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Publication ethics

The British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery takes a rigorous approach to publication ethics. As a scholarly organisation and publisher of stringently peer reviewed work, we are committed to upholding the integrity of that work.

Academic publishing is dependent on the ethical approach of all involved, including authors, peer reviewers, journal editors, and the publisher. As publisher of Bone & Joint Open, we are committed to maintaining the editorial independence and transparency of the journal, its authors and editors, and supporting ethical publication practices.

The ethical duties of the key groups involved in the submission, review, and potential publication process are outlined below; please note that these points are not exhaustive.

The ethical duties of authors:

  • All work should be original and unpublished elsewhere.
  • Plagiarism is entirely unacceptable.
  • An accurate account of the work must be given, along with an objective discussion of the work and its findings.
  • Data should be represented accurately and authors should be prepared to provide public access to the data.

Authors must be transparent throughout the process. If an author is not sure whether his/her paper is original, he/she should inform the journal’s editor. If the editor decides it is appropriate to publish, the paper itself should clearly state any potential overlap.

Sources and influences must be acknowledged. Privately-obtained information must not be used without the explicit permission of those involved.

The research ethics guidelines of your field must be adhered to, particularly where human or animal subjects are involved.

All co-authors must be listed and acknowledged as contributors. All co-authors must view and approve submission of a work to Bone & Joint Open. A declaration of any conflicts of interest must be given for each co-author.

The ethical duties of peer reviewers:

  • The process must remain blinded and confidential.
  • The journal editor must be alerted immediately should a reviewer become aware of any potential competing interest that could impinge their impartiality as reviewer.
  • All papers must be treated impartially.

The ethical duties of journal editors:

The editor (in conjunction with the editorial board as required) must select papers to be published in the journal based on the ethical validity of the work and a paper’s importance to the readership.

Content must be evaluated on its research merits alone, with no regard to the race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, religious, or philosophical beliefs of the author/co-authors.

For further in-depth guidance, please see the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) website.

Data Sharing and Mining

Open data policy:

At Bone & Joint Publishing, we are intent on providing accessibility to our content in order to be easily verified for Bone & Joint Open. To do this, it is essential that authors provide access to the data, code, and research materials used for each article. To make data sharing easy and accessible, authors can deposit their data to an external repository, which should be appropriately cited.

Editors may approve the withholding of data where deemed appropriate, particularly in cases where human subject data is involved.

TDM crawlers:

  • Regular Rate: the crawl is (not to exceed) 1 request every 6 seconds.

  • Monday through Friday: From Midnight to Noon in the "America/Los_Angeles" timezone.

  • Fast Rate: the crawl is (not to exceed) 1 request every 2 seconds.

  • Monday through Friday: From Noon - Midnight in the "America/Los_Angeles" timezone.

  • Saturday through Sunday: All day

Data reporting guidelines:

All studies should be carried out in accordance with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki.

The EQUATOR Network (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research) is an international initiative that seeks to improve the reliability and value of published health research literature. Reporting guidelines promote clear reporting of methods and results to allow critical appraisal of the manuscript.

All research articles should be written in accordance with the relevant research reporting guideline, this will ensure that you provide enough information for editors, peer reviewers, and readers to understand how the research was performed, and to judge whether the findings are likely to be reliable.

Reporting guidelines should be submitted with research articles as supplemental materials; checklists should list which page of your research article each checklist item appears:

  • Randomized controlled trials (RCTs): CONSORT guidelines, flowchart, and structured abstract checklist.
  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses: PRISMA guidelines, flowchart, and structured abstract checklist.
  • In vivo experiments: ARRIVE guidelines and checklist.

Intellectual Property

Copyright and licensing:

All articles published by Bone & Joint Open are made freely and permanently available online without subscription charges. Authors retain the copyright of their work, but agree to license their work according to a Creative Commons Attribution License. See https://boneandjoint.org.uk/journal/bjo/licensing for details of the article processing charge (APC).

Bone & Joint Open confirms compliance with the UK Wellcome Trust’s revised requirements, including publication under a CC-BY licence.


Permission to reproduce any material or illustrations which have been previously published must be obtained from the author and the publisher, and written evidence of this must accompany the submitted article.


All papers published in Bone & Joint Open are run through ithenticate plagiarism software.

Plagiarism is defined as presenting or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization, and the representation of that author's work as one's own, by not crediting the original author.

Conflict of Interest:

A conflict of interest statement is required for every article which is accepted for publication. This statement will have no bearing on the decision to publish, or not to publish. Bone & Joint Open will publish in each article a summary of the information collected in the author(s)' ICMJE Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest documents. These are retained by the journal, and can be made available upon request.

Complaints Procedure

This procedure applies to complaints about the publishing policies, procedures and actions of publishing and editorial staff and the editor-in-chief of Bone & Joint Open.

We define a complaint as:

  • anything defined as a complaint by the complainant
  • anything we believe goes beyond an expression of disagreement with a decision and identifies a perceived failure of process or severe misjudgement.

The complaint must relate to content or a procedure that was the responsibility of the BJO or our editor.

Registering a complaint:

Complaints may be made by phone, email, or letter. Our preference is by email as it provides the most reliable audit trail. The complaint should be directed initially to the person the complainant is already in contact with over the relevant matter. If that is not appropriate please email the Director of Publishing.

Whenever possible complaints will be dealt with by the person to whom they are made. Where that is not possible or appropriate, the complaint will be referred to the most appropriate person.

All complaints will be acknowledged immediately if made on the telephone or within three working days of receipt if made by email or post.

If possible a definitive response will be made within two weeks. If this is not possible an interim response will be given within two weeks. Interim responses will be provided until the complaint is resolved.

If the complainant is unhappy with the initial response they can ask for the complaint to be escalated to the relevant manager.

External bodies:

If a complainant remains unhappy after a reply considered definitive by the Editor-in-Chief or publisher, the complainant may complain to an external body, when that body has relevant oversight.

Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE):

COPE publishes a code of practice for editors of scientific, technical, and medical journals. It will consider complaints against editors but only once a journal's own complaints procedures have been exhausted.

Post-Publication Corrections

If authors or readers identify any post-publication correction within Bone & Joint Open, this should be emailed to Bone & Joint Publishing in the first instance.


We will consider issuing an errata online if:

  • A small portion of an otherwise reliable paper includes an honest error.
  • The author list is incorrect (e.g. an author has been omitted). However, any change to authorship after peer review needs to be formally requested with a letter to the Editor-in-Chief. Please state the change required and ensure all authors have signed the letter.


We will consider issuing an corrigenda online if:

  • We, as the publisher, have made an honest error after a paper has been approved for publication by the author.


We will consider retracting a Bone & Joint Open paper if:

  • There is clear evidence that the findings are inaccurate.
  • The findings have previously been published elsewhere, without permission or referencing.
  • The work reports unethical research.
  • The work constitutes plagiarism.

Letter to the Editor:

If readers would like to provide feedback on an article published in Bone & Joint Open, click here to download a Letter to the Editor template.