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IOP Science

Ethical policy for journals

Cope logoThis policy should be read in conjunction with our guidelines for authors and reviewers. This policy applies to all IOP Publishing Limited (“IOPP”) owned journals and to those journals published with partner organisations that are listed in the appropriate section below. All corresponding authors are requested to confirm they have read and understand this policy when they submit to our journals.

IOPP is a member of the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE), and apply the principles of publication ethics outlined in the COPE Core Practices. We take publishing ethics very seriously and accept our responsibility to maintain the integrity of the scientific record as much as possible.

Unbiased consideration is given to all manuscripts offered for publication regardless of the race, gender, religious belief, ethnicity, citizenship, political philosophy, sexual orientation, age or reputation of the authors.

In order to legally comply with applicable International sanctions, IOPP checks the EU, UK and US sanctions lists for the names and affiliated institutions of corresponding authors from specific territories where a paper is submitted to IOPP publications and the publications of some of its partners.  If that author and/or institution is on one or more of those lists then IOPP will have to ask for the paper to be withdrawn.  In addition, to meet financial sanctions, IOPP is unable to manage payments from certain countries for which there are banking restrictions.  Where this is applicable, IOPP will notify the corresponding author of the implications.

Handling cases of alleged misconduct

IOP Publishing is a member of the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE) and adheres to COPE’s Guidelines regarding misconduct and retractions, including the processes set out in COPE’s flowcharts. We take ethical allegations very seriously and believe it is our responsibility to maintain the integrity of the scientific record as far as possible. 

Our relationship with our authors is based on trust, and we publish submitted material in good faith. However, if a possible breach of ethics is brought to our attention, we will refer the case to our Research Integrity Team for investigation. We follow the COPE guidelines on responding to whistle-blowers, which includes protecting your anonymity. 

The team will seek the support of relevant individuals across the business, and may obtain advice from the journal’s Editorial Board. In some instances, the team may need to escalate an investigation to author’s institution(s) for further support or information. The team will ensure to take a balanced and objective approach, as well as reach out to the accused individuals in every instance, to provide them with the opportunity to comment on the matter before committing to a particular course of action.  

The team will decide the most appropriate approach to take according to industry guidelines and advise on any corrections (including retractions) that may be required to the published record, following the STM Guideline for the Preservation of the Objective Record of Science (2006). All relevant parties will be informed of the outcome of the case. 

Please note:

  • Misconduct investigations are sensitive and can take time. The Research Integrity team would appreciate patience while they investigate, by allowing them the time and space to review the matter in full.  
  • Due to the nature of investigations, we are unable to provide a timeline for when a particular case will be resolved by. 
  • IOP Publishing has the right to contact an individual’s institution regarding allegations of misconduct, according to the COPE Guidelines.
  • IOP Publishing has the right to share manuscripts and related information with other Publishers and Editors during the course of an investigation, according to the COPE Guidelines.
  • IOP Publishing has the right to request proof of identity in cases where identity theft is alleged or suspected. 
  • IOP Publishing has the right to request access to the raw data related to any manuscript, either under consideration or published, at any time.
  • IOP Publishing reserves the right to issue an expression of concern to a paper which is the subject of an ongoing investigation, such as when we are unable to resolve a case swiftly or when a third party is involved. 
  • Subject to a full investigation, IOP Publishing reserves the right to retract an accepted or published article that is found to have breached our licence to publish and/or meets the COPE criteria for retractions.
  • In instances where a breach of ethics is suspected with an unpublished work (a submitted manuscript or accepted manuscript that has not yet been made available on IOPscience), IOP Publishing reserves the right to reject or rescind the acceptance of the paper.
  • IOP Publishing reserves the right not to work with anyone who is abusive to our staff, authors, reviewers or editors. Please see our respect for others policy for more information. 

To report any concerns relating to potential misconduct, please contact the editorial office for the relevant journal. You can find contact information for all IOP journals here. Alternatively, you can contact the Research Integrity Team directly.  

Respect for others

IOP Publishing believe everyone is entitled to courtesy, civility and respect. We commit to treating everyone we work with fairly, professionally and without bias, and we expect our staff to be treated in the same way at all times. Discrimination against any person will not be tolerated, including, but not limited to, discrimination on the grounds of race, age, gender, location, sexual orientation, disability, appearance, religion / belief, human rights, social / economic status, political philosophy, reputation and/or scientific viewpoint. In addition, any form of behaviour which IOP Publishing considers to be threatening, bullying and/or harassment and/or the cause of another person’s distress or discomfort is unacceptable. IOP Publishing reserves the right to refuse to interact further with any person whose behaviour it considers has contravened any of the above.

