Where am I? > Home > Publication ethics and malpractice statement

Publication ethics and malpractice statement

Historia naturalis bulgarica journal endorses the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) core practices and guidelines and will act following them. For further information about COPE please see https://publicationethics.org. COPE Core Practices are available at https://publicationethics.org/core-practices; COPE Guidelines at https://publicationethics.org/guidance/Guidelines.

Submission, editorial process

The process is facilitated by our own electronic manuscript management system, generating e-mail messages, which include step-by-step description and list all the necessary instructions and links. After the particular manuscript is accepted electronically and entered into the system, the process involves assigning a subject editor (on a voluntary basis). Check the Subject editor’s responsibility below.

Please note that personal information stored on Historia naturalis bulgarica’s site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of the journal and will not be made available to any other party.

— Peer review

The manuscripts will be subjected to peer review before acceptance by at least two peers qualified to evaluate them. We are using the traditional method — single-blind peer review (i.e. reviewers know the identity of authors, but authors don’t know the identity of reviewers). The vast majority of reviewers are external, but members of the editorial board may also act as reviewers. The factors considered in review are: originality, significance, relevance, readability, language. The last word for decisions lies with the manuscript’s subject editor assigned. Any appeals should be directed to the editor-in-chief. The possible decisions are: [1] accept, [2] accept with minor revision, [3] major revision (not acceptable in its current state) and [4] reject. Please note that reviews are not available publicly and are used for editorial purposes only.

— Authorship, contributorship and author’s responsibility

Anyone listed as an author on the title page of an article is expected to have made a significant, direct, intellectual contribution to it. Unless text somewhere in the article expressly assigns responsibility for different parts to different authors, authors whose names appear on the title page share responsibility for the entire article.

To recognise an individual author’s contribution within a publication, during manuscript submission, the submitting author is encouraged to indicate the contributor role for each of the co-authors (see examples at CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy)) as a free text. Once published the article will include this for all authors in the article metadata.

The authors must agree that their article will be published in open access and under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0). They must confirm that the manuscripts are their original work, that the manuscript has not previously been published elsewhere, and that it is not currently being considered for publication in another journal. They must submit the manuscript in English and following the Author guidelines. They must notify the subject editor assigned of any conflicts of interest. The corresponding author should provide the declaration of any conflicts of interest on behalf of all authors. They must indicate all sources used in the manuscript’s creation. They should acknowledge all funders of the study and list all competing interests. Other sources of support (e.g. language editing, editorial assistance) should also be clearly mentioned, normally in an acknowledgement.

An author or co-author of a specific manuscript cannot in any case be its subject editor/reviewer at the same time.

Editorial board members are strongly advised to limit the amount of articles they author/co-author. As a rule, research articles authored/co-authored by them should not exceed 20% of the articles published annually. In adopting this practice, the journal is taking extra precaution to avoid conflicts of interest, while ensuring that the editorial decision-making process remains transparent and fair.

— Reviewer’s responsibility

Instead of filling out a standard questionnaire about manuscript parameters, it is better for reviewers to do things that can lead to improvement of the manuscript. They can insert their corrections and comments directly in the manuscript text file or in a separate document. They should check whether the manuscript is scientifically coherent, how interesting it is, and whether the quality of the writing is acceptable. They are not expected to edit the manuscript linguistically, but to pay attention to its scientific base. If reviewers recognise that a manuscript needs linguistic editing, they must inform both the authors and the subject editor. In case of disagreement between the reviews, the subject editors can ask for a third reviewer. They must be polite and constructive; reviews that may be insulting will be revoked. They must keep all information about the articles confidential. They should also report any substantial likeness between the manuscript and any other already published article.

— Subject editor’s responsibility

Subject editors have the main responsibility for the scientific quality of the articles and base their decisions entirely on the article’s importance, originality, and relevance to the journal’s scope. The editor-in-chief can also act as a subject editor. The subject editor is responsible for selecting reviewers. The subject editor makes the final decision to accept the manuscript or not and his/her name is printed as ‘Editor’ in the footer of each paper. Subject editors should ensure that all research material they publish conforms to internationally accepted ethical guidelines. They are expected to correct small errors during the editing process. They are not expected to edit the manuscript linguistically, but to pay attention to its scientific base. They should consider the help of consultants and authors when trying to improve the manuscript. They must act if they suspect misconduct and try to do anything to resolve the problem. They should preserve the anonymity of reviewers, unless the later decide to disclose their identities.

If an editorial board member is an author or co-author of a manuscript, a fellow editorial board member (subject editor) must manage the manuscript, and the author/co-author must recuse himself from discussions and decisions on it.

Animal rights

Animal experiments require full compliance with local, national, ethical and regulatory principles and local licensing agreements. All relevant declarations of compliance (or institutional ethics committee approvals, where available) should be included in the article’s text.

