Ethical and Editorial Policy JMS
The editorial policy of the Journal of Medical Sciences (JMS), Khyber Medical College, Peshawar
This document highlights the mission, objectives, and editorial policy of JMS regarding the publication process by adhering to the guidelines of COPE (Committee in Publication Ethics) and ICMJE (International Committee of Medical Journals Editors). Each component of the editorial policy is explained in the next sections.
- Mission of JMS
To publish relevant, scientific, and accessible material to help medical students and health professionals in their practice, teaching and learning, and career development
- Objectives of JMS
- To publish clinical, epidemiological, public health, educational, translational, and allied sciences research to enable scientists, clinicians, and researchers to learn about developments and innovations in these disciplines
- To publish high-quality descriptive and experimental research, review articles, editorials, and case reports enhancing the understanding of the scientific community regarding clinical practice and education
- To provide a platform for the scientific community in promoting their career development through publishing quality research
- Editorial policy
- Open access
JMS is an Open access scholarly literature source that is free of charge and often carries less restrictive copyright and licensing barriers than traditionally published works, for both the users and the authors. However, it complies with well-established peer review processes and tries to maintain high publishing standards.
- Peer review process
The review process of JMS is following a “triage approach”. Upon submission of a manuscript, either online or physical, the document undergoes a preliminary open (un-blinded) review in the chief editor’s office. The document is either accepted for further review, sent for revision back to the authors, or rejected at that time. Further review of JMS follows a blinded approach, where the article is sent to 2 reviewers, local and international reviewers. During this process, all the relevant information about the authors and reviewers is kept confidential. However, we encourage sharing reviewers’ comments with co-reviewers of the same paper in a blinded manner, so reviewers can learn from each other in the review process. We also encourage the readers to send us the post-publication reviews about research work in the form of letters to the editors, which are then published and shared with the authors of relevant articles. The editorial board has the authority to retract an article if a serious violation of credibility or quality of research is found after the article is published.
The journal is under no obligation to send submitted manuscripts for review, and under no obligation to follow reviewer recommendations, favorable or negative at all times. The editor of a journal is ultimately responsible for the selection of all its content, and editorial decisions may be taken on issues unrelated to the quality of a manuscript, such as suitability for the journal. An editor can reject any article at any time before publication, including after acceptance if concerns arise about the integrity of the work.
According to the ICMJE criteria, authorship is based on 4 criteria; (1) conceptualization and designing, (2) AND, data collection, (3) AND, writing and critical review, (4) AND, taking responsibility for the authenticity and integrity of all the research process. All those designated as authors should meet all these 4 criteria. The co-authors should declare their roles and contributions to the research process explicitly. Those who do not meet all 4 criteria should be ACKNOWLEDGED only. If agreement cannot be reached about who qualifies for authorship, the institution(s) where the work was performed, not the journal editor, should be asked to investigate. If authors request removal, addition, or change in the sequence of an author after manuscript submission or publication, journal editors should seek an explanation and signed statement of agreement for the requested change from all listed authors and the author to be removed or added. The corresponding author is the one individual who takes primary responsibility for communication with the journal during the manuscript submission, peer review, and publication process. The corresponding author typically ensures that all the journal’s administrative requirements, such as providing details of authorship, ethics committee approval, clinical trial registration documentation, and disclosures of relationships and activities, are properly completed and reported. The maximum number of authors for any manuscript must not exceed 6. If the number of authors exceeds this number, an explicit rationale for their role must be provided, which will be decided by the committee comprising the chief editor, executive editor, and managing editor.
- Submission of manuscript
The manuscript should be submitted through the journal website which is using the Online Journal System (OJS) along with the Institution research and ethics board (IREB) certificate. The article should have the following format:
4.1: The abstract should be structured with a word count of not more than 250 words.
4.2: The fonts should be Calibri, with size 12, and spacing of 1.5, with justified margins in MS office format.
4.3: The whole document should not be more than 3000 words (excluding references and appendices).
