All of our journals endorse the COPE Core Practices about editorship, authorship and peer-review. You can find many other useful guidelines at the COPE’ website. All manuscripts submitted to our medical journals must comply in full to the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals and/or the DOAJ Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.
All manuscripts submitted to our journal are critically assessed by external and/or in-house experts in accordance with the principles of peer review, which is fundamental to the scientific publication process and the dissemination of sound science. Each paper is first assigned by the Editors to an appropriate Associate Editor who has knowledge of the field discussed in the manuscript. The first step of manuscript selection takes place entirely in-house and has two major objectives:
- To establish the article’s appropriateness for our journals’ readership;
- To define the manuscript’s priority ranking relative to other manuscripts under consideration, since the number of papers that the journal receives is much greater than it can publish.
If a manuscript does not receive a sufficiently high priority score to warrant publication, the editors will proceed to a quick rejection. The remaining articles are reviewed by at least two different external referees (second step or classical peer review). These are experts in the field who have agreed to provide a rapid assessment of the article.
Every effort will be made to provide an editorial decision as to acceptance for publication within 4-6 weeks of submission. Referees may request a revision of the article to be made. In this case, it is generally understood that only one revised version can be considered for a further appraisal under the peer-review system.
The Editors of each journal are responsible for the final selection of referees to conduct the peer-review process for that journal. Everyone is strongly invited to read each journal policy about reviewers’ role.
The names of referees will not be made available to authors. However, referees will be informed as to the identity of the authors whose articles are subject to review. All members of the Editorial Board and referees are asked to declare any competing interests they may have in reviewing a manuscript. If on receiving the editorial decision concerning their manuscript authors are not satisfied they are invited to appeal to the Editor. In cases in which this is considered appropriate a second opinion on the manuscript will be requested.
Authorship and Contributorship
All of our journals endorse the ICMJE criteria for defining the roles of Authors and Contributors to justify authorship:
- Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
- Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
- Final approval of the version to be published; AND
- 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.
Those who do not meet all four criteria should not be listed as authors, but they should be acknowledged. Those whose contributions do not justify authorship may be acknowledged individually or together as a group under a single heading.
Changes in authorship
If authors request removal or addition of an author after manuscript submission or during the peer-review process or at article acceptance, the journal editors should receive a letter clearly explaining the reason for the change. No changes to the Authors or Corresponding Author can be made after publication of the article, either as an “Advance Online Article” or in the regular issue. Instead, a corrigendum may be considered by the journal editor.
Open Medical Publishing requires written confirmation from all authors that they agree with any proposed changes in authorship of already submitted manuscripts.
Conflict of interest
Conflict of interest exists when an author (or the author’s institution), reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence (bias) his or her actions (such relationships are also known as dual commitments, competing interests, or competing loyalties). These relationships vary from negligible to great potential for influencing judgment. Not all relationships represent true conflict of interest. On the other hand, the potential for conflict of interest can exist regardless of whether an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her scientific judgment. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion.
All participants in the peer-review and publication process must disclose all relationships that could be viewed as potential conflicts of interest. Disclosure of such relationships is also important in connection with editorials and review articles, because it can be more difficult to detect bias in these types of publications than in reports of original research. Editors may use information disclosed in conflict-of-interest and financial-interest statements as a basis for editorial decisions, and may ask for further information relating to competing interests.
Open Medical Publishing requires authors to declare all competing interests in relation to their work. All submitted manuscripts must include a ‘conflict of interest’ section listing all competing interests (financial and non-financial). Where authors have no competing interests, the statement should read “The authors declared they have no conflict of interest”.
Ethical Approval / Protection of Human Subjects and Animals in Research
Researches involving human subjects, human material or data, must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki as revised in 2013 and must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee.
When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether institutional and national standards for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed. Further guidance on animal research ethics is available from the World Medical Association (2016 revision). When reporting experiments on ecosystems involving non-native species, Authors are bound to ensure compliance with the institutional and national guide for the preservation of native biodiversity.
All manuscripts submitted to Open Medical Publishing journals must include a statement detailing this, including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate. In case a study has been granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should be detailed in the manuscript, together with the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption.
Manuscripts may be rejected if the Editor considers that the research has not been carried out within an appropriate ethical framework.
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.
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.
For retrospective/protocol studies in which only aggregate data (e.g., incidences of TB in a certain region) are analysed, the Ethical Approval by an appropriate Committee is usually not required, as the data cannot be traced back to specific patients.
For all research involving human subjects, 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.
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. If the participant has died, then consent for publication must be sought from the next of kin of the participant. 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 is at the Editor(s)’ discretion.
Open Medical Publishing journals strictly follows the ICMJE Protection of Research Participants policy. Patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent. When informed consent has been obtained, editors may request authors to provide a copy before making the editorial decision.
Manuscripts must be reviewed with due respect for authors’ confidentiality. In submitting their manuscripts for review, Authors entrust Editors with the results of their scientific work and creative effort, on which their reputation and career may depend. Authors’ rights may be violated by disclosure of the confidential details during review of their manuscript. Reviewers also have rights to confidentiality, which must be respected by the editor. Confidentiality may have to be breached if dishonesty or fraud is alleged but otherwise must be honored. Editors must not disclose information about manuscripts (including their receipt, content, status in the reviewing process, criticism by reviewers, or ultimate fate) to anyone other than the authors and reviewers. This includes requests to use the materials for legal proceeding.