ETHICS FOR AUTHORS
Authors are discoverer and creator of new knowledge for publication; hence also preserver of integrity and truthfulness of scholarly content.
ALL ETHICS FOR AUTHORS
Safeguarding integrity and accuracy of scholarly content
In science and medicine, new knowledge is created by authors based on rigorous experimentation, data analysis, facts validation and statistics. Through scholarly publication, authors’ core objective is to share the new knowledge that others can reproduce to solve unmet needs in science, medicine and healthcare.
Authors develop the study, perform experiments, analyze results and write the manuscript; hence they are aware of all the details of study and processes. Thus, it is author’s responsibility to take care of research ethics from study design to preparation of manuscript.
1. Study Design
Study design is the detailed mapping of hypothesis, study objectives, materials required (including any experimental subjects), experimental or observational procedures, observations & data procurement, statistical analysis, results of inference and refinement. Author should ensure that study design is proper to avoid wastage of funders investment, technical resources and experimental subjects down the line.
- Authors should make sure that hypothesis is well defined and based on current studies published in their field. Redundant studies or minor improvements to previous studies will not only waste authors’ resources but make the study non-publishable in Qualiten Journals.
- An excellent study adds significant value to the field. Thus, expected outcomes of study should be thoroughly investigated during study design.
- The experimental methodology or procedures used should be current and efficient to avoid wastage of resources and experimental subjects.
2. Human & Animal Subjects
Studies involving human and animal subjects go through additional scrutiny during peer review process at Qualiten Journals. We recommend authors to follow institutional, local jurisdiction and international guidelines throughout the research processes whenever human and animal subjects are involved.
Authors are recommended to strictly follow guidelines of their governing bodies as well as internationally accepted standards for research involving human subjects. Authors should refer to Declaration of Helsinki (World Medical Association, WMA) and Belmont Report (National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, USA). Both provide ethical principles and guidelines for medical research involving human subjects. Following are the key points from Declaration of Helsinki and Belmont Report:
- Respect and Autonomy of Individual: Medical research involving human research subjects must be conducted by professionals who are qualified and trained in that subject matter and associated ethical requirements. Human research subjects should be treated with respect and dignity. They must be adequately informed about the research study and decision for participation should be made voluntarily by the subjects (informed consent). Also, subject has the right to withdraw from the study as per their wish. It is researcher’s duty to safeguard health, well-being, rights, privacy and personal information of enrolled subjects. The rights and interest of subjects should prevail over the researcher’s purpose and goals with medical research.
- Benefits versus Risk: Medical research involving human subjects should be thoroughly planned and guided from previously published literature and experimentation in non-human systems. The potential benefits of study to the individual subject and society should be maximized and should outweigh the risk and burden to the patient or research subject. Primary purpose of research involving human subjects should be the understanding of diseases or disorders and paving way to finding solutions to unmet needs in human healthcare. Also, medical research is developed and performed in a way to minimize environmental harm.
- Justice in subject selection and benefits of research: Research subjects should be fairly selected with no prejudice or personal preference of researcher. Similarly, the benefits of research should be shared openly and equally to the public that maximizes benefits to public without any bias based on race, geography, economical condition, etc.
Authors are encouraged to use validated in vitro models wherever possible. However, if use of animal subjects is unavoidable, then well-known animal welfare Principles of 3Rs (developed by National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research, UK) should be followed. The 3Rs are:
- Replacement: Completely avoiding or replacing animals by alternative tools and methods such as non-animal models, in vitro methods, computer simulation, etc.
- Reduction: Reducing number and variety of animals by properly designing the study, conducting the experiments and analyzing the results. Usage of modern statistical methods, efficient imaging, maximizing data gathering, and sharing of samples & data helps in reduction of use of animals.
- Refinement: Refinement refers to minimizing the pain and distress during animal experimentation as well as during animal care and husbandry. Treatment of animals with care is not only a moral obligation, but it is also important for scientific point of view. Distress to animals during care, husbandry and experimentation can lead to physiological stress in animals adding aberration in experiment and misleading outcome.
Any human subject or animal use in medical research should be properly evaluated, scientifically justified, and follow the acceptable standard ethics and guidelines in the field.
3. Data Analysis & Statistics
Data analysis and statistics involve usage of appropriate qualitative approaches and quantitative tools to derive the meaningful outcomes or conclusions from the data obtained during research. All these approaches of data analysis should follow the minimum acceptable standards in the field, such that conclusion inferred are considered valid and convincing to subject matter experts in the field at the time of reporting. Inclusion of suspected erroneous data (from human, machine or other experimental errors) in analysis should be avoided and limitations in data should be considered before results are inferred and conclusions are made. Appropriate statistical analysis is used to interpret the data and draw reliable and reproducible conclusions.
Statistical principles and tools should also be applied during planning of research for efficient utilization of research resources such as funding, skills, time, materials and living research subjects such as humans and animals.
4. Data Fabrication
Data fabrication is the addition of made-up data that has not been observed and collected during the research study or observation. Data fabrication is a scientific misconduct with huge negative implications in science and healthcare at personal and broad public level. Data fabrication may lead to wastage of resources, irreproducibility of results, loss in scientific trust, even in serious health concerns. At a personal level, authors will lose credibility, can face economic losses and it can lead to legal implications. Data fabrication is not acceptable in any form in scientific and medical scholarly publication.
5. Data Falsification
Data falsification is deliberate manipulation or omission of observed data to deduce false results that support researcher’s hypothesis or claims. Data falsification can do similar harm as data fabrication and must be avoided. Integrity and honesty are the heart of science and medical research and without these characteristics entire purpose of research will be defeated.
