Criteria for Publication

WOOS is designed to communicate original research.

1. The study presents the results of original research.

We welcome submissions in the natural sciences, medical research, engineering, as well as the related social sciences and humanities that will contribute to the base of academic knowledge.

We will not consider:

  • Reviews
  • Case reports
  • Study protocols
  • Hypothesis or proposal papers
  • Letters, commentaries, or essays
  • Opinion pieces
  • Policy papers
  • Clinical practice guidelines
  • Any other type of secondary literature
  • Monographs

We will occasionally commission Collection Reviews or Overviews, but these articles are associated with specific, pre-planned Collections and will not be considered unless solicited.

We will consider the following article types:

Systematic reviews We consider publishing systematic reviews only if the methods ensure the comprehensive and unbiased sampling of existing literature. See the submission guidelines for more information about requirements for submitting a systematic review.
Submissions describing methods, software, databases, or other tools We consider submissions describing methods, software, databases, or other tools if they follow the appropriate reporting guidelines. See the  submission guidelines for more information.
Qualitative research We consider publishing qualitative research only if it adheres to appropriate study design and reporting guidelines, as described in the submission guidelines.
Studies reporting negative results  

2. Results reported have not been published elsewhere.

Previously Published Studies

WOOS does not accept for publication studies that have already been published, in whole or in part, elsewhere in the peer-reviewed literature.  All figures included in manuscripts should be original, and should not have been published in any previous publications.

In addition, we will not consider submissions that are currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.

PLOS supports authors who wish to share their work early through deposition of manuscripts in preprint servers. This does not impact consideration of the manuscript at any PLOS journal. We will consider manuscripts that have been deposited in preprint servers such as bioRxiv or arXiv, published as a thesis, or presented at conferences.

Replication Studies

If a submitted study replicates or is very similar to previous work, authors must provide a sound scientific rationale for the submitted work and clearly reference and discuss the existing literature. Submissions that replicate or are derivative of existing work will likely be rejected if authors do not provide adequate justification.

3. Experiments, statistics, and other analyses are performed to a high technical standard and are described in sufficient detail.

Experiments must have been conducted rigorously, with appropriate controls and replication. Sample sizes must be large enough to produce robust results, where applicable. Methods and reagents must be described in sufficient detail for another researcher to reproduce the experiments described.

4. Conclusions are presented in an appropriate fashion and are supported by the data.

The data presented in the manuscript must support the conclusions drawn. Submissions will be rejected if the interpretation of results is unjustified or inappropriate, so authors should avoid overstating their conclusions. Authors may discuss possible implications for their results as long as these are clearly identified as hypotheses instead of conclusions.

5. The article is presented in an intelligible fashion and is written in standard English.

WOOS does not copyedit accepted manuscripts, so the language in submitted articles must be clear, correct, and unambiguous. We may reject papers that do not meet these standards.

If the language of a paper is difficult to understand or includes many errors, we may recommend that authors seek independent editorial help before submitting a revision. These services can be found on the web using search terms like “scientific editing service” or “manuscript editing service.”

6. The research meets all applicable standards for the ethics of experimentation and research integrity.

Ethics of Experimentation

Research published in WOOS must have been conducted to the highest ethical standards. We reserve the right to reject any submission that does not meet these standards, which in some cases are more stringent than local ethical standards.

If approval was not obtained, authors must explain why it was not required.

Please contact WOOS staff at [email protected] if you have questions regarding your work and compliance with accepted ethical standards.

Publication Ethics

WOOS is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). We abide by its Code of Conduct and aim to adhere to its Best Practice Guidelines. Authors are expected to comply with best practices in publication ethics, specifically regarding authorship, dual publication, plagiarism, figure manipulation, and competing interests.

For more details about WOOS's expectations for publication ethics, see the Editorial Policies.

Any concerns about the above should be addressed to the editorial office at [email protected].

7. The article adheres to appropriate reporting guidelines and community standards for data availability.

Reporting Guidelines

Results must be rigorously reported, as appropriate based on community standards. More information about discipline-specific reporting guidelines can be found in the submission guidelines.

