1. Scope

Neuroanatomy and Behaviour publishes new research and review articles that are methodologically sound, trustworthy, and make a useful contribution to the understanding of how neural anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and biochemistry influence behaviour.

2. Article Types

Anyone working in biomedical research and affiliated to an academic institution can submit articles to the journal. Researchers working in the biomedical industry, such as at pharmaceutical companies, are also welcome to submit.

We publish:

2.1 Research Articles that describe new empirical research or analyses

2.2 Review Articles that discuss developments in a field

2.3 Correspondence and Commentary on articles recently published in the journal. These may vary from short letter-to-the-editor style notes of one or two paragraphs to in-depth reviews or criticisms.

2.4 Professional interest articles about career development or developments in professional practice

3. Word Length

We do not impose hard word length limits, except for the 250-word abstract. But please try to be succinct for the sake of your reviewers and readers.

For research articles, we recommend introductions and discussions are approximately 750-1000 words. Methods and results sections may vary widely depending on the scope of your paper and may be anywhere between 1000 words to 4000 words.

For review articles, 3000-5000 words is recommended.

Correspondence and Commentary should be around 1000 words, unless a great deal of detail is required.

Professional interest articles should be around 750 words.

4. Language, Structure, and Formatting

Articles should be written in English with spelling and grammar that is considered acceptable British or American English.

We encourage the use of terminology that helps readers accurately identify key reagents or aspects of biology. Therefore authors should provide IUPHAR ligand and receptor names, HUGO, NCBI databases, and RRIDs for antibodies and other research materials. IUPAC names are welcome for chemicals that do not have an RRID, but because they can be sometimes be very long, authors can also provide more succinct alternatives such as CAS registry numbers, PubChem CID, or SMILES.

The title page should provide the full article title, a short title for use in headers, author names with affiliations and ORCID identifiers, and contact details of the corresponding author (ideally an institutional email address).

An abstract of no more than 250 words should be provided. It may be structured with sub-headings (e.g. Rationale, Methods, Results, Conclusions) or unstructured.

Please provide 1-3 subject descriptors using MeSH terminology. The MeSH Browser can be used to search subject descriptors, such as “Neuroscience” and “Psychopharmacology”. In addition to MeSH subject descriptors, please provide up to 6 keywords for indexing purposes. These do not have to follow MeSH terminology.

We use the standard IMRaD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion) structure for research articles. After the Discussion and Conclusion paragraphs for Author Contributions (see Section 5), Acknowledgements, and a Conflict of Interest Declaration (see Section 8) should be included.

Articles may have 3 levels of headings. For example:

Methods [Level 1]

Experiment 1 [Level 2]

Phase 1. [Level 3]

Text

Use standard double-spaced text with a standard size 10-12 font such as Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri or Computer Modern. Indent the first line of each paragraph.

At first submission, figures and tables should each be presented on a separate page with their captions or legends at the end of the manuscript.

Tables

Use horizontal lines only and provide a title above the table, e.g. “Table 1. Title of Table 1”

Notes can be placed below the table.

Figures and Artwork

We strongly encourage the submission of vector graphics for graphs and line-art. Our preferred format is SVG because it is an open format compatible with free open source software (e.g. Inkscape) and will retain quality in the PDF when zooming in and out. Software such as GraphPad Prism can export to EPS and these files can then be converted to SVG for typesetting.

For half-tone images such as histology, we require PNG or TIF files with resolutions at least 300 DPI.

After acceptance, authors should submit PNG or TIF files of all of their figures with a resolution of 75 DPI for web display.

Figures should be numbered and captioned below the figure. E.g. “Figure 1. Title of Figure 1. (a) Explanation of first panel….”

References and Citations

In-text references should follow the Public Library of Science referencing style. References should be numbered in-text using square brackets, e.g. [1], and include DOIs in the reference list.

The reference list should be numbered and listed in order: 1. Wilkinson MD, Dumontier M, Aalbersberg IJ, Appleton G, Axton M, Baak A, et al. The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Scientific Data. 2016;3:160018. doi:10.1038/sdata.2016.18

It is not necessary to comply with this referencing style at first submission. However, a numbered referencing style may be preferable because author-date styles can affect sentence structure. Reference formatting can be corrected during revisions and production.