Research participants have the right to decide what will happen to their personal data collected. The participants’ identifying details should not be published unless this is essential for scientific purposes and the participant gave written consent for publication. If applicable, the following statement must be included in the text: ‘Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the research.’

Conflicts of interest

Throughout the duration of the editorial process, the following relations between authors and subject editors are regarded conflict of interest: present colleagues, coauthors, and students for whom the subject editor was chairman of a committee. In the course of the submission, the authors are advised to identify all possible conflicts of interest with subject editors of Historia naturalis bulgarica. After the manuscripts are assigned to a particular subject editor, he/she is required to notify the editor-in-chief for all potential conflicts of interest with the authors. Once the manuscripts are submitted for review, reviewers are advised to notify the subject editor of eventual conflicts which may exist.

Appeal and open debate

The journal encourages academical debate and constructive criticism. Authors should respond to any correspondence from the subject editors prior to publication. They are not allowed to ignore unfavourable remarks about their manuscript and choose not to reply to critical comments. No reviewer’s note may contain a personal attack against any of the authors. Subject editors should edit or delete personal or insulting allegations. Authors must file their appeal for editorial decisions addressed to the editor-in-chief. Authors are not recommended to contact members of the editorial board and subject editors directly with appeals. The subject editors will act as mediators in all discussions between reviewers and authors and the editor-in-chief will do the same in all discussions between subject editors and authors.


Misconduct by researchers may involve: (1) manipulation of research materials, equipment, and/or processes; (2) change or omit data or results so that the study is not precisely presented in the manuscript; (3) plagiarism. The misconduct does not include the so-called honest error (which can be a result of miscalculation or experimental error) or differences of opinion. In case of suspicion of misconduct, the subject editors must act following the COPE Guidelines.

— Plagiarism, duplicate publication

Plagiarism is a case of misconduct, which is the appropriation of other person’s ideas, results or words without giving proper citation. Because plagiarism is a theft of intellectual property all manuscripts submitted to Historia naturalis bulgarica which contain significant non-attributed texts copied from other articles will be rejected. The subject editors can check the manuscripts for possible plagiarism using ‘Antiplagiat’ or similar service. Cases where authors reuse large parts of their own publications without giving a clear reference to the original source are duplication of work. It is also not an acceptable practice for slightly modified published works to be sent to multiple journals.

When there is a case of plagiarism in an already published article or case of duplicate publication, a report will be made in the journal and a retraction procedure will start.

Responses to eventual misconduct

All claims of misconduct must be reported to the editor-in-chief. After an examination, the editor-in-chief and subject editors should give a conclusion if the case presents a possibility of misconduct. All statements must be confidential and written references to the question must be anonymous. If comments on possible misconduct are submitted by subject editors or reviewers, an explanation will be sought personally from the authors. If the issue is not a result of either an error or misunderstanding, the article must be rejected or retracted and the editorial board can impose a ban on that author’s publication in Historia naturalis bulgarica for a definite period of time. In case of published plagiarism or duplicate publication, a notification will be published in both journals. When the allegations refer to authors, the editorial process for their manuscripts will be stopped, an investigation will be done even if they withdraw the manuscript, and application of responses, mentioned below will be considered. When claims concern subject editors or reviewers, they will be immediately replaced. Reviewers or subject editors found to have participated in scientific misconduct will be removed from any further affiliation with Historia naturalis bulgarica.

— Article retraction

An article may be retracted for the following reasons: (1) unreliable data based on clear evidence of a misconduct (deceptive use of the data for example) or honest error; (2) unnecessary publication, such as findings that have previously been published somewhere else without proper cross-referencing, authorisation or justification; (3) plagiarism or any other type of unethical research. Retraction should only occur after a very careful consideration by the subject editors of statements coming from the readers, authors, or subject editors. The PDF document of the retracted article will remain on the site, clearly marked ‘Retracted’. In some cases, especially for legal reasons, the retracted article might be replaced with a corrected version with a link to the original and a retraction notice.

— Expression of concern

Otherwise, the subject editors must consider publishing an expression of concern, if there is evidence of: (1) unconvincing evidence of research misconduct by the authors; (2) unreliable findings, which are unreliable but the institution of the authors is not going to investigate the case; (3) conviction that the investigation into alleged misconduct related to the publication has either not been, or will not be, fair or persuasive; (4) an investigation is ongoing but a decision will not be available soon.

Errata and corrigenda

Minor errors in a published article that do not affect its content can be corrected by publishing of an erratum. This is done by replacing the original PDF document with a corrected one, with detailed description of errors and implemented changes. The original PDF document will be archived and made accessible through a link in this exact section. When significant errors are found in a published article, a corrigenda should be published. Reasons may comprise changes in authorship, inadvertent errors in published research findings, mistakes in labelling of tables or figures, cases where the mistakes affect nomenclatural acts, and others. These must be published as a separate publication.

Last updated: 22 January 2024