Meeting the internationally accepted ethical standards of all articles published on “Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons Journal” (hereafter called “MLTJ”) is a primary aim of the Editors. MLTJ considers the ethical aspects of submitted works involving human or animal subjects.

The Editors, along with the reviewers, will judge the design of the study and how it was conducted, to verify if the used methods are morally justifiable. If the previous subjects find out an unethical conduction of the study, it will be rejected although hypothetical relevant results.

We require that authors submit a paper providing:

  • the name of the approving committee;
  • approval number or code protocol;
  • the date.

This kind of information must be provided on the “Materials and methods” paragraph of all works submitted to “MLTJ”.

The submitted manuscripts must comply with the policies of MLTJ. In case of need, the guidelines based on the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) on good publication can be consulted.


The study must be conducted in accordance with the ethical standards established in the Declaration of Helsinki of 1946 (World Medical Association. World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki: ethical principles for medicalresearch involving human subjects. JAMA 2013 Nov 27;310(20):2191-4. Doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.281053).

Authors must guarantee that the enrolled participants (or who stands in for – e.g. legal guardians, next of kin in case of death, animal owner) signed an informed consent and that are aware they will be part of a scientific publication.

Patients’ names and unnecessary references to personal aspects (e.g., occupation, residence) or sensitive data (e.g., political preference, etc.) that could reveal the identity of a patient must be omitted from the text and iconographic materials.


When undertaking animal investigations, the study must have been conducted in accordance with the International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals for the use of laboratory animals and with local/national guidelines approved by the appropriate committee. The respect of the recommendations must be explicitly stated in the manuscript.

Studies conducted using anaesthesia or euthanasia, in a way incompatible with the commonly accepted norms of veterinary best practice, will not be taken into consideration (see AVMA guidelines for more information).

If a manuscript has been submitted from a country where there is no ethics committee or institutional review board, authors should explain how the study adhered to the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki:


Authors should declare any potentially overlapping publications on submission. Any overlapping publications explicitly identified should be cited.

In case of doubt, the Editors shall require explanations and the full access to the used documents, such as the signed consent forms. The Editors can also proceed with an independent revision of the manuscript to ascertain if the manuscript meets the ethical standards. If any problem emerges, the authors and the institution where the study was conducted will be consulted and updated about the results of such review. The manuscripts could be rejected in case of serious misconduct.

Furthermore, in case of serious proven misconduct, all authors of the indict article shall be banned from future publication in MLTJ.

Each manuscript submitted to MLTJ is peer reviewed and scrutinised using CrossCheck software for evidence of plagiarism (this involves multiple submission, self-plagiarism, etc.). However, a fraudulent article or an article previously published elsewhere could be improperly published. In this case, the article will be retracted. Readers will be informed with a notification on the journal web site (, and the authors’ institution will be contacted by Editors and/or the Publisher. In case of publication on indexing systems, every appropriate step to identify the fraudulent article will be undertaken, including adding the word “Retraction” in the title.

Data falsification and fabrication

Data falsification means to manipulate data, images, not convenient results, with the intention of giving a false impression, for example increasing the scientific quality of the study.

Any doubt regarding data integrity will be referred to the Editor. The Editor may request the data for inspection or verification. If the original data cannot be provided, the manuscript will be rejected or retracted, depending on the cases.


The corresponding author is responsible for all the information reported into the manuscript, from the list of the authors (to prevent ghost/gift-guest authorship) to the availability of data.

The corresponding author should gain consent by all co-authors for the submission of the manuscript. Not gaining consent from each author for submission could lead to involuntary misconduct in the form of duplicate submission (see “Misconduct/Plagiarism” paragraph above).

The involvement of scientific (medical) writers or anyone else who helped with the preparation of the manuscript content should be acknowledged, along with their source of funding.

For more information visit ICMJE’s webpage:


MLTJ strives to avoid misrepresentation of the data collected. Images cannot be modified (enhancing, obscuring, moving, removing or introducing features) to change the overall appearance or appearance of any specific feature.

Adjustments of brightness and contrast or colour balance are acceptable, but must be applied to the entire image and as long as they do not obscure, eliminate, or misrepresent any information present in the original.

Images collected at different times or from different locations or from different parts of the same gel or from different gels should not be combined into a single image, unless specified. In this case, the edges must be clearly delimited (e.g., dividing lines) in the figure and described in the legend.

Please visit the following websites:


for greater details.


Every article submitted to MLTJ must be compliant with relevant institutional biosafety and biosecurity protocols/national or international recommendations.


MLTJ welcomes in vitro/in vivo manuscripts for submission which meet the following clinical research criteria:

  • adequately controlled (describe the comparison: placebo or conventional medicine use);
  • blinded (where appropriate);
  • randomised;
  • with sufficient statistical power depending on the sample size.


MLTJ suggests to check the following guidelines when writing the manuscript:

  • Randomized controlled trials (follow CONSORT)
  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA)
  • Observational studies (STROBE)
  • Diagnostic/prognostic studies (STARD and TRIPOD)
  • Pre-clinical animal studies (ARRIVE)


MLTJ supports registration of clinical trials. Registration number should be included as the last line of the manuscript abstract.

