Impact Factor and alternative metrics

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The Impact Factor – An introduction

The Impact Factor is considered the number one ranking value for scientific journals and has become a substantial part of any journal development discussion.
Introduced in the late 1950s by Eugene Garfield and published since the 1960s by the Institute for Scientific Information® he established, the yearly Impact Factor developments are now reported in the Clarivate Analytics Journal Citation Reports®.
Impact Factors are a benchmark of a journal's reputation and reflect how frequently peer-reviewed journals are cited by other researchers in a particular year. The Impact Factor helps to evaluate a journal’s relative importance, especially when compared with others in the same field.

Calculation of the Impact Factor

The Impact Factor is basically the average number of citations counted in the Impact Factor year Y for articles published in the previous two years. Citable articles are somewhat loosely defined. In general, they include original research articles and review articles. They may also include editorials, if the editorial contains a lengthy reference list.

Springer's Impact Factor journals by subject

Click on your subject of choice to get a full list of Springer journals with an Impact Factor. In addition to the Impact Factor each journal homepage offers detailed information, such as instructions for authors, a direct link to online submission and sign-up for the Table of Contents Alert.

Alternative journal metrics

A number of journal ranking metrics have emerged over the last years in an effort to broaden the evaluation of scholarly journals. This list is a brief introduction to some of the more popular metrics.

  • 5-year journal Impact Factor: In 2009 Thomson Reuters for the first time released the new 5-year journal Impact Factor in addition to the standard 2-year journal Impact Factor. The 5-year journal Impact Factor is the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past five years have been cited in the JCR (Journal Citation Report; now published by Clarivate Analytics) year. It is calculated by dividing the number of citations in the JCR year by the total number of articles published in the five previous years. The controversy around the Impact Factor tradition has not been able to deter the Impact Factor from rising to the most important quality assessment tool in scientific journal publishing. It has to be noted that the value of the Impact Factor cannot be compared among different scientific disciplines. For instance Microbiology journals have, on average, much higher Impact Factors than Mathematics or Engineering journals. The citation patterns in these disciplines are entirely different, therefore the numerical values of their Impact Factors also differ significantly and comparisons would not yield appropriate results.
  • Eigenfactor: Similar to the 5-Year Journal Impact Factor, but weeds out journal self-citations. The citation frequency as well as the prestige of the journals is taken into account. The type of publication and the citation patterns of different disciplines are not considered. Covers over 12,000 journals worldwide, including Open Access journals and over 150,000 conference proceedings.The Eigenfactor only uses data from journals indexed by Clarivate Analytics. Learn more about the Eigenfactor.
  • Google Scholar Metrics: Google Scholar Metrics summarize recent citations to many publications. You can browse the top 100 publications in several languages, ordered by their five-year h-index and h-median metrics.Scholar Metrics currently cover articles published between 2007 and 2011 (both years included). More information about Google Scholar Metrics.
  • SJR - SCImago Journal & Country Rank:  It includes the journals and country specific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus® database from 1996. This metric doesn't consider all citations of equal weight; the prestige of the citing journal is taken into account.In general, self-citations are not included in the calculation. More information about SJR.
  • SNIP - Source-Normalized Impact per Paper: SNIP measures a source’s contextual citation impact by weighing citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field. It helps to make a direct comparison of sources in different subject fields.SNIP especially considers the frequency at which authors cite other papers in their reference lists, the speed at which citation impact matures and the extent to which the database used in the assessment covers the field’s literature. More information about SNIP.

Publishing ethics

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Researchers should conduct their research from research proposal to publication in line with best practices and codes of conduct of relevant professional bodies and/or national and international regulatory bodies. In rare cases it is possible that ethical issues or misconduct could be encountered in your journal when research is submitted for publication.

Ethical responsibilities of authors

This journal is committed to upholding the integrity of the scientific record. As a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) the journal will follow the COPE guidelines on how to deal with potential acts of misconduct.  

