Editorial policies

ST-OPEN focuses on selecting and peer reviewing graduation theses (Masters theses) from the University of Split, but also invites other Croatian universities to create a national overlay journal. We also consider direct submissions from researchers, who can deposit their work in DABAR (Digital Academic Archives and Repositories, and contact the journal with a submission letter.
ST-OPEN provides training for editors and reviewers and has policies on diverse aspects of peer review, especially with respect to adoption of appropriate models of review and processes for handling conflicts of interest, appeals and disputes that may arise in peer review.

Peer review
ST-OPEN uses peer review to obtain the advice of experts about the quality of the submissions and their relevance to the journal. All research articles are submitted to external peer review and reviewed by at least two reviewers. The manuscripts written in Croatian are first sent for an official intramural review by experts in the research field suggested by the members of our Editorial team. Accepted manuscripts from this first step are then translated into English by ST-OPEN without a fee from the authors and sent out for extramural peer review to relevant experts worldwide to make editorial decisions based on objective judgment. All reviewed articles are treated confidentially prior to their publication. Due to the focus on graduate student research already deposited in university repositories, ST-OPEN uses a single-anonymized type of peer review. Additional information on the editorial process is also available here.

Author helpful policy
Due to the nature of ST-OPEN as a University of Split overlay journal, the editors will, in principle, contact potential authors who have their works uploaded into the DABAR repository.
The authors may contact the Editorial office to for evaluation of potential acceptability of their works in the repository. However, the potential authors may post their works in the repository with or without introductory contacting the Editorial office.
Members of the ST-OPEN Editorial Board select a thesis (or other work) of interest for the journal, and the ST-OPEN editors approach the supervisor and the student and offer to work with them on transforming the thesis into a manuscript in English. The initial publication (thesis) in DABAR is considered to be the non-reviewed pre-print version of the article.
ST-OPEN does not restrict the length of the manuscript, and the only requirement is that it presents research results. The ST-OPEN editors work with the authors, using the author-helpful policy developed by Croatian Medical Journal (Mišak A, Marušić M, Marušić A. Manuscript editing as a way of teaching academic writing: experience from a small scientific journal. Journal of Second Language Writing. 2005,14(2):122-31.).

Authorship and contributorship
ST-OPEN follows authorship criteria listed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). The ICMJE recommends that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria: “1) Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; and 2) Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and 3) Final approval of the version to be published; and 4) Agreement 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.” However, we are aware of the limitations of the ICMJE definition and its practical applications, and ask our authors to write in their own words why they think they deserve authorship of the submitted manuscript. Authors’ declared contributions to the research are published at the end of the article.

Competing interests
ST-OPEN supports transparency for reporting all financial and personal relationships that might bias the publication process. We ask authors to declare their possible competing interests when they submit the manuscripts. The same is asked from the reviewers when they review a manuscript. As the editors and Editorial Board members at ST-OPEN are active professionals and researchers, it may happen that they would want to submit their articles to ST-OPEN. This represents a potential conflict of interest, especially in cases of submissions from decision-making editors. In reviewing submissions from its editors and Editorial Board members, ST-OPEN follows the guidelines for good editorial practice set by international editorial organizations, such as the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) and COPE. The review of such manuscripts will not be handled by the submitting editor(s); the review process will be supervised and the decisions made by a senior editor who will act independently of the other editors. In some cases, the review process will be handled by an outside independent expert to minimize possible bias in reviewing submissions from editors. ST-OPEN will also regularly disclose competing interest declarations from the Editor in Chief and Editorial office members.

Editorial research
We are keen to better understand and improve editorial conduct, decision making, issues related to peer review and communication of science in general. Therefore, we occasionally take part in or conduct editorial research, so that submitted manuscripts and reviewers’ reports might be used in such research. If you do not want your manuscript or your review comments entered into such a study please let us know in your submission letter or agreement to review. Your decision to take part or not will have no effect on the editorial decision on the submitted manuscript.

Post-publication discussions
ST-OPEN allows debate post-publication on its site and through letters to the editor. Post-publication corrections will be published beside the original article to allow readers easy access to the latest version. All versions will be permanently available and linked to the same DOI. The journal mechanisms for correcting, revising or retracting articles after publication are guided by the COPE guidelines when handling corrections, revisions or retraction of articles after publication.

Journal management
Management of ST-OPEN is described in the bylaw on the journal, approved by the Senate of the University of Split, which ensures full responsibility and independence of the Editor and the ST-OPEN editorial bodies.

Ethics and research integrity
The issues on integrity in research and publication are too diverse and large to be presented in full detail here, so we state that the ST-OPEN fully endorses the policies and guidance of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) outlined in the Core Practice Checklist. Additional information on research ethics is also available here.

Ethical oversight
Ethical oversight include, but is not limited to, policies on consent to research and publication, research on vulnerable populations, ethical conduct of research using animals, ethical conduct of research using human subjects, handling confidential data and ethical business/marketing practices.

Comments and appeals
Post-publication peer review is possible through comments or letters to the Editor. Before publication, these contributions are reviewed by the Editors and are sent to the authors of the original article for response. The comment and the response is then published simultaneously and the issue is concluded.
ST-OPEN considers appeals on rejected manuscripts provided the authors can demonstrate that the decision on their manuscript was flawed or not in line with the journal’s policies. For an appeal to be considered, authors must provide a detailed point-by-point response to all the concerns raised by the reviewers or editors involved with the manuscript. The authors do not have to provide a revised manuscript during the appeal process. All decisions made on appeals are final, and the decision process could take longer than with original submissions. Appeals must be made within 30 days of the reject decision.

Allegations of misconduct
We take seriously the allegations of misconduct pre-publication and post-publication. We follow the COPE policies, including COPE flowcharts on how to handle allegations about submitted and published article. Authors are obliged to correct their publication if necessary, including corrections and retractions for honest error. The journal will address allegations of publication or research misconduct according to the COPE guidance and correct the published record when necessary.

Data and reproducibility
ST-OPEN follows the COPE policies on data availability. We encourage the use of reporting guidelines and other study designs according to standard practice in their discipline. We strongly encourage that data generated by your research that supports your article be made available as soon as possible, wherever legally and ethically possible. ST OPEN will assist authors on use of University of Split repository to post raw data for sharing with other researchers. Authors of research reports are also encouraged to submit their data to be published as appendices to the article.

Intellectual property and publishing license
ST-OPEN respects the fact that works deposited in the DABAR repository are under different types of access. Submission of a manuscript is taken to indicate the author's commitment to publish in the ST-OPEN if the manuscript is accepted. The copyright for all published articles remains with the author(s), and the journal copyright remains with the journal.
ST-OPEN publishes under CC BY 4.0 license, which means that all published articles can be: Shared (copied and redistributed in any medium or format); and/or Adapted (remixed, transformed and built upon for any purpose, including commercial).
The authors must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. They may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the publisher endorses you or your use.
You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the CC BY 4.0 license permits.