January 02, 2014

What’s new in 2014?

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Gregory S. Lewis
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Animal Science

Instructions for Authors (Revised 2014) Journal of Animal Science, commonly called Style and Form, has been released.  Most of the revisions are refinements and not new “rules.”  However, you will see two entirely new sections.  One is Conflict of Interest, and the other is Protection of Human Subjects

Please review the 2014 Style and Form and make sure your manuscripts are consistent with Journal of Animal Science requirements.  Over the last 9 yr, nearly 20% of the manuscript submissions have been immediately rejected, largely because of style and form issues or lack of suitability for the journal.  The following URL will take you to the 2014 Style and Form. http://journalofanimalscience.org/site/misc/JAS-InstructionsToAuthors.pdf

Also, beginning in 2014 all manuscripts will be automatically screened for evidence of plagiarism or excessive duplication.  According to Merriam-Webster Online, which is the “official” dictionary for the Journal of Animal Science, plagiarism is the “act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person.”  Ready access to electronic publications has made copying and pasting easier than ever before, and we all see the evidence to support that assertion.  The screening reports are not definitive and, thus, will only be used to flag potential issues for greater editorial scrutiny.

Conflict of Interest. For several years, many scientific journals have required conflict-of-interest statements.  Some journals, including the Journal of Animal Science, have not had that requirement, and this has left us—authors, journals, and scientific societies—vulnerable to suspicions of professional impropriety.  Thus, based on legal advice, the Journal of Animal Science will ask for the disclosure of conflicts of interest.  The following information was excerpted from the 2014 Style and Form; please refer to the Conflict of Interest section for complete guidelines.

“All JAS editors, ASAS [American Society of Animal Science] staff, ASAS Board of Directors, and submitting authors must disclose any actual or potential conflicts of interest that might affect their ability to present or review research or data objectively. This generally includes any relevant professional, personal, political, intellectual, religious, or financial interest in, or relationship with, an individual or business that could have an actual or perceived influence, positive or negative, on the conduct and publication of the research or data.  Disclosures for JAS authors are to be provided as an acknowledgement on the title page of a manuscript.”

Protection of Human Subjects. In the U.S., federally funded or regulated research involving human subjects must comply with Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 45 Public Welfare, Part 46 Protection of Human Subjects.  Many countries have similar protections for human subjects.  However, CFR 45 Part 46.101(b), found at the following website, exempts some research from these regulations. http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.html

Most research with human subjects that is reported in the Journal of Animal Science seems to fall within CFR 45 Part 46.101(b).  For example, “Exempted research includes that in which the only involvement of human subjects is for taste and food quality evaluation and consumer acceptance if 1) wholesome foods without additives are consumed or 2) a food is consumed that contains a food ingredient at or below the level and for a use found to be safe, or agricultural chemical or environmental contaminant at or below the level found to be safe, by the Food and Drug Administration or approved by the Environmental Protection Agency or the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA.”

Nevertheless, authors should review CFR 45 Part 46 to make sure they are in compliance with the law and the guidelines for their institution.  The new manuscript submission form will contain the following checklist, and you will be asked to check the appropriate box.

Protection of Human Subjects:

  • This research did not involve human subjects.
  • This research involved human subjects, and the research was exempted under U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45 Public Welfare, Part 46 Protection of Human Subjects, or equivalent regulations where the research was conducted.
  • This research involved human subjects; the research was not exempted under CFR 45 Part 46, or equivalent regulations where the research was conducted; and the research received a priori approval from an appropriate Institutional Review Board.