Editorial Policy

EcoSal Plus Editorial Policy

Use of Microbiological Information

The Council Policy Committee (CPC) of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) affirms the long-standing position of the Society that microbiologists will work for the proper and beneficent application of science and will call to the attention of the public or the appropriate authorities misuses of microbiology or of information derived from microbiology. ASM members are obligated to discourage any use of microbiology contrary to the welfare of humankind, including the use of microbes as biological weapons. Bioterrorism violates the fundamental principles expressed in the Code of Ethics of the Society and is abhorrent to ASM and its members.

ASM recognizes that there are valid concerns regarding the publication of information in scientific journals that could be put to inappropriate use as described in the CPC resolution mentioned above. Members of the EcoSal Plus Editorial Board will evaluate the rare manuscript that might raise such issues during the review process. Supply of materials should be in accordance with laws and regulations governing the shipment, transfer, possession, and use of biological materials and must be for legitimate, bona fide research needs. Links to, and information regarding, these laws and regulations can be found under the Public Policy tab on the ASM website. We ask that authors pay particular attention to the NSAR Select Agent/Toxin list on the CDC website and the NSABB criteria for identifying dual use research of concern in the report “Proposed Framework for the Oversight of Dual Use Life Sciences Research: Strategies for Minimizing the Potential Misuse of Research Information” on the Office of Biotechnology Activities website (p. 17–22).

Ethical Guidelines

ASM requirements for submitted manuscripts are consistent with the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors last updated in August 2013 (http://www.icmje.org/icmje-recommendations.pdf). Authors are expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards. The following sections of these Instructions include detailed information about ASM’s ethical standards. Failure to comply with the policies described in these Instructions may result in a letter of reprimand, a suspension of publishing privileges, and/or notification of the authors’ institutions. Authors employed by companies whose policies do not permit them to comply with ASM policies may be sanctioned as individuals and/or ASM may refuse to consider manuscripts having authors from such companies. The EcoSal Plus Editorial Board wishes to clarify the following in particular.

Conducting ethical research. Authors whose submitted work included human subjects must provide a statement in the text that informed consent was obtained and the study was approved by your Institutional Review Board (include the full name of the institution in the statement). When conducting research with animals, authors must provide a statement that the study was approved by your Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (include the full name of the institution in the statement).

Disclosure/conflict of interests. All authors are expected to disclose, in the conflict-of-interest section during the submission process, any commercial affiliations as well as consultancies, stock or equity interests, and patent-licensing arrangements that could be considered to pose a conflict of interest regarding the submitted manuscript. (Inclusion of a company name in the author address lines of the manuscript does not constitute disclosure.) Details of the disclosure to ASM Press and the editor will remain confidential. However, it is the responsibility of authors to provide, in the Acknowledgments section, a general statement disclosing financial or other relationships that are relevant to the study. Examples of potentially conflicting interests that should be disclosed include relationships that might detract from an author's objectivity in presentation of study results and interests whose value would be enhanced by the results presented. All funding sources for the project, institutional and corporate, must be credited in the Acknowledgments section. In addition, if a manuscript concerns a commercial product, the manufacturer's name must be indicated in the text in an obvious manner.

Plagiarism. Misappropriating another person’s intellectual property constitutes plagiarism. This includes copying sentences or paragraphs verbatim (or almost verbatim) from someone else’s work, even if the original work is cited in the references. The NIH ORI publication “Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: a Guide to Ethical Writing” can help authors identify questionable writing practices (http://ori.dhhs.gov/avoiding-plagiarism-self-plagiarism-and-other-questionable-writing-practices-guide-ethical-writing). Plagiarism is not limited to the text; it can involve any part of the manuscript, including figures and tables, in which material is copied from another publication without permission and attribution. An author may not reuse his or her own previously published work without attribution; this is considered self-plagiarism.