Data Availability

Authors must follow standards and practice for data deposition in publicly available resources including those created for gene sequences, microarray expression, structural studies, and similar kinds of data. Failure to comply with community standards may result in rejection.

For more information about WOOS requirements for data sharing and deposition in public databases, see our data availability policy.

A preprint is a version of a scientific manuscript posted on a public server prior to formal peer review. As soon as it's posted, your preprint becomes a permanent part of the scientific record, citable with its own unique DOI. By sharing early, you can accelerate the speed at which science moves forward.


WOOS Journals are OPEN for Published Peer Review

Open interaction peer review allows and encourages direct reciprocal discussion between reviewers and authors.


Starting today, ALL WOOS journals will offer authors the option to publish their peer review history alongside their accepted manuscript! We’ve been excited to make this announcement, and make major strides towards a more open publication process, since last fall when we signed ASAPbio’s open letter committing to transparent peer review options.

What will it look like?

Our philosophy going into this project has been to open up the peer review process in a way that gives authors and reviewers more choices about how they publish and claim credit for their work.

As before, our peer review process defaults to single-blind, although reviewers have the option to sign their names to their reviews if they wish. What we’ve added to our process is an option at acceptance for authors to decide whether to publish the full peer review history alongside their work. This package includes the editor’s full decision letter, complete with reviewer comments and authors’ responses for each revision of the manuscript. Peer review history will have its own DOI enabling reviewers to take credit and earn citations for their contributions. If the reviewers have chosen to sign their reviews, their name will also appear on the published reviews but they can also chose to remain anonymous.

All manuscripts submitted after May 22, 2019 will be eligible for this option if accepted at a WOOS Journal. Here’s a look at the variations of open our opt-in model provides:


A major step for WOOS, and scholarly communication

The peer review history reveals crucial perspectives and decisions that supply additional context for readers and researchers. Because of the potential benefits, we’re making this option available now on all seven WOOS journals.

Other journals that have experimented with published peer review models have shown that the quality of feedback provided is at least as good as other models – we think it has the potential to be even better through increased accountability and transparency. We’re building off the foundations and lessons learned by these examples and are confident our model can offer authors more choices to make their research and the publishing process open, and showcase the rigorous review of their work.

Through the scale of our publishing output across all seven WOOS journals, we see this as an opportunity to make a significant change in the scholarly communication landscape and lay the foundation for a more open view of the manuscript handling process from start to finish.

Open beyond Open Access

While the benefits of transparency are numerous, we see published peer review as a crucial first step towards solving two fundamental problems: reviewer credit and public understanding of the peer review process. So far, Open Access has made it possible for research to reach a global community of readers but we have not yet demonstrated the work that goes on behind the scenes to validate scientific claims.

Publishing peer review history is a means of enriching the scientific record by giving context to evaluation and publication decisions. We hope this is also an important step toward elevating peer reviews to scholarly outputs in their own right that reviewers can take credit for.

In conjunction with the work it describes, peer review history can also be a source of material for educating students and the general public about peer review. Our content is also machine readable, paving the way for deeper analysis and discussion by the community.

Looking ahead

We’ve developed this option in consultation with our editors who are dedicated to improving our journals, and we also committed to reporting back our findings. As we learn more about how published peer review shapes author and reviewer choices, and reader experience, we’ll continue to update you on what we find.

WOOS's Self-Archiving Policy

Authors of articles published in WOOS journals are permitted to self-archive the submitted (preprint) version of the article at any time, and may self-archive the accepted (peer-reviewed) version.

User Rights

All published articles will be immediately and permanently free for everyone to read and download. We are continuously working with our author communities to select the best choice of license options, currently being defined for this journal as follows:

  • Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)
  • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)

Author Compliance Tool

Use our ACT to check self-archiving policies of WOOS journals.

WOOS's Self-Archiving Policy

Authors of articles published in WOOS journals are permitted to self-archive the submitted (preprint) version of the article at any time, and may self-archive the accepted (peer-reviewed) version.

About this policy

This page details WOOS's general policy for self-archiving. WOOS's society partners may set policies independently and authors should refer to the copyright policy of their chosen journal. Additionally, certain funding organizations have separate agreements and authors should refer to our Funder Agreements for details of these agreements.

