An author's primary obligation is to present a concise, accurate account of the research performed, as well as an objective discussion of its significance.
A paper should contain sufficient detail and references to public sources of information to permit the author's peers to replicate the work.
A paper should be as concise as possible but not at the expense of scientific accuracy and completeness. To promote scientific conciseness and completeness at the same time, the inclusion of a comprehensive abstract is encouraged.
Papers have to be written in German, French, Italian, or English, and authors should pay attention to correct spelling and grammar.
An author should cite those publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work and that will quickly guide the reader to the initial work essential for understanding the present investigation. Information obtained privately, as in conversation, correspondence, or discussion with third parties, should not be used or reported in the author's work without explicit permission from the investigator with whom the information originated. Information obtained in the course of confidential services, such as refereeing manuscripts or grant applications, should be treated similarly.
Fragmentation of research papers should be avoided. A scientist who has done extensive work on a system or group of related systems should organize publication so that each paper gives a complete account of a particular aspect of the general study.
It is inappropriate for an author to submit manuscripts describing essentially the same research to more than one journal of primary publication.
A criticism of a published paper may sometimes be justified; however, in no case is personal criticism considered to be appropriate.
To protect the integrity of authorship, only persons who have significantly contributed to the research and paper preparation should be listed as authors. Thereby, no fictitious names are allowed to be listed as authors or co-authors. The corresponding author attests to the fact that any others named as authors have seen the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication. Deceased persons who meet the criterion for co-authorship should be included, with a footnote reporting date of death. The author who submits a manuscript for publication accepts the responsibility of having included as co-authors all persons that are appropriate and none that are inappropriate. The section 'Author contribution' at the end of the manuscript must state clearly the role of each author and co-author.
Authors who are not themselves professional scientists, but have contributed significantly to either the research design, delivery, analysis, fieldwork, or field trip organization (e.g. citizen scientists, indigenous communities) can also be listed as co-authors. Please note that in the case of any citizen science (or other such) project where there are a large number of potential co-authors, the name of a specific group or collective is permitted, provided that they themselves aided significantly in the research that is presented.
An author should declare any potential conflicts of interest in a special section prior to the acknowledgements. Please see our competing interests policy.
An author might receive suggestions for the inclusion of additional literature from referees. Such suggested literature should be relevant and well reasoned in the review. It should be balanced regarding authors, journals, working groups, and institutions. Editors are asked to monitor this and inform authors accordingly. Authors should critically review such suggestions and do not have to follow them.
The same critical review should be applied when receiving suggestions for the inclusion of additional literature from the handling editor.