Principles of Publishing Ethics

 | Post date: 2018/01/27 | 

Ethical Considerations and Malpractice Statement

Caspian Journal of Neurological Sciences"Caspian J Neurol Sci" (CJNS) as a member of Negah Journals, published by Negah Institute for Scientific Communication, is committed to apply ethics of publication, based on the COPE’s Code of Conduct and Best Practices. You may find the journal’s code of publication ethics, here.


Caspian Journal of Neurological Sciences"Caspian J Neurol Sci" (CJNS) aims to be a main channel of data communication, sharing of ideas and information to the scientific researching community. It is mandatory for us to follow certain code of ethics and it is advices to adhere strictly to the following code of ethics, which will enhance the quality of the published works heavily. This currently written code of ethics is focusing to provide guidance on the proper behavior of editors, authors and reviewers in the process of scientific publication. 

Editors’ responsibilities
·  To act in a balanced, objective and fair way while carrying out their expected duties, without discrimination on grounds of gender, religious or political beliefs, ethnic or geographical origin of the authors.
·  To handle submissions for sponsored supplements or special issues in the same way as other submissions, so that articles are considered and accepted solely on their academic merit and without commercial influence.
·  To adopt and follow reasonable procedures in the event of complaints of an ethical or conflict nature, in accordance with the policies and procedures of the journal where appropriate. To give authors a reasonable opportunity to respond to any complaints. All complaints should be investigated no matter when the original manuscript was approved. Documentation associated with any such complaints should be retained.
Reviewers’ responsibilities
·  To contribute to the decision-making process, and to assist in improving the quality of the published paper by reviewing the manuscript objectively, in a timely manner
·  To maintain the confidentiality of any information supplied by the editor or author. To not retain or copy the manuscript.
·  To alert the editor to any published or submitted content that is substantially similar to that under review. 
·  To be aware of any potential conflicts of interest (financial, institutional, collaborative or other relationships between the reviewer and author) and to alert the editor to these, if necessary withdrawing their services for that manuscript.
Authors’ responsibilities
·  To maintain accurate records of data associated with their submitted manuscript, and to supply or provide access to these data, on reasonable request. Where appropriate and where allowed by employer, funding body and others who might have an interest, to deposit data in a suitable repository or storage location, for sharing and further use by others.
·  To confirm/assert that the manuscript as submitted is not under consideration or accepted for publication elsewhere. Where portions of the content overlap with published or submitted content, to acknowledge and cite those sources. Additionally, to provide the editor with a copy of any submitted manuscript that might contain overlapping or closely related content. 
·  To confirm that all the work in the submitted manuscript is original and to acknowledge and cite content reproduced from other sources. To obtain permission to reproduce any content from other sources.
·  Authors should ensure that any studies involving human or animal subjects conform to national, local and institutional laws and requirements and confirm that approval has been sought and obtained where appropriate. Authors should obtain express permission from human subjects and respect their privacy.
·  To declare any potential conflicts of interest (e.g. where the author has a competing interest (real or apparent) that could be considered or viewed as exerting an undue influence on his or her duties at any stage during the publication process).
·  To notify promptly the journal editor if a significant error in their publication is identified. To cooperate with the editor to publish an erratum, addendum, corrigendum notice, or to retract the paper, where this is deemed necessary. 

  • Plagiarism and duplicate submission are serious acts of misconduct. Plagiarism is defined as unreferenced use of published or unauthorized use of unpublished ideas, and may occur at any stage of planning, researching, writing, or publication. Plagiarism takes many forms, from 'passing off' another's paper as the author's own paper, to copying or paraphrasing substantial parts of another's paper (without attribution), to claiming results from research conducted by others. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.

