• Surgical Sciences Journal

Editorial Policies

All articles are evaluated solely on their scientific merit by peers, not by professional staff editors. A two-tier review process for research reports includes an Editorial Board memberand independent peer reviewers. Editors are professional scientists and active researchers. A full list of Editorial Board members and their disciplines is included in our masthead.

Submission Guidelines

Online Submission is the primary and preferred route for publication in Surgical Sciences Journal

  • Authors receive a first decision within about 3 weeks and have their papers published online as soon as 4–5 days after acceptance.
  • Authors can select and recommend Editorial Board member who is expert in the paper's scientific area, and five qualified reviewers to enhance the review peer review process.

All manuscripts are evaluated by the Editorial Board. The identity of reviewers are confidential and not shared, unless express permission is granted by the reviewers. The Board may reject manuscripts without further review, or review and reject manuscripts that do not meet Surgical Sciences Journal standards.

The peer review process

All submitted manuscripts are read by the editorial staff. To save time for authors and peer-reviewers, only those papers that seem most likely to meet our editorial criteria are sent for formal review. Those papers judged by the editors to be of insufficient general interest or otherwise inappropriate are rejected promptly without external review (although these decisions may be based on informal advice from specialists in the field).

Manuscripts judged to be of potential interest to our readership are sent for formal review, typically to two or three reviewers, but sometimes more if special advice is needed (for example on statistics or a particular technique). The editors then make a decision based on the reviewers' advice, from among several possibilities:

Accept, with or without editorial revisions

Invite the authors to revise their manuscript to address specific minor or major concerns before a final decision is reached

Reject, but indicate to the authors that further work might justify a resubmission

Reject outright, typically on grounds of specialist interest, lack of novelty, insufficient conceptual advance or major technical and/or interpretational problems

Reviewers are welcome to recommend a particular course of action, but they should bear in mind that the other reviewers of a particular paper may have different technical expertise and/or views, and the editors may have to make a decision based on conflicting advice. The most useful reports, therefore, provide the editors with the information on which a decision should be based. Setting out the arguments for and against publication is often more helpful to the editors than a direct recommendation one way or the other.

Editorial decisions are not a matter of counting votes or numerical rank assessments, and we do not always follow the majority recommendation. We try to evaluate the strength of the arguments raised by each reviewer and by the authors, and we may also consider other information not available to either party. Our primary responsibilities are to our readers and to the scientific community at large, and in deciding how best to serve them, we must weigh the claims of each paper against the many others also under consideration.

We may return to reviewers for further advice, particularly in cases where they disagree with each other, or where the authors believe they have been misunderstood on points of fact. We therefore ask that reviewers should be willing to provide follow-up advice as requested. We are very aware, however, that reviewers are usually reluctant to be drawn into prolonged disputes, so we try to keep consultation to the minimum we judge necessary to provide a fair hearing for the authors.

When reviewers agree to assess a paper, we consider this a commitment to review subsequent revisions. However, editors will not send a resubmitted paper back to the reviewers if it seems that the authors have not made a serious attempt to address the criticisms.

We take reviewers' criticisms seriously; in particular, we are very reluctant to disregard technical criticisms. In cases where one reviewer alone opposes publication, we may consult the other reviewers as to whether s/he is applying an unduly critical standard. We occasionally bring in additional reviewers to resolve disputes, but we prefer to avoid doing so unless there is a specific issue, for example a specialist technical point, on which we feel a need for further advice.

Appeals of decisions on rejected papers will be considered; however, appeals on the basis of novelty or general interest are unlikely to be granted. Due to the high volume of submissions that Surgical Sciences Journal receives we cannot guarantee a quick decision on appeals. Appeals must be made in writing and should be sent to contact@starlingscience.com. If an appeal is rejected, further appeals of the decision will not be considered and the paper may not be resubmitted. Repeated appeals or resubmissions of a rejected manuscript without invitation by the Editorial Board will not be considered and may result in the authors being banned from submitting to Surgical Sciences Journal.

Journal Policies

1. Articles are considered provided they have not been Published Previously or concurrently submitted for publication elsewhere. What constitutes prior publication must take into account many criteria, including the extent of review, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Related manuscripts that are in press or submitted elsewhere must be included with a Surgical Sciences Journal submission. Figures, tables, or videos that have been published elsewhere must be identified, and permission of the copyright holder for both the online and print editions of the journal must be provided.

2. Authorship must be limited to those who have contributed substantially to the work. The corresponding author must have obtained permission from all authors for the submission of each version of the paper and for any change in authorship.

3. Conflict of Interest: Authors must disclose, at submission, any association that poses or could be perceived as a conflict of interest in connection with the manuscript, and acknowledge all funding sources supporting the work. When asked to evaluate a manuscript, members, reviewers, and editors must disclose any association that poses a conflict of interest in connection with the manuscript.

4. Regarding Research Misconduct, all work should be free of fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism as defined by the US Office of Research Integrity.

5. Research involving Human and Animal Participants and Clinical Trials must have been approved by the author's institutional review board. Authors must include in the methods section a brief statement identifying the institutional and/or licensing committee approving the experiments. For all experiments involving human participants, authors must also include a statement confirming that informed consent was obtained from all participants, or provide a statement why this was not necessary. All experiments must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. Authors must follow the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors' policy and deposit trial information and design into an accepted clinical trial registry before the onset of patient enrolment. For animal studies, authors must report the species, strain, sex, and age of the animals.

6. Dual Use Research of Concern: Authors and reviewers must notify the Editor-in-Chief if a manuscript reports potential dual use research of concern. The Editor-in-Chief will evaluate potential dual use research of concern papers and, if necessary, will consult additional reviewers.

7. Materials and Data Availability: To allow others to replicate and build on work published in Surgical Sciences Journal, authors must make materials, data, and associated protocols, including code and scripts, available to readers. Authors must disclose upon submission of the manuscript any restrictions on the availability of materials or information. Authors must include a data availability statement in the methods section describing how readers will be able to access the data, associated protocols, code, and materials in the paper. Data not shown and personal communications cannot be used to support claims in the work. Authors are encouraged to use supporting information (SI) to show all necessary data or to deposit as much of their data as possible in community-endorsed publicly accessible databases.

8. Open Access: Papers accepted for publication in Surgical Sciences Journal will be made available without cost to the reader immediately upon publication.

9. Errata: Surgical Sciences Journal publishes corrections for errors, made by the journal or authors, of a scientific nature that do not alter the overall basic results or conclusions of a published article. Surgical Sciences Journal articles may be retracted by their authors or by the editor because of pervasive error or unsubstantiated or irreproducible data. Articles may be retracted, for example, because of honest error, scientific misconduct, or plagiarism. Errata are published at the discretion of the editors and appear as formal notices in the journal.

10. Figure Preparation: No specific feature within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced. The grouping or consolidation of images from multiple sources must be made explicit by the arrangement of the figure and in the figure legend. Adjustments of brightness, contrast, or color balance are acceptable if they are applied to the whole image and if they do not obscure, eliminate, or misrepresent any information present in the original, including backgrounds. Questions about images raised during image screening will be referred to the editors, who may request the original data from the authors for comparison with the prepared figures. If the original data cannot be produced, the manuscript may be rejected. Cases of deliberate misrepresentation of data will result in rejection of the paper and will be reported to the corresponding author's home institution or funding agency. Authors must obtain consent for publication of figures with recognizable human faces.