Authors should refrain from misrepresenting research results which could damage the trust in the journal, the professionalism of scientific authorship, and ultimately the entire scientific endeavour.  Maintaining integrity of the research and its presentation is helped by following the rules of good scientific practice, which include*:

  • The manuscript should not be submitted to more than one journal for simultaneous consideration.
  • The submitted work should be original and should not have been published elsewhere in any form or language (partially or in full), unless the new work concerns an expansion of previous work. (Please provide transparency on the re-use of material to avoid the concerns about text-recycling (‘self-plagiarism’).
  • A single study should not be split up into several parts to increase the quantity of submissions and submitted to various journals or to one journal over time (i.e.  ‘salami-slicing/publishing’).
  • Concurrent or secondary publication is sometimes justifiable, provided certain conditions are met. Examples include: translations or a manuscript that is intended for a different group of readers.
  • Results should be presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification or inappropriate data manipulation (including image based manipulation). Authors should adhere to discipline-specific rules for acquiring, selecting and processing data.
  • No data, text, or theories by others are presented as if they were the author’s own (‘plagiarism’). Proper acknowledgements to other works must be given (this includes material that is closely copied (near verbatim), summarized and/or paraphrased), quotation marks (to indicate words taken from another source) are used for verbatim copying of material, and permissions secured for material that is copyrighted.

         Important note: the journal may use software to screen for plagiarism.

  • Authors should make sure they have permissions for the use of software, questionnaires/(web) surveys and scales in their studies (if appropriate).
  • Authors should avoid untrue statements about an entity (who can be an individual person or a company) or descriptions of their behavior or actions that could potentially be seen as personal attacks or allegations about that person.
  • Research that may be misapplied to pose a threat to public health or national security should be clearly identified in the manuscript (e.g. dual use of research). Examples include creation of harmful consequences of biological agents or toxins, disruption of immunity of vaccines, unusual hazards in the use of chemicals, weaponization of research/technology (amongst others).
  • Authors are strongly advised to ensure the author group, the Corresponding Author, and the order of authors are all correct at submission. Adding and/or deleting authors during the revision stages is generally not permitted, but in some cases may be warranted. Reasons for changes in authorship should be explained in detail. Please note that changes to authorship cannot be made after acceptance of a manuscript. 

*All of the above are guidelines and authors need to make sure to respect third parties rights such as copyright and/or moral rights.

Upon request authors should be prepared to send relevant documentation or data in order to verify the validity of the results presented. This could be in the form of raw data, samples, records, etc. Sensitive information in the form of confidential or proprietary data is excluded.

If there is suspicion of misbehavior or alleged fraud the Journal and/or Publisher will carry out an investigation following COPE guidelines.  If, after investigation, there are valid concerns, the author(s) concerned will be contacted under their given e-mail address and given an opportunity to address the issue. Depending on the situation, this may result in the Journal’s and/or Publisher’s implementation of the following measures, including, but not limited to:

  • If the manuscript is still under consideration, it may be rejected and returned to the author.
  • If the article has already been published online, depending on the nature and severity of the infraction:
  1. an erratum/correction may be placed with the article
  2. an expression of concern may be placed with the article
  3. or in severe cases retraction of the article may occur. 

The reason will be given in the published erratum/correction, expression of concern or retraction note. Please note that retraction means that the article is maintained on the platform, watermarked “retracted” and the explanation for the retraction is provided in a note linked to the watermarked article.

  • The author’s institution may be informed
  • A notice of suspected transgression of ethical standards in the peer review system may be included as part of the author’s and article’s bibliographic record.

Fundamental errors

Authors have an obligation to correct mistakes once they discover a significant error or inaccuracy in their published article. The author(s) is/are requested to contact the journal and explain in what sense the error is impacting the article. A decision on how to correct the literature will depend on the nature of the error. This may be a correction or retraction. The retraction note should provide transparency which parts of the article are impacted by the error.

Suggesting / excluding reviewers

Authors are welcome to suggest suitable reviewers and/or request the exclusion of certain individuals when they submit their manuscripts. When suggesting reviewers, authors should make sure they are totally independent and not connected to the work in any way. It is strongly recommended to suggest a mix of reviewers from different countries and different institutions. When suggesting reviewers, the Corresponding Author must provide an institutional email address for each suggested reviewer, or, if this is not possible to include other means of verifying the identity such as a link to a personal homepage, a link to the publication record or a researcher or author ID in the submission letter. Please note that the Journal may not use the suggestions, but suggestions are appreciated and may help facilitate the peer review process.

Authorship principles

These guidelines describe authorship principles and good authorship practices to which prospective authors should adhere to.

Authorship clarified
The Journal and Publisher assume all authors agreed with the content and that all gave explicit consent to submit and that they obtained consent from the responsible authorities at the institute/organization where the work has been carried out, before the work is submitted.