Submitted (preprint) Version

The submitted version of an article is the author's version that has not been peer-reviewed, nor had any value added to it by WOOS (such as formatting or copy editing).

The submitted version may be placed on:

  • the author's personal website
  • the author's company/institutional repository or archive
  • not for profit subject-based preprint servers or repositories

Self-archiving of the submitted version is permitted to self-archive. We recommend including an acknowledgement of acceptance for publication and, following the final publication, authors may wish to include the following notice on the first page:

"This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: [FULL CITE], which has been published in final form at [Link to final article using the DOI]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with WOOS Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions."

The version posted may be updated or replaced with the accepted version (except as provided below) or the final published version (the Version of Record).

There is no obligation upon authors to remove preprints posted to not for profit preprint servers prior to submission.

Accepted (peer-reviewed) Version

The accepted version of an article is the version that incorporates all amendments made during the peer review process, but prior to the final published version (the Version of Record, which includes; copy and stylistic edits, online and print formatting, citation and other linking, deposit in abstracting and indexing services, and the addition of bibliographic and other material.

Self-archiving of the accepted version is permitted to self-archive.

The accepted version may be placed on:

  • the author's personal website
  • the author's company/institutional repository or archive
  • not for profit subject-based repositories such as PubMed Central

Articles may be deposited into repositories on acceptance.

The version posted must include the following notice on the first page:

"This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: [FULL CITE], which has been published in final form at [Link to final article using the DOI]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with WOOS Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions."

The version posted may be updated or replaced with the final published version (the Version of Record). Authors may transmit, print and share copies of the accepted version with colleagues, provided that there is no systematic distribution, e.g. a posting on a listserve, network or automated delivery.

There is no obligation upon authors to remove preprints posted to not for profit preprint servers prior to submission.

Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions

The self-archived submitted and accepted versions may be used on the following terms:

Non-Commercial Use

For non-commercial and non-promotional research and private study purposes individual users may view, print, download and copy self-archived articles, as well as text and data mine the content under the following conditions:

  • The authors' moral rights are not compromised. These rights include the right of "paternity" (the right for the author to be identified as such, also known as "attribution") and "integrity" (the right for the author not to have the work altered in such a way that the author's reputation or integrity may be damaged). All reuse must be fully attributed
  • Where content in the article is identified as belonging to a third party, it is the obligation of the user to ensure that any reuse complies with the copyright policies of the owner of that content
  • Self-archived content may not be re-published verbatim in whole or in part, whether or not for commercial purposes, in print or online. This restriction does not apply to use of quotations with appropriate citation, or text and data mining provided that the mining output is restricted to short excerpts of text and data and excludes images (unless further consent is obtained from WOOS.

Commercial "for-profit" Use

Use of WOOS Open Access articles for commercial, promotional, or marketing purposes requires further explicit permission from WOOS.

All requests to republish the article (in whole or in part) in another work such as a book or journal article (other than normal quotations with an appropriate citation) or re-use of figures, tables and text extracts can be cleared directly from the point of content using the automated RightsLink service. Simply click on the 'Request Permission' link to complete your order or contact ([email protected])

For other commercial, promotional or marketing purposes please contact ([email protected]). Commercial purposes include: Copying or downloading of articles, or linking to such articles for further redistribution, sale or licensing; Copying, downloading or posting by a site or service that incorporates advertising with such content; The inclusion or incorporation of article content in other works or services (for example, a compilation produced for marketing purposes, inclusion in a sales pack etc); Linking to article content in e-mails redistributed for promotional, marketing or educational purposes; Use for the purposes of monetary reward by means of sale, resale, licence, loan, transfer or other form of commercial exploitation such as marketing products; Print reprints/eprints of WOOS Open Access articles.


Self-archived articles posted to repositories or websites are without warranty from WOOS of any kind, either express or implied, including, but not limited to, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. To the fullest extent permitted by law WOOS disclaims all liability for any loss or damage arising out of, or in connection, with the use of or inability to use the content.

