Publication ethics

The publication of articles in Italus Hortus contributes to the development of a network of knowledge in the field of horticultural sciences. Authors, Editors and Reviewers must agree on ethical behavior.

Duties of Authors

Articles should be accurate and objective. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements are unacceptable

In review articles, the authors that have used the work and/or words of others, should appropriately cite or quoted them.

Plagiarism in all its forms is an unacceptable unethical publishing behavior.

Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given.

Only those who have made a significant contribution to all the major parts of the article should be listed as authors. Other forms of contribution should be acknowledged.

If the paper contains reference to the use of animal or human subjects, the author should ensure that the manuscript contains a statement that all procedures were performed in compliance with relevant laws and institutional guidelines.

If an author discovers a significant error in her/his own published article, she/he must notify it as soon as possible to the journal editor and send a corrected version. An editor can request the author such a correction if she/he learns that a published article contains errors.

Publication policy

The Editors guidelines follow  the flowchart of COPE (reused with permission after appropriate accreditation).

The editorial committee (formed by the editor and the associate editors) is responsible for deciding the topics and the authors to be invited for writing a review paper. Authors must have directly contributed with their research activities to the existing knowledge in the topic in which they are invited to write an article. Besides solicited review articles, other potential authors of articles are entitled to send proposals of review papers which will be evaluated by the editorial committee. In taking its decision, the editorial committee acts regardless of the race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the potential authors.

Each manuscript is assigned to an associate editor that is responsible for its peer review. Each manuscript is peer reviewed by two anonymous reviewers, which assist the associate editor to formulate an editorial decision, which is communicated to the author by the editor within two months from the receipt of the manuscript. Each peer reviewers should fulfill a “Paper evaluation form”. Revised versions should be re-submitted in 30 days from the date of receiving the notification of the editor’s decision.

Reviewers should not take advantage ofprivileged information or ideas obtained through peer review, but must  keep them confidential.

Associate Editors and reviewers should recuse themselves from considering manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest.


Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement

Correction / Retraction

We encourage authors to notify us if they discover an error in one of their already published articles. Depending on the severity, we will correct it, replace the PDF and include a short note to the readers, or we will retract the article. Reasons for a retraction are: double publication, plagiarism, copyright violation, unreliable data due to data fabrication or honest error, willful exclusion of a legitimate author and otherwise unethical behavior. If any reader notices a major problem, please bring it to the attention to one of the editors-in-chief.

Authorship

Only people who contributed substantially to the writing of a manuscript or to the research presented therein should be named as authors. Providing funding or lab space is not reason enough to be listed as author. We do not support guest or gift authorship. Should a manuscript feature a suspiciously long author list, the submitting author might be asked to state who contributed what to the submission.

Changes to the author list after submission have to be discussed with the responsible editor and are only permitted in exceptional cases, for example when additional work was required during the revision of the manuscript. All co-authors have to agree to the change.

Reporting standards

Authors of reports of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the paper. A paper should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable. Review and professional publication articles should also be accurate and objective, and editorial 'opinion' works should be clearly identified as such.

Hazards and human or animal subjects

If the work involves chemicals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use, the author must clearly identify these in the manuscript. If the work involves the use of animal or human subjects, the author should ensure that the manuscript contains a statement that all procedures were performed in compliance with relevant laws and institutional guidelines and that they have been approved by the appropriate institutional committee(s). Authors should include a statement in the manuscript that informed consent was obtained for experimentation with human subjects. The privacy rights of human subjects must always be observed.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest

All authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or other substantive conflict of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed. Examples of potential conflicts of interest which should be disclosed include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations, and grants or other funding. Potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed at the earliest stage possible.

Publication decisions

The editor of a peer-reviewed journal is responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published, often working in conjunction with the relevant society (for society-owned or sponsored journals). The validation of the work in question and its importance to researchers and readers must always drive such decisions. The editor may be guided by the policies of the journal's editorial board and constrained by such legal requirements as shall then be in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism. The editor may confer with other editors or reviewers (or society officers) in making this decision.

Fair play

An editor should evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to the author’s race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship or political philosophy.

Confidentiality

The editor and any editorial staff must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers or the publisher, as appropriate.

Contribution to editorial decisions

Peer review assists the editor in making editorial decisions and through the editorial communications with the author may also assist the author in improving the paper. Peer review is an essential component of formal scholarly communication, and lies at the heart of the scientific method. Italus Hortus shares the view of many that all scholars who wish to contribute to publications have an obligation to do a fair share of reviewing.

Promptness

Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse him/herself from the review process.

Review

All submitted manuscripts are initially evaluated by an editor. This includes a short review of the topic, the experimental setup and the language. Please be aware that repeated use of incorrect grammar and insufficient language in general can be the sole cause for rejection. If the manuscript passes the initial evaluation, it will be sent to peer-reviewers, whose identities will remain anonymous to the authors. The final decision is made by the responsible editor-in-chief or section editor based on the reviews and his/her own opinion of the manuscript. The reviewers' comments will be provided to the author along with the editorial decision.

Confidentiality

Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor.

Standards of objectivity

Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.