The Publisher does not prescribe the kinds of contributions that warrant authorship. It is recommended that authors adhere to the guidelines for authorship that are applicable in their specific research field. In absence of specific guidelines it is recommended to adhere to the following guidelines a,b:

All authors whose names appear on the submission

  1. made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data; or the creation of new software used in the work;
  2. drafted the work or revised it critically for important intellectual content;
  3. approved the version to be published; and
  4. agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Based on/adapted from: 

a. ICMJE, Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors, http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/defining-the-role-of-authors-and-contributors.html

b. Transparency in authors’ contributions and responsibilities to promote integrity in scientific publication, McNutt at all, PNAS February 27, 2018 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1715374115

Disclosures and declarations

All authors are requested to include information regarding sources of funding, financial or non-financial interests, study-specific approval by the appropriate ethics committee for research involving humans and/or animals, informed consent if the research involved human participants,  and a statement on welfare of animals if the research involved animals (as appropriate).

The decision whether such information should be included is not only dependent on the scope of the journal, but also the scope of the article. Work submitted for publication may have implications for public health or general welfare and in those cases it is the responsibility of all authors to include the appropriate disclosures and declarations.

Data transparency

All authors are requested to make sure that all data and materials as well as software application or custom code support their published claims and comply with field standards. Please note that journals may have individual policies on (sharing)research data in concordance with disciplinary norms and expectations. Please check the Instructions for Authors of the Journal that you are submitting to for specific instructions.

Role of the Corresponding Author

One author is assigned as Corresponding Author and acts on behalf of all co-authors and ensures that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately addressed 

The Corresponding Author is responsible for the following requirements:

  • ensuring that all listed authors have approved the manuscript before submission, including the names and order of authors;
  • managing all communication between the Journal and all co-authors, before and after publication*;
  • providing transparency on re-use of material and mention any unpublished material (for example manuscripts in press) included in the manuscript in a cover letter to the Editor;
  • making sure disclosures, declarations and transparency on data statements from all authors are included in the manuscript as appropriate (see above).

*The requirement of managing all communication between the journal and all co-authors during submission and proofing may be delegated to a Contact or Submitting Author. In this case please make sure the Corresponding Author is clearly indicated in the manuscript.

Author contributions

Please check the Instructions for Authors of the Journal that you are submitting to for specific instructions regarding contribution statements.

In absence of specific instructions and in research fields where it is possible to describe discrete efforts, the Publisher recommends authors to include contribution statements in the work that specifies the contribution of every author in order to promote transparency. These contributions should be listed at the end of the submission.

Examples of such statement(s) are shown below:

Free text:

All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by [full name], [full name] and [full name]. The first draft of the manuscript was written by [full name] and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Example CRediT taxonomy:

Role

Definition

Conceptualization

Ideas; formulation or evolution of overarching research goals and aims.

Data curation

Management activities to annotate (produce metadata), scrub data and maintain research data (including software code, where it is necessary for interpreting the data itself) for initial use and later re-use.

Formal analysis

Application of statistical, mathematical, computational, or other formal techniques to analyse or synthesize study data.

Funding acquisition

Acquisition of the financial support for the project leading to this publication.

Investigation

Conducting a research and investigation process, specifically performing the experiments, or data/evidence collection.

Methodology

Development or design of methodology; creation of models.

Project administration

Management and coordination responsibility for the research activity planning and execution.

Resources

Provision of study materials, reagents, materials, patients, laboratory samples, animals, instrumentation, computing resources, or other analysis tools.

Software

Programming, software development; designing computer programs; implementation of the computer code and supporting algorithms; testing of existing code components.

Supervision

Oversight and leadership responsibility for the research activity planning and execution, including mentorship external to the core team.

Validation

Verification, whether as a part of the activity or separate, of the overall replication/reproducibility of results/experiments and other research outputs.

Visualization

Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically visualization/data presentation.

Writing – original draft

Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work, specifically writing the initial draft (including substantive translation).

Writing – review & editing

Preparation, creation and/or presentation of the published work by those from the original research group, specifically critical review, commentary or revision – including pre- or post-publication stages.

Conceptualization: [full name], …; Methodology: [full name], …; Formal analysis and investigation: [full name], …; Writing - original draft preparation: [full name, …]; Writing - review and editing: [full name], …; Funding acquisition: [full name], …; Resources: [full name], …; Supervision: [full name],….

For review articles where discrete statements are less applicable a statement should be included who had the idea for the article, who performed the literature search and data analysis, and who drafted and/or critically revised the work. 

