Publishing Ethics and Malpractice

Use of Animals and Humans in Research

Because advancing animal welfare is one of the fundamental aims of the journal, Animal Sentience will not publish studies in which animal subjects are harmed. We encourage authors to use rewards as positive motivators, and not punishment or deprivation, when animals are studied. For both scientific and ethical reasons, submitted manuscripts should include information on the procurement and final disposition of animal subjects.

We discourage the use of animals purpose-bred for animal research unless the research is specifically aimed at improving the welfare of the animal subjects. Whenever possible, authors are encouraged to study wild animals in their natural settings or domesticated animals in settings that provide for their behavioral and psychological needs.

Prospective authors are invited to contact the editors to discuss how planned studies can be conducted in a humane manner.

Authors should include an ethics statement in any paper or commentary that includes a “Methods section” describing the involvement of human and/or animal subjects.

Publishing Ethics and Malpractice

WellBeing International, the publisher of Animal Sentience, recognizes that scholarly publishing is a complex ecosystem that includes editors, authors, reviewers, and publishers. The following ethical standards and policies have been adopted by the journal and are aligned with COPE’s (Committee on Publication Ethics) Core Practices document (accessible at: COPE Core Practices).

Editors (confidentiality, objectivity, conflicts of interest)

The Editor-in-Chief determines which submissions to the journal will be published and must ensure that decisions are made on the basis of the manuscript’s merit and that the author’s race, gender, religious or political beliefs, ethnicity, or citizenship are not considered. The submitted manuscript will be handled in confidence and should only be revealed to other parties (e.g., reviewers) as appropriate. Editors and editorial board members will not use unpublished information disclosed in a submitted manuscript for their own research purposes without the authors’ explicit written consent. Editors will recuse themselves from considering manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships/connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers; instead, they will ask another member of the editorial board to handle the manuscript.

Reviewers (confidentiality, promptness, conflicts of interest, objectivity)

Peer review provides essential support and guidance in helping the editor and/or editorial board reach editorial or publishing decisions and ideally also serves the author in improving the quality of the submission. Peer reviews are conducted promptly, and reviewers are expected to treat the manuscript and their comments in confidence.

Reviewers will not use unpublished information disclosed in a submitted manuscript for their own research purposes without the authors’ explicit written consent. Reviewers will recuse themselves from reviewing manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships/connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.

Reviewers should strive to be objective in their assessments and should avoid ad hominem comments. Reviewers’ comments should be clearly expressed and supported by data or arguments. Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also call to the editor’s attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.


Authors of original research reports should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately, and the paper should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Making statements in the manuscript that are known to be inaccurate constitutes unethical behavior and is unacceptable.

Authors should be prepared to make the data in a paper publicly available if practicable. In any event, authors should ensure accessibility of such data to other competent professionals for a reasonable period provided that the confidentiality of the research participants can be protected and legal rights concerning proprietary data do not preclude their release.

Authors will appropriately cite or quote the work and/or words of others. Animal Sentience may, from time to time, invite author(s) to republish a particularly important paper that has appeared elsewhere provided the authors and the other publication agree to such republication. In all cases, the original source of the paper will be clearly noted. As an open peer commentary journal, Animal Sentience offers the opportunity to submit a paper that has appeared elsewhere to open peer commentary and thereby advance the academic discourse on a specific issue. Manuscripts under review by another journal should not be submitted to Animal Sentience while under review. Journals that publish creative works may make exceptions to the previously published rule; please consult the editor. Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Information obtained privately, as in conversation, correspondence, or discussion with third parties, must not be used or reported without explicit, written permission from the source. Information obtained in the course of confidential services, such as refereeing manuscripts or grant applications, must not be used without the explicit written permission of the author of the work involved in these services.

Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. Where there are others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the research project, they should be acknowledged or listed separately as contributors. The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors and no inappropriate co-authors are included on the paper, and that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication.

All authors of a submitted manuscript should disclose any financial or other substantive conflict of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. Examples of potential conflicts of interest which should be disclosed include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations, and grants or other funding. Potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed to the editor at the earliest stage possible. Readers should be informed about who has funded research and on the role of the funders in the research.

When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in their own published work, it is the author's obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper. If the editor or the publisher learns from a third party that a published work contains a significant error, it is the obligation of the author to promptly retract or correct the paper or to provide evidence to the editor of the correctness of the original paper. As an online-only journal, Animal Sentience, is able to make corrections to the original published paper after it has appeared. Any correction so made will be appropriately dated to indicate it is a later revision.

