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Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement

AHHS journal follows the COPE Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and the Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers.

Journal also follows the ICMJE's Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.Also, the authors, reviewers, and editors are expected to follow the best-practice guidelines on ethical behavior contained therein.

A selection of key points is included below, but the above-mentioned documents should always be referred for full details.

Informed consent

Specifications regarding the Informed Consent for the study participants

  1. Any information that discloses the identity of the study participants, which includes patients' names, initials, or hospital numbers, in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees should be avoided by the authors.This can be disclosed in case the information isessential for scientific purposes, for which the patient (or parent/ guardian) should havegiven written, informed consent for publication.

  2. As it is difficult to achieve complete anonymity of the information regarding the patients, in case of any doubt, obtaininginformed consent is a must. The doubtful scenarios include inadequate protection of anonymity by masking the eye region in patient's photographs etc.

  3. Indicating the status of informed consent in the published article is a must.Along with article submission, a copy of the 'Patient Informed Consent Form' for each patient should be included.

  4. Written verificationshould be provided by the authors regardingthe identifiable study participants, if any, in the final manuscript to be published.

  5. In the case of the masked study participants,for whom the identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, like in genetic malformations, authors should confirm non-distortion of the scientific meaning due to the alterations andprovidewritten assurance to the editors.

Duties of Editors

Fair play and editorial independence

For evaluating submitted manuscripts, academic merit of the manuscript will be exclusively considered, which includes the importance, originality, study's validity, and clarity.Relevance of the manuscript to the journal's scopewill be taken into account, without any considerationfor the authors' race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, citizenship, religious belief, political philosophy, institutional affiliation etc. Governmentpolicies or any other agencies outside of the journal will not determine the decisions regarding the editing and publishing of the manuscript. The Editor-in-Chief has full authority over the entire editorial content of the journal, along with the timing of publication of the same.

Confidentiality

Disclosing any information about a submitted manuscript by the editors and editorial staff is not allowed. This will beshared only with the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, and the publisher, as appropriate.

Disclosure and conflicts of interest

Without the authors' explicit written consent, editors and editorial board members are not entitled to use the unpublished information from a submitted manuscript for their own research purposes. Privileged information or ideas obtained by editors as a result of handling the manuscript will be kept confidential and not used for their personal advantage. In case they have any conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships/connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers, editors will excuse themselves from considering the manuscripts for publication. Another member of the editorial board will be asked to handle the manuscript in such cases.

Publication decisions

Peer-review by at least two reviewers who are experts in the field, of all thesubmitted manuscripts being considered for publication,will be ensured by the editors.

Decision on the publication of manuscripts submitted to the journal lies with the Editor-in-Chief, for which the following points are considered:

  1. Validation of the work in question.

  2. Importance of the work in question to researchers and readers.

  3. Reviewers' comments.

  4. Legal requirements as are currently in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism.The Editor-in-Chief may discuss with other editors or reviewers in making this decision.

Involvement and cooperation in investigations

  1. When ethical concerns arise with regard to a submitted manuscript or published paper, editors, in conjunction with the publisher and/or society, will take appropriate measures.

  2. Every reported act of unethical publishing behaviour will be looked into, even if it is discovered years after publication.

  3. AHHS Journal editors follow the COPE Flowcharts to deal with the cases of suspected misconduct. Upon the well-founded ethical concern in the investigation, any of the correction, retraction, expression of concern, or other note as may be appropriate, will be published in the journal.

Duties of Reviewers

Contribution to editorial decisions

As peer review assists editors in making editorial decisions, the scholars who wish to contribute to the scientific process must do a fair share of reviewing.Peer review is one of the essential components of formal scholarly communication and lies at the heart of scientific endeavour to achieve something. Thorough editorial communication with authorsshould be made to assist authors in improving their manuscripts.

Promptness

In case any invited referee feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript,invitation to review should be declinedasa prompt review of the manuscript will not be possible. He/ she should ensure immediate notification of the sameto the editors, as contacting any alternative reviewers can be made.

Confidentiality

As the manuscripts received for review are confidential documents, it must be treated as such and should not be shown to or discussed with others.Under exceptional and specific circumstances, the Editor-in-Chief can make a decision on authorizingthe reviewer for sharing the details of the manuscript. With regard to the confidentiality of the submitted manuscripts, the rule is the same for the invited reviewers who decline review invitation, as for the reviewers.

Standards of objectivity

Reviews should beconducted objectively, with the observations being formulated clearly with supporting arguments, as these can be used by the authorsfor improving the manuscript.Personal criticism of the authors should be avoided.

Acknowledgment of sources

  1. Any relevant published work without citation by the authors should be identified.

  2. Relevant citation of any statement reported in previous publications should be ensured, which can be an observation, derivation, or argument.

  3. Any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published/ unpublished manuscript of their personal knowledge should be notified to the editors.

Originality and plagiarism

It is mandatory on the part of the authors to ensure the originality of the submitted work, and in case of usage of the work and/or words of others, it has to be cited wherever appropriate.

Citing the publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the work reported in the manuscript should also be done.

Plagiarism, in all its forms, constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. Different forms of plagiarism include "passing off" another's paper as the author's own, copying or paraphrasing substantial parts of another's paper without attribution, claiming results from research conducted by others, etc.

Multiple, duplicate, redundant or concurrent submission/publication

As it is forbidden to publish the papers describing essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication, authors should ensure that they do not submit a manuscript that has already been published in another journal for consideration. Concurrent submission amounts to unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.

It is sometimes justifiable to publishin more than one journal for some kinds of articles like clinical guidelines, translations, etc., provided theymeet certain conditions. Secondary publication must reflect the same data and interpretation as in the primary document, and there must be an agreementby the authors and editors of the journals concerned for publishing it. Citation of the primary reference in the secondary publication isa must.

Authorship of the manuscript

Authors must be able to take public responsibility for the content, and those who meet the following criteria for authorship shall be listed as authors in the manuscript:

(i) Should have made significant contributions to the conception, design, execution, data acquisition, or analysis/interpretation of the study;

(ii) Should have drafted the manuscript or revised it critically for important intellectual content;

(iii) Should have seen and approved the final version of the paper and agreed to its submission for publication.

Persons who do not meet the authorship criteria but have made substantial contributions to the work reported in the manuscript,which includes technical help, writing and editing assistance, general support, etc. must not be listed as an author.But such persons should be acknowledged in the "Acknowledgements" section, after obtaining their written permission for the same.

The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors (according to the above definition) and no inappropriate co-authors are included in the author list.Approvalof the final version of the manuscript and agreement to its submission for publication by all the co-authors should also be ensured.

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