Conflict of interest – Authors

Authors must add a conflict of interest statement to their manuscript, if their research was (partially) funded by companies associated with the investigated subject (i.e. a company that produces or markets an investigated substance or cultivar) or if one of the authors is associated with such a company, although no direct funding was provided.

Conflict of interest – Reviewers

Editors take great care to select reviewers, who have not previously published together with the authors of the manuscript and who are not employed by the same institution as the authors. However, if a reviewer notices their connection to the authors of a manuscript after agreeing to review (authors’ names are disclosed to the reviewer only after acceptance), they are asked to inform the editor and step down from their assignment. Reviewers should also decline to undertake the review, if their own work is too close to the described study and could be seen as competition. Authors can ask the editor not to consider certain individuals as reviewers for their manuscript, if they suspect a conflict of interest.

Conflict of interest – Editors

Editors are allowed to publish in the journal, since it is the central publishing organ of their learned society. Section Editors are not able to gain any editorial information on their own manuscripts beyond what an external author can access. A manuscript from an Editor-in-Chief is handled by the other Editor-in-Chief. Being a member of the Editorial Team or a member of one of the publishing societies does not influence the expectations on quality and novelty of the presented research nor the outcome of the reviewing and editorial decision process. Neither Section Editors nor the Editors-in-Chief are financially compensated for their editorial work on the journal.

Article Processing Charges (APC)

The author do not need to pay the fees.

Editorial Procedures and Peer-Review

Initial Checks

All submitted manuscripts received by the Editorial Office will be checked by a professional in-house Managing Editor to determine whether they are properly prepared and whether they follow the ethical policies of the journal, including those for human and animal experimentation. Manuscripts that do not fit the journal's ethics policy or do not meet the standards of the journal will be rejected before peer-review. Manuscripts that are not properly prepared will be returned to the authors for revision and resubmission. After these checks, the Managing Editor will consult the journals’ Editor-in-Chief or Associate Editors to determine whether the manuscript fits the scope of the journal and whether it is scientifically sound. No judgment on the potential impact of the work will be made at this stage. Reject decisions at this stage will be verified by the Editor-in-Chief.

Peer-Review

Once a manuscript passes the initial checks, it will be assigned to at least two independent experts for peer-review. A single-blind review is applied, where authors' identities are known to reviewers. Peer review comments are confidential and will only be disclosed with the express agreement of the reviewer.

In the case of regular submissions, in-house assistant editors will invite experts, including recommendations by an academic editor. These experts may also include Editorial Board members of the journal. Potential reviewers suggested by the authors may also be considered.

Editorial Decision and Revision

All the articles, reviews published in Italus Hortus journal go through the peer-review process and receive at least two reviews. The in-house editor will communicate the decision of the academic editor, which will be one of the following:

Accept after Minor Revisions:

  • The paper is in principle accepted after revision based on the reviewer’s comments. Authors are given five days for minor revisions.

Reconsider after Major Revisions:

  • The acceptance of the manuscript would depend on the revisions. The author needs to provide a point by point response or provide a rebuttal if some of the reviewer’s comments cannot be revised. Usually, only one round of major revisions is allowed. Authors will be asked to resubmit the revised paper within a suitable time frame, and the revised version will be returned to the reviewer for further comments.

Reject and Encourage Resubmission:

  • If additional experiments are needed to support the conclusions, the manuscript will be rejected and the authors will be encouraged to re-submit the paper once further experiments have been conducted.

Reject:

  • The article has serious flaws, and/or makes no original significant contribution. No offer of resubmission to the journal is provided.

All reviewer comments should be responded to in a point-by-point fashion. Where the authors disagree with a reviewer, they must provide a clear response.

Author Appeals

Authors may appeal a rejection by sending an e-mail to the Editorial Office of the journal. The appeal must provide a detailed justification, including point-by-point responses to the reviewers' and/or Editor's comments. The Managing Editor of the journal will forward the manuscript and related information (including the identities of the referees) to the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor, or Editorial Board member. The academic Editor being consulted will be asked to give an advisory recommendation on the manuscript and may recommend acceptance, further peer-review, or uphold the original rejection decision. A reject decision at this stage is final and cannot be reversed.

In the case of a special issue, the Managing Editor of the journal will forward the manuscript and related information (including the identities of the referees) to the Editor-in-Chief who will be asked to give an advisory recommendation on the manuscript and may recommend acceptance, further peer-review, or uphold the original rejection decision. A reject decision at this stage will be final and cannot be reversed.

Originality and plagiarism

Authors should ensure that they have written and submit only entirely original works, and if they have used the work and/or words of others, that this has been appropriately cited. Publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the work reported in the manuscript should also be cited. Plagiarism takes many forms, from "passing off" another's paper as the author's own, to copying or paraphrasing substantial parts of another's paper (without attribution), to claiming results from research conducted by others. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.

Multiple, duplicate, redundant or concurrent submission/publication

Papers describing essentially the same research should not be published in more than one journal or primary publication. Hence, authors should not submit for consideration a manuscript that has already been published in another journal. Submission of a manuscript concurrently to more than one journal is unethical publishing behavior and unacceptable.