IOP Publishing reserves the right to refuse to publish any content that, in its opinion, could be deemed distasteful or illegal including, but not limited to, libellous, defamatory, offensive or hate speech.

If you would like to report any behaviour or content that you believe contravenes this policy, you can do so in confidence by emailing

Author roles and responsibilities

IOP Publishing follows the authorship criteria set out by the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Within this, for someone to be considered an author of a work, they must meet all 4 of the following criteria: 

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND 
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND 
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND 
  • 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. 

All named authors should be able to identify which co-authors worked on specific parts of the work. In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their co-authors. Authorship should never be bought, sold, or otherwise traded. We reserve the right to request evidence supporting authorship contribution, and reserve the right to reject any work which is suspected to have been bought, sold or otherwise traded.

It’s important all authors agree prior to submission the authorship of their paper, the order in which author names are presented, and ensure all those, and only those, who meet this criteria are included as authors. Acquisition of funding, collection of data or general supervision of the research group does not constitute authorship. 

Other individuals who have contributed to the study in a lesser capacity should be acknowledged, subject to their consent to be named (we may not ask you to provide evidence of this, but please keep a copy for your records), but not cited as authors. Please ensure you declare in the acknowledgments if an individual or organisation has supported with any portions of the work that have been outsourced (such as for translation work, support with experiments etc). Please note, the acknowledgements should not be used to misleadingly imply a contribution or endorsement by individuals who have not, in fact, been involved with the work or given an endorsement.  

We strongly encourage authors to make specific attributions of contribution and responsibility in the acknowledgements of the article. Authors may wish to use a taxonomy such as CRediT to describe the contributions of each author. 

We understand some research fields follow long standing prescribed authorship practices for recognised ‘big science’ collaborations, which may differ from the above. Corresponding authors of relevant articles will be asked to confirm upon submission if their paper follows these established practices, and this will be assessed at the journal level according to the accepted practices within that field of study.

If an unresolvable authorship dispute arises, the institution(s) where the work was undertaken should be asked to investigate. IOP Publishing will not arbitrate in cases where there is disagreement over authorship. IOP Publishing has the right to remove your article from the review process until a resolution can be agreed, or issue an expression of concern to the work whilst the investigation is ongoing. 

Responsibility of the corresponding author 

It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure that all named authors have consented to submission to the journal, approved the submitted version of the article, and all further revisions.  

It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure the paper is not under consideration by any other journal at the time of submission.  

It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure the contact details for all co-authors are correctly entered into the submission system, and are correct at the time of submission. 

Changes in authorship 

Any changes to authorship during the publication process must be approved by all authors of the paper, and all authors must confirm to the journal that they give their consent and made a genuine intellectual contribution to the paper.

In addition, you must explain to the journal the reasons behind the change in authorship based on the guidelines above. If additional authors are being added to the manuscript, you will need to provide evidence of their significant contribution to the work.

Proof of contribution includes but is not limited to:

  • Earlier drafts of the manuscript with the requested author’s edits
  • Laboratory reports with requested author’s name
  • Email exchanges directly related to the manuscript or relevant experiments
  • WhatsApp Chats directly related to the manuscript or relevant experiments
  • Logbooks
  • Research notes

It is the responsibility of the authors to ensure that evidence proving their contributions to the manuscript is kept during the submission process and can be provided at request.

IOP Publishing reserves the right to refuse requests if there is reason to doubt the legitimacy of the request.

Deceased authors 

In cases where an author has sadly passed away before a paper has been submitted, or during peer review, we require consent from a familial or legal proxy of the deceased for the paper to be reviewed for potential publication. Deceased authors are still eligible for co-authorship if they made a significant intellectual contribution to the article (see above).

Generative AI Tools

IOP Publishing follows the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) position statement that AI tools cannot meet the requirements for authorship as they cannot take responsibility for the submitted work. As non-legal entities, they cannot assert the presence or absence of conflicts of interest nor manage copyright and license agreements.

There are many responsible and appropriate uses for generative AI within scholarly research and we support authors using it in this manner. When doing so, authors are encouraged to be transparent about their use of any generative AI tools in either the research or the drafting of the manuscript. Authors are also encouraged to maintain records of previous drafts, as well as any prompts used in the editing or generation of material within their manuscript.