The citation of unpublished work (e.g. student theses, manuscripts in preparation, conference papers, preprints, or unpublished data) is generally discouraged.

The Public Library of Science reference style is available for download or is available in typical Endnote installations by default. Styles for other reference managers are also available for Zotero and in Citation Style Language.

As stated above, following this style is optional during initial submission, but is required for revised manuscripts.

Supplementary Materials

The journal imposes no word limit so please include all relevant data in the main body of the paper.

The journal will only publish data audit reports as supplementary files.

5. Policies, Ethics, and Reporting Standards

For research involving animals, please comply with the ARRIVE guidelines. Authors must comply with local animal ethics standards that are equivalent to or stricter than the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.

For research involving humans, authors should have regard to local regulations and comply with standards that are equivalent to or stricter than the National statement on ethical conduct in human research.

Please note: articles may be rejected on ethics grounds even if they are compliant with local standards and/or have local ethics committee approval.

In matters of publication integrity and ethics, authors can expect treatment in accordance with Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines.

Authorship, Integrity, and Honesty

Authors must approach the publication process with integrity and honesty. For example, they should use their real names (i.e. legal name or a name they are recognisable by in their professional life) and declare their academic affiliations and conflicts of interest honestly. Authors who attempt to manipulate any aspect of the publication process (such as peer review) will be barred from submitting to any Episteme Health journal.

Determination of authorship should follow established disciplinary norms, taking into account guidance from the ICMJE, COPE, and any applicable national or institutional policies. In general, authors will have made multiple important contributions.

Author contributions should be briefly described in an Author Contribution Statement using CRediT taxonomy. This will allow author contributions to be coded and machine-readable.

Originality, Plagiarism, and Text Recycling

The text of the article must be original. Direct quotes must be contained in quotation marks and paraphrasing must be referenced. Papers that have been published previously are not acceptable for publication.

Articles will be submitted to a plagiarism check. Similarity scores will be manually reviewed to make a decision about whether plagiarism is likely to have occurred. This is subjected to editorial judgment because it is possible to obtain a ‘high’ similarity score when using sources with appropriate attribution. Similarly, a paper with a ‘low’ score may have one or more paragraphs reused without acknowledgement rendering it ineligible for publication.

Authors reusing text from their own articles (text recycling) is discouraged but high levels of similarity may be difficult to avoid in sections with low intellectual novelty, such as definitions, general statements describing diseases and disorders, and methods sections describing standard procedures. Where low-novelty text (particularly in the methods) is recycled from another article, this may be permissible provided that the authors hold the copyright (i.e. for an open access article) and that the reuse of the methods text is acknowledged in the article. Serious cases of text recycling, particularly where the authors have assigned copyright for the original article, may result in retraction.

Prior Publication and Sharing

Inclusion in a student thesis, preprint server, or conference presentation is not considered prior publication. Authors are encouraged to deposit their article in final form immediately upon publication with their institutional repository, on their personal website, and anywhere else they would like in accordance with our Prior Publication and Sharing Policy.

Statistical Reporting

Please report your statistical results as fully as reasonably possible. For example, if performing an ANOVA you must report all main effects and interactions. Relevant post-hoc tests should be reported – i.e. all significant post-hocs and any notable null post-hocs. Post-hoc comparisons must be corrected for multiple comparisons – it is not permissible to use LSD (i.e. no correction) or Student-Newman-Kewls when k > 3. It also mandatory to use APA style statistical reporting, for example t(df) = value, p = value. This is important because your paper will be submitted to statcheck for verification. You can use an online version of statcheck or download the R package from CRAN.

6. Data Availability and Curation

Authors are strongly encouraged to deposit the raw data with their institutional repository or a data repository of their choice. For authors using Western blots and similar assays, sharing of raw unedited images is mandatory due to the numerous cases of image duplication and misrepresentation of blots. Data repositories must be open access and assign a DOI to their datasets. There are many options available. For example, Open Science Framework is a non-profit that provides free storage to researchers.

Authors should endeavour to make their datasets Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR Principles; Wilkinson et al., 2016). Following the instructions below will, in most cases, facilitate FAIR data sharing.

What to Share

Authors should share, at minimum, the raw data underlying any figures or statistical tests they present in their paper so that a reader can verify their veracity and explore the data in their own way. For example, authors presenting cell counting data would need to present the raw cell counts in a table. If they did not include an example photomicrograph in the body of the paper, then they should include at least one example per experimental group or condition in their dataset.

