General Policies

Ethical Guidelines

The following documents are provided to inform authors, editors, reviewers, and readers of Optica Publishing Group's ethical policies and guidelines. Our journals are members of COPE, and submissions are screened for plagiarism using Similarity Check. Any questions may be addressed to Optica Publising Group Editorial Ethics subcommittee at

  1. Guidelines of Optica Publishing Group Concerning Ethical Practices in the Publication of Research (PDF)
  2. Guidelines of Optica Publishing Group on the Use of Humans and Animals in Research:

    It is the expectation of Optica Publishing Group that research using animals and human subjects reported at the meetings and in the publications of the Society will have been conducted in accordance with internationally recognized principles regarding the ethical conduct of biomedical research. Authors must include a brief statement within the manuscript identifying the institutional and/or licensing committee (i.e. Institutional Review Board, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) that approved the experiments. Experiments involving animal subjects are expected to be consistent with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (published by U.S. National Academy of Sciences, ISBN 0-309-05377-3). Experiments involving human subjects are expected to conform to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. For such experiments, authors must also include a statement confirming that informed consent was obtained from all subjects.

  3. Optica Publishing Group Plagiarism Policy: Editorial on Plagiarism (PDF), published February 2013
  4. Conflicts of Interest Policy. Basic guidelines for disclosing conflicts of interest are included in the Guidelines of Optica Publishing Group Concerning Ethical Practices in the Publication of Research. Our journals require full disclosure by authors of all conflicts of interest relevant to a submitted manuscript.

Conflicts of Interest

[Version 8 July 2019]

The following policy is mandatory for all Optica Publishing Group journals plus Photonics Research. A Disclosures statement is required for all submissions. Authors, reviewers and editors for the Journal of Optical Communications and Networking (JOCN) may voluntarily comply with the guidelines but the Disclosures statement is not required for JOCN.

Conflicts of Interest Policy (PDF)

Conflicts of Interest: Definition

Awareness and proper management of potential conflicts of interest for authors, reviewers and editors is essential to Optica Publishing Group's mission to disseminate and archive optics and photonics knowledge. We define a conflict of interest as arising from any relationship authors, reviewers or editors have which interferes with, or could reasonably be perceived as interfering with, the full and objective presentation, peer review, editorial decision-making, or publication of a manuscript. Conflicts of interest can be financial or non-financial, professional or personal, and can arise in relation to an organization or an individual. Our journals require full disclosure by authors of all conflicts of interest relevant to a submitted manuscript, which is integral to the transparent reporting of research.

Sources of funding for reported research, as well as relevant commercial relationships of authors represent special categories of potential financial conflicts of interest for which specific disclosures are expected by the scientific community and the public. For the purposes of publishing in Optica Pubishing Group journals, a Commercial Relationship is defined as any involvement with a for-profit entity which produces, markets, re-sells, or distributes goods or services, which fits within any of the Commercial Relationships Disclosure Codes listed below. Relevant Commercial Relationships are defined as those that (1) relate to the content of the publication for which disclosure is taking place and (2) occurred or extended within a 12-month period preceding the manuscript submission or the review request. We consider financial relationships to create conflicts of interest when individuals have both a financial relationship with a commercial entity and the opportunity to affect published content related to the products or services of that commercial entity. Disclosures should also be made for relevant commercial relationships involving family members.

Obligations of Authors

Appropriate disclosures are made in three distinct sections of a manuscript: Acknowledgements, Funding, and Disclosures. The distinctions between these sections are described below.

  • All sources of funding for the research reported, including direct and indirect financial support, supply of equipment or materials, in-kind support (e.g., optical design/manufacturing) and other support (such as specialist statistical or writing assistance) should be disclosed in the manuscript. Specific sources of government, foundation, or commercial grants or awards, including identifiers if available, should be listed in a separate Funding section for each author. Other sources of relevant research funding may be listed in an Acknowledgments section.
  • All relevant commercial relationships which occurred or extended within a 12-month period preceding submission, and which relate to the content of the manuscript, should be disclosed for any authors who have such relationships. This should be done using the Commercial Relationships Disclosure Codes below, in a separate Disclosures section.
  • Authors should list in the Disclosures section any additional conflicts of interest, financial or non-financial, dealing with the subject matter of the manuscript that editors, reviewers or readers might reasonably expect to know or might otherwise affect the interpretation of the findings.
  • If there are no conflicts, the Disclosures section should include the following statement: "The authors declare no conflicts of interest."
  • It is the responsibility of the First or Corresponding Author to assure that each Co-author is aware of this Policy and to ensure that all required funding and disclosure information is included for all authors.
  • Authors are expected to submit a Correction if a previously unrecognized conflict of interest is discovered after publication.

