Ethics for authors: A pre-peer review checklist

By Sam Perkins

About to submit a research article? Here’s a list of the ethics-related requirements for your manuscript.

Including this information at submission stage is important for maintaining a transparent and well-managed peer review process.

This checklist is based on information from SAGE’s online journal resources. Our policies and guidelines are based on the guidance and recommendations of organisations and committees such as COPE and the ICMJE.

1.       Authorship

·       Ensure that all authors meet the journal’s authorship criteria and all contributors agree to the author list

·       All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in the Acknowledgments section (NB acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of a research group alone does not constitute authorship)

·       The listed corresponding author will be expected to:

o   Sign the publishing agreement on behalf of all authors

o   Have their contact details included in the article

o   Take responsibility for any future communication regarding the published article

·       We encourage all authors and co-authors to link their ORCIDs to their accounts in our online peer review platforms. An ORCID enables your work to be attributable to you and only you.


2.       Blinding

Is the journal double blind (check the Manuscript Submission Guidelines for specific journal requirements)? If so, ensure your manuscript files are fully blinded and all author information and any other potentially identifiable items (i.e. grant number) have been included within a separate title page.


3.       Plagiarism and prior publication

·       Adhere to journal fair dealing and plagiarism/copyright infringement policies

·       Ensure that your own work, as well as others, is cited appropriately

·       Where necessary, ensure permission has been granted for the re-use of any previously published material

·       Disclose any prior publication or distribution of your manuscript to the Editor in your cover letter.


4.       Ethics and consent statements

Are statements on ethics approval and informed consent present?


5.       Data sharing and accessibility

·       Check the Manuscript Submission Guidelines for the journal's approach to, and requirements on, data sharing

·       Is a Data Accessibility Statement required? If so, is it present?

·       Research data should be submitted to discipline-specific, community-recognised repositories where possible, or to general-purpose repositories, if no suitable community resource is available. Authors can use FAIRsharing and to search for a suitable repository.


6.       Image integrity

Figures should be minimally processed and should reflect the integrity of the original data in the image.


Ensure that:

·       Any adjustments to image date are disclosed in the figure legend

·       You list all tools and software used to collect image data

·       The settings and manipulations are documented in the Methods section

·       You are able to supply raw image data upon request.


7.       Conflict of interest (COI) statement

Is a conflict of interest statement in place? If no conflict exists, please state that 'The Author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest'.


8.       Funding statement

·       All research articles should include a funding statement

·       Example: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Medical Research Council [grant number xxx]

·       If no funding exists, please state that ‘The author(s) received no specific funding for this work’.


Further Reading

Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)

International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (ISMTE)

International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)

AMA Manual of Style

APA Style