Sharing of underlying code and any other digital material underlying the paper is also strongly encouraged, for example, sharing the code behind behavioural protocols allows readers to verify and better understand the methodology.

How to Share Data

Authors should use file formats that can be read, where possible, using free open source software to ensure its accessibility and interoperability with researchers from less well-resourced institutions. This does not preclude using proprietary formats, but authors should provide additional formats where possible.

For example, an easy way to satisfy data sharing requirements would be to plot figures based on inputting the raw data into GraphPad Prism and then sharing the Prism file. Although widespread, Prism is proprietary software, so authors should copy their data tables to an Excel file and/or CSV. Prism files can also be exported to XML, which could be uploaded in addition to the Prism file, especially because it would preserve many of the annotations of the data.

Authors should choose a license that facilitates reuse of their data and code. These would typically be a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) for data and MIT or GPL3+ for code.

Cite the Data

Authors are not required to make data public before acceptance. Most repositories allow authors to create a private share link to their dataset and to reserve a DOI in advance of making it public. The availability of data should be noted at the end of the methods section in a data availability statement and the dataset should be entered in the reference list. If data is embargoed, please provide the private link in square brackets and remove it after acceptance.

For example: > Raw data are available in a {repository name} [6]. [During peer review, it is available at https://repositorydomain.tld/privateshare]

When to Share or not Share

Authors should share their data unless doing so would present risks to anyone’s privacy, health, safety, or to the environment. Researchers should assess whether sharing their dataset would be reasonable and ethical. It is expected that the raw data for most animal studies will be shared, with respect for any institutional or ethical restrictions for sensitive material (e.g. video). For studies involving humans, it is expected anonymous raw data from experimental studies would generally be shared. Studies involving small, readily identifiable persons or groups, or using large datasets that are vulnerable to reidentification should not be shared. Reasons for not sharing should be included in a data availability statement in the methods section. Researchers who have datasets that they wish to exclusively exploit for additional publications should publish their dataset with an embargo, which may be up to two years. The dataset should still be available privately to reviewers and the embargo period should be included in the data availability statement in the methods section. Failure to lift an embargo on data after specified embargo period will result in retraction of the article.

7. Preregistration

Preregistration demonstrates a commitment to high integrity research and is very favourably considered by editors in their decision-making process. Preregistration involves specifying details about data collection and analysis before data is collected or analysed. This significantly reduces ‘researcher degrees of freedom’, preventing questionable research practices like p-hacking and data dredging. Authors can preregister prior to having their complete dataset (or commencing analysis of a pre-existing dataset) using free services from the non-profit Open Science Framework.

Authors should then submit their completed manuscript normally, having analysed their data in accordance with their preregistration. Papers that use preregistration must be complete and include a statement referring to their preregistration(s). Links to preregistration should be included in the methods section, but can be also be listed in a short paragraph after the conclusion if there are several experiments that were preregistered separately.

Deviation from Preregistered Methods and Analyses

Sometimes it is necessary to deviate from preregistered methods and analyses. Making reasonable deviations from the preregistered analysis plan does not invalidate a study. However, any deviations and a brief explanation should be described in the methods section. Extra analyses performed in addition to the preregistered analysis plan can simply be labelled as exploratory.

8. Acknowledgments and Conflict of Interest Statements

Authors must acknowledge all funding sources and individuals who contributed to the work but whose contributions do not meet the criteria for authorship. For example, someone who assisted with providing reagents or assisted with data acquisition with no further intellectual involvement should be acknowledged.

When identifying funders, please spell the funder’s name in full and provide the funder’s unique identifier from the Crossref funder registry (essentially a DOI for funders), and the grant ID. For example:

This work was supported by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (Funder ID: 10.13039/501100000925, Grant ID: #####).

Authors should also provide a conflict of interest statement that includes any personal, financial, or other arrangement that is or could be perceived to be a conflict of interest. For example, owning shares in a company that could benefit from the publication of the paper would be a clear conflict of interest. Other possible conflicts of interest include consulting contracts or affiliations with interest groups.