Identification of unethical behavior
  •  Misconduct and unethical behavior may be identified and brought to the attention of the editor at any time, by anyone.
  •  Whoever informs the editor of such conduct should provide sufficient information and evidence in order for an investigation to be initiated. All allegations should be taken seriously and treated in the same way, until a successful decision or conclusion is reached.
·  Editors may contact the author(s)’ institution or ethics committee.
·  An initial decision should be taken by the editorial board.
·  Evidence should be gathered, while avoiding spreading any allegations beyond those who need to know.
Minor breaches
  •  If a minor misconduct happens the author should be given the opportunity to respond to any allegations.
Serious breaches
·  Serious misconduct might require that the employers of the accused be notified. The editor, in consultation with the editorial board as appropriate, should make the decision whether or not to involve the employers, either by examining the available evidence themselves or by further consultation with a limited number of experts.  
·  Informing or educating the author or reviewer where there appears to be a misunderstanding or misapplication of acceptable standards.
·  A more strongly worded letter to the author or reviewer covering the misconduct and as a warning to future behavior.
·  Publication of a formal notice detailing the misconduct.
·  Publication of an editorial detailing the misconduct.
·  A formal letter to the head of the author’s or reviewer’s department or funding agency.
·  Formal retraction or withdrawal of a publication from the journal, in conjunction with informing the head of the author or reviewer’s department, Abstracting & Indexing services and the readership of the publication.
·  Imposition of a formal embargo on contributions from an individual for a defined period.
·  Reporting the case and outcome to a professional organization or higher authority for further investigation and action.
·   Authorship Criteria:
Based on the newly released Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, by the ICMJE, “an Author” is generally considered to be someone who meets the following conditions 1, 2, 3, and 4.
1-Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
2-Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
3-Final approval of the version to be published; AND
4-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.
  •  Human and Animal Rights:
CJNS will not consider any studies involving humans or animals without the appropriate approval.
  • Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data:
Considering human studies, the authors should write whether the procedures were approved by relevant ethic committee on human experimentation.
A statement detailing this, including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate, must appear in the manuscript. If a study has been granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption). Further information and documentation to support this should be made available to Editors on request.
If no formal ethics committee is available, the authors should indicate whether the procedures were compliant with the last edition of WMA Declaration of Helsinki.
Retrospective ethics approval:
If a study has not been submitted to an ethics committee prior to commencing, retrospective ethics approval usually cannot be obtained and it may not be possible to consider the manuscript for peer review. How to proceed in such cases is at the Editor(s)’ discretion.
  •  New clinical tools and procedures:
Authors will be expected to have obtained ethics committee approval and informed patient consent for any experimental use of a novel procedure or tool where a clear clinical advantage based on clinical need was not apparent before treatment.
  •  Research involving animals:
Experimental research on animals must comply with institutional, national, or international guideline (e.g. NIH Policy on Use of laboratory Animals, EU Directive on Use of Animals) s, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing compliance with guidelines and/or ethical approval must be included in the manuscript. 
  •  Informed Consent:
For all research involving human subjects submitted for publication in CJNS, informed consent to participate in the study should be obtained from participants (or their parent or guardian in the case of children under 16) and a statement to this effect should appear in the manuscript.
  •  Consent for publication of individual patient data:
Identifying information, including names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions.
For all manuscripts that include details, images, or videos relating to individual participants, written informed consent for the publication of these must be obtained from the participants (or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 16) and a statement to this effect should appear in the manuscript. Nonessential identifying details should be omitted. Especially an informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance, and editors should so note that such alterations do not distort scientific meaning. You can use a consent form from your own institution or region. This documentation must be made available to Editors on request, and will be treated confidentially. In cases where images are entirely unidentifiable and there are no details on individuals reported within the manuscript, consent for publication of images may not be required. The final decision on whether consent to publish is required lies with the Editor.
  •  Conflict of Interest:
The authors should disclose all potential conflicts of interest including any research funding, other financial support, and material support for the work, if any exists, in the non-blinded full title page. If there is a disclosure, the editors, reviewers, and reader can interpret the manuscripts with this understanding.

Breach of Code 

Being an association dedicated for the researcher fraternity, we all should ensure that the code of ethics formed is followed in all possible ways. Being a not-for-profit body it is the internal responsibility of a person whom should have to follow the codes, there is no enforcement to follow. 

CJNS committee members are entitled to take action against an individual if they found to be violating the code.

COPE’s Guidelines & Flowcharts

Basic & Clinical Neuroscience is committed to follow and apply guidelines and flowcharts of Committee on Publication Ethics in its reviewing and publishing process and issues. For more information, please click here.