4.4: The number of figures and tables should not exceed 5 in the whole document.
4.5: The pictures and tables should be black and white in color.
4.6: Copied pictures and tables from other sources will not be entertained unless written approval from the original researcher and publisher is provided
4.7: Only that article will be considered for publication where the data is collected during the last 5 years.
4.8: Fifty percent of the references must be from the last 5 years. The introduction section must not have more than 30% of the total references.
4.9: any article having a similarity index of more than 50% will be declined altogether. For those having a similarity index of more than 19% but less than 50%, the authors will be given one chance to correct the manuscript.
5- Institutional Research and Ethics Board (IREB) certificate
Under no circumstances, an article will be accepted if approval from the relevant ethical board/committee is not taken before the start of the research. The board/committee should assess the proposal of research in both ethical and technical aspects before giving a certificate of approval.
- Conflict of interest
To ensure transparency in the research conduction, writing, and publication, the authors, peer reviewers, and editors have to declare conflicts of interest regarding financial aspects, academic competitions, and relationships during the writing, reviewing, and publishing of the manuscripts. Details of sponsors along with their roles and access to data should be clearly stated.
The editorial board in no way should publicize the work of a researcher in any form unless it is published. They should not publicize the comments and critiques given by reviewers. Similarly, the reviewers are bound to keep the confidentiality of the work of researchers during and after the review. The work of researchers and the critique should never be discussed or exemplified in forums. The confidentiality of the researchers should be maintained in every possible way when the documents are sent for review. However, our review process is open (non-blinded) in the first phase, as per the policy of the journal. In this case, the policy is displayed on the journal`s website for the researchers. Reviewers must not retain the manuscript for their personal use and should destroy paper copies of manuscripts and delete electronic copies after submitting their reviews. If a manuscript is rejected, it should be deleted from the editorial system. If an article is published, the manuscript along with its reviews and other relevant documents should be retained for a period of 3 years and then deleted. The only situation where confidentiality needs to be breached is when a situation of fraud or misconduct is found during the review process or after publication. Still, the authors and sometimes the reviewers, have to be notified.
- Correction and retraction of articles
The guidelines for the correction and retraction of articles are as follows:
8.1: A specific page is allocated in the journal (both electronic and printed) that will be used for news related to corrections in articles published in previous journals.
8.2: The editor should also post a new article version in the journal with details of the changes from the original version and the date(s) on which the changes were made.
8.3: Previous electronic versions will prominently note that there are more recent versions of the article (that will be placed at the end of the abstract). Similarly, the authors or others should cite the more recent version.
8.4: If the error is judged to be unintentional, the underlying science appears valid, and the changed version of the paper survives further review and editorial scrutiny, then retraction with the republication of the changed paper, with an explanation, allows full correction of that research paper.
8.5: If a serious violation of credibility or quality of a research paper is found after the publication, the article has to be retracted after approval of at least 3 members of the editorial board in consultation with the chief editor. The whole process will follow the guidelines presented by Committee on publication ethics (COPE).
8.6: The retracted article should be notified on the website and the word “retracted” should be mentioned along with the title of the article.
Correspondence for submitting an article in JMS will be through a corresponding author. The duties of a corresponding author have already been presented in a previous section. Correspondence regarding debating an article is given high value and a separate page for letters to the editors has been allocated. Derogatory and demeaning letters are screened and letters that promote debates and critique are encouraged to be published. However, correspondence about the articles published in the last 1 year will be included only.
10- The fee submission process
A processing and publication fee of Rs. 10,000/-(Pakistani) for local authors and $ 250 (US) for international authors have been approved by the competent authority. The fee should be submitted as bank draft/online payment through the account (IBAN) no: PK56NBPA0388004048685170 (Branch code: 0388 / National Bank of Pakistan, University campus branch, Peshawar, Pakistan) as follows:
- Article processing fee of 3000/- PKR at the time of submission of the article. This amount will be non-refundable.