Obligations of Editors

  • Editors should disclose to the editor-in-chief any conflicts of interest, financial or non-financial, resulting from direct competitive, collaborative (within the past five years), or other relationships with any of the authors or organizations with interests in the paper, and avoid cases in which such conflicts preclude an objective evaluation. If in doubt, the editor is encouraged to consult with the editor-in-chief regarding the appropriate course of action.
  • If a manuscript competes with the research of an editor such that the editor feels s/he could not handle the paper objectively, or whose handling could be perceived as biased, the editor should decline responsibility for that manuscript. If in doubt, the editor is encouraged to consult with the editor-in-chief regarding the appropriate course of action.
  • Editors should take all disclosed conflicts of interest into account during the review process.
  • Editors should attempt to avoid reviewers who have known conflicts of interest that, in the editors' judgment, could interfere with an unbiased review.
  • Article submissions from editors are managed so that no details of the review process, other than those available to all authors, are accessible to the editor.

Obligations of Reviewers

  • Reviewers should disclose to the editor conflicts of interest, financial or non-financial, resulting from direct competitive, collaborative (within the past five years), or other relationships with any of the authors or organizations with interests in the paper, and avoid cases in which such conflicts preclude an objective evaluation. If in doubt, the reviewer is encouraged to consult with the editor regarding the appropriate course of action.

Commercial Relationships Disclosure Codes

These codes are to be used for Relevant Commercial Relationships, as defined above.

F (Financial Support) Indicates financial support received from a commercial entity in the form of research funding, grants, research materials or in-kind services (e.g., optical design/manufacturing).

I (Personal Financial Interest) Indicates individual ownership of shares or other investment vehicles in a commercial entity other than through a managed fund (e.g., mutual or retirement fund).

E (Employment) Indicates employment (full or part-time) by a commercial entity.

C Indicates engagement as a paid consultant for a commercial entity.

P (Patent) Indicates any involvement with a patent or competing patent, patent application, copyright, or trade secret, whether or not the patent, copyright, etc. is presently licensed or otherwise commercialized.

R (Recipient) Indicates receipt of gifts, honoraria, travel reimbursement, patent royalties, or any other financial compensation valued in any amount from a commercial entity.

S (non-remunerative) Indicates position(s) of influence such as officer, board member, trustee, spokesperson, etc. which are not financially compensated.

Examples of Conflicts of Interest disclosures (Initials represent those of relevant authors):

For illustration, authors Jonas Grumby, Roy Hinkley, and Andrew Squiggman are represented below as JTG, RHH, and AJS.

Funding. National Institutes of Health (NIH) (DP3DK108248); U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) (DE-AC02-05CH11231, DE-AC52-07NA27344).

Acknowledgments. Statistical support was provided by Albert J. Brooks, University of Missouri. Writing assistance was provided by Writing Associates, Inc. Optical Design support was provided by Optics Design, Inc.

Disclosures. JTG: 123 Corporation (I,E,P), RHH: 456 Corporation (R,S). A: 789 Corporation (C).

Disclosures. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Data Availability Statement

[Version 22 December 2020]

Under this new policy, all authors must declare if and how any data that were generated or analyzed as part of the current study can be accessed. The new policy will go into effect for all Optica Publishing Group journals, with the exception of the Journal of Optical Communications and Networking, starting on 1 March 2021 and may be followed voluntarily in the interim.

We strongly encourage authors to make research data associated with their manuscripts publicly available where possible, and to use best practices when selecting data repositories and citing datasets. See DataCite and Optica Publishing Group Supplementary Materials Guidelines for more information. Information about how to access the data underlying the results presented in a paper should be provided in a Data Availability Statement (DAS) and, where possible, datasets should be cited in the reference list.

What to Include?

The DAS should appear in the manuscript immediately after the Disclosures statement. All article preparation templates include a sample DAS.

Optica Publishing Group has identified four common (sometimes overlapping) situations that authors should use as guidance. These are provided as minimal models, and authors should feel free to include any additional details that may be relevant.

  1. When datasets are included as integral supplementary material in the paper, they must be declared (e.g., as "Dataset 1" following our current supplementary materials policy) and cited in the DAS, and should appear in the references.