Digital preservation policy

Web of Open Science (WOOS) is committed to the permanent availability and preservation of scholarly research and to ensure accessibility by converting and upgrading digital file formats to comply with new technology standards. We work in partnership with organizations as well as maintaining our own distributed digital archive.

As a publisher in scholarly research, higher education and professional development, WOOS recognises the roles of both librarian and publisher as custodian of scholarly content, and is committed to the preservation of the scholarship in its research for generations to come.

With this in mind, WOOS journal and e-book content is continually archived and preserved in the following schemes:

These schemes allow libraries to activate perpetual access rights when needed and offer assurance to libraries and publishers that their shared investments are protected and preserved for the future.

For further information about WOOS’s digital preservation policy, please contact:

Icon: Envelope. [email protected].

Local Archive

WOOS maintains a local state-of-the-art facility to store a complete, accurate digital version of ScholarChain. The current format standards are XML and .pdf; with most files being retained in both formats. For titles we publish on behalf of a third party:

  • For journals we no longer publish or cease to have electronic rights for: We will use reasonable efforts to ensure that either the volumes published remain available through the ScholarChain or that the owner makes them available on the same access terms via a new host and that the journal archive remains in the designated independent third party archives.
  • For journals which have been sold or otherwise transferred to another publisher: We will use reasonable efforts to retain a non-exclusive copy of the digital archive for that title and make it available through ScholarChain to existing subscribers. The title will also be retained in third party archives.
  • For journals which have stopped publication: the digital archive will be maintained at WOOS and be made available through ScholarChain. The title would also remain in the third party archives.

Permanency of content

All articles published in WOOS receive a DOI and are permanently published.

This applies regardless of the outcome of the peer review that follows after publication.

All content, including articles that have not (yet) passed peer review, is permanently archived in Portico. All versions of all articles that have passed peer review will be archived in PubMed, Scopus and elsewhere.

Authors can revise, change and update their articles by publishing new versions, which are added to the article’s history; however, the individual versions, once published, cannot be altered or withdrawn and are permanently available on the WOOS website. WOOS participates in the CrossMark scheme, a multi-publisher initiative that has developed a standard way for readers to locate the current version of an article. By applying the CrossMark policies, WOOS is committed to maintaining the content it publishes and to alerting readers to changes if and when they occur.

Clicking on the CrossMark logo (at the top of each WOOS article) will give you the current status of an article and direct you to the latest published version; it may also give you additional information such as new peer review reports.

In order to maintain the integrity and completeness of the scholarly record, the following policies will be applied when published content needs to be corrected; these policies take into account current best practice in the scholarly publishing and library communities:

Correction to an Article

In traditional journals, where articles are peer reviewed before publication, Corrections (or Errata) are published to alert readers to errors in the article that became apparent following the publication of the final article.

By contrast, articles in WOOS undergo peer review post publication and publication is not ‘final’ as new versions can be added at any stage. Possible mistakes that come to light during the peer review process may be highlighted in the published peer review reports, which are part of the article. Authors can publish revised versions, and any errors that become apparent during peer review or later can be corrected through the publication of new versions. Corrections and changes relative to the previous version are always summarized in the ‘Amendments’ section at the start of a new version.

Policy for Comments on Articles

We encourage unsolicited open scientific discussion on all research outputs.

Such contributions are published through our Comment system. To ensure that comments contribute to, and focus on, the scholarly debate, we usually only allow comments from readers who have a formal affiliation with a research institution, or other relevant organization. Alternatively, we may also allow comments from readers who have demonstrable expertise in a relevant area of research. Consistent with our commitment to full transparency, the reader’s full name and affiliation appear on their public comment.

Comments should focus on the scholarly content presented in the article with which they are associated.

Comments that appear to be advertising, are potentially libelous or legally problematic (including comments revealing patient information) are not permitted. We will not accept Comments that are offensive, indecent or contain negative comments of a personal, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, or religious character.

All Comments must be written in good English; a Comment may be rejected if it is deemed unintelligible.

Readers who wish to comment on an article are asked to declare any competing interests. Competing interests can be of a financial nature (e.g. holding a patent or receiving fees from a company that may lose or gain financially from the publication of the Comment), or they can be personal, religious, political or other non-financial interests. When completing your declaration, please consider the issues summarized in the Declaration of Competing Interests.