- Article publication fee of 7000/- PKR at the time of acceptance of article after external review. This amount will be refundable if the article is rejected for any reason.
- For international authors, the amount of 250 US dollars will be accepted after both internal and external review. Researchers belonging to countries other than Pakistan are advised to submit the fee after the whole process of review is completed and the article is accepted for publication.
- There will be no fee exemption in any circumstances, including members of the editorial board.
- Roles of the editorial board, editors, and members
The editorial board of JMS is following the Higher Education Commission (HEC) policy for research journals. The roles of the editorial board for JMS are mentioned below:
11.1: The roles of the Editorial Board are:
11.1.1: To offer expertise in their specialist area
11.1.2: To review submitted manuscripts
11.1.3: To advise on journal policy and scope
11.1.4: To work with the Editor to ensure the ongoing development of the journal
11.1.5: To identify topics for special issues of the journal or recommend a Conference that would promote the journal, which they might also help to organize and/or guest edit
11.1.6: To attract new and established authors and articles
11.1.7: To submit some of their work for consideration, ensuring that they adhere to Conflict of Interest rules and stating their relationship to the journal. This is very important as the journal cannot be seen to publish only papers from members of the Editorial Board.
11.1.8: Editorial Boards must have a regular communication forum with other boards of similar nature, either face-to-face in person (depending on their country of origin, funding availability, etc.) or as more journals are doing today, communicating by teleconference, Skype, or other web platforms.
11.2: The Patron:
The Patron is usually the Dean of the institute and is overall in charge of the journal, who needs to be kept informed of the decisions taken by the editorial board. The patron is the final authority to approve the decisions and policies of the editorial board.
11.3: The Chief Editor:
11.3.1: The criteria for selection of Chief Editor are:
- Expertise and experience in the specialist field related to the journal
- Publication record of several articles and /or books (usually in / related to the specialist field)
- Being a reviewer for an international peer-reviewed journal
- Senior research position with equivalent experience in research and scholarship
- Enthusiasm to undertake the Editor role
- Preferably a diploma, master or doctoral degree in Education and Research
It is not necessary to fulfill all the criteria to become a chief editor.
11.3.2: The roles of the Chief Editor are:
- The key role of a journal`s chief editor is to promote scholarship in the specialist field associated with the journal, whilst also promoting the journal as the best journal to publish in. For any journal, the editor will need to encourage new and established authors to submit articles and set up a reliable panel of expert reviewers. Editors are also responsible for offering feedback to reviewers when required and ensuring that any feedback to authors is constructive.
- Editors should also familiarize themselves with the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) ‘Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors’.
- Depending on how the journal is managed and how it is structured, an Editor may have to make all the decisions regarding which articles to accept or reject for publication.
11.3.3: Managing editor:
The roles of managing editor are:
- To help the chief editor to achieve the above-mentioned goals
- To communicate with the authors, reviewers, publishers, and other agencies for the smooth running of the journal
- To regularly evaluate the research work
- Communicate with funding and regulating agencies (HEC and others) for grants and accreditations.
11.3.4: Executive editor:
The roles of the executive editor are:
- To evaluate the research articles presented for publication
- To help the editorial board in policymaking
- They help the editorial board in smooth publishing
- To communicate with reviewers and collaborate with external agencies for relevant purposes
11.3.5: Section editors:
Section editors are allotted different responsibilities. Some of these are mentioned below:
- Academic writing reviewing, grammar, and spell checking
- Dissemination of articles for review
- Contact with publishers under the supervision of the senior editorial team
- Training of future reviewers, young members, other faculty members
11.3.5: Editorial advisory board:
Editorial advisory board members consist of national and international senior academicians, researchers, clinicians, and others to help the current editorial board in designing, implementing, and evaluating policies regarding upgrading the quality of research work. These people also share best practices to help the editorial team to refine their research work.