For articles that are based primarily on the student’s dissertation or thesis, it is recommended that the student is usually listed as principal author c.

Based on:

c. A Graduate Student’s Guide to Determining Authorship Credit and Authorship Order, APA Science Student Council 2006, https://www.apa.org/science/leadership/students/authorship-paper.pdf

Affiliation

The primary affiliation for each author should be the institution where the majority of their work was done. If an author has subsequently moved, the current address may additionally be stated. Addresses will not be updated or changed after publication of the article.

Changes to authorship

Authors are strongly advised to ensure the correct author group, the Corresponding Author, and the order of authors at submission. Changes of authorship by adding or deleting authors, and/or changes in Corresponding Author, and/or changes in the sequence of authors are not accepted after acceptance of a manuscript.

! Please note that author names will be published exactly as they appear on the accepted submission!

Please make sure that the names of all authors are present and correctly spelled, and that addresses and affiliations are current.

Adding and/or deleting authors at revision stage are generally not permitted, but in some cases it may be warranted. Reasons for these changes in authorship should be explained. Approval of the change during revision is at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief. Please note that journals may have individual policies on adding and/or deleting authors during revision stage.

Author identification

Authors are recommended to use their ORCID ID when submitting an article for consideration or acquire an ORCID ID via the submission process.

Deceased or incapacitated authors

For cases in which a co-author dies or is incapacitated during the writing, submission, or peer-review process, and the co-authors feel it is appropriate to include the author, co-authors should obtain approval from a (legal) representative which could be a direct relative.

Authorship issues or disputes

In the case of an authorship dispute during peer review or after acceptance and publication, the Journal will not be in a position to investigate or adjudicate. Authors will be asked to resolve the dispute themselves. If they are unable the Journal reserves the right to withdraw a manuscript from the editorial process or in case of a published paper raise the issue with the authors’ institution(s) and abide by its guidelines.

Confidentiality

Authors should treat all communication with the Journal as confidential which includes correspondence with direct representatives from the Journal such as Editors-in-Chief and/or Handling Editors and reviewers’ reports unless explicit consent has been received to share information.

Compliance with ethical standards

To ensure objectivity and transparency in research and to ensure that accepted principles of ethical and professional conduct have been followed, authors should include information regarding sources of funding, potential conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial), informed consent if the research involved human participants, and a statement on welfare of animals if the research involved animals.

Authors should include the following statements (if applicable) in a separate section entitled “Compliance with Ethical Standards” before the References when submitting a paper:

  • Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest
  • Research involving Human Participants and/or Animal
  • Informed consent

Please note that standards could vary slightly per journal dependent on their peer review policies (i.e. double blind peer review) as well as per journal subject discipline. Before submitting your article check the Instructions for Authors carefully.

The corresponding author should be prepared to collect documentation of compliance with ethical standards and send if requested during peer review or after publication.

The Editors reserve the right to reject manuscripts that do not comply with the above-mentioned guidelines. The author will be held responsible for false statements or failure to fulfill the above-mentioned guidelines.

Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest

Authors must disclose all relationships or interests that could have direct or potential influence or impart bias on the work. Although an author may not feel there is any conflict, disclosure of relationships and interests provides a more complete and transparent process, leading to an accurate and objective assessment of the work.

Awareness of a real or perceived conflicts of interest is a perspective to which the readers are entitled. This is not meant to imply that a financial relationship with an organization that sponsored the research or compensation received for consultancy work is inappropriate.

Examples of potential conflicts of interests that are directly or indirectly related to the research may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Research grants from funding agencies (please give the research funder and the grant number)
  • Honoraria for speaking at symposia
  • Financial support for attending symposia
  • Financial support for educational programs
  • Employment or consultation
  • Support from a project sponsor
  • Position on advisory board or board of directors or other type of management relationships
  • Multiple affiliations
  • Financial relationships, for example equity ownership or investment interest
  • Intellectual property rights (e.g. patents, copyrights and royalties from such rights)
  • Holdings of spouse and/or children that may have financial interest in the work

In addition, interests that go beyond financial interests and compensation (non-financial interests) that may be important to readers should be disclosed. These may include but are not limited to personal relationships or competing interests directly or indirectly tied to this research, or professional interests or personal beliefs that may influence your research.

The corresponding author collects the conflict of interest disclosure forms from all authors. In author collaborations where formal agreements for representation allow it, it is sufficient for the corresponding author to sign the disclosure form on behalf of all authors.