9. Peer Review

Standard Peer Review with Public Summaries

Manuscripts prepared and submitted in accordance with these guidelines will be subjected to an initial quality check and then assigned to an editor. Editors may desk reject papers that they believe are unlikely to succeed in peer review because it allows authors to receive rapid feedback and improve their manuscript for submission elsewhere.

Papers will then be reviewed by at least 2 peer reviewers who have PhDs or a relevant publication track record in the field. Reviewers will be asked to provide feedback on the paper which should, in general, be in the order of 250-500 words. This will include a public review summary intended for readers of the paper in the event that the paper is accepted (or accepted with minor revisions).

Importantly, peer review is advisory and reviewer recommendations are not a vote. Peer review is based on trust and is most helpful for improving papers but does not guarantee a paper is free from errors or fraud. Editors will weigh the recommendations and comments of reviewers according to their level of detail, accuracy, and insights. They will then decide the next steps based on their own understanding of the paper, aided by the reviewer comments.

Papers that editors do not feel are suitable for publication after 3 rounds of peer review (i.e. two major revision decisions), will be automatically rejected. Papers that are accepted will be published with the peer reviewer’s public summaries that were written for the version that was accepted (or accepted with minor revisions). These short summaries are expected to be around 50-250 words and should describe the reviewer’s impression of the paper and make some suggestions to readers about its strengths and weaknesses. The rest of the review remains confidential.

Preprints and Journal Club Review

Authors who wish to publish their preprint in the journal are eligible for a peer review by journal club. This utilises the PREreview service to the preprint-manuscript reviewed by journal clubs. Journal clubs must include at least one member who would qualify to review independently. Each paper is still submitted for at least two reviews and at least one review report will be from an individual reviewer.

Journal clubs may be drawn from a single lab, a group of labs, or may even meet virtually with members. Each journal club will read the paper and meet to review it. They will then consolidate their comments into a report that makes a recommendation to the editor and provides comments for the author. Journal club review is completely open and reviews will receive DOIs that will be linked to if the paper is published. It is expected that journal club review will involve some benefits such as reducing variability in review recommendations. Since each review is the consolidated from the opinions of multiple people, it is less sensitive to outlier viewpoints. Journal clubs are also likely to be more diverse and will likely have more members at earlier career stages. Since the membership and feedback of journal clubs is public, they may have a reputational incentive to provide careful and considerate feedback.

There are some potential drawbacks of journal club review, which may involve poor team performance due to social loafing or self-censorship of criticisms that may be socially unpopular. To ensure the rigour of this process, editors have the discretion to seek a third journal club review or to engage one or more individual peer reviewers to supplement the original reports. Individual peer reviewers will follow our standard process and write public summaries for readers attached to a confidential report for the editor and authors.

Other than utilising journal clubs and PREreview, the process will be subject to the same rules as for standard peer review. Editors will still have discretion to weigh journal club comments and recommendations and papers will still be subject to a maximum total of 3 rounds of peer review.

Peer Review Transfer (Peer Community In)

Authors of preprints with a recommendation from Peer Community In should advise the editors during submission. These papers can be accepted by editors, in consultation with at least one additional reviewer. Editors are not obliged to consider PCI recommendations and may still follow regular peer review procedures.

Peer Reviewer Conflict of Interest

Peer reviewers are asked to declare conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest. These may include being competitors or collaborators with the authors or financial or other interests. Reviewers who request citation of their own papers must explain why it is important to cite their papers. Editors have the discretion to remove these requests from reviews. Editors may also decline review reports that are conflicted in any way.

A double-blind peer review process may also be used to manage conflicts of interest, such as when an editorial board member is an author on a paper.

Read the full Peer Review Policy.

10. Internal Quality Assurance and Audit

Peer review is not a data audit and peer reviewers are not expected to examine raw data line by line. Ideally, their paper would have been read and the veracity of their data audited by someone who has access to the raw data (Winchester, 2018). Authors who have engaged a data audit are therefore encouraged to submit a short report for publication which will provide extra assurance to editors and readers. However, because labs differ with respect their access to resources the following individuals may be suitable authors of a data audit report, in descending order of trust: Institutional Scientific Integrity Officer, Researcher not in the lab, Researcher in the lab but not involved in the project, an author of the paper with specific responsibilities for verifying data integrity.