Authors are responsible for ensuring that any written or visual content produced by or edited using a generative AI technology meets all IOP Publishing’s guidelines and policies. All AI-generated content must be checked to ensure it is accurate and free from plagiarism. Generative AI tools cannot be used to create, alter or manipulate original research data and results such as blots or measurements. Any generative AI tools used to create figures from data, such as graphs or charts, should be listed in the figure caption.

In cases where text in a manuscript has been generated, authors must ensure that they have critically revised this work for important intellectual content in order to meet the authorship criteria followed by IOP Publishing and set out by the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Identity fraud and impersonation

IOP Publishing considers any attempt to impersonate another person as a serious breach of ethics. IOP Publishing has the right to request proof of identity in cases where identity fraud or impersonation is alleged or suspected.

Authors should not share their log in details to any journal’s submission system, nor should they ask or allow anyone to submit on their behalf. This practice is considered to be a serious breach of this policy.

Only the author assigned the role of submitting author should submit their work themselves for consideration. IOP Publishing reserves the right to immediately reject a manuscript that has been found to have been submitted on an author’s behalf.

Parallel submission

It is unethical to submit the same, or essentially the same, article to a second primary research journal whilst it remains under active consideration by another.

It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure the paper is not under consideration by any other journal at the time of submission.

Research Results

Authors must not fabricate, falsify or misrepresent data or results. They should strive to be objective, unbiased and truthful in all aspects of their work.

Authors must be honest in making claims for the results and conclusions of their research. Making inflated claims for a project interferes with the objective evaluation of its results and applications, and can lead to an unfair and wasteful distribution of resources.

Authors should strive to avoid mistakes in research and exercise due diligence in presenting high quality work for publication. They should critically assess the likelihood of experimental, methodological and human errors and avoid self-deception and bias. Where possible they should conduct an internal review to assess the validity of their work before publication.

If an error occurs

It is, of course, recognised that errors will occur from time to time. When an error is discovered in published or submitted work, the mistake should be admitted and a corrigendum, erratum or retraction should be published. Corrections should be approved by all authors of the original article unless there is a particular reason why this is not possible. In these cases any dissent among the authors should be noted in the published correction.

Source materials

IOP Publishing does not require the raw data from an experiment to be submitted for publication, although some of our journals do offer the option to supply this data as supplementary information. However, we expect that all authors follow established best scientific practice and record (and retain) source material of experiments and research results, in an auditable manner that allows for scrutiny and verification by other scientists. Exceptions may be appropriate to preserve privacy or patent protection. There may also be specific instructions from your funding agency or university.

Research reporting guidelines

IOP Publishing expects complete and accurate reporting of research to enable readers to fully understand and evaluate the work. We encourage authors to include information about their research design to further enhance the reproducibility of their research.

Many fields of research have established common reporting guidelines. IOP Publishing encourages the use of whichever guidelines are most appropriate to the study, and we encourage peer reviewers to consider and comment on whether the most appropriate guidelines have been followed.

Some reporting guidelines that authors may find relevant include:

  1. ARRIVE: Reporting any area of bioscience research using laboratory animals
  2. CONSIDER: Reporting of health research involving Indigenous peoples
  3. CONSORT: Parallel group randomised trials
  4. PRISMA: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  5. SAGER: Reporting of sex and gender information in study design, data analyses, results and interpretation of findings

The EQUATOR Network provides a useful database of a variety of reporting guidelines and tools.

Some IOP Publishing journals may mandate the use of a specific set of reporting guidelines, for example, authors writing for Physical Measurement must follow the SAGER guidelines. For more information, please check the journal instructions.

Inappropriate images

We ask authors to carefully consider both the subject matter and provenance of images included in their work before submitting to the journal. If the submitted images could be potentially offensive to the journal’s readership or violate copyright, IOP Publishing reserves the right to request that authors seek alternative images or other means to express the same results before the final version is published.

IOP Publishing will not consider submissions which feature the Lena/Lenna image (a crop of an image of Lena Söderberg from a 1972 issue of Playboy magazine), as the image and its history conflicts with our commitment to inclusivity in science. Alternatives to the Lena image are widely available, see for examples.

Researchers should not generally publish or share identifiable individual data collected in the course of research without specific consent from the individual (or their representative).