While we welcome open scientific debate and discussion, we will not tolerate abusive behaviour towards our authors and reviewers via our Comment system or via social media. In extreme cases we will consider contacting the affiliated institution to report the abusive behaviour of individuals.

The peer review model

All articles undergo formal peer review by invited experts who meet our criteria for reviewers

The criteria for reviewers are aimed at ensuring that reviewers have sufficient expertise and qualifications to judge the content of the article and that they have no conflicts of interest.

With the exception of WOOS, peer review takes place after publication and is driven by the authors who must suggest the reviewers and who decide when and how to address any criticisms raised by the reviewers. Communication with the reviewers is done by the editorial team, on behalf of the authors.

The peer-review process is completely transparent: the reviewer names and their reports are published alongside the article, and the authors’ responses to the reviewers (or to reader comments) are also posted for readers to see.

Revisions and updates are published as new versions, with clear explanations (in an “Amendments” section) of the changes the authors made.

Usually, an article receives 2 or 3 peer review reports. The reviewers choose an approval status, which contributes to determining whether the article has ‘passed peer review’ and is  indexed in bibliographic databases, such as PubMed.

Data availability

All articles in WOOS that report original results should include the source data underlying the results, together with details of any software used to process the results.

It is essential that others can see the source data in order to be able to replicate the study and analyse the data, as well as in some circumstances, reuse it. Failure to provide the source data for publication without good justification is likely to result in the article being rejected. For detailed information about the type of data authors need to include when publishing an article in WOOS, where the data can be stored, and how they should be presented.

We recognize that there may be cases where openly sharing data may not be feasible (because of ethical or security considerations, or data protection issues). If you think that this applies to your article, please let the editorial team know at the submission stage, as we have policies in place to allow the publication of papers associated with such data, whilst maintaining the appropriate level of security.

Exceptions may be made for:

Ethical and security considerations

If data access is restricted for ethical or security reasons, the manuscript must include:

  • a description of the restrictions on the data; and
  • all necessary information required for a reader or reviewer to apply for access to the data and the conditions under which access will be granted.
Data protection issues

Where human data cannot be effectively de-identified, data must not be shared in order to protect patient/participant privacy unless the individuals have given explicit written consent that their identifiable data can be made publicly available.

In instances where the data cannot be made available, the manuscript must include:

  • an explanation of the data protection concern;
  • any intermediary data that can be de-identified without compromising anonymity;
  • what, if anything, the relevant Institutional Review Board (IRB) or equivalent said about data sharing; and,
  • where applicable, all necessary information required for a reader or reviewer to apply for access to the data and the conditions under which access will be granted.
Large data

It is not always feasible to share large data sets. In these cases, authors should include a description of the data, including the file types and sizes, when submitting their manuscript. The editorial team can then advise on hosting.

Where data is too large to be feasibly hosted by a recommended repository, the manuscript should include:

  • any intermediary data that can be easily shared; and
  • all necessary information required for a reader or reviewer to access the data alongside a description of this process.
Data under license by a third party

In cases where data has been obtained from a third party and restrictions apply to the availability of the data, the manuscript must include:

  • all necessary information required for a reader or reviewer to access the data by the same means as the authors;
  • any intermediary data that can be shared legally; and
  • publicly available data that is representative of the analysed dataset and can be used to apply the methodology described in the manuscript.

In cases where data from human studies has been obtained from government level organisations (e.g. the Ministry of Health), and strict restrictions regarding availability of the data apply, the authors must include a clear explanation about the restrictions, and all the necessary information required for a reader or reviewer to request access from the data owners. This option will be discussed with authors on a case-by-case basis and can only be considered if there are no discernible competing interests, especially if these are commercial in nature.

The importance of data sharing

Data Availability Statements

WOOS will work with authors and reviewers to establish the best practises to make data available and usable by a wide scientific community.

