The following ethical guidelines, as well as best practices in research and publication ethics, are strictly followed to guarantee that readers of the journal content have access to high-quality research works.
All our journals support the code of conduct set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) (https://publicationethics.org/). Additionally, medical journals have adopted the Requirements for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals issued by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) (http://www.icmje.org/).
Authorship: Authors must have made significant academic contributions for the study’s idea, proposal, information collection, analysis, and explanation. All authors must contribute to the development, critical revision, and final approval of the work. As a result, they must agree to accept responsibility for the work. In accordance with ICMJE recommendations on authorship, our medical journals define authorship based on 4 criteria: Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND Final approval of the version to be published; AND 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. All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. During submission, all co-authors must enter their complete names, e-mail addresses (institutional e-mails are preferred), institutions, and countries into the submission portal. ORCID is required for corresponding author. It is strongly recommended that all co-authors provide their unique identifiers such as ORCIDs, Scopus Author IDs, Web of Science ResearcherIDs, Loop Profiles, personal webpages, etc. Additionally, each author’s contribution should be explicitly stated. Contributions of non-authors should be credited as an acknowledgement.
Declaration of competing interests: Authors must state any potential competing interests that may affect or prejudice their study, such as financial or personal ties, rivalries, or religious convictions. Example of these competing interests include monetary relationships or agreements with an establishment whose invention was utilized or mentioned in the research; any monetary interests derived from a business relationship with a competitor; any remuneration made directly to an author(s) to write the manuscript; and other monetary connections, or other circumstances that may elevate questions about the objectivity of the work or the views expressed within the text. Authors may be requested for more information on the nature of the stated interests. The article may be withheld from publishing depending on the specifics of the case. If the manuscript is accepted for publication, the competing interests are disclosed in a note before the references section.
Funding: All funding information, including the grant numbers, should be provided by the authors. Funders or sponsors may be an individual, a business enterprise, or a public agency, such as a university or a research council. If funders or sponsors play a role, even minor, in the design or implementation of research content, details of the case should be included.
Ethical conduct of research using human subjects & using animals: Authors are responsible for ensuring that the submission adheres to all relevant rules and guidelines of the journal's associated organizations and regulatory frames, such as WMA Declaration of Helsinki – Ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects (at: https://www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-declaration-of-helsinki-ethical-principles-for-medical-research-involving-human-subjects/). Authors must seek and record established ethics committee approvals, participant consents, and other documents necessary for the research if live subjects are involved.
Informed participant consent: To ensure compliance with relevant laws and guidelines, necessary consents and permissions must be received from the participants in order to obtain and use personal information. Signed consent forms should not be sent to the journal since they may contain sensitive participant data. Rather, authors should provide a declaration stating that informed consents were acquired from participants. Additionally, related documents and proofs are stored to be presented upon request from legal authorities.
Clinical trials: If the study involves clinical trials, authors must register the clinical trials in a publicly accessible primary registry that participates in WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) or in https://clinicaltrials.gov/, which are accepted by ICMJE. Authors must provide the trial registration number during submission.
Vulnerable groups and individuals: Special care should be given to groups or persons who may be incapable of predicting, dealing with, or recovering from the influence of study execution. It is possible that did not understand the nature of the study to obtain informed consent, and, therefore, were vulnerable to coercion. The study may engage these groups and people only if their involvement is absolutely necessary to carry out the research, and the output of the study is beneficial for them.
Handling confidential data: Confidentiality of the data obtained from individuals or organisations is critical and should not be used without their permission. Authors are expected to take all required steps to secure sensitive participant information, and protect the participants from any potential bodily or psychological damage.
Data sharing and reproducibility: Articles should include statements regarding whether the data of the study will be made available to readers. The statement may convey additional information such as whether credentials such as study procedures will be available; when, for how long, and under what access procedures the data will be accessible. Mendeley Data may be used to supply and share related data.
Intellectual property: Authors should avoid using copyrighted material in the submitted manuscript. If such material must be included, in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations, authors should have received explicit permission from copyright holder that the material can be reproduced under the terms and conditions of Creative Commons Attribution License.
Ethical oversight: All associated individuals and organisations, including editors, reviewers, authors, editorial officials, and publisher, must adhere to rigorous ethical guidelines throughout the publishing process and act according to the following COPE statement: "Ethical oversight should include, but is not limited to, policies on consent to publication, publication on vulnerable populations, ethical conduct of research using animals, ethical conduct of research using human subjects, handling confidential data, and ethical business/marketing practices."
Post-publication corrections and retractions: While all articles are subject to numerous checks during the prepublication processes, published articles may still contain occur. When such errors are discovered, regardless of the cause or source of the error, they are addressed by posting a correction notice explaining the corrections made to the original publication. Similarly, serious errors that undermine the study's findings and conclusions may result in the retraction of the original article. The journal reserves the right to issue retractions if the work is proven to have serious misconduct such as plagiarism. In such circumstances, in line with its ethical understanding and in accordance with the appropriate COPE guidelines, the journal does not hesitate to take the necessary actions required by the case.