Informed consent to publish should be obtained from participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 16) for all research involving identifiable human subjects. This requirement also applies for deceased persons, in which case consent should be given by the next of kin. Authors are required to attest that consent has been obtained and that any identifiable individuals are aware of intended publication. Examples of identifying information are descriptions of individual case histories, photos, video, x-rays, or genetic pedigrees.

In order to protect participant anonymity, authors do not need to send proof of this consent to us at IOP Publishing. A statement confirming that consent was obtained for all identifiable individuals should appear in the manuscript.

Source: Barbour V on behalf of COPE Council, Journals’ Best Practices for Ensuring Consent for Publishing Medical Case Reports: guidance from COPE, December 2016

Vulnerable populations

We follow COPE guidelines on studies involving vulnerable populations as set out in the COPE Core Principles (

Ethical statements

If your work involves live subjects (human or animal) you must provide an appropriate ethical statement when submitting your paper. The most suitable location for this is normally the methods section of the manuscript. However, to preserve anonymity in double-anonymous journals please do not add the ethical statement to the manuscript, instead complete the relevant section on the submission system.

Our editorial team checks all ethical statements are appropriate for the study being reported. Any manuscript submitted without a suitable ethical statement will be returned to the authors and will not be considered further until an appropriate and explicit statement is included.

Authors should include the following points in the ethical statement (if applicable) when submitting a paper:

  • The institutional or national research ethics committee /review board that approved the research must be named. Include the approval number/ID if one was given. If the research received a waiver of approval from the ethics committee/review board or did not require approval for some other reason please state this and explain why.
  • For investigations involving animal experimentation you should state which institutional and/or national animal care and use guidelines were followed.
  • For investigations involving human participants:
    • You should state that the research was conducted in accordance with the principles embodied in the Declaration of Helsinki and in accordance with local statutory requirements.
    • You should state that all participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 16) gave written informed consent to participate in the study
    • For research which involves identifiable human subjects (including donors of cells or tissues) you must include a statement confirming that consent was given for publication by all participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 16). In order to protect participant anonymity, authors do not need to send proof of this consent to us at IOP Publishing. Where a donor has deceased prior to the research and is therefore unable to grant consent but is still identifiable (e.g. HeLa cells), their origin and lack of consent should be acknowledged.
  • Articles relying on clinical trials should quote the trial registration number at the end of the abstract. IOP also encourages the registration of such studies in a public trials registry prior to participants being enrolled.

Ethics Gen Tool

Our free Ethics Generator Tool helps authors to provide correctly worded ethics statements to match the statement criteria of an author’s journal of choice. EthicsGen enhances the publishing experience for our authors, reviewers and readers, increase efficiency and speed, and supports our commitment to deliver the highest integrity standards.

When a statement is complete, the user can copy the text to the clipboard or download it as a file, then paste into the appropriate section on the submission form.

Double-anonymous submissions

  • In double-anonymous journals please do not add the ethical statement to the manuscript, instead please complete the relevant section on the submission system. This information is not shared with reviewers and therefore does not need to be anonymised.
  • If a reviewer feels they need to see an ethical statement, they are advised to contact the journal to discuss.

Funding declarations

IOP Publishing requires all authors to declare any funding they received related to the research article they are submitting for publication.

When you submit your paper, you will be asked to provide information on all funders associated with your work in the section called ‘Policies & Information’. It is important that you enter this information to comply with funder publication policies and to enable our editors to assess any conflicts of interest.

The funding information you provide in the online submission system must match any funders you intend to list in the acknowledgments section of your article.

When asked about funding in the online submission system, please start to write the name of your funder and then select the relevant funder from the list that appears. Please only write the full name of your funder manually if you do not see your funder in the list. Please provide grant numbers for all the funders you acknowledge.

You must ensure you obtain any necessary permissions from your funder(s) before submitting your article.

Referencing, citation and novelty

IOP Publishing is a member of the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE), and apply the principles of publication ethics outlined in the COPE Core Practices.


Authors have a responsibility to fully acknowledge the work of others (be it published or unpublished) that is used in their research and to cite publications that have influenced the direction and course of their study. Information obtained in private correspondence or conversation should only be used with the explicit permission of the individuals involved. Information obtained whilst providing confidential services, such as refereeing research articles or grant applications, should not be used without permission of the original author.

All sources for the article must be clearly disclosed and permissions obtained from the original authors (and original publishers if they hold the copyright) for any figures or significant extracts that are to be reproduced or quoted. Collection of such permissions is the responsibility of the authors.

References should be helpful to the reader and advance the article, so authors should ensure they are relevant, recent and easy to find.