Examples of forms can be found here.

Examples of disclosures

The corresponding author will include a summary statement in the text of the manuscript in a separate section before the reference list, that reflects what is recorded in the potential conflict of interest disclosure form(s).

Topic

Examples of disclosures

Funding

Funding: This study was funded by X (grant number X).

Conflict of Interest

Conflict of Interest: Author A has received research grants from Company A. Author B has received a speaker honorarium from Company X and owns stock in Company Y. Author C is a member of committee Z.

If no conflict exists, the authors should state

Conflict of Interest: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

1) Statement of Human Rights

When reporting studies that involve human participants, authors should include a statement that the studies have been approved by the appropriate institutional and/or national research ethics committee and have been performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration or comparable standards, the authors must explain the reasons for their approach, and demonstrate that the independent ethics committee or institutional review board explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. If a study was granted exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption and the reasons for the exemption). 

Authors must - in all situations as described above - include the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate.

The following statements should be included in the text before the References section:

Topic

Statement

Ethical approval

Ethical approval:  All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (include name of committee + reference number) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. 

Ethical approval retrospective studies

Although retrospective studies are conducted on already available data or biological material (for which formal consent may not be needed or is difficult to obtain) ethical approval may be required dependent on the law and the national ethical guidelines of a country.  Authors should check with their institution to make sure they are complying with the specific requirements of their country.

2) Statement on the Welfare of Animals

The welfare of animals used for research must be respected. When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether the international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals have been followed, and that the studies have been approved by a research ethics committee at the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted (where such a committee exists). Please provide the name of ethics committee and relevant permit number.

For studies with animals, the following statement should be included in the text before the References section:

Topic

Statement

Ethical approval

Ethical approval: All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution at which the studies were conducted and ethical approval was obtained from [include name of ethics committee and relevant permit number].

Example exemption granted

Ethical approval: This study is exempted from ethical approval by ethics committee [include name of ethics committee and reference number (if available)]

If articles do not contain studies with human participants or animals by any of the authors, please select one of the following statement:

Statement

Ethical approval: This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Ethical approval: This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Ethical approval: This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Research involving human embryos, gametes, and stem cells

Manuscripts that report experiments involving the use of human embryos and gametes, human embryonic stem cells and related materials, and clinical applications of stem cells must include confirmation that all experiments were performed in accordance with relevant guidelines and regulations (See also Research involving human participants and/or animals)

The manuscript should include an ethics statement identifying the institutional and/or national research ethics committee (including the name of the ethics committee) approving the experiments and describing any relevant details. Authors should confirm that informed consent (See also Informed consent) was obtained from all recipients and/or donors of cells or tissues, where necessary, and describe the conditions of donation of materials for research, such as human embryos or gametes. Copies of approval and redacted consent documents may be requested by the Journal.

We encourage authors to follow the principles laid out in the 2016 ISSCR Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation.

In deciding whether to publish papers describing modifications of the human germline, the Journal is guided by safety considerations, compliance with applicable regulations, as well as the status of the societal debate on the implications of such modifications for future generations. In case of concerns regarding a particular type of study the Journal may seek the advice from the Springer Nature Research Integrity Group.

The decision to publish a paper is the responsibility of the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal.

Informed consent

All individuals have individual rights that are not to be infringed. Individual participants in studies have, for example, the right to decide what happens to the (identifiable) personal data gathered, to what they have said during a study or an interview, as well as to any photograph that was taken.

Hence it is important that all participants gave their informed consent in writing prior to inclusion in the study. Identifying details (names, dates of birth, identity numbers and other information) of the participants that were studied should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and genetic profiles unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the participant (or parent or guardian if the participant is incapable) gave written informed consent for publication. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve in some cases, and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt.

For example, masking the eye region in photographs of participants is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic profiles, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning.

The following statement should be included:

Topic

Statement

Informed consent

Informed consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

If identifying information about participants is available in the article

Informed consent: Additional informed consent was obtained from all individual participants for whom identifying information is included in this article.

Springer’s guide on publishing ethics

In order to safeguard the quality of its publications, Springer has updated the policy on Publishing Ethics. In line with the philosophy of the Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE) we follow the principle that we have a prime duty to maintain the integrity of the scientific record. By providing Springer’s Guide on Publishing Ethics, we aim to optimally assist Springer Publishing Editors as well as Editors-in-Chief, Editors, Reviewers and Authors with this task.

