Based on the Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and the position statements developed by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, Singapore 20101
DUTIES OF EDITORS:
The Editor-in-Chief and the Managing Editor of SelfCare are responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published. They may be guided by the policies of the journal’s editorial board and constrained by such legal requirements as shall then be in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism. The Editor-in-Chief and the Managing Editor may confer with other editors or reviewers in making this decision.
The Editorial team will evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to the nature of the authors or the host institution including race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors.
Sponsored supplements undergo the same rigorous quality control and peer review as any other content for the journal. Decisions on such material are made in the same way as any other journal content. The sponsorship of supplements (if any) and role of the sponsor will be clearly declared to readers.
The editors and any editorial staff must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, and other editorial advisers, as appropriate. SelfCare does not disclose reviewers’ identities. In the case of a misconduct investigation, SelfCare may disclose material to relevant third parties (e.g., an institutional investigation committee or other editors).
Disclosure and conflicts of interest
Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in an editor’s own research without the express written consent of the author.
When genuine errors in published work are pointed out by readers, authors, or editors, which do not render the work invalid, a correction (or erratum) will be published as soon as possible. The online version of the paper may be corrected with a date of correction and a link to the printed erratum. If the error renders the work or substantial parts of it invalid, the paper will be retracted with an explanation as to the reason for retraction (i.e., honest error).
Ensuring the integrity of the published record – suspected research or publication misconduct
If serious concerns are raised by readers, reviewers, or others, about the conduct, validity, or reporting of academic work, the SelfCare Editorial Team will initially contact the authors and allow them to respond to the concerns. If that response is unsatisfactory, Editors will refer the matter to the authors’ institution/s. In cases when concerns are very serious and the published work is likely to influence clinical practice or public health, SelfCare may consider informing readers about these concerns, by issuing an ‘expression of concern’, while the investigation is ongoing. Once an investigation¬ is concluded, SelfCare will publish a comment that explains the findings of the investigation. SelfCare may decide to retract a paper if the Editorial Board is convinced that serious misconduct has happened even if an investigation by an institution or national body does not recommend it.
SelfCare will respond to all allegations or suspicions of research or publication misconduct raised by readers, reviewers, or other editors. Cases of possible plagiarism or duplicate/redundant publication will be assessed by the journal. In other cases, SelfCaremay request an investigation by the author’s institution or other appropriate bodies (after seeking an explanation from the authors first and if that explanation is unsatisfactory).
Retracted papers will be retained online, and they will be prominently marked as a retraction in all online versions, including the PDF, for the benefit of future readers.
DUTIES OF REVIEWERS
Contribution to Editorial Decisions
Peer review assists the editor in making editorial decisions, and through the editorial communications with the author, may also assist the author in improving the paper.
Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself from the review process.
Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to, or discussed with, others except as authorised by the editor.
Standards of Objectivity
Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.
Acknowledgement of Sources
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.
Disclosure and Conflict of Interest
Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not review manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.
SelfCare Editors will take reviewer misconduct seriously and pursue any allegation of breach of confidentiality, non-declaration of conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial), inappropriate use of confidential material, or delay of peer review for competitive advantage. Allegations of serious reviewer misconduct, such as plagiarism, will be taken to the institutional level (i.e. the institution at which the reviewer is employed).
DUTIES OF AUTHORS
Authors of reports of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the paper. A paper should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behaviour and are unacceptable.
Data Access and Retention
Authors may be asked to provide the raw data in connection with a paper for editorial review, and should be prepared to provide public access to such data, and should in any event be prepared to retain such data for a reasonable time after publication.
Originality and Plagiarism
Authors should ensure, and declare on submission, that submitted work is original and has not been published elsewhere in any language, and that if the authors have used the work and/or words of others, this has been appropriately cited or quoted.
Applicable copyright laws and conventions should be followed. Copyright material (e.g. tables, figures or extensive quotations) should be reproduced only with appropriate permission and acknowledgement.
Multiple, Redundant or Concurrent Publication
An author should not in general publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behaviour and is unacceptable.
Acknowledgement of Sources
Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Authors should cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work.
Authorship of the Paper
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 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.
If the work involves chemicals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use, the author must clearly identify these in the manuscript.
Reporting of research involving humans or animals
Appropriate approval, licensing or registration should be obtained before the research begins and details should be provided in the report (e.g. Institutional Review Board, Research Ethics Committee approval, national licensing authorities for the use of animals).
If requested by editors, authors should supply evidence that reported research received the appropriate approval and was carried out ethically (e.g. copies of approvals, licences, participant consent forms).
Researchers should not generally publish or share identifiable individual data collected in the course of research without specific consent from the individual (or their representative).
The appropriate statistical analyses should be determined at the start of the study and a data analysis plan for the pre-specified outcomes should be prepared and followed. Secondary or post hoc analyses should be distinguished from primary analyses and those set out in the data analysis plan. Researchers should publish all meaningful research results that might contribute to understanding.
Authors should supply research protocols to journal editors if requested (e.g. for clinical trials) so that reviewers and editors can compare the research report to the protocol to check that it was carried out as planned and that no relevant details have been omitted. Researchers should follow relevant requirements for clinical trial registration and should include the trial registration number in all publications arising from the trial.
Disclosure and Conflicts of Interest
All authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or other substantive conflict of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed.
Fundamental errors in published works
When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her 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.
Editorial Decision process
The final editorial decision and reasons for this will be clearly communicated to authors and reviewers. If a paper is rejected, authors may appeal against the decision. The Editors will consider the appeal, but are not obliged to overturn their decision.
1Kleinert S & Wager E (2011) Responsible research publication: international standards for editors. A position statement developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, Singapore, July 22-24, 2010. Chapter 51 in: Mayer T & Steneck N (eds) Promoting Research Integrity in a Global Environment. Imperial College Press / World Scientific Publishing, Singapore (pp 317-28). (ISBN 978-981-4340-97-7)