Associate Editor, papers are rejected without further peer review. ‘Pre- review’ rejection decisions are normally returned to authors within two weeks of submission. If the recommendation of the panel differs from that of the Associate Editor, the paper is sent for full peer review.

Expert reviewers are selected by the Associate Editors in conjunction with the Editorial Office. The reviewers' reports are considered by the Associate Editor who provides a summary report and a recommendation regarding publication. The final decision is taken by the Editor-in-Chief (sometimes in collaboration with the journal’s Deputy Editors) and Managing Editor. Due to the considerable competition for publication in the journal, papers classified by the reviewers and Associate Editors as having only a low or medium priority for publication will not normally be published. Articles submitted by the Editor-in-Chief, Deputy Editors or Associate Editors will be considered completely independently of these people.

Due to their inherent differences, reviewing of Opinions and Debates differs from that of other articles. Two (or more) ‘opinion leaders’ are asked to consider the ‘quality and clarity’ of the presented argument (ie is it expressed clearly and concisely and based on sound clinical / scientific evidence or reasoning?) as well as the article’s appropriateness for the readership. Final decisions are made at weekly editorial team meetings, involving the Editor-in-Chief, Deputy Editors and Managing Editor.

Case reports are considered for review only if they are of sufficiently high originality and importance, both of which are assessed by the Deputy Editors and Editor- in- Chief.

‘ESHRE Pages’ documents are manuscripts that are published on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. They must be approved by the Executive Committee of the Society and may only be submitted via the Managing Director of the Society. ESHRE pages content is not externally peer-reviewed.

TIMELINE OF REVIEW

New manuscripts submitted to Human Reproduction are thoroughly reviewed. A first decision is sent to Authors by email in 5 weeks on average.

APPEALS

Peer review is imperfect, being based on a blend of evidence and opinion and, inevitably, mistakes occur. If an author has valid reasons for dissatisfaction with the review process and believes significant errors in process or judgment have been made, the journal will consider an appeal. Letters of appeal, clearly stating the major reasons, should be submitted to the Editor-in-Chief (editorial@humanreproduction.co.uk) who will call upon the advice of the manuscript’s Associate Editor and the Journal’s Deputy Editors. Ultimately, an editorial meeting will reach a recommendation of whether to uphold the original decision or permit resubmission.
The journal will not consider appeals unless a clear error in process or judgment has occurred; simply addressing reviewers’ comments on rejected manuscripts is not sufficient and these ‘appeals’ will not be considered.

SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

If you are supplying supplementary data with your paper, it will need to be peer-reviewed and go through the production process. Thus, it will be copyedited, typeset and require proof checking alongside your article. You will need to review your author query notes once you receive proofs to comment on.
Once revisions have been applied, readers will be able to access the supplementary data directly from both the html and PDF versions of your published paper.

ETHICS OF SCIENTIFIC PUBLISHING

Please note that all three ESHRE journals are members of the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE) and adhere strictly to COPE guidelines (http://www.publicationethics.org.uk/guidelines) on good publication practice (see Human Reproduction 2001, pp. 1783 1788 and Human Reproduction 2006, pp.2463 2465).

Submission of a paper implies that it reports unpublished work and that it is not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. If previously published tables, illustrations or text are to be included, then this should be clearly indicated in the manuscript and the copyright holder's permission must be obtained (where necessary). Copies of such permission letters should be enclosed with the paper. Previously published material can be cited in a later review or commentary article, but it must be expressly indicated using quotation marks if necessary.
Republication of an English language translation is (under certain circumstances) acceptable, provided that full and prominent disclosure of the original source is made.
Failure to comply with these guidelines will be considered a double publishing offence and treated appropriately.

Plagiarism

A proportion of manuscripts submitted to the ESHRE Journals are routinely screened with iThenticate anti-plagiarism software in an attempt to detect and prevent plagiarism. Any manuscript may be screened, especially if there is reason to suppose part or all of the text has been previously published. Prior to final acceptance any manuscript that has not already been screened will be put through iThenticate. More information about iThenticate can be found here

Plagiarism of text from a previously published manuscript by the same or another author is a serious publication offence. Small amounts of text may be used, but only where the source of the material quoted is clearly acknowledged. Wherever verbatim text is used, this must be clearly indicated by the use of quotation marks. Verbatim use of text must be kept to a minimum.

Fraudulent data or data stolen from other authors is also unethical and will be treated accordingly. Any alleged offence is considered initially by the Editorial Team (comprising the Editors-in-Chief of HR, HRU and MHR; the Deputy Editors of HR and members of the Editorial Office) and later by the ESHRE Publication Committee.

The ESHRE Journals reserve the right to reject papers on this basis alone, to bar authors from advisory positions on the journal or from membership of ESHRE, and to publish details of any transgression both in the printed and online versions of the journal. Other sanctions as recommended by COPE (such as informing the author's institutional head, publishing a notice of retraction etc) may also be considered.

ETHICS OF STUDIES INVOLVING HUMANS AND ANIMALS

The editors draw the authors' attention to the Declaration of Helsinki for Medical Research involving Human Subjects (http://www.wma.net/e/policy/pdf/17c.pdf). In addition, when reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether the institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed

Studies involving humans and animals, or human or animal material should have appropriate ethical approval and, where relevant, the patients' written informed consent. The editors reserve the right to refuse publication where the required ethical approval/patient consent is lacking.

Animal studies should be reported in accordance with the ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments) guidelines. These guidelines have been assembled by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (N3R) with input from researchers, statisticians and publishers to provide a 20-point checklist for the reporting of animal studies. The guidelines can be downloaded here. Further information is on the N3R website.

REGISTRATION OF CLINICAL TRIALS

Human Reproduction supports the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) in calling for the registration of all clinical trials at their inception. In accordance with this, authors of clinical trials are required to register their trial with one of the ICMJE recognised trial registries see http://www.icmje.org/faq_clinical.html. Upon submission, authors of trials are asked to provide evidence in the form of a trial registry number. This unique identifier will be published at the end of the abstract in accord with ICMJE recommendations.

Trials that are submitted without a registration number will be asked to provide one prior to commencement of the review process – unregistered trials will not be considered for review.

STATISTICS

Inadequate or incorrect statistical analyses frequently cause rejection or delays in the review of manuscripts. Where appropriate, authors should seek advice from a professional statistician before the manuscript is submitted. As of July 2006 and in addition to the normal peer review procedure outlined above, all randomised controlled trials (RCTs) submitted to the journal are sent to members of a team of professional medical statisticians/methodologists at the University of Cambridge for reviewing.