Fabrication, manipulation, and falsification of data. As a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), ASM encourages authors to consult the International Standards for Authors, which COPE helped develop. Fabrication, manipulation, and falsification of data constitute misconduct. As defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, fabrication is “making up data or results and recording or reporting them,” and falsification is “manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record” (42 Code of Federal Regulations, §93.103). All sources and methods used to obtain and analyze data, including any electronic preprocessing, should be fully disclosed; detailed explanations should be provided for any exclusions.

Primary publication. By submission of a manuscript to EcoSal Plus, the authors guarantee that they have the authority to publish the work and that the manuscript, or one with substantially the same content, was not published previously (except for content published in an ASM Press publication, with preapproval) and is not being published or considered for publication elsewhere. It is incumbent upon the author to acknowledge any prior publication, including his/her own articles, of the data contained in a manuscript submitted to EcoSal Plus. A copy of the relevant work should be submitted with the paper as supplemental material for information only. Whether the material constitutes the substance of a paper and therefore renders the manuscript unacceptable for publication is an editorial decision.


The corresponding author is responsible for obtaining permission from both the original author and the original publisher (i.e., the copyright owner) to reproduce or modify figures (including maps) and tables and to reproduce text (in whole or in part) from previous publications. This also applies to the author’s own work published in non-ASM publications. Figures, tables, and discrete portions of text from the author's own prior ASM publications may be republished in EcoSal Plus without permission on the condition that appropriate credit is given to the original ASM publication.

Written, signed permissions must be secured at the modification stage and submitted with the revised manuscript in the eJP online manuscript submission and peer review system. They should be scanned and submitted as supplemental material for information only. If they cannot be scanned and transmitted this way, they should be e-mailed, mailed, or faxed to the editor. Permissions should be identified as to the relevant item in the ASM manuscript (e.g., "permissions for Fig. 1 in submitted manuscript"). In addition, a statement indicating that the material is being reprinted with permission must be included in the relevant figure legend or table footnote of the manuscript. Reprinted text must be enclosed in quotation marks, and the permission statement must be included as running text or indicated parenthetically. It is expected that authors will provide written assurance that permission to cite unpublished data or personal communications has been granted.


All authors of a manuscript must have agreed to its submission and are responsible for its content (initial submission and any subsequent versions), including appropriate citations and acknowledgments, and must also have agreed that the corresponding author has the authority to act on their behalf in all matters pertaining to publication of the manuscript. The corresponding author is responsible for obtaining such agreements and for informing the coauthors of the manuscript’s status throughout the submission, review, and publication processes. Submitting a paper before all coauthors have read and approved it is considered an ethical violation, as is failure to credit someone who qualifies as a coauthor; however, ASM does not itself investigate or attempt to resolve authorship disputes.

An author is one who made a substantial contribution to the article; therefore, ASM considers all authors responsible for the entire paper. Individuals who provided assistance, e.g., supplied strains or critiqued the paper, need not be listed as authors but may be recognized in the Acknowledgments section. ASM does not permit "ghost authorship," i.e., individuals who contribute to the research, data analysis, and/or writing of an article but who do not satisfy the requirements for authorship. Examples of ghost authors include medical writers and employees of pharmaceutical or device companies who have not made a substantial contribution to the overall design and execution of the experiments.

A study group, surveillance team, working group, consortium, or the like (e.g., the Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Team) may be listed as a coauthor in the byline if its contributing members satisfy the requirements for authorship and accountability as described in these Instructions. The names (and institutional affiliations if desired) of the contributing members only may be given as a separate paragraph in the Acknowledgments section.

If the contributing members of the group associated with the work do not fulfill the criteria of substantial contribution to and responsibility for the paper, the group may not be listed in the author byline. Instead, it and the names of its contributing members may be listed in the Acknowledgments section.

All authors must agree to the order in which their names are listed in the byline. Statements regarding equal contributions by two or more authors (e.g., "C. Jones and Y. Smith contributed equally to...") are permitted in the Acknowledgments and must be agreed to by all of the authors. Other statements of attribution may also be included in the Acknowledgments section.