COPE’s Code of Conduct and Best Practices

1. Editors

Chief Editors is accountable for everything published in the journal. This means the editors

1.1 strive to meet the needs of readers and authors;

1.2 strive to constantly improve their journal;

1.3 have processes in place to assure the quality of the material they publish;

1.4 champion freedom of expression;

1.5 maintain the integrity of the academic record;

1.6 preclude business needs from compromising intellectual and ethical standards;

1.7 always be willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies when needed.

Best Practice for Editors would include

  • actively seeking the views of authors, readers, reviewers and editorial board members about ways of improving their journal’s processes
  • encouraging and being aware of research into peer review and publishing and reassessing their journal’s processes in the light of new findings
  • supporting initiatives designed to reduce research and publication misconduct
  • supporting initiatives to educate researchers about publication ethics
  • assessing the effects of their journal policies on author and reviewer behavior and revising policies, as required, to encourage responsible behavior and discourage misconduct
  • ensuring that any press releases issued by their journal reflect the message of the reported article and put it into context.

2. Readers

2.1 Readers should be informed about who has funded research or other scholarly work and whether the funders had any role in the research and its publication and, if so, what this was.

    Best practice for editors would include:

  • ensuring that all published reports and reviews of research have been reviewed by suitably qualified reviewers including statistical review.
  • ensuring that non-peer-reviewed sections of their journal are clearly identified
  • adopting processes that encourage accuracy, completeness and clarity of research reporting including technical editing and the use of appropriate guidelines and checklists
  • considering developing a transparency policy to encourage maximum disclosure about the provenance of non-research articles
  • adopting authorship or contributorship systems that promote good practice (i.e. so that listings accurately reflect who did the work) and discourage misconduct (e.g. ghost and guest authors)

3. informing readers about steps taken to ensure that submissions from members of the journal’s staff or editorial board receive an objective and unbiased evaluation

4. Relations with authors

4.1 Editors’ decisions to accept or reject a paper for publication should be based on the paper’s importance, originality and clarity, and the study’s validity and its relevance to the remit of the journal.

4.2 Editors should not reverse decisions to accept submissions unless serious problems are identified with the submission.

4.3 New editors should not overturn decisions to publish submissions made by the previous editor unless serious problems are identified.

4.4 A description of peer review processes should be published, and editors should be ready to justify any important deviation from the described processes.

4.5 Journals should have a declared mechanism for authors to appeal against editorial decisions.

4.6 Editors should publish guidance to authors on everything that is expected of them. This guidance should be regularly updated and should refer or link to this code.

4.7 Editors should provide guidance about criteria for authorship and/or who should be listed as a contributor following the standards within the relevant field.

Best practice for editors would include:

  • reviewing author instructions regularly and providing links to relevant guidelines
  • publishing relevant competing interests for all contributors and publishing corrections if competing interests are revealed after publication
  • ensuring that appropriate reviewers are selected for submissions (i.e. individuals who are able to judge the work and are free from disqualifying competing interests)
  • respecting requests from authors that an individual should not review their submission, if these are well-reasoned and practicable
  • publishing details of how they handle cases of suspected misconduct
  • publishing submission and acceptance dates for articles

5. Relations with reviewers

5.1 Editors should provide guidance to reviewers on everything that is expected of them including the need to handle submitted material in confidence. This guidance should be regularly updated and should refer or link to this code.

5.2 Editors should require reviewers to disclose any potential competing interests before agreeing to review a submission.

5.3 Editors should have systems to ensure that peer reviewers’ identities are protected unless they use an open review system that is declared to authors and reviewers.