    Data availability. Data underlying the results presented in this paper are available in Dataset 1, Ref. [3].

  2. When datasets are cited but not submitted as integral supplementary material, they must be cited in the DAS and should appear in the references.

    Data availability. Data underlying the results presented in this paper are available in Ref. [3].

  3. If the data generated or analyzed as part of the research are not publicly available, that should be stated. Authors are encouraged to explain why (e.g. the data may be restricted for privacy reasons), and how the data might be obtained or accessed in the future.

    Data availability. Data underlying the results presented in this paper are not publicly available at this time but may be obtained from the authors upon reasonable request.

  4. If no data were generated or analyzed in the presented research, that should be stated.

    Data availability. No data were generated or analyzed in the presented research.


See the Co-Reviewing Policy.

Revised Manuscripts

Manuscripts returned to the author for revision should be returned to us as quickly as possible. The decision email will include the due date for submission of the revised manuscript. Any revisions received after that date may be assigned a new received date. After revising the paper and writing a detailed reply to the reviewers with a list of changes made to the paper, the corresponding author will log on to Prism to submit a revised manuscript and response. Many editors find a red-lined version of the manuscript to be useful when evaluating the revised paper. Authors can upload a red-lined manuscript in Prism. The editor will then make a final decision or, less often, may choose to send the manuscript back to reviewers. Editors are encouraged to accept or reject revised manuscripts without requesting further mandatory revisions.

Transfers between Optica Publishing Group Journals

Our journals are editorially independent. However, if an editor receives a manuscript that is out of scope but may be suitable for another Optica Publishing Group journal, the editors of both journals will consult and, if they agree, will contact the author to offer to transfer the manuscript. If the author agrees to the transfer, the original receipt date is retained.

In the case of submissions to Optica that do not meet the journal's criteria for broad interest, the editor may recommend that the author transfer the manuscript to another Optica Publishing Group journal for consideration. The author can choose whether or not to transfer the manuscript and to which journal. Further details of the Optica process can be found here.

Authors also have the option to transfer manuscripts and peer review details from other Optica Publishing Group journals to Optics Continuum. The transfer option is available to the author for three weeks following certain decisions in another Optica Publishing Group journal. When authors have already received useful peer review comments, the Optics Continuum editors prefer to see a revised manuscript before taking action.

In neither case does the transfer of manuscript files guarantee acceptance. Any reviewer comments and identities will be available to the editors of the receiving journal since they could facilitate a rapid decision. The editors at the receiving journal may decline the transfer, request further revision, or seek further review as needed.

Resubmission of Rejected Manuscripts

Authors of rejected manuscripts may revise their papers and resubmit them to the same journal or to another Optica Publishing Group publication. Authors must include a detailed cover letter outlining the changes made to the manuscript, as well as a response to the previous referee comments, and disclose the previous manuscript number during the resubmission process. If the resubmission is made to the same journal as the initial submission, the paper will generally be assigned to the same Associate/Topical Editor and handled at their discretion. If the author has not suitably addressed the reviewer and editor concerns, the editor may decline reconsideration. If the resubmission is made to a different journal, the author must justify why the paper should be reconsidered in the new journal. Our staff will make the previous history (reviewer comments, decision letter) available to the new Associate/Topical Editor as background information. The new editor will proceed at their discretion. Optica Publishing Group discourages serial resubmission of rejected manuscripts.

Conference Papers

We value the role of conferences and journals to serve the optics and photonics community with high-quality, timely, and relevant content. To foster the development of work in progress and to support the dissemination of results in an archival publication, we encourage manuscripts based partly or entirely on work presented at conferences to be submitted to an Optica Publishing Group Journal.

The following guidelines are intended to clarify Optica Publishing Group's policy for authors, reviewers and editors:

  1. Conference papers that are revised and submitted for journal consideration are subject to each journal's criteria for originality, novelty and quality.
  2. Results that appear in conference proceedings may form the basis for a journal submission. Such a journal submission will be assessed on its own merit for novelty without regard for prior publication in the conference proceedings. Such submissions will have been expanded, revised, and/or refined to add value to the conference proceedings; for example, by including more complete data or interpretation in comparison to the paper that appears in the conference proceedings, and may cite a more complete set of the relevant literature.
  3. Appropriate attribution to the conference proceeding should be included as a citation or an acknowledgment in the journal manuscript. This is also applicable for submissions to feature issues based on Optica Publishing Group conferences. The following statement is suggested for the Acknowledgments: "Portions of this work were presented at the {conference name} in {year}, {paper number or paper title}". Include multiple conferences if applicable.
  4. Authors should verify that copyright policies associated with the conference proceeding allow for publication of derivative work. Authors are responsible for obtaining any permission required to reuse text, figures, etc. Papers from our conferences do not require further permissions unless they contain figures, tables, code, etc. which are reprinted from other sources.
  5. Many conference proceedings are now indexed by Google Scholar, Web of Science, CrossRef, Scopus, etc. and may also receive a DOI. We require authors to modify the title of the journal manuscript to avoid indexing two publications with the same title.
  6. All papers submitted will follow the normal journal processes, including assignment of editors, peer review and appeals.

Theses and Dissertations

Using Material from Theses or Dissertations in Newly Submitted Papers

Optica Publishing Group journals consider submissions of papers containing material that was previously included in a thesis/dissertation, provided that the content from the thesis/dissertation was not commercially published elsewhere prior to submission and that authors have retained copyright to the material. On submission, authors should disclose to the journal´┐Żs Editor that the material was previously included in a thesis/dissertation and confirm that they hold the copyright. The paper must include the full citation for the print and/or digital versions of the thesis/dissertation.

Using Material from Existing Papers in Theses or Dissertations

Authors who wish to use all or part of papers they previously authored and published in Optica Publishing Group Journals within a thesis or dissertation may do so according to the license and reuse terms outlined here. An appropriate attribution statement that includes the author(s) and the published article's title, journal citation, and DOI should be included.

Comments and Replies

Comments on articles previously published will be considered in Optica Publishing Group Journals. A Comment should occupy no more than three double-column journal pages (no more than one double-column page for Optics Letters and no more than four single-column pages for Express Journals) including title, author list, tables, figures, and references. All Comment papers submitted to Optics Letters should be received no more than 6 months after the publishing of the original article.

The abstract should be brief. The Comment should be substantive and collegial in tone. Polemical Comments will be rejected. The main purpose of a Comment should be to point out and to correct significant errors or deficiencies in papers, to clarify the implications of a paper, or to take issue with the conclusions reached. Comments whose primary purpose is to discuss issues of priority or to call attention to oversights in a reference list will generally not be considered for publication.

Before a Comment is reviewed by qualified referees, it may be forwarded to the authors of the article being commented on to allow them an opportunity to provide additional feedback. After receiving this response, the editor can decide whether it is appropriate to send the Comment to review. If, after peer review, the editor decides to accept the Comment for publication, the original authors will be asked to submit a formal Reply. Replies are subject to the same length restrictions as Comments. If the Reply is accepted, both Comment and Reply will be published together in the next available issue of the journal.

Corrections and Retractions

[Version 12 May 2017]

Optica Publishing Group recognizes its responsibility as a publisher to preserve the integrity and completeness of the scholarly record. Changes to articles after they have been published online may only be made under the circumstances outlined below. Optica Publishing Group's policy is based on best practice in the academic publishing community.

An Erratum is a statement by the authors of the original paper, published in the same journal, which briefly describes any correction(s) resulting from errors or omissions, noting any effects on the conclusions of the paper.

  • The original paper is neither corrected nor removed from the online journal, but an erratum notice is given on the abstract page.
  • The Erratum is made freely available to all readers and is linked to the original article.
  • Errata are submitted to the journal through the Prism article tracking system.

A Publisher's Note informs readers that an article has been corrected subsequent to publication. It is issued by the Publisher and is used in cases where typographical or production errors (which are the fault of the Publisher) affect the integrity of the article metadata (such as title, author list or byline) or will significantly impact the readers' ability to comprehend the article.

  • The original article is replaced with a corrected version where possible and a separate Publisher's Note describing the correction is linked to it. The date that the correction is made is noted on the corrected article.
  • Publisher's Notes are freely available to all readers.

Errors or omissions by the authors that affect the integrity of article metadata (such as author list, byline, or funding) are considered at the discretion of the Editors and Publisher.

  • If approved, the original article is replaced with a corrected version where possible and a separate Publisher's Note describing the correction is linked to it.
  • The date the correction is made is noted on the corrected article.

A Retraction is a notice that the paper should not be regarded as part of the scientific literature. Retractions can be initiated by the authors when they have discovered substantial scientific errors, and may also be issued if the Optica Publishing Group Editorial Ethics Review Panel has determined that misconduct has occurred, such as plagiarism, fraudulent use of data, duplicate submission, bogus authorship, etc.