A change in authorship (order of listing, addition or deletion of a name, or corresponding author designation) after submission of the manuscript will be implemented only after receipt of signed statements of agreement from all parties involved.

Disputes about authorship may delay or prevent review and/or publication of the manuscript. Should the individuals involved be unable to reach an accord, review and/or publication of the manuscript can proceed only after the matter is investigated and resolved by the authors’ institution(s) and an official report of such and signed statements of agreement are provided to ASM.


To maintain and protect the ASM’s ownership and rights and to continue to afford scientists the opportunity to publish in high-quality publications, ASM requires the corresponding author to sign a copyright transfer agreement on behalf of all the authors. Unless this agreement is executed (without changes and/or addenda), ASM will not publish the manuscript.

In the copyright transfer agreement signed by an author, ASM grants to that author (and coauthors) the right to republish discrete portions of his/her (their) article in any other publication (print, CD-ROM, and other electronic forms) of which he/she is (they are) the author(s) or editor(s), on the condition that appropriate credit is given to the original ASM publication. This republication right also extends to posting on a host computer to which there is access via the Internet. Except as indicated below, significant portions of the article may not be reprinted/posted without ASM’s prior written permission, however, as this would constitute duplicate publication.

Authors may post their own published articles on their personal or university-hosted (but not corporate, government, or similar) websites without ASM’s prior written permission provided that appropriate credit is given (i.e., either the copyright lines shown at the bottom of the first page of the PDF version or “Copyright © American Society for Microbiology, EcoSal Plus [insert citation]” for the HTML version).

Works authored solely by U.S. government employees are not subject to copyright protection, so there is no copyright to be transferred. However, the other provisions of the copyright transfer agreement, such as author representations of originality and authority to enter into the agreement, apply to U.S. government employee-authors as well as to other authors.

Warranties and Exclusions

Articles published in EcoSal Plus represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of ASM. ASM does not warrant the fitness or suitability, for any purpose, of any methodology, kit, product, or device described or identified in an article. The use of trade names is for identification purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by ASM.

Editorial Style

The editorial style of EcoSal Plus conforms to the ASM Style Manual for Journals (American Society for Microbiology, 2012, in-house document) and How To Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, 6th ed. (Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 2006), as interpreted and modified by the EcoSal Plus editorial board and ASM Press. The editors and ASM Press reserve the privilege of editing manuscripts, whether invited or not, to conform with the stylistic conventions set forth in the aforesaid publications and in these Instructions. Any deviations from this style must be approved by ASM Press.

Submission Process

All submissions to EcoSal Plus must be made electronically via the eJP online submission and peer review system at the following URL: http://ecosalplus.msubmit.net. (E-mailed submissions will not be accepted.) First-time users must create an Author account, which may be used for submitting to all ASM Press publications, and are led through this process in a series of screens. Instructions for submitting a manuscript are also provided. Information on file types acceptable for electronic submission can be found under the Files heading in the “help for authors” screen.


All manuscripts are considered to be confidential and are reviewed by the editors or qualified ad hoc reviewers.

To expedite the review process, authors can recommend up to two reviewers who have expertise in the field, who are not members of their institution(s), who have not recently been associated with their laboratory(ies), and who could not otherwise be considered to pose a conflict of interest regarding the submitted manuscript. Please provide their contact information where indicated on the submission form.

When a manuscript is submitted, it is given a control number and assigned to the Associate Editor of the appropriate domain. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to inform the coauthors of the manuscript's status throughout the submission, review, and publication processes. The reviewers operate under strict guidelines set forth in "Guidelines for Reviewers" and are expected to complete their reviews expeditiously. Once the manuscript is submitted, it is sent for peer review to two to four experts in the field. Reviews generally take about 4 weeks, and then a decision (accept, modify, or reject) about the manuscript is made. It should be expected that there will be minor or major revisions required of authors during the revision process. Manuscripts may require re-review if the editor deems it necessary.