Best practice for editors would include:

  • encouraging reviewers to comment on ethical questions and possible research and publication misconduct raised by submissions (e.g. unethical research design, insufficient detail on patient consent or protection of research subjects (including animals), inappropriate data manipulation and presentation)
  • encouraging reviewers to comment on the originality of submissions and to be alert to redundant publication and plagiarism
  • considering providing reviewers with tools to detect related publications (e.g. links to cited references and bibliographic searches)
  • sending reviewers’ comments to authors in their entirety unless they contain offensive or libelous remarks
  • seeking to acknowledge the contribution of reviewers to the journal
  • encouraging academic institutions to recognize peer review activities as part of the scholarly process
  • monitoring the performance of peer reviewers and taking steps to ensure this is of high standard
  • developing and maintaining a database of suitable reviewers and updating this on the basis of reviewer performance
  • ceasing to use reviewers who consistently produce discourteous, poor quality or late reviews
  • ensuring that the reviewer database reflects the community for their journal and adding new reviewers as needed
  • using a wide range of sources (not just personal contacts) to identify potential new reviewers (e.g. author suggestions, bibliographic databases)
  • following the COPE flowchart in cases of suspected reviewer misconduct

6. Relations with editorial board members

6.1 Editors should provide new editorial board members with guidelines on everything that is expected of them and should keep existing members updated on new policies and developments.

Best practice for editors would include:

  • having policies in place for handling submissions from editorial board members to ensure unbiased review
  • identifying suitably qualified editorial board members who can actively contribute to the development and good management of the journal
    • regularly reviewing the composition of the editorial board
  • providing clear guidance to editorial board members about their expected functions and duties, which might include:
  • acting as ambassadors for the journal
  • supporting and promoting the journal
  • seeking out the best authors and best work (e.g. from meeting abstracts) and actively encouraging submissions
  • reviewing submissions to the journal
  • accepting commissions to write editorials, reviews and commentaries on papers in their specialist area
  • attending and contributing to editorial board meetings
  • consulting editorial board members periodically (e.g. once a year) to gauge their opinions about the running of the journal, informing them of any changes to journal policies and identifying future challenge

7. Relations with Negah Publisher

7.1 The relationship of editors to Negah Publisher and the owner is based firmly on the principle of editorial independence.

7.2 Editors should make decisions on which articles to publish based on quality and suitability for the journal and without interference from Negah Publisher.

7.3 Editors have a written contract(s) setting out their relationship with Negah Publisher.

7.4 The terms of this contract is in line with the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors.

Best practice for editors would include:

  • communicating regularly with Negah Publisher

8. Editorial and peer review processes

8.1 Editors should strive to ensure that peer review at their journal is fair, unbiased and timely.

8.2 Editors should have systems to ensure that material submitted to their journal remains confidential while under review.

Best practice for editors would include:

  • ensuring that people involved with the editorial process (including themselves) receive adequate training and keep abreast of the latest guidelines, recommendations and evidence about peer review and journal management
  • keeping informed about research into peer review and technological advances
  • adopting peer review methods best suited for their journal and the research community it serves
  • reviewing peer review practices periodically to see if improvement is possible
  • referring troubling cases to COPE, especially when questions arise that are not addressed by the COPE flowcharts, or new types of publication misconduct are suspected
  • considering the appointment of an ombudsperson to adjudicate in complaints that cannot be resolved internally

9. Quality assurance

9.1 Editors should take all reasonable steps to ensure the quality of the material they publish, recognizing that journals and sections within journals will have different aims and standards.

Best practice for editors would include:

  • having systems in place to detect falsified data (e.g. inappropriately manipulated photographic images or plagiarised text) either for routine use or when suspicions are raised
  • basing decisions about journal house style on relevant evidence of factors that raise the quality of reporting (e.g. adopting structured abstracts, applying guidance) rather than simply on aesthetic grounds or personal preference

10. Protecting individual data

10.1 Editors must obey laws on confidentiality in their own jurisdiction. Regardless of local statutes, however, they should always protect the confidentiality of individual information obtained in the course of research or professional interactions. It is therefore almost always necessary to obtain written informed consent for publication from people who might recognize themselves or be identified by others (e.g. from case reports or photographs). It may be possible to publish individual information without explicit consent if public interest considerations outweigh possible harms, it is impossible to obtain consent and a reasonable individual would be unlikely to object to publication.

Best practice for editors would include:

  • publishing their policy on publishing individual data (e.g. identifiable personal details or images) and explaining this clearly to authors

Note that consent to take part in research or undergo treatment is not the same as consent to publish personal details, images or quotations.

