ARVO Publications Ethics Statement

ARVO Journals  
Uniform Policy Regarding Publication Ethics  

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE;, and supports the principles and guidelines developed and promoted by that organization. In addition, all ARVO-sponsored journals adhere to, and will generally apply, the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (, as put forth by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), particularly their stipulations regarding “Roles and Responsibilities” and “Publishing & Editorial Issues.” The following statements supplement the ICMJE Recommendations, and provide further guidance regarding specific issues pertinent to publication ethics in ARVO journals.

  1. Authorship. The fundamental principle of “giving credit where credit is due” applies here: all persons who qualify for authorship should be included as authors on manuscripts submitted for publication; those who do not qualify as authors, but who have made some substantive contribution to the manuscript, should have that contribution acknowledged appropriately (e.g., as an entry in the Acknowledgment section of the manuscript). As per the ICMJE Recommendations, the following four criteria define qualification as an author.
    1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; and
    2. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and
    3. Final approval of the version to be published; and
    4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

      IMPORTANT: All four criteria must be met in order for a person to qualify as an author. The decision on who to include as an author on a manuscript should be discussed and agreed upon by all persons who qualify for authorship prior to the initial submission of the manuscript. The full name of each author should be listed in the order of importance of his/her contribution to the study with the corresponding author generally being either first or last. All authors bear responsibility for the full contents of the paper, unless explicit disclosure of the contributions of each coauthor is indicated. If at any time during the peer review process there is a change to the authorship listing, then authors must download and complete a Change of Authorship form. [Note: When removing an author, only the author being removed can make this request, and he/she also should submit a signed letter requesting removal along with this form.] Authorship removal requests made by the corresponding author, or other coauthors on the manuscript, are not acceptable and will not be honored. The remaining authors will be notified if one or more authors request that their names be removed and may be provided the reasons noted in the Change of Authorship form.
  2. Plagiarism. With specific regard to plagiarism: this refers to the theft or misappropriation of another’s ideas, processes, results, words, or intellectual property without giving appropriate attribution. Plagiarism represents a violation of U.S. copyright law as well as a serious breach of acceptable publication practices and ethics. All manuscript submissions must represent the original work, words, and ideas of the authors. Manuscripts will be subjected to plagiarism detection using commercial software (e.g., iThenticate®) prior to review. Any use of previously published work, whether the source is from another author or from author(s) of the current manuscript under review*, must explicitly cite and acknowledge the source and must have prior authorization from the copyright holder to use the previously published work. [*This refers to “self-plagiarism”.] 
  3. Duplicate Publication. “Duplicate publication” is publication of a paper that overlaps substantially, in whole or in part, with one already published, without clear, visible reference to the previous publication. Like plagiarism, duplicate publication represents a violation of U.S. copyright law as well as a serious breach of acceptable publication practices and ethics. Authors should not submit the same or substantially similar manuscript, in the same or different languages, simultaneously to more than one journal. If a manuscript is suspected of being a duplicate submission, i.e., already under consideration at another journal, the review process will be halted and the Editor of the other journal will be notified. If it is confirmed that the manuscript is a duplicate submission, the manuscript will be rejected. In addition, the appropriate institutional official (e.g., Research Integrity Officer, Dean, or comparable official) where the corresponding/senior author(s) is(are) employed will be contacted to alert them to the situation. Any additional consequences to the author(s) will be left to the best judgment of the pertinent ARVO journal Editor-in-Chief and will be dependent upon the severity and flagrancy of the violation, and whether any coauthor was aware of the duplicate submission. If the Editor-in-Chief was not made aware of the violations in advance of publication and the ARVO journal article already has been published, the article may be retracted, with or without the author(s)’ explanation or approval and a similar communication with institutional official(s) may occur. 
  4. Image Manipulation. All ARVO journals will adhere to the following policy regarding image manipulation, which is modeled after comparable policies of The Journal of Cell Biology and The Journal of Neuroscience, as summarized below:

    Manipulation that violates these guidelines may result in production delays or revocation of acceptance:
    1. No specific feature within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced.
    2. Constructing figures using images taken from different parts of the same gel, or from different gels, is discouraged. However, if and when this is necessary, it must be made explicit by the arrangement of the figure (e.g., using dividing lines) and in the text of the figure legend. 
    3. Recordings obtained at different time points or from different sites must not be spliced together to give the appearance of a continuous record. Authors must make it clear in the figure legend how many different recordings are illustrated. 
    4. Adjustments to images or recordings are acceptable if they are applied uniformly to all portions of the image or recording, and as long as they do not obscure, eliminate, or misrepresent information present in the original, including the background. Linear adjustments involving filtering or scaling (e.g., brightness, contrast, or color balance) must be applied to every pixel in the image or applied uniformly to an entire recording. The same instrument settings used to acquire images must be applied to both treated (experimental) and untreated (control) specimens. Non-linear adjustments (e.g., changes to gamma settings) or deleting portions of a recording (e.g., leak subtraction or stimulus artifacts) must be disclosed in the figure legend.
    5. The minimum resolution for images is 300 dpi.
    6. At the time of acceptance, authors may be required to submit uncropped images of complete gels for comparison to the prepared figures. If original data cannot be produced, the acceptance of the manuscript may be revoked.

      Original data: The editors reserve the right to request any original data from authors at any stage in the submission, review, or publication process, including after publication. Failure to provide requested information may result in publication delays or revocation of acceptance for publication. 
  5. Ethical Misconduct. Scientific progress depends on the honest and ethical pursuit of scientific research and the truthful representation of research findings. ARVO adopts the official U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ definition of research (or scientific) misconduct, as specified by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) to include: falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism, in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results ( Such misconduct is considered unethical. Ethical misconduct also extends to the inhumane or unethical treatment of animals or human subjects in the course of conducting research studies. Authors are expected to maintain the highest level of integrity in their scientific activities, including compliance with the policies stated herein. If an author is suspected of committing ethical misconduct, an allegation of such will be referred to the author’s institutional Research Integrity Officer, or comparable institutional official, for further action, in keeping with ORI guidelines on handling allegations of research misconduct (see: Review of any manuscript where an allegation of suspected misconduct has been put forward will be suspended until such time as the matter has been resolved through due process.

    Authors who are found to have engaged in misconduct will have their manuscripts rejected from further consideration if still under review, or retracted if already published. Additional consequences may apply (see 3. Duplicate Publication, above). 
  6. Clinical Trials Registry. ARVO) requires that clinical trials with two or more groups of subjects be prospectively registered for publication in ARVO journals. Please consult ARVO’s Statement on Registering Clinical Trials.
  7. Commercial Relationships. Each author, by way of the corresponding author, must disclose any relevant financial relationship(s) relevant to the subject matter of the submission. Please consult ARVO’s Commercial Relationship Policy.
  8. Ethical Use of Animals and Human Subjects in Research. All researchers are expected to uphold the highest level of ethical conduct when using animals or human subjects in research. ARVO’s policies governing the ethical use of animals in research can be found here.

    Guidelines regarding the ethical use of human subjects in research can be found here.

Approved: ARVO Board of Trustees, March 23, 2015  

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