The corresponding author is notified by the Associate Editor of the EcoSal Plus domain of the decision to accept, reject, or require modification. When modification is requested, the corresponding author must either submit the modified version within 4 weeks or withdraw the manuscript. A point-by-point response to the reviews must be loaded as a separate file (identified as such); a compare copy of the manuscript (without figures) should be included as supplemental material for information only if the handling editor or the Editor in Chief requested one.

Manuscripts that have been rejected, or withdrawn after being returned for modification, may be resubmitted if the major criticisms have been addressed. The author must state that the manuscript is a resubmission. A point-for-point response to the reviews and a compare copy of the revised manuscript showing the changes must be included as supplemental material for information only. Rejected manuscripts may be resubmitted only once unless permission has been obtained from the Editor in Chief.

Notification of Acceptance

When a manuscript has been found acceptable for publication on the basis of scientific merit, the author and ASM Press are notified by the Associate Editor or Editor in Chief. The text files undergo a screening process, and the illustrations are examined. If all files have been prepared according to the criteria set forth here and those in the eJP online manuscript submission system, the acceptance procedure will be completed successfully. If there are problems that would cause extensive corrections to be made at the copyediting stage or if the files are not acceptable for production, ASM Press staff will contact the corresponding author.

Once all the material intended for publication has been determined to be adequate, the manuscript is scheduled for publication. The editorial staff of ASM Press completes the editing of the manuscript to bring it into conformity with prescribed standards.

Page Proofs

Page proofs, together with a query sheet and instructions for handling proofs, will be made available to the corresponding author electronically. Queries must be answered on the query page, and any changes related to the queries must be indicated on the proofs. Note that the copy editor does not query at every instance where a change has been made. Queries are written only to request necessary information or clarification of an unclear passage or to draw attention to edits that may have altered the sense. It is the author's responsibility to read the entire text, tables, and figure legends, not just items queried. Corrected proofs must be returned within 1 week after notification of availability.

The proof stage is not the time to make extensive corrections, additions, or deletions. Figures as they appear in the proofs are for validation of content and placement, not quality of reproduction or color accuracy. Print output of figures in the PDF page proofs will be of lower quality than the same figures viewed on a monitor. Please avoid making changes to figures based on quality of color or reproduction in proof.

Important new information that has become available between acceptance of the manuscript and receipt of the proofs may be inserted as an addendum in proof with the permission of the Editor in Chief or Associate Editor. If references to unpublished data or personal communications are added, it is expected that written assurance granting permission for the citation will be provided. Limit changes to correction of spelling errors, incorrect data, and grammatical errors and updated information for references to articles that have been submitted or are in press. If URLs have been provided in the article, recheck the sites to ensure that the addresses are still accurate and the material that you expect the reader to find is indeed there.

Questions about late proofs and problems with the proofs should be directed to ASM Press (email: [email protected]; telephone: 202-942-9321).

Access to Published Work

After publication, EcoSal Plus authors are eligible to receive one year of access to EcoSal Plus; access must be requested by contacting ASM Press: [email protected].

Open Access Policy

EcoSal Plus has no page charges or submission fees. However, author-paid optional open access, including public access upon publication and open access provided through NIH’s PubMed Central repository, is available. A corresponding author who is an ASM member pays a $1000 fee for optional open access. For a nonmember corresponding author, the fee is $2000. A corresponding author who is not an ASM member may join ASM to obtain the member rate. 


All EcoSal Plus content is preserved by agreement in CLOCKSS, a US-based non-profit whose mission is to provide for the long-term digital archiving of academic publications. Partnership with CLOCKSS ensures that in the event of server failure and data loss, EcoSal Plus content will remain globally available to the scientific community. The permanent backup of digital archives is particularly useful for libraries seeking to preserve their electronic collections.

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