11. Encouraging ethical research (e.g. research involving humans or animals)

11.1 Editors should endeavour to ensure that research they publish was carried out according to the relevant internationally Declaration of Helsinki for clinical research, and the AERA and BERA guidelines for educational research.

11.2 Editors should seek assurances that all research has been approved by an appropriate body (e.g. research ethics committee, institutional review board) where one exists. However, editors should recognize that such approval does not guarantee that the research is ethical.

Best practice for editors would include:

  • being prepared to request evidence of ethical research approval and to question authors about ethical aspects (such as how research participant consent was obtained or what methods were employed to minimize animal suffering) if concerns are raised or clarifications are needed
  • ensuring that reports of clinical trials cite compliance with the Declaration of Helsinki, Good Clinical Practice.
  • appointing a journal ethics advisor or panel to advise on specific cases and review journal policies periodically

12. Dealing with possible misconduct

12.1 Editors have a duty to act if they suspect misconduct or if an allegation of misconduct is brought to them. This duty extends to both published and unpublished papers.

12.2 Editors should not simply reject papers that raise concerns about possible misconduct. They are ethically obliged to pursue alleged cases.

12.3 Editors should follow the COPE flowcharts where applicable.

12.4 Editors should first seek a response from those suspected of misconduct. If they are not satisfied with the response, they should ask the relevant employers, or institution, or some appropriate body (perhaps a regulatory body or national research integrity organization) to investigate.

12.5 Editors should make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a proper investigation into alleged misconduct is conducted; if this does not happen, editors should make all reasonable attempts to persist in obtaining a resolution to the problem. This is an onerous but important duty.

13. Ensuring the integrity of the academic record

13.1 Errors, inaccurate or misleading statements must be corrected promptly and with due prominence.

13.2 Editors should follow the COPE guidelines on retractions.

Best practice for editors would include:

  • taking steps to reduce covert redundant publication (e.g. by requiring all clinical trials to be registered)
  • ensuring that published material is securely archived (e.g. via online permanent repositories, such as PubMed Central)
  • having systems in place to give authors the opportunity to make original research articles freely available

14. Intellectual property

14.1 Editors should be alert to intellectual property issues and work with Negah Publisher to handle potential breaches of intellectual property laws and conventions.

Best practice for editors would include:

  • adopting systems for detecting plagiarism (e.g. software, searching for similar titles) in submitted items (either routinely or when suspicions are raised)
  • supporting authors whose copyright has been breached or who have been the victims of plagiarism
  • being prepared to work with Negah Publisher to defend authors’ rights and pursue offenders (e.g.  by requesting retractions or removal of material from websites) irrespective of whether their journal holds the copyright

15. Encouraging debate

15.1 Editors should encourage and be willing to consider cogent criticisms of work published in their journal.

15.2 Authors of criticized material should be given the opportunity to respond.

15.3 Studies reporting negative results should not be excluded.

Best practice for editors would include:

  • being open to research that challenges previous work published in the journal

16. Complaints

16.1 Editors should respond promptly to complaints and should ensure there is a way for dissatisfied complainants to take complaints further. This mechanism should be made clear in the journal and should include information on how to refer unresolved matters to COPE.

16.2 Editors should follow the procedure set out in the COPE flowchart on complaints.

17. Commercial considerations

17.1 Journals should have policies and systems in place to ensure that commercial considerations do not affect editorial decisions (e.g. advertising departments should operate independently from editorial departments).

17.2 Editors should have declared policies on advertising in relation to the content of the journal and on processes for publishing sponsored supplements.

17.3 Reprints should be published as they appear in the journal unless a correction needs to be included in which case it should be clearly identified.

Best practice for editors would include:

  • publishing a general description of their journal’s income sources (e.g. the proportions received from display advertising, reprint sales, sponsored supplements, page charges, etc.)
  • ensuring that the peer review process for sponsored supplements is the same as that used for the main journal
  • ensuring that items in sponsored supplements are accepted solely on the basis of academic merit and interest to readers and decisions about such supplements are not influenced by commercial considerations

18. Conflicts of interest

18.1 Editors should use ICMJE form and procedure for managing the conflicts of interest issues.

18.2 Journals should have a declared process for handling submissions from the editors, employees or members of the editorial board to ensure unbiased review.

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