Citation manipulation

Authors should ensure that citations add value and are not unfairly bias towards an individual, group or organisation. Only sources drawn upon in the work should be referenced, and citations should support the points which they reference.

The practice of including superfluous references to the authors own work, or the works of others, merely to promote and inflate citation scores is unethical. IOP Publishing regularly screens submissions for this practice. Any authors under pressure to include irrelevant citations should report this to


Submitted articles must be the authors’ own work, expressed in their own words. Plagiarism constitutes unethical scientific behaviour and is never acceptable. Plagiarism ranges from the unreferenced use of others’ ideas, to replication (without sufficient attribution or use of quotation marks) of sections of text from other sources, to submission of a complete paper under ‘new’ authorship. IOP Publishing routinely screens submissions for originality via iThenticate, industry standard plagiarism detection software.

Duplicate publication

Duplicate publication is the production of multiple papers with the same, or essentially the same, content by the same authors and is viewed as unacceptable. Submitted research articles must be novel and original.

In the case of articles that expand upon previously published conference proceedings, or conference write-ups that discuss work already published in an earlier paper, some limited exceptions to this rule may apply. However, in these cases authors should consult with the journal staff before submission. In all instances, articles must clearly cite their sources and present some new contribution to the published literature otherwise such articles will be rejected.

Multiple publications arising from a single research project should be clearly identified as such and the primary publication should be referenced. Translations and adaptations for different audiences should be clearly identified as such, should acknowledge the original source, and should respect relevant copyright conventions and permission requirements. If in doubt, authors should seek permission from the original publisher before republishing any work.

Text recycling

Text recycling occurs when authors publish sections of the same text in more than one of their own publications. Authors should always be clear and cite any re-used text in the manuscript, respecting relevant copyright conventions and permission requirements. Authors should state in their cover letter if there are sections of the article that have already been published elsewhere. We acknowledge there are some instances where text recycling may be acceptable, and others where it is unacceptable. All text recycling will be investigated and considered on an individual basis by our Editors.

Parallel submission

It is also unethical to submit the same, or essentially the same, article to a second primary research journal whilst it remains under active consideration by another.

To aid us in detecting any submissions that do not meet the above requirements, we regularly use plagiarism-detection software to screen articles.

Conflicts of interest


All authors and co-authors are required to disclose any potential conflicts of interest when submitting their article. Any conflicts of interest should be included in an acknowledgements section.

Examples of financial interests that should be disclosed:

Any direct sources of funds (employment, grants, patents, stock ownership, sponsorships etc.) or indirect sources of funds (consulting fees, honoraria, equipment supplies etc.) where the funding organisation stands to gain/lose from the publication of the article or could be seen to have influenced the submitted work.

Examples of personal relationships/academic competitions that should be disclosed:

Any unpaid roles that the authors have that could influence the publication process. These would include unpaid advisory affiliations and memberships of professional organisations.

Any personal relationships/beliefs that could be seen as a conflict should also be disclosed. This would include having a relative who works for an organisation funding the work.

It is difficult to specify the threshold at which a financial or other interest becomes significant. Two practical guidelines are:


to declare any competing interests that could embarrass you were they to become publicly known after your work was published;


to declare any information which, when revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived.

Declaring conflicts of Interest:

Any potential conflicts of interest should be declared in the acknowledgements section.

If you are submitting to a double-anonymous review journal, the full disclosure should be included in your cover letter.


To uphold impartiality, reviewers should consider any potential conflict of interest before agreeing to review and should decline in the following instances:

  • You are in direct competition with the authors
  • You are a co-worker or collaborator or have a personal relationship with one of the authors
  • You are affiliated with the same institution as one of the authors
  • You are in a position to exploit the authors’ work (commercially or otherwise)
  • You are in a position which prevents you from giving an objective opinion of the work.

Reviewers are expected to act within the spirit of the Nolan principles of public life.

If you are unable to act as a reviewer due to a conflict of interest, we will select an alternative reviewer.

If you have been asked to review an article for one of our double-anonymous journals, please notify the journal staff if you suspect a potential conflict of interest.

Editors, Board Members and Editorial Staff

Editors and Editorial Board Members are welcome to submit papers to the journal. Submissions from Editors and Board Members are subject to the same standards and review process as all other submissions, and Editor or Board Member status has no bearing on editorial decision making. If an Editor or Editorial Board Member is on the author list, they will not be eligible for reviewing or overseeing the peer review process on that paper. Our peer review system will also prevent them from having any additional information about their paper, for example, the name of the reviewers or the confidential comments to the Editor.