- Policy regarding recruitment and continuation of the editorial board
The policy for recruitment and continuation of the editorial board is based on the guidelines discussed in the previous section. The chief editor, managing editor, and executive editors are recruited by the patron in-Chief. Members are then selected by them from amongst the faculty who have an aptitude for research, and their names are endorsed by the patron. The tenure of the editorial board is decided by the Patron after a period of 3 years whether to continue or recruit a new team or member. The editorial advisory board members are recruited for an indefinite period by the editorial team of JMS.
- Plagiarism policy
The journal is following the plagiarism policy of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, and for this purpose, a plagiarism standing and review committee has been established under the chairmanship of the Chief Editor of JMS along with 4 members amongst senior faculty. The committee has been given the authority to review research papers and plagiarism complaints related to published work in the journal.
- Allegations of research Misconduct
The policies of the COPE, WAME, and ICMJE serve as the foundation for the policy of research misconduct in our journal.
Before submitting, authors must carefully read the journal's author guidelines and research ethical principles and adhere to them.
While authors have the right to recommend potential reviewers for the peer-review process, all potential reviewers will have their credentials and potential conflicts of interest carefully examined before they are invited to review.
A manuscript that is undergoing peer review or a published article may be the subject of a report of research misconduct.
The application and management process for claims of author misconduct should go as follows:
14.1: An article submitted or to be published in the JMS if allegedly suspected of scientific misconduct, an official complaint for the same must be received by the office of the managing editor via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. For instance, in case of plagiarism, the copied section should be underlined and the original and suspected sections should be explicitly pointed out. The complaint must specify the particular matter and details of the misconduct.
14.2: an investigation will be carried out by the editorial board and the corresponding author of the suspected article will be kept in contact. An explanation will be asked from the corresponding author in this respect. If the misconduct is accepted, the managing editor will take the following steps:
- In the case of published articles, retraction might be considered.
- In the case of unpublished articles, the review process may stop or continue depending on the changes suggested to the corresponding author.
- If the corresponding author does not respond in the stipulated time or the response is unsatisfactory, the article may be declined or retracted.
14.3: Before reaching any conclusion in case of retraction of an already published article, the editorial team will be in consultation with the experts within or outside the institution.
14.4: If during the review process, suspicion of gifted authorship is identified, the editor in charge of the article may ask the corresponding/principal author about the role of the authors, and if the response is found to be unsatisfactory, the review process may stop or the article may be declined altogether.
- Appeal and complaint process
The JMS follows the recommendations of COPE regarding the appeal and complaint process (https://publicationethics.org/appeals) as follows:
15.1: The authors may ask the managing editor for inquiring about the status of the article through the official email of the JMS (email@example.com) citing their official article ID.
15.2: The author may contact the managing editor for inquiring about the reason for the rejection of articles during the review process by the above email link.
15.3: Sometimes, the authors may re-upload an article as a new submission if they have modified the article as suggested by the editors
15.4: For withdrawal of an article during the review process, the corresponding author will write a request through the OJS to the relevant editor for retraction.
15.5: Reconsideration of the decision will be conducted only at the discretion of the managing and chief editors.
- Contact information
The office of the managing editor or chief editor should be contacted anytime during working hours or can be contacted through their emails for correspondence.
- Data repository
The real-time data backup of the whole server for the Journal of Medical Sciences (JMS) is created on the remote VPS (Virtual Private Server) of Khyber Medical College(KMC). Parallel mirror Imaging (PMI) is also created on the JMS server.
- ICMJE recommendations
- COPE guidelines
This document is prepared in January 2020 to be used by an editorial board, reviewers, researchers, and faculty as a guide to making them aware of policies and procedures for publishing, conducting, writing, reviewing, and evaluating the research published in JMS. This document is developed by including the recommendations of ICMJE (2019) and COPE guidelines and in case of any conflict, lack of clarity, and ambiguity, the recommendations of the latest ICMJE recommendation and COPE will prevail.
3rd Update: Feb. 2023