Scientific Integrity: A Crucial Component of Academic Publishing

Scientific integrity is a crucial component of scholarly publishing. At Aging, a growing industry of digital technologies, tools, and ideas are constantly being added to our robust scientific integrity process.

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Overview of Aging Scientific Integrity Process

Our scientific integrity process is built around several components:

  1. Presence of Ethics Statements
  2. Adherence to Industry Standards for Scientific Publishing
  3. Rigorous and Insightful Peer Review
  4. Elimination of Plagiarism
  5. Image Forensics Service
  6. Post Publication Investigations

1. Presence of Ethics Statements

Our detailed ethical statements are publicly available and published on the Aging website. We encourage authors to read and follow our Code of Conduct.

2. Adherence to Industry Standards for Scientific Publishing

Aging’s Editorial Policies are consistent with internationally accepted standards for best research practices and reporting.

  • Aging complies with the COPE Code of Conduct and adheres to its Best Practice Guidelines.
  • The Journal also follows the principles expressed in the WMA Declaration of Helsinki of 1975 (as revised in 2000) for all research involving human participants. All research involving human participants must have been approved by the authors' institutional review board or equivalent committee(s) and that board must be named by the authors in the manuscript. For research involving human participants, informed consent must have been obtained (or the reason for lack of consent explained, for example, if the data were analyzed anonymously). All clinical investigations must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. Authors should also submit a statement from their ethics committee or institutional review board indicating approval of their research.
  • Information about human and animal ethics can be found in the relevant section on our Editorial Policies web page.
  • Aging also requires animal studies to be conducted in accordance with the recommendations of the Weatherall report on "The use of non-human primates in research." All animal work must have been conducted according to relevant national and international guidelines. In accordance with the recommendations of the Weatherall report, we specifically require authors to include details of animal welfare and steps taken to ameliorate suffering in all work involving non-human primates.
  • All policies have a functioning link to the full text of these guidelines.
  • All articles are consistent with the best practices accepted by scholarly journals. Aging requires authors to follow essential publishing standards regarding data management, figure preparation, chemical nomenclature, clinical trials, and reporting. For additional information about these policies, please visit the Editorial Policies sections of our website.
  • All articles include the following sections (where applicable): Title, Authors, Affiliations, Contact Information, Keywords (5), Abstract, Introduction, Results, Discussion, Methods or Materials and Methods, Abbreviations, Conflicts of Interest, Author Contributions, Funding, References.

3. Rigorous and Insightful Peer Review

Aging is committed to peer review and editorial oversight of all published content.

Aging peer review policy statements are easily accessible from the main navigation on the homepage of the journal (for reference, please see the Publication Ethics Statements and Editorial Policies pages on our website).

In summary, after submission, a manuscript goes through an initial internal quality control check by the managing editor/journal’s staff from the Editorial Office. The purpose of this control check is to ensure that submissions include everything needed for peer review and to identify potential conflicts with the journal’s editorial policies and ethical standards. Then, the Editors select as reviewers external independent experts in the field, based on their expertise and publication history. Aging utilizes the Web of Science Review locator Service. This service is integrated into Aging's submission system. After receiving an average of 3-4 reviews (at least 2 reviews and for some papers more than 4), Editors make decisions as to whether the paper must be rejected outright or should be returned to the authors for revision. After revision and resubmission, the Editors send the revised article and the authors' detailed responses back to the reviewers for their comments. No more than 3 rounds of revisions are allowed, after which the Editors must make a final decision. Editors do not participate in the peer review or decision-making of their own manuscripts.

Aging uses single blind peer review. It is a conventional method of peer review. In this type of peer review, the authors do not know who the reviewers are. However, the reviewers know who the authors are.

Aging utilizes a submission system created by eJournalPress (EJP) to facilitate the peer review process. The login portal for the submission system can be found on the journal homepage.

Aging also uses a tracking manuscript system (JPS) created by eJournalPress to track all accepted manuscripts to maintain a quick and efficient publication process.

4. Elimination of Plagiarism

Here at Aging, we take a very serious approach to the elimination of plagiarism.

  • All articles must be original, and plagiarism in any form is never acceptable.
  • If plagiarism is identified, Aging follows COPE guidelines to investigate and rectify such issues.
  • Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, any form of copying (such as text, images, data, or ideas) without proper attribution.
  • We use CrossCheck, a special service provided by Crossref, to check submitted papers for plagiarism.
  • If plagiarism is detected after publication, we may issue a correction or retract the paper.

5. Image Forensics Service

At Aging, we seek to do everything we can to ensure that problematic images are not published.

  • Currently, we use advanced image forensics services to check images in all submitted papers. We utilize both in-house-developed and commercial image forensics tools, including ImageTwin software.
  • We screen newly submitted papers for different irregularities, such as duplications, splitting, manipulated background, etc.
  • Impact Journals (Aging’s publisher) has also developed multiple sophisticated in-house tools to screen newly submitted tables and images against content that exists already both on the internet and in our own journals.
  • In summary, we typically perform 3 types of image forensics for the papers:
    1. Search for irregularities within the paper.
    2. Search for image matches in other papers within our journals.
    3. Search for image matches within other journals.
  • We are currently applying online software (a program called Seek & Blastn) that spots incorrect gene sequences reported in experiments.
  • Information about image forensics can be found in the relevant section on our Editorial Policies web page, and on the author submission portals.
  • In addition to these tools, we maintain our own database containing information about all questionable papers. New submissions are checked against the database during quality control. This database works in tandem with the submission process to ensure that institutions and authors who are associated with higher rates of questionable papers are “red flagged” in the submission system.

6. Post Publication Investigations

If a problem arises post-publication, we conduct investigations following COPE guidelines in cooperation with the authors and their affiliated institution.

  • Any instance of unethical publishing behavior will be investigated, even if it is discovered years after publication.
  • Editors/Publishers follow COPE recommendations as a guideline for ensuring that investigations are effective.
  • If an error or misconduct is confirmed, a correction or retraction is published in the journal.
  • We investigate any misconduct in cooperation with the Ethical Committee of the corresponding University/Clinical center.
  • While investigating an article, we also publish the statement "Expression of Concern. This article is currently under investigation. We strongly recommend that this article is not cited until the investigation is completed." This note remains in place until the concern is resolved.

Scientific Integrity: Conclusion

Widely disseminating high-quality science is incumbent upon strong ethical standards for academic integrity.

Aging continues to search for new digital technologies and new ideas to maintain and improve on the high scientific standards we strive to achieve when publishing papers.

Please contact the Scientific integrity office,, for concerns or inquiries related to scientific integrity of the published content.