Editors, Board Members and editorial staff are expected to declare any conflict of interest relating to a particular manuscript, notifying the journal staff and requesting they be recused from any involvement in the peer review or processing of that manuscript.

Ethics for reviewers

Reviewers are expected to perform the review of the work themselves, unless they are participating in co-review. Submitting a review in the name of another person (real or fictional) is misconduct and will not be tolerated. IOP Publishing has the right to request proof of identity in cases where identity fraud or impersonation is alleged or suspected.


Conflicts of interest

To uphold impartiality, you should consider any potential conflict of interest before agreeing to review and should contact the editorial office in the following instances:

  • You are in direct competition with the authors
  • You are a co-worker or collaborator with one of the authors
  • You are in a position to exploit the authors’ work (commercially or otherwise)
  • You may be legally prohibited due to national sanctions
  • You are in a position which prevents you from giving an objective opinion of the work.

Minor conflicts do not disqualify you from reporting on an article, but will be taken into account when considering the reviewers’ recommendations. Major conflicts of interest (especially relating to a financial commercial interest >£5000/year) do disqualify you. You should act within the spirit of the Nolan principles of public life.

If you are unable to act as a reviewer due to a conflict of interest, we will select an alternative reviewer.

If the journal is double-anonymous you may not be sure if you have a conflict of interest. If you suspect there may be a reason you should not act as a reviewer, please contact the editorial office who will be able to investigate and advise.


Anonymity and confidentiality

Reviewer names are kept strictly confidential. Reviewer identities may only be disclosed to journal Editorial Board members, who are also instructed to maintain confidentiality. You should not disclose your identity to the authors, including sending reports directly to the authors.

Information and ideas obtained whilst acting as a reviewer must be kept confidential and not used for competitive advantage.

We also ask that you do not discuss the papers you have reviewed with colleagues unless they have been published.



Reviewers should judge objectively the quality of the research reported, give fair, frank and constructive criticism and refrain from personal criticism of the authors. Reviewers’ judgements should be explained and supported so that authors can understand the basis of the comments and judgements.



Reviewers should inform the journal if they are unable to review a paper or can only do so with some delay. Reviewers should not delay the peer review process unnecessarily, either deliberately or inadvertently.



Reviewers are expected to point out relevant work that has not been cited, and use citations to explain where elements of the work have been previously reported. When writing a report, reviewers should justify any literature references suggested for inclusion in the work.

Citations should add value, and should not be unfairly biased towards an individual, group or organisation. Please note that the Editor reserves the right to challenge excessive citation suggestions, especially to the reviewer’s own work. The practice of including superfluous references, including to the reviewer’s own work, to promote and inflate citation scores is unethical. The Editor reserves the right to exclude citation suggestions from reports if these are considered to be potential acts of citation manipulation, and/or to protect reviewers’ anonymity.


Generative AI (including ChatGPT)

IOP Publishing does not accept or condone the use of generative AI, including large language models and AI chatbots such as ChatGPT, to write peer review reports, either fully or partially. By accepting a review invitation, a reviewer agrees to adhere to the ethical standards of IOP Publishing, including reporting any conflicts of interest, ensuring the manuscript under review remains confidential, and retaining their anonymity as a reviewer. Generative AI models are not subject experts as they lack the ability or comprehension to assume responsibility for work they have helped create and are therefore unable to adhere to the ethical standards set out by IOP Publishing. Furthermore, generative AI models do not have the legal personality to sign publishing agreements or licences. Please note that uploading any part of a submitted manuscript to a generative AI model may breach the authors’ rights to confidentiality. If a manuscript contains personally identifiable information, it may also breach data protection rights.


Suspected author misconduct

Reviewers should report any suspicions of misconduct to the journal staff for investigation. This includes, but is not limited to, suspicions of:

  • Plagiarism
  • Duplicate publication
  • Parallel submission
  • Data fabrication / falsification
  • Image manipulation
  • Incorrect authorship
  • Author conflict of interest
  • Unethical research practices
  • Content that could be considered offensive

We follow the COPE guidelines on responding to whistleblowers, which includes protecting your anonymity.



Journals which the Ethical Policy applies to

The IOP Ethical Policy for Journals applies to all the titles listed below. Other journals we publish with partner organisations not listed operate using the partners’ ethical policies.

* These journals are not members of COPE.

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