Please send questions, concerns or comments on any of the above issues to the Editor-in-Chief, Dr Stevan Harnad or to the Publisher’s representative, Dr Andrew Rowan. Appropriate contact details are provided in the “Journal Home” section.

Competing Interests

Animal Sentience requires that all parties involved in a publication (i.e., the authors, reviewers and academic editors) should declare any potential Competing Interests (also known as Conflicts of Interest). The disclosure of a Competing Interest does not necessarily mean that there is an issue to be addressed; it simply ensures that all parties are appropriately informed of any relevant considerations while they work on the submission. Reviewers are expected to consider any competing interests before agreeing to review, and to confirm that they have no competing interests before submitting their review. Editors are expected to recuse themselves from handling a manuscript if they feel they have a competing interest.

Examples of Competing Interests include but are not limited to: possible financial benefits if the manuscript is published; prior working, or personal, relationships with any of the authors; patent activity on the results; consultancy activity around the results; personal material or financial gain (such as free travel, gifts, etc.) relating to the work; and personal convictions (religious, political, etc.) which may have a bearing on the work.

Funding Disclosure

Animal Sentience requires that authors disclose the financing which made their work possible.

Retractions, Corrections, and Expressions of Concern

Journal editors will consider retractions, corrections, or expressions of concern in line with COPE's Retraction Guidelines.

If an author is found to have made an error, the journal will issue a corrigendum. If the journal is found to have made an error, the journal will issue an erratum and correct the error in the online materials.

Retractions are usually reserved for articles that are so seriously flawed that their findings or conclusions should not be relied upon or contain substantial plagiarism or life-endangering content. In exceptional cases, we may remove an article from an online publication where we believe it is necessary to comply with our legal obligations. This action includes, without limitation, where we have concerns that the article is defamatory, violates personal privacy or confidentiality laws, is the subject of a court order, or might pose a severe health risk to the general public. In these circumstances, we may decide to remove the article and publish a notice that clearly states why the entire article has been removed.

If someone raises a legal, ethical, or security concern about an Animal Sentience publication, we will inform the author(s) and editor(s) involved. The next step would be to investigate the concern and, if appropriate, address it through dialogue or negotiation with any third parties involved or by referring it to a relevant institution for investigation. If the concern relates to the integrity or accuracy of the content itself, we will consider issuing a correction or a retraction and withdrawal from online availability. Where any content is retracted, we would do so in a way that still preserves the integrity of the academic record and other affiliated works. This retraction includes maintaining any associated metadata and, if legally possible, the abstract.

Image Manipulation, Falsification, and Fabrication

When research data are collected or presented as images, modifying them can sometimes misrepresent the results obtained or their significance. We recognize that there can be legitimate reasons for modifying images. Still, we expect authors to avoid modifying images where this leads to the falsification, fabrication, or misrepresentation of their results.

Fraudulent Research and Research Misconduct

When we are made aware of fraudulent research or research misconduct by an author published in Animal Sentience, our first concern is the integrity of the content we have published. We will work with the relevant editor(s), COPE, and other appropriate institutions or organizations, to investigate. Any publication that includes fraudulent results will be retracted, or a proper correction or expression of concern will be issued. Please see the Retractions, Corrections, and Expressions of Concern section of these guidelines for more information.


Plagiarism may be 'using someone else's ideas, words, data, or other material produced by them without acknowledgment.' Plagiarism can occur concerning all types of sources and media, including: 1. Text, illustrations, musical quotations, extended mathematical derivations, computer code, etc.; 2. Material downloaded from websites or drawn from manuscripts or other media; 3. Published and unpublished material, including lectures, presentations, and grey literature.

We do not tolerate plagiarism in any of our publications and reserve the right to check all submissions through appropriate plagiarism checking tools. Submissions containing suspected plagiarism, in whole or part, will be rejected. If plagiarism is discovered post-publication, we will follow our guidance outlined in this document's Retractions, Corrections, and Expressions of Concern section. We expect our readers, reviewers, and editors to raise any suspicions of plagiarism by contacting the relevant editor or emailing wbisr-info@wellbeingintl.org or wlevine@wellbeingintl.org.

Versions and Adaptations

Where we license publication rights, our authors and we retain the right to withhold approval for publication if we have concerns about the integrity and accuracy of the licensed edition.


We strive to follow COPE's Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing and encourage our authors, reviewers, and editors to uphold these same principles.