Ethics Policy

This statement is based on the COPE Best Practice recommendations for Journal Editors.

The journal is committed to ethics, good manners and the quality of its publications. Standards of ethical behavior are expected for all actors involved in the process: the author, the editor, the reviewers, the librarian, lawyer, journalist, layout designer, the I.T., D.P.O and the editor-in-chief.

Research Ethics

Research involving human subjects

Research involving human subjects, human material, human tissue, or human data must state that the investigations were conducted following the rules of the 1975 Declaration of Helsinki. At a minimum, a statement including the project identification code, the date of REC approval, and the name of the ethics committee or institutional review board must be declared in the section. ( -we-do/medical-ethics/declaration-of-helsinki/ )

Non-interventional studies: surveys, questionnaires, social media surveys, all participants must be fully informed if anonymity is guaranteed, why the research is being conducted, how their data will be used, and if there are any associated risks. As with all research involving human subjects, ethical approval from an appropriate ethics committee must be obtained prior to conducting the study.

Written informed consent for publication must be obtained from participating patients. Data on individual participants should be described, but private information identifying the participants need not be included unless the identifiable materials are relevant to the research e.g., photographs of the participants' faces showing a specific symptom. Patients' initials or other personal identifiers should not appear in any images. For manuscripts that include any case details, personal information, and/or patient images, authors must obtain informed consent signed by patients before submitting to the journal. Patient details should be anonymized as much as possible, for example, do not mention specific age, ethnicity, or occupation where they are not relevant to the conclusions. The editors reserve the right to reject any submission that does not meet these requirements.

If the study reports research involving vulnerable groups, additional verification may be performed. The submitted manuscript will be reviewed by the editorial office and documentary evidence should be provided upon request. In addition, when studies describe groups by race, ethnicity, gender, disability, disease, etc., the explanation as to why this categorization was necessary must be clearly stated in the article.

Duties of the Editors:

- Publication decision: The journal editor is responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be sent for double-blind evaluation and then, if approved, for publication. The editor is guided by the policies of the journal's editorial board and limited by such legal requirements in place regarding libel, copyright infringement, and plagiarism. The editor should consult with the editorial board or reviewers in making his or her decisions.

- Fair play:  The editor should evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors.

- Confidentiality : The editor and any editorial team should not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisors, and the editor, as appropriate.

- Disclosure and Conflicts of Interest:  The editor should not use unpublished information in his/her own research without the express written consent of the author. The editor should refrain from considering manuscripts in which he or she has conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or possibly institutions connected with the papers.

Duties of reviewers:

- Contribution to editorial decision: peer review assists the editor in making editorial decisions and, through editorial communications with the author, may also assist the author in improving the article.

- Promptness: Any selected reviewer who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that immediate review will be impossible should notify the editor and withdraw from the review process.

- Confidentiality: All manuscripts received for review should be treated as confidential documents. They should not be shown to or discussed with others.

- Standards of Objectivity: Reviews should be conducted objectively and referees should express their opinions clearly with supporting arguments.

- Source Acknowledgement: Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. The reviewer should also bring 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 Conflicts of Interest: Inside information or ideas obtained through peer review should be kept confidential and should not be used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider 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 with the articles.

Authors' Duties:

- Reporting Standards:  Authors of reports of original research should provide an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance. The underlying data should be accurately represented in the paper. A paper should contain sufficient detail and references to allow others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or intentionally inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.

- Originality and plagiarism: Authors must ensure that they have written completely original work and, if authors have used the work and/or words of others, that this has been properly cited or quoted. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical editorial behavior and is unacceptable.

- Multiple, Redundant, or Concurrent Publication:  An author should generally not publish manuscripts that essentially describe the same research in more than one journal or primary publication. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal simultaneously and/or publishing the same article in different journals constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.

- Acknowledgement of Sources:  Due acknowledgment of the work of others should always be given. Authors should cite publications that have influenced in determining the nature of the work reported. Information obtained privately, such as in conversation, correspondence, or discussion with others, should not be used or reported without the explicit written permission of the source. Information obtained in the course of confidential services, such as manuscript review or grant applications, should not be used without the explicit written permission of the author of the work involved in those services.

- Authorship of the Article:  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 made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors. Where there are others who 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 and no inappropriate coauthors are included in the article, and that all coauthors have seen and approved the final version of the article and agreed to submit it for publication.

- Disclosure and conflicts of interest: all authors must disclose in their manuscript any financial or other conflict of interest that could be construed as influencing the results or interpretation of their manuscript. All sources of financial support for the project must be disclosed.

- Fundamental errors in published work: When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his or her own published work, it is the author's obligation to notify the journal editor or publisher immediately and to cooperate with the editor in retracting or correcting the article.