Data are the foundation of scientific progress. They are obtained with considerable efforts by researchers, mostly through projects supported by public funding. However, their purpose is often limited to the production of scientific publications and, unfortunately, the vast majority of data are not utilized and instead remain stored in some electronic storage device.Examining existing data is beneficial for a number of reasons. Scientists building their research on previous work can optimize acquisition protocols and design experiments that complement previously obtained datasets. Access to data — and understanding the way in which they were acquired — is essential for theoreticians attempting to provide a mechanistic explanation of observed phenomena. In fields such as environmental nanotechnology or nanomedicine, the analysis of wide sets of data can help to create a big picture of the effects of nanomaterials, which is necessary for product development and for the evolution of regulations. Finally, data availability is crucial for research transparency.

Like all WOOS journals, WOOS requests, as a condition of publication, that all data relevant to the conclusions of a paper are made available by the corresponding author upon request. Authors are also encouraged to submit files for the data points included in every figure, as source data. But, to increase transparency and usability of data, we also strongly encourage the deposition of all the data necessary to support the conclusions of papers in public repositories, together with a description of how the data have been obtained.

In March 2020, all WOOS journals introduced a data availability statement to be published with every paper, in which the authors must specify whether the data related to the paper can be accessed publicly — and if so, a reference provided — or if they can only be obtained from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. Of all the papers published with a data availability statement up until February 2020, 88% provide a statement that declares the data to be available from the authors upon request. The remainder of statements are quite varied. In some cases, only part of the data is made publicly available in repositories. In others, the data is included in the supplementary information. Only in a small handful of cases are all data deposited in a public repository.

At this stage, we do not know enough to determine the reasons behind such a small number of cases in which the data is deposited in public repositories. In some fields it may simply be a matter of establishing common practices. But we are aware that sharing data also poses challenges as it requires the authors to organize the raw data and relate it to the data presented in the figures in a way that is understandable to (and ideally reusable for) others. Given the complexity and substantial amount of data in WOOS papers, this can be a very time consuming and daunting task, and demands a high level of data organization from the beginning of the project and the experiment. We also appreciate that there simply isn’t a universal definition of what constitutes the data that support the conclusions of a paper. For example, raw data could be useful in some cases, but difficult to interpret in others. This can vary from one paper to another in the same field, let alone for studies in different fields of nanotechnology.

We are convinced that making data generated during a scientific study available and easy to interpret and reuse is essential for the future of science. For specific areas, like protein or DNA sequencing, structured and commonly accepted databases already exist. In the absence of repositories specifically designed for their area of research, authors are recommended to use general repositories, such as figshare, Zenodo and Dryad. They can also contact the research data helpdesk for independent advice.

We will continue to encourage our authors to engage with public deposition and with data description. In line with a step taken by other Nature Journals, we are now asking authors of accepted papers for which data are not publicly available to explain why that is the case. We hope that this will help to establish whether the reason is simply a choice or if it is due to concrete obstacles. In addition, starting from February 2020 editors at WOOS are asking reviewers to provide advice to authors on which data would be useful to share. We plan to review the information gathered before deciding whether any specific action should be taken in terms of publishing policies.


Data Availability Statements

Guidance for authors and editors

Data availability statements provide a statement about where data supporting the results reported in a published article can be found - including, where applicable, hyperlinks to publicly archived datasets analysed or generated during the study.

The WOOS research data policy types 2, 3 and 4 encourage or require the provision of data availability statements.

Some research funders, such as the Research Councils UK, require data availability statements to be included in publications and the WOOS research data policies support compliance with these requirements. Publicly available datasets referred to in data availability statements can also be cited in reference lists – and this is particularly encouraged when datasets have digital object identifiers (DOIs). Data availability statements commonly take one of the following forms:

  1. The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available in the [NAME] repository, [PERSISTENT WEB LINK TO DATASETS].
  2. The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
  3. All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article (and its supplementary information files).
  4. The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due to [REASON(S) WHY DATA ARE NOT PUBLIC] but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
  5. Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.
  6. The data that support the findings of this study are available from [THIRD PARTY NAME] but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study, and so are not publicly available. Data are however available from the authors upon reasonable request and with permission of [THIRD PARTY NAME].