Please find the complete document on Publishing Ethics here.

Appeals and complaints 

The below procedure applies to appeals to editorial decisions, complaints about failure of processes such as long delays in handling papers and complaints about publication ethics. The complaint should in first instance be handled by the Editor-in-Chief(s) responsible for the journal and/or the Editor who handled the paper. If they are the subject of the complaint please approach the in-house publishing contact. (Please check the contacts page on the journal homepage. If no publishing contact is identified send the query to ethics.reporting@springernature.com).  

Complaint about scientific content, e.g. an appeal against rejection
The Editor-in-Chief or Handling Editor considers the authors’ argument, the reviewer reports and decides whether
- The decision to reject should stand;
- Another independent opinion is required
- The appeal should be considered.
The complainant is informed of the decision with an explanation if appropriate. Decisions on appeals are final and new submissions take priority over appeals.

Complaint about processes, e.g. time taken to review 
The Editor-in-Chief together with the Handling Editor (where appropriate) and/or in-house contact (where appropriate) will investigate the matter. The complainant will be given appropriate feedback. Feedback is provided to relevant stakeholders to improve processes and procedures.

Complaint about publication ethics, e.g., researcher's author's, or reviewer's conduct
The Editor-in-Chief or Handling Editor follows guidelines published by the Committee on Publication Ethics. The Editor-in-Chief or Handling Editor may ask the publisher via their in-house contact for advice on difficult or complicated cases. The Editor-in-Chief or Handling Editor decides on a course of action and provides feedback to the complainant. If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint, he or she can submit the complaint to the Committee on Publication Ethics. More information can be found here.

Predatory journals and references

When using sources for your research, please be aware that material could have been published in questionable, scholarly, usually Open Access journals. These “predatory” journals include the variety that seek to attract potential authors with flattering spam e-mails assuring rapid publication on the basis of the Journal’s highly esteemed reputation in the field. Too often, these journals have exactly the same or very similar names to those of well-established journals. Springer recommends authors to assess carefully whether an article published by a “predatory” journal should be referenced. Please note that several abstracting & indexing services, including Thomson Reuters, are taking ethical publication seriously by examining the content, practices, and websites of these “predatory” journals.

If you would like to learn more about learned (Open Access) publishers and publications please visit the following links:

OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association)

DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)

COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics)

Interactive course

Take a free COPE e-learning class on how detect, prevent and handle misconduct.

Open access at Springer

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What is open access?

Open access makes your work freely available online for everyone, immediately upon publication, and does not require a journal subscription to read the article. Springer offers a variety of open access options for you to publish your research.

No matter which option you choose, all open access publications are subject to high-quality peer review, editorial and production processes. You retain the copyright to your work and you can easily comply with the open access mandates of your institution or funding body, as all open access publications are published under a Creative Commons license.

Authors' rights at Springer

At Springer, we fully understand that access to your work is important to you and to the sponsors of your research. We are here to help you comply with the open access requirements of your funding body and are fully transparent about your rights. Springer is listed as a green publisher at the SHERPA/RoMEO database, as we allow self-archiving of the articles that are published in our subscription-based journals.

Visit our authors' rights website for more information: Author rights

Open Choice

Springer’s Open Choice program allows you to publish open access in our subscription-based journals. The majority of our journals offer the Open Choice option, enabling you to make your article freely available online in exchange for an open access publication fee. All Open Choice articles are published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license and you, as the author, retain the copyright to your work.

Visit our Open Choice website for more information: Springer Open Choice

SpringerOpen

SpringerOpen is Springer's portfolio of peer-reviewed, fully open access journals and books across all areas of science, technology, medicine, the humanities and social sciences.  SpringerOpen journals and books are made freely available online to everyone, immediately upon publication. Authors retain the copyright to their work and they can easily comply with open access mandates as all publications are Creative Commons licensed.

SpringerOpen journals charge a publication fee, which varies from journal to journal. However, many of our journals are fully sponsored by a society or institution so authors do not have to pay an article-processing charge (APC). We also offer an open access membership program, which allows institutions to cover some or all of the APC for their affiliated researchers when they decide to publish in a SpringerOpen journal.

For SpringerOpen books the publication fee varies depending on the number of pages per book. Authors at member institutions are entitled to a 15% loyalty discount on the publication fee.