Complaints and appeals: When selecting articles for publication and when handling editorial procedures, editors have considerable discretion. To reach their final selections, they consider many factors, such as the importance of the research question, the quality of the presentation, and the diversity. Authors may direct their complaints and appeals regarding the editorial processes or decisions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of issue and supportive documents. They will be examined in accordance with applicable COPE policies and procedures.
Roles and Responsibilities
Authors: Authors certify by submitting a work to the journal that the submission is the authors’ original study that has not been published elsewhere or is not currently under review by another journal. If the manuscript, or portions of the manuscript, or its supporting data is published or presented before, the editors should be notified during submission. The submission should comply with the journal's ethical policies. Authors should disclose any potential competing interests openly and transparently. Works that involve living subjects should be carried out in accordance with institutional, national, and international rules and regulations by obtaining appropriate ethical approval documents and participant consents. All works of others should be correctly referenced. All funding information should be clearly stated, and all non-author contributions should be acknowledged. The editor should be notified promptly if substantial mistakes or inconsistencies are discovered in a submitted manuscript or in an article that is already published.
Peer-reviewers: Any researcher who has been invited to review the manuscript should notify the editor if they believe they are not able to evaluate the submission or have a competing interest. All data concerning the manuscript must be treated as privileged information and kept private. Reviews must be conducted fairly and within a reasonable timeframe.
Editors: All editors are selected from among outstanding researchers in their respective scientific disciplines. They are responsible for managing the editorial processes of the incoming manuscripts. In order to get additional expert opinions and to assist in their decisions, editors invite external reviewers to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the article. Next, editors decide whether to accept the article for publication based on review reports and their own objective assessments. During editorial processes, editors are expected to treat all authors and manuscripts equally, without bias. All information about the text must be kept strictly secret. In the event of a competing interest, the editor must notify the managing editor to release him or her from responsibility for the work. Editors must take the appropriate steps and/or impose the appropriate consequences in the event of a malpractice. If errors are detected in published articles, the literature should be corrected by issuing appropriate correction or retraction notices. Editorial process for an article submitted by a member of the editorial board must be conducted by another editor to ensure the objectivity and transparency.
Publisher: The publisher provides the journal with the required resources, such as submission and publication portal, plagiarism checking tools, DOI identifiers, hosting, and content preservation. The publisher should take reasonable steps to protect the editorial autonomy.
Authors must avoid any unethical and improper actions such as plagiarism, simultaneous submission, fabrication, fraud authorship, copyright breaches, hiding competing interests, etc. For further information, see the following resources:
Åstedt-Kurki, P., & Kaunonen, M. (2018). Ethics in nursing research and research publications. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 32(2), 449-450. https://doi.org/10.1111/scs.12593
Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). (2017). Core practices. https://publicationethics.org/core-practices
Graf, C., Wager, E., Bowman, A., Fiack, S., Scott-Lichter, D., & Robinson, A. (2007). Best practice guidelines on publication ethics: A publisher's perspective. International journal of clinical practice. Supplement, 61(152), 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-1241.2006.01230.x
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). (n.d.). Recommendations for the conduct, reporting, editing, and publication of scholarly work in medical journals. https://www.icmje.org/icmje-recommendations.pdf
Singhal, S., & Kalra, B. S. (2021). Publication ethics: Role and responsibility of authors. Indian Journal of Gastroenterology, 40, 65-71. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12664-020-01129-5
WAME Publication Ethics Committee. (n.d.). Recommendations on publication ethics policies for medical journals. World Association of Medical Editors (WAME). http://wame.org/recommendations-on-publication-ethics-policies-for-medical-journals
By submitting a work, authors certify that the submission is free of the aforementioned malpractices, the work adheres to ethical norms, applicable laws and regulations, all necessary consents, permissions, and legal documents are prepared. The authors assume full accountability for the views, results, discussions, and conclusions provided in the articles and to resolve any issues that may arise from inclusion of copyrighted content without the necessary permission.
Plagiarism is the use of intellectual property from the existing literature, in whole or in part, by copying as is or translating from another language. Plagiarism or repetition of another text is prohibited, even if it is a prior publication by the author. As an exception, i) works derived from the author’s own university thesis; ii) preliminary studies of the author presented in a conference or as a poster will not be considered as plagiarism. Additionally, results from a database and registries of clinical studies might be repeated in more than one article. If unsure, authors should consult the editorial office before submission.
To prevent plagiarism, all submissions undergo an initial screening using iThenticate through the submission portal. iThenticate by Crossref is a plagiarism detection software that compares a manuscript with the existing literature, which includes millions of published articles. Editors are encouraged to utilize this tool for all manuscript revisions.
When an ethical misconduct, such as plagiarism, is discovered about a manuscript under review or a published article, editors must investigate the details of the case and take necessary actions using appropriate COPE flowcharts, even if the misconduct is discovered years after publication. In such cases, the manuscript under review may be immediately rejected, the published article may be retracted, and relevant legal bodies may be informed about the details of the case.
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