MLTJ adheres to the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of a clinical trial, which is “any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes”. This definition includes phase I to IV trials. Health-related interventions are defined as “any intervention used to modify a biomedical or health-related outcome” and health-related outcomes as “any biomedical or health-related measures obtained in patients or participants”. Authors could consult the ICMJE FAQs if they are unsure whether their trial needs to be registered.

Suitable publicly available registries are listed on the ICMJE website as well as the primary registries that participate in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform.

Examples of public Clinical Trials Registry are:

MLTJ encourages the publication of study protocols: it reduces the risk of non-publication of research findings and facilitates methodological discussion. If the study protocol for a trial has been published, it should be cited in the manuscript.

For clinical trials that have not been registered prospectively, MLTJ encourages retrospective registration.

MLTJ will consider manuscripts describing retrospectively registered studies.

Protocol of randomized controlled trials should follow the CONSORT extension for abstracts and the CONSORT guidelines.


MLTJ supports the prospective registration of systematic reviews and encourages authors to register their systematic reviews in a suitable registry (such as PROSPERO). Authors who have registered their systematic review should include the registration number as the last line of the manuscript abstract.


MLTJ strongly encourages that all datasets on which the conclusions of the article rely should be available to readers upon request. The authors should provide a link to the repository used to archive the data supporting the results. Authors are required to provide a data availability statement reporting on the availability or the absence of shared data.

Submission of a manuscript to MLTJ implies that any unique materials described in the manuscript will be freely available to scientists wishing to use them for non-commercial purposes.

For datasets containing clinical data, authors have ethical and legal responsibilities to protect the privacy and the identity of participants. Participants, once recruited, should sign an informed consent for the publication of the dataset. In case of impossibility, authors must demonstrate the publication of data does not compromise the legal rights of participants. Authors must include in their manuscript whether informed consent was obtained for publication of patient data. If informed consent was not obtained, authors must state the reason.

Third part data

If a third part is consulted to generate or analyse part or all of the data presented in the study, this aspect should be clearly stated into “Materials and methods” section. If it is not possible, the unavailability should be clearly stated.


The Editors of MLTJ consider all submitted manuscripts as confidential documents. No information will be shared without the written permission of the author(s).

During the revision process, the following people may access to manuscripts:

  • Editors;
  • Members of Editorial Office;
  • Reviewers;
  • Authors.

In case of serious misconduct research, the Journal reserves the right to involve third parties


If a study has been financed by pharmaceutical companies, the Ethics standards of the Journal, the Author Guidelines and the good publication practice must be followed (read also the updating


A conflict of interest can be financial or non-financial. It rises when the authors’ interpretation/presentation of data/information may be influenced, or just perceived as influenced, by personal or financial relationship with other organizations. Authors must disclose any financial competing interests and any non-financial competing interests.

Some examples of interests:

  • Research funding (Include funds received or pending for research in which authors were the principal investigator, collaborator, or consultant).
  • Other Research Support (Includes receipt of drugs, supplies, equipment, or other in-kind support).
  • Honoraria (Include fees received for speaking during symposia and other meetings or occasions).
  • Expert Witness (Serving as an expert witness, consultant or otherwise providing a deposition, testimony, or other information, analysis or document for a lawsuit, government agency proceeding, grand jury, or other legal proceeding, even if the case did not go to trial).
  • Ownership Interest (Stocks or stock options; partnership, membership, any rights in any patent or other intellectual property).

A Conflict of Interests disclosure form must be signed by each author and the presence or the absence of conflict of interests must be clearly stated in the title page (see Author Guidelines” – “Before Submission). The Conflict of Interests document intends to specify all financial, personal and professional relationships that could be a conflict of interest or could be perceived as a conflict of interest or could affect the study of the author.

Once the issue will be online, all the declarations will appear after the Acknowledgements section (if present) of each article, in a specific paragraph entitled Conflict of interests. If authors declare no conflict of interests, a default sentence will be report: “The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests”. In case of conflicts, an ad-hoc sentence will be prepared.

The authors will be held responsible for any false declarations or noncompliance with the instructions specified above.

The editorial office reserves the right to reject any manuscript that does not conform to the above-described instructions.


MLTJ offers to publish correction just in case the errors could affect the interpretation of the study.


If the authors wish to ask the Editor or Editorial Board to reconsider a rejection of a manuscript, they are allowed to do so. They have to contact the Editorial Office providing a formal letter of appeal, which will be forwarded to the Editor in Chief. The decision to re-consider the manuscript can take several weeks, and it liws with the handling editor of the manuscript and of the EiC. Only one appeal is permitted for each manuscript.

The authors can appeal only in the case they can demonstrate the existence of an error which took place during revision process or if some fundamental additional data can be provided.


Although Muscles Ligaments and Tendons Journal publishes articles under an open access model, for the time being it does not impose any fees or Author Publication Charges (APC).

There are no submission charges, no charges for rejected/accepted articles, no revision charges, no charges based on the length of a manuscript or type of a manuscript, no supplement charges for the presence of figures/tables or supplementary files, and no fess to publication. The process, from submission to publication, is entirely free.