Visit our SpringerOpen website for more information: springeropen.com

Open access funding

Open access publishing is not without costs. Publishers defray these costs through publication fees that are levied at the beginning of the publication process and vary depending on the respective journal/book and discipline. If a publication fee is charged the author is responsible for making or arranging the payment.

However, in most cases authors can rely on their institutions and funders, who cover the publication costs in different ways, e.g. by establishing an OA fund, making it part of their general funding or by paying the fees as part of a membership model.

Visit our open access funding page for more information: Open access funding

Do you have any questions?

Please contact the author helpdesk for questions on:

Rights, permissions and licensing

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Rights & permissions

Permission and / or licensing

The author/customer is responsible for obtaining permission necessary to quote from other works, to reproduce material already published and to reprint from other publications. Sometimes a publisher, approached to grant permission, will demand a nominal payment: it is the author’s / customer’s responsibility to see that such payment conditions are met.

Although publishers generally hold the copyright of works appearing under their imprint, it is also courteous to request permission from the author of the piece concerned; publishers often grant permission subject to the author’s approval also being obtained.

Request to use copyrighted material

Content published by Springer can be re-used in all kinds of products in different formats and distributed by third parties. Any type of use is subject to permission by Springer. Permission can be requested to use material obtained from any of the following sources:

  • Any previously published material from which a direct quotation is used of a length which totals more than 5% of the whole, or which totals more than 250 words in any single excerpt or more than 500 words in total (note: each publisher sets their own quotation lengths, so number of words can differ from publisher to publisher)
  • Any quotation, regardless of length, from a song, poem, newspaper or any unpublished source (e.g. a letter, a speech)
  • Any illustration from a published source, including tables, maps and diagrams, even when redrawn
  • Any photograph -- especially from a professional photographer -- even if it is of yourself
  • Anything in its entirety (this applies particularly to holograph documents, such as postcards, etc.

Obtain permission for use of Springer and non-Springer material

If you wish to use copyrighted material for the following purposes, queries must be sent to the copyright holder: photocopies, distance learning, course (package), translation, visually impaired readers, expansion of article, rewrite article, thesis, republication, conference, annual report, repository, reprints, e-book, intranet, internet, homepage/website.

For further information you may follow the links below or directly go to the Copyright Clearance Center or RightsLink.

For Springer authors who wish to use material from a non-Springer publication:

For authors/customers who wish to use material from Springer publications

Licensing of Springer content

Licensing (translations, reprints or e-distribution) of content

Content published by Springer can be translated and/or reprinted in different formats and distributed by third parties. This is subject to a license agreement with Springer.

Reprint or translate Springer publications

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How to obtain the right to translate, reprint or otherwise distribute

Please visit our website for contact details. In correspondence please identify ISBN / ISSN and language in which publication is desired.

Copyright and plagiarism

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Copyright

Copyright act

In most countries of the world, authors enjoy protection of their intellectual property that appears in books, journal articles and parts thereof, such as illustrations, plans, tables and animations. Protected works include literary and scientific works, such as writings, speeches and computer programs. Only personal intellectual creations are protected.

The person who writes one of the aforementioned works is defined as the creator/author. Co-authorship applies if two or more persons create a work together.

Notice of Copyright is printed in general on the verso of the title page of a book or on the header or footer of a journal article. Notice of Copyright provides information regarding the date of first publication of the work and the holder of copyright. Proper notice of copyright helps to protect the integrity of the work and to fight copyright infringement.

Contents of copyright

Moral Rights cover an author’s authority to decide whether his work should be published and whether the published work should bear the author’s name.

Exploitation Rights entitle an author to decide whether copies of the work should be reproduced (Right of Reproduction) and whether these copies should be offered to the public (Right of Distribution). Right of Reproduction is the right to make copies of the work, irrespective of method or number. Right of Distribution is the right to offer to the public the aforementioned produced copies.

Copyright licences

Authors are free to publish their work by themselves or transfer the exploitation rights to a publisher; e.g. Springer. In order to be entitled to make use of these rights, the publisher asks the author to sign a publishing agreement granting the publisher the sole right to reproduce, publish, distribute and make available to the public the work in print and electronic format. Authors and the publisher should always define their relationship in a publishing agreement. Springer offers a large variety of such contracts for all kind of works. Authors should contact their Springer publishing editor for more details.

Prerequisite of the transfer of exclusive publishing rights is that the author has not already signed such rights to third parties (e.g. another publisher) and that the work has not heretofore been published in whole or in part.