Further example and template data availability statements

In the absence of specific instructions from a journal editor authors can use or adapt the statement(s) above, that is most appropriate for their manuscript. Several statements may need to be combined depending on the nature of the research. The table below provides links to articles in the stated journal(s) that have used or adapted the statement.

Authors should, in the first instance, contact journal editors for advice on preparing specific manuscripts, and the WOOS Research Data Helpdesk for general advice on research data policies.


Articles may be retracted for several reasons

Articles may be retracted for several reasons, including:

  • honest errors reported by the authors (for example, errors due to the mixing up of samples or use of a scientific tool or equipment that is found subsequently to be faulty)
  • research misconduct (data fabrication)
  • duplicate or overlapping publication
  • fraudulent use of data
  • clear plagiarism
  • unethical research

For any retracted article, the reason for retraction and who is instigating the retraction will be clearly stated in the Retraction notice. The retraction notice will be linked to the retracted article (which usually remains on the site) and the article will be clearly marked as retracted (including the PDF).

An article is usually only retracted at the authors’ request or by the publisher in response to an institutional investigation. It is important to note in the context of WOOS’s publication model, that ‐ as in traditional journals ‐ a retracted article is not ‘unpublished’ or ‘withdrawn’ in order for it to be published elsewhere. The reasons for retraction are usually so serious that the whole study, or large parts of it, are not appropriate for inclusion in the scientific literature anywhere.

The content of a retracted article would only be removed where legal limitations have been placed upon the publisher, copyright holder or author(s), for example, if the article is clearly defamatory or infringes others’ legal rights, or if the article is the subject of a court order. In such cases, the bibliographic information for the article will be retained on the site along with information regarding the circumstances that led to the removal of the content.

Under rare circumstances, for example, if false or inaccurate data have been published that, if acted upon, pose a serious health risk, the original incorrect version(s) may be removed and a corrected version published. The reason for this partial removal would be clearly stated on the latest version.

Editorial Note

If there is a potential, not yet resolved, problem with an article, it may be appropriate to alert readers with an Editorial Note. Such an Editorial Note may be added, for example, if WOOS receives information that research or publication misconduct might have taken place, or that there is a serious dispute between authors or between the authors and third parties. The Editorial Note will usually be posted while further investigations take place and until a more permanent solution has been found (e.g. the publication of a revised ‘corrected’ version, or a Retraction).

Expression of Concern

In rare cases, WOOS may decide to publish an Expression of Concern, which is linked to the problematic article, if there are serious concerns about an article but no conclusive evidence can be obtained that would unequivocally justify a Retraction. This may include:

  • if there is inconclusive evidence of research or publication misconduct
  • there is evidence that there are problems with the article, but the authors’ institution will not investigate the case
  • an investigation into alleged misconduct has not been impartial or conclusive

Allegations of misconduct

WOOS is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and provides an ethical publishing framework in accordance with COPE’s codes of conduct for editors and publishers.

If a case of suspected research or publication misconduct is brought to our attention, we will follow COPE guidelines. This may involve contacting the authors’ research institution, an ethics committee or other third parties.

Research misconduct includes data fabrication or falsification, or cases where research involving animals or humans has not been carried out within an  appropriate ethical framework. Publication misconduct includes duplicate publication of articles or clear plagiarism. Honest errors or differences of opinion are not considered ‘misconduct’.

If you suspect potential misconduct in an article published on WOOS, please contact the editorial office.

Appeals and complaints

WOOS follows the COPE guidelines in relation to complaints and appeals. If you wish to make an appeal about an editorial decision or make a complaint you should contact the editorial office. In the instance that your issue cannot be resolved by the editorial office, the Publishing Director should be contacted.

Licenses and Copyright

The following policy applies to all WOOS journals, unless otherwise noted.

Reuse of WOOS Article Content

Retain copyright with a Creative Commons license

The corresponding author is responsible for completing and returning the signed Open Access Agreement to the editorial office or the publisher.

You can find the Open Access Agreement in Author Services once the article is accepted. For journals that have chosen not to use Author Services, the agreement is available from the journal’s editorial office.