6. Image Manipulation
Science and medical research involve generation and collection of images that are a kind of data. Image editing in order to clearly represent the observed data or facts are ethically acceptable editing. However, image manipulation in order to falsify the observed data or facts is unethical and fall in the category of data fabrication. Any kind of deception, whether by data fabrication, data falsification or image manipulation must be avoided.
7. Citation Manipulation
Citation manipulation includes deliberate inclusion of nonessential references in the manuscript for the sole purpose of increasing citations of previously published manuscripts from the author (self-citation), from their colleagues (honorary citation) or from any specific journal. Only the references that have contributed significant scholarly value to the content of manuscript should be included in reference section of the manuscript.
Plagiarism is copying of someone else’s ideas or content (text, images, data, etc.) and representing it as one’s own without providing appropriate credit (or without appropriate permission, when a permission is required) to the original creator of work. Plagiarism in any form is a scientific misconduct and unacceptable in scholarly publishing. We at Qualiten Press take plagiarism as a serious misconduct. We have multistage and multilevel checks prior to and during peer review process to filter out and reject plagiarized manuscripts.
Many times, manuscripts are written by a group of individuals. If you have concerns regarding plagiarism, then you may check it by using software like Turnitin, PlagScan, Grammarly, etc. Although, these software may help in identifying major plagiarism issues with your manuscript, you are subject matter expert in your field, hence you should be able to identify issues and make judgement even if software results show non-plagiarized content.
Authors of scholarly manuscripts are the individuals who have substantially contributed in planning study, conducting the study, collecting and analyzing data, inferring results, writing the manuscript, maintaining integrity and approving the final version of the article for publication.
Qualiten Journals require that individual contributions of all authors are reported in articles that are accepted for publication after peer review process. Reporting individual contributions in scholarly publications promotes honesty and accountability of the authors.
All other individuals or agencies involved in supporting the study through funding, provision of materials or instruments, performing minor roles in study design, experimentation, analysis and writing are acknowledged in the manuscript in acknowledgement section.
FUNDING & FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES
Authors should acknowledge and disclose specific sources of funding (such as grants, donations, contracts) that supported the study and facilitate the publication of manuscript. Any other financial interests or other competing interests should also be disclosed fully in the manuscript. Funding and financial disclosure promote transparency and integrity in science and medical research.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES
Authors should report in the manuscript, existence of any conflicts of interest that may influence (or create bias) in the study or publication. If there is no conflict of interest, then a “no conflict of interest” statement should be included in manuscript. The disclosure of conflict of interest promotes probity and transparency in science and medical publishing.
Authors should not submit the same article in multiple journals at a time. It is unethical to consume resources and time of editorial office, handling editors and reviewers of more than one journal or publisher at a time, when it is well known that a single article cannot be published in more than one journal. In duplicate submissions, if articles are accepted for publication in more than one journal, then it creates redundancy and can create complex legal hurdles for authors and publishers. Scholarly publishing is community driven service where authors, editors, reviewers, funders, and publishers work together to create, refine and publish scholarly content for public benefit. Duplicate submissions compromise the platform and reduce the resources that could have been used in evaluation and publication of other articles from your colleagues.
Data from science and medical studies should be reported and deposited in special archives for data reporting. Some repositories of data reporting are following:
- Clinical Trials Registration: International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends that clinical trials should be registered with a publicly accessible clinical trial registry. Few examples of these registries are: ClinicalTrials.gov (a registry maintained by US National Library of Medicine that also maintains MEDLINE and PubMed Central) and other registries that are included in WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP).
- Protein Data: Protein sequences can be submitted to Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) database, a publicly accessible global database hosted and managed by European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) and the Protein Information Resource (PIR). Protein structure can be submitted at Protein Data Bank (PDB), a database of 3D structural data of proteins, nucleic acids and other complex assemblies. Data deposited in these repositories are also accessible through NCBI Protein platform of US National Library of Medicine (NLM).
- Nucleotides: Nucleotide sequences can be deposited in one of the following primary nucleotide databases that collaborate through International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (INSDC) program:
- GenBank from National Center for Biotechnology Information – National Library of Medicine (NCBI-NLM), USA
- European Nucleotide Archive (ENA) from European Bioinformatics Institute – European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL-EBI), UK
- DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ) from National Institute of Genetics (NIG), Japan
- Genomics Data: Functional genomics data can be deposited in following repositories:
- Other Repositories: Refer to detailed list of repositories at Biological Repositories. This list is regularly updated by Qualiten Press team. If you have any feedback, contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
DATA AVAILABILITY & MATERIALS SHARING
Authors should provide information on availability of raw data and materials that can be shared if requested from other colleagues for advancement of research. Sharing of unprocessed data and materials can reduce redundancy of experiments and improve reproducibility of research studies.
Qualiten Press requires the author to provide a statement on data availability and materials sharing indicating the conditions when authors may or may not be able to share data or materials that have been used in their research study.
CORRECTIONS & RETRACTIONS
Authors should promptly inform the journal and rectify the errors as soon as they realize existence of such an error in their published article. Any minor language error can easily be rectified by communication with journal’s editorial office. However, if there are study and data related errors in manuscript then a decision for rectification of error or complete retraction of manuscript will be taken by the handling editor, who is a subject matter expert in the field. Any error concerning public safety should be immediately communicated to journals and we will remove the article from journal’s pages while a decision for rectification or retraction is made by handling editor. Alternatively, author can request retraction of their articles that have errors.
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