Consequence of having granted exclusive rights to Springer indicates also that an author agrees not to release with another publisher any publication similar to the work published with Springer.

Authors retain, in addition to uses permitted by law (e.g. U.S. Copyright Law, Section 107, Fair Use; German Copyright Act, Section 51, Fair Dealing) the right to communicate the content of the work to other scientists, to share the work with them in manuscript form, to perform or present the work or to use the content for non-commercial internal and educational purposes.

Limitations on copyright

To the extent required by the purpose, it is permissible to reproduce, distribute and publicly communicate single works that have already been published, included in an independent scientific work in order to clarify their contents. The limits of fair dealing will vary according to special circumstances. Acknowledgement needs to be given to the original source of publication. Omission of a sufficient acknowledgement constitutes an infringement of the copyright of the cited work.

Under certain circumstances, it is permissible to make single copies of a work for private, non-commercial use; e.g. for personal scientific use or for teaching in non-commercial institutions of education. These copies may be neither disseminated nor used for public communication.

Duration of copyright

Copyright is legally valid for a fixed period of time. The length of the period varies depending on the copyright laws of each country. It is usually from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author.

Once this term has expired, however, legal rights to the work also expire. After that, the work becomes part of the public domain and can be used freely.

Related rights

Scientific Editions which consist of non-copyrighted works (i.e. public domain works) are protected by copyright if they represent the result of scientific analysis and differ in significant manner from previous editions of the works. Copyright protection expires 25 years after publication of the scientific edition.

Photographs are also protected by copyright. Copyright protection expires 50 years after the publication of the photograph.

Inheritance of copyright

Copyright may be transmitted by inheritance. The author’s legal successor shall have the rights enjoyed by the deceased author according to the arrangements of local copyright laws.

Infringement of copyright

Copyright is protected both domestically and internationally according to the laws and treaties of each nation. Nevertheless, copyright infringements often do occur.

Springer takes care of an author’s right and undertakes any necessary steps to protect these rights against infringement by third parties.

Any person or legal entity that infringes on the copyright of a Springer author will be urged to cease and desist from the wrongdoing and provide detailed information about the infringement.

Moreover, destruction of all copies unlawfully manufactured and distributed will be required.

Springer's journals copyright transfer statement

You will be asked to sign the Copyright Transfer Statement (CTS) FOR (NON-Open Access) journal articles online during the MyPublication process.

Self-archiving policy

Springer is a green publisher, as we allow self-archiving, but most importantly we are fully transparent about your rights.

Publishing in a subscription-based journal

By signing the Copyright Transfer Statement you still retain substantial rights, such as self-archiving:

"Authors may self-archive the author’s accepted manuscript of their articles on their own websites. Authors may also deposit this version of the article in any repository, provided it is only made publicly available 12 months after official publication or later. He/ she may not use the publisher's version (the final article), which is posted on SpringerLink and other Springer websites, for the purpose of self-archiving or deposit. Furthermore, the author may only post his/her version provided acknowledgement is given to the original source of publication and a link is inserted to the published article on Springer's website. The link must be provided by inserting the DOI number of the article in the following sentence: “The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/[insert DOI]”."

Prior versions of the article published on non-commercial pre-print servers like arXiv.org can remain on these servers and/or can be updated with the author’s accepted version. The final published version (in PDF or HTML/XML format) cannot be used for this purpose. Acknowledgement needs to be given to the final publication and a link should be inserted to the published article on Springer’s website, by inserting the DOI number of the article in the following sentence: “The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/[insert DOI]”.

When publishing an article in a subscription journal, without open access, authors sign the Copyright Transfer Statement (CTS) which also details Springer’s self-archiving policy.

Publishing open access

If you publish your article open access, the final published version can be archived in institutional or funder repositories and can be made publicly accessible immediately.

Plagiarism

For your information: plagiarism prevention with CrossCheck

Springer is a participant of CrossCheck, a multi-publisher plagiarism detection initiative to screen published and submitted content for originality. CrossCheck consists of two products: a database of scholarly publications (CrossCheck) and a web-based tool (iThenticate) to check an authored work against that database.

Various Springer journals use the service to detect instances of overlapping and similar text in submitted manuscripts. Results returned by the software may be used as a criterion for the analysis of the manuscript by the editorial board and may eventually result in a rejection due to plagiarism, duplicate and/or redundant publication.

Contact the author helpdesk

Please contact us for further questions.