The audit report should begin with the auditor(s) name, role, and relation to the project. It should then explain the scope of the audit and how it was conducted. It should then describe what kinds of errors (if any) were detected, the correction of errors, and end with the auditor explaining their level of confidence in the integrity of the data. They may also describe how data is stored and data retention policies (e.g. microscope slides stored for 7 years). It is expected that these reports would be approximately 1-2 pages long.

11. Production

DIY production is one of the main ways that Episteme Health is able to offer fee-free platinum open access publishing. Authors are therefore responsible for the majority of typesetting. Templates for MS Word and LaTeX will be provided. Authors can then use conversion software or Texture to create an XML version of their article that will be modified to prepare it for online display and archiving.

Upon publication, every article will have links to the PDF and XML versions of the article. Where applicable, additional links will be displayed for datasets, preregistration, audits, corrections, expressions of concern, or retraction notices.

Authors retain copyright for their articles and have a choice of open access licenses. The Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) is the default license because it is compliant with all open access mandates. A license that restricts commercial use (CC BY-NC 4.0) is also available, but in that case authors are asked to assign the publisher the right to license third parties for commercial use. In that case authors retain the right to exploit their material commercially such as by including it in a book that they sell for profit, but unrelated third parties will need to seek the publisher’s permission.

See the Episteme Health Copyright and Fair Dealing Policy.

Digital Preservation

Digital preservation is the responsibility of both the publisher and the author. Digital preservation ensures that articles will be available even if the journal or publisher cease to exist.

Authors are strongly encouraged to deposit the final published version of their article in their institutional repository, subject repository, personal website, or elsewhere. This will enhance the discoverability and durability of their article. Institutional repositories also usually have preservation processes that will ensure the ongoing availability of the work.

The publisher will also engage the services of a digital repository for preservation. The Center for Research Libraries assesses and conducts TRAC certification of repositories. By engaging a TRAC-certified repository to preserve articles, the publisher ensures that articles will be available in the event that the journal is unavailable online or ceases to exist.

13. Corrections, Expressions of Concern, Retractions

Authors are welcome to submit corrections, no matter how minor, at any point after publication. The publisher also reserves to right to make minor corrections in the event that an error is introduced by the publisher during publication.

The editors may issue an expression of concern if notified by the authors, their institution(s), or any credible third party that there are reasons to doubt the veracity of the article, its data or conclusions in any way. If the editors are notified by a party other than the authors, they will contact the authors via the corresponding author in the first instance. If the authors do not respond satisfactorily, then the editors will contact the authors institution(s).

If no progress towards resolving an expression of concern occurs for 6 months, the article will be retracted. A lack of progress towards resolution is defined by the authors taking no action to validate or verify their findings such as conducting experiments that validate or replicate their previous findings. It may also be defined by an institutional investigation where no activity is occurring or where findings are unclear and no new investigation is opened.

For concerns raised by institutions or third parties, the editors will make at least 3 attempts to contact the authors of a paper to resolve an expression of concern. Authors will have at least one calendar month to reply to contact attempts. If no reply is received, the concerns are not resolved in favour of the authors, or no progress is made towards resolving concerns for more 6 months then the article will be retracted. Articles will also be retracted if there are findings of misconduct or breaches of appropriate scientific codes of conduct, integrity, or ethics related to the paper. Institutional investigations that do not find misconduct or breaches of scientific codes of conduct may still prompt the editors to retract an article if sufficient doubt remains over the veracity of the article.

If the editors decide a retraction is appropriate, then they will make at least 3 attempts to contact the authors and agree on the wording of the retraction notice. The retraction notice will give the reasons for the retraction, will be publicly accessible, and will detail whether individual authors agreed with the retraction, disagreed with the retraction, or could not be contacted.

Papers that are retracted because an expression of concern was left unaddressed with no progress being made for 6 months will be given the opportunity to republish their paper if the concerns are later resolved. If no changes or minor changes are required, the paper will be republished without needing further review. If no misconduct occurred but major revisions are necessary the republication of the paper is treated as a new submission and is subject to editorial discretion and peer review.

Authors who make honest error retractions (i.e. author-initiated retractions due to honest errors not involving misconduct or breaches of scientific codes of conduct) are strongly encouraged to publish their corrected findings in the journal and the editors will attempt to expedite the process by finding the original reviewers or having the corrected paper reviewed internally by editorial board members.

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