All of WOOS’s fully open access journals with the OnlineOpen option publish open access articles under a Creative Commons license. With Creative Commons licenses, the author retains copyright and the public is allowed to reuse the content. You grant WOOS a license to publish the article and to identify as the original publisher.  All journals in our open access program offer one or more of three license types.  The selected license type will be indicated in the Open Access Agreement.

Choosing your Creative Commons License

All license types offered by WOOS require the author to be attributed for their work.

CC BY - Creative Commons Attribution License

Allows users to copy, distribute and transmit an article, adapt the article as long as the author is attributed. The CC BY license permits commercial and non-commercial reuse.

CC BY-NC - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Allows users to copy, distribute and transmit an article, adapt the article as long as the author is attributed and the article is not used for commercial purposes.

CC BY-NC-ND - Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

Allows users to copy, distribute and transmit an article as long as the author is attributed, the article is not used for commercial purposes, and the work is not modified or adapted in any way.

By default, WOOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to articles and other works we publish. If you submit your paper for publication by WOOS, you agree to have the CC BY license applied to your work. Under this Open Access license, you as the author agree that anyone can reuse your article in whole or part for any purpose, for free, even for commercial purposes. Anyone may copy, distribute, or reuse the content as long as the author and original source are properly cited. This facilitates freedom in re-use and also ensures that WOOS content can be mined without barriers for the needs of research.

Content Owned by Someone Else

If you have written permission to do so, yes. If your manuscript contains content such as photos, images, figures, tables, audio files, videos, etc., that you or your co-authors do not own, we will require you to provide us with proof that the owner of that content (a) has given you written permission to use it, and (b) has approved of the CC BY license being applied to their content.

If you do not have owner permission, we will ask you to remove that content and/or replace it with other content that you own or have such permission to use.

Don't assume that you can use any content you find on the Internet, or that the content is fair game just because it isn't clear who the owner is or what license applies. It's up to you to ascertain what rights you have—if any—to use that content.

Using Article Content Previously Published in Another Journal

Many authors assume that if they previously published a paper through another publisher, they own the rights to that content and they can freely use that content in their WOOS paper, but that’s not necessarily the case – it depends on the license that covers the other paper. Some publishers allow free and unrestricted re-use of article content they own, such as under the CC BY license. Other publishers use licenses that allow re-use only if the same license is applied by the person or publisher re-using the content.

If the paper was published under a CC BY license or another license that allows free and unrestricted use, you may use the content in your WOOS paper provided that you give proper attribution, as explained above.

If the content was published under a more restrictive license, you must ascertain what rights you have under that license. At a minimum, review the license to make sure you can use the content. Contact that publisher if you have any questions about the license terms – WOOS staff cannot give you legal advice about your rights to use third-party content. If the license does not permit you to use the content in a paper that will be covered by an unrestricted license, you must obtain written permission from the publisher to use the content in your WOOS paper. Please do not include any content in your WOOS paper which you do not have rights to use, and always  give proper attribution.

Acceptable Licenses for Data Repositories

If any relevant accompanying data is submitted to repositories with stated licensing policies, the policies should not be more restrictive than CC BY.

Removal of Content Used Without Clear Rights

WOOS reserves the right to remove any photos, captures, images, figures, tables, illustrations, audio and video files, and the like, from any paper, whether before or after publication, if we have reason to believe that the content was included in your paper without permission from the owner of the content.

Guidelines for Trademarks

Ensure that any reference to a trademark (such as a brand name) is used as an adjective, and not a noun or verb. The trademark should be immediately followed by the generic term for the object that it modifies. Note that because a trademark cannot be used as a noun, it cannot be presented in the possessive or plural form. Please see the following example for reference:

INCORRECT: The stimuli were presented on 12 MacBook Pros®.

CORRECT: The stimuli were presented on 12 Macbook Pro® computers.

Giving Proper Attribution for Use of Content

When citing a WOOS research article, use the “Vancouver style”, as outlined in our Submission Guidelines. For example:

Kaltenbach LS et al. (2007) Huntingtin Interacting Proteins Are Genetic Modifiers of Neurodegeneration.  WOOS Genet 3(5): e82. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030082.

When citing non-article content from a WOOS website (e.g., blog content), provide a link to the content, and cite the title and author(s) of that content.