  • The Retraction is made freely available to all readers and is linked to the original article.
  • A notice of retraction is appended to the original .pdf article and also displayed on the abstract page.
  • The retraction indicates the reason for the action and who is responsible for the decision. If a retraction is made without the unanimous agreement of the authors, that is also noted.

Optica Publishing Group does not permit publication of Addenda.


Crossmark is a multi-publisher initiative to provide a standard way for readers to locate the current version of a piece of content. By applying the Crossmark logo Optica Publishing Group is committing to maintaining the content it publishes and to alerting readers to changes if and when they occur.

Clicking on the Crossmark logo will tell you the current status of a document and may also give you additional publication record information about the document.

Name Changes

As part of our ongoing commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Optica Publishing Group now enables authors to change their name on previously published papers in Optica Publishing Group journals and conference digests. Such name changes include, but are not limited to, those made for personal reasons such as gender identity, religious conversion, marriage, or divorce. We respect that a name change may be a sensitive issue and we wish to reduce or remove barriers to professional advancement and author credit. Optica Publishing Group is committed to being inclusive, and we strive to provide an atmosphere in which all people feel valued and respected and have access to the same opportunities.

The current policy reflects various technical limitations, some of them outside Optica Publishing Group's control as publisher. The policy and its implementation are therefore subject to change as technology and engagement with the underlying issues develop.

Name-Change Policy

Optica Publishing Group provides two options for authors to change the name associated with their published articles; they are described below. Authors are not required to provide evidence of a legal name change or identification for either option, and Optica Publishing Group will maintain confidentiality if requested.

It is not acceptable to request a name change on behalf of someone else without their express permission.

Name changes may include the first, middle, or last name, and/or initials in an article's byline; names and pronouns throughout a paper (including in the references where appropriate); and email addresses when the email address reflects the author's name. Authors may also request the addition of an ORCID ID to their paper as part of the change to help ensure that their papers are linked to their ORCID record.

This policy applies to all Optica Publishing Group journal articles and meetings papers. Authors requesting a name change should provide details for each paper where the change is requested. However, authors are responsible for updating their Optica Publishing Group user account, if appropriate.

This name-change policy applies to cases where the author's name was correct when originally published, and has changed subsequently. If there was an error in how an author's name appeared at the time a paper was published, the author should contact the journal to request a correction.

Optica Publishing Group will update all instances of the article version of record that we maintain in a timely way, and will work with indexers such as Web of Science, CrossRef, and PubMed where possible to facilitate changes on their sites. It is not currently possible for Optica Publishing Group to control whether or when non-Optica sites make name changes or to update citations to papers in which a name change has been made. Optica Publishing Group will link prior and current names such that a search of a prior name on the Optica Publishing Group platform would return papers now under a new name.

Name-Change Procedures

Option 1 - Open Change

This method allows an author's work to be fully discoverable in all locations under both prior and current names. We will follow our existing article correction process, which involves updating both PDF and HTML versions of the article, posting an "Update" notice, and accompanying the change with an explanatory Publisher's Note. Co-authors will be alerted to the correction notice, as will indexers.

Option 2 - Private Change

This option allows a name change to be made without alerting co-authors or readers. Optica Publishing Group will update the PDF and HTML versions of the article, but will not post an "Update" notice or any other public notification that a change has been made to the article. The change will be recorded only in the nonpublic metadata to aid search and discovery.

Name-change requests can be sent directly to a particular journal, or to Authors should include their preferred option, as well as their previous name, new name, and details of which papers they would like to have changed.


Optica Publishing Group Journals maintain high standards for acceptance. In many cases, papers are deemed unsuitable for publication either before or after peer review. Authors who believe an appeal is warranted should contact the Journal editorial staff with the request for an appeal. The staff will then open an Appeal process for the manuscript in Prism. The author will be directed to complete a brief online questionnaire to submit arguments to the editor along with a thorough response to all of the referee comments. A final ruling will be made by the editor as soon as possible. The editor's ruling on the appeal, in almost all cases, will be final. Under exceptional circumstances, an appeal may subsequently be made to the Editor-in-Chief of the journal.

Designations of Territories

While Optica Publishing Group respects United Nations resolutions regarding the designations of territories, our policy is to use the affiliations provided by authors on our published content and to remain neutral on questions of territory wherever possible.