Ethical requirements

General Postulates

Editorial staff of the journal in its activity scrupulously follows “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals” designed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

The proposed ethical principles of the journal have been designed on the basis of the document mentioned above. These requirements don’t alter the matter of postulates suggested by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors though have been adapted for the information space of the countries where authors, reviewers and journal’s readers work.

One can get acquainted with the detailed outlining of the clauses “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals” designed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, including ethical problems at the Web-site of Ukrainian Association of Infection Control and antimicrobial resistance, the original version can be viewed at the Web-site www.ICMJE.org.

In the suggested Postulate ethical principles are given which the authors should follow while conducting and reporting of their research and reviewers and editorial staff while assessing and peer-reviewing the submitted articles.

Basic Ethical Principles of Editorial Staff Activity

Editorial staff pursues an independent policy on selection and publication the materials of research.

Editorial staff takes full responsibility for all materials published in the journal.

Editorial staff provides correspondence of the published materials to the accepted international ethical principles.

Editorial staff constantly takes steps to upgrade the journal.

Editorial staff persistently strives for the most overall satisfaction of the readers’ and authors’ needs.

Editorial staff takes all reasonable measures to guarantee the quality of the published material.

Editorial staff works in close contact with authors and reviewers to guarantee high quality of the published material.

Editorial staff grounds only on the significance of the research, its originality, explicitness and topicality while making decision whether to accept/decline the research for publication.

Editorial staff guarantees the possibility of publishing the materials showing different points of view.

Editorial staff guarantees no financial interests will influence on the level of requirements for the peer-reviewed and published materials.

Editors make decisions exclusively on the basis of the research credibility, its significance for readers and not of the commercial profit of the journal.

Editorial staff is always ready to admit its mistakes and if necessary to publish corrections, specializing, refutation and apology.

Ethical Considerations in the Conducting and Reporting of the Research

Authorship

Authorship is a substantive scientific participation in conducting the research and preparing its results for publication. Criteria of authorship are a substantive contribution to

  1. Conception and design and acquisition of data as well as analysis and interpretation of the obtained data;
  2. Drafting the article or revising it critically concerning fundamental aspects of its content;
  3. Final approval/agreement of the version to be published.

All individuals defined as “authors” should fully meet the criteria mentioned above. Each author should participate sufficiently in the work to take the public responsibility for the content of publication. Provision of funding, general supervision of the research group and collecting the data alone does not constitute authorship.

The order in which the authors are indicated in the article is determined by their collective decision. All participants termed as authors get the right of authorship.

Individuals who provided financial, technical help while conducting the research and preparing the manuscript can be listed in the section “Acknowledgments”. Research participants who collected the data only can be listed in the section “Clinical investigators” or “Participating investigators”. In this case they should provide the written resolution for promulgation of their names as readers may conclude the approval of the data and conclusions given in the article by these persons.

While submitting the article the authors should indicate contribution of every person to its preparation in the covering letter. The given information can be published.

Credibility of the submitted results

Authors are responsible for credibility of the results submitted in the article. Authors should check the links to the referred works. While submitting the manuscript to the editor the authors should inform in the cover letter in which establishment the research has been carried out as well as within which scientific programs surveyed. The submitted manuscript should be endorsed by all authors. It means that all authors take responsibility for the publication content.

Patients’ rights and confidentiality

In cases when diagnostic and treatment methods don’t comply to the standard procedures, the information concerning its approval by the Ethics Committee of the institution where the research has been conducted should be presented as well as their correspondence to the Helsinki Declaration of 1975 and its revised variant of 2000. In doubtful cases authors should submit to the editorial staff (when requested) the reasoning of the applied approaches as well as evidence that the Ethics Committee of the institution has approved all doubtful aspects of the research.

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without their informed consent. Identifying information, including names, initials, or number of the registration card should not be published. Photographs submitted for publication shouldn’t also allow identifying a patient. Authors should inform patients (parents, guardians) about the possibility of publishing the materials revealing the details of his/her disease and the used methods of diagnostics and treatment as well as about guarantees to provide confidentiality when publishing them in the print and electronic forms and also about their availability in Internet after publication. When submitting the article to the editorial staff authors should provide the patient’s written informed consent for distributing the information and inform about it in the article.

Ethical aspects of using animals in medical research

When reporting experiments on animals authors should present in the article the information about the accordance of keeping and using laboratory animals while conducting the research to international requirements and requirements of the animals handling of the institution where the research has been conducted.

Ethical Aspects at Consideration and Peer-Reviewing Manuscripts

Assessment of results’ credibility

Editorial staff should take all available measures to assess credibility of results and conclusions of the viewed manuscript. For this purpose it may involve besides official reviewers additional experts who are specialists in the definite field of medicine (morphology, physiopathology, microbiology, biochemistry, etc.) as well as specialists in mathematical-statistical analysis. In exceptional cases the editorial staff may ask for copies of documents certifying the submitted materials.

To decrease maximally incompleteness and inaccuracy of information in the submitted article references the editorial staff checks obligatorily all of them.

The editorial staff publishes information about correction of mistakes when they are found in the published articles.

In case if after the article publication one ascertains that authors have presented the falsified material, the editorial staff undertakes to publish information about this fact in next issue. The foundation for it is the detection results submitted to the editorial staff by the institution where the research has been conducted. At the same time the editorial staff should call in question the credibility of the previous works of the authors published in the journal. The editorial staff may address to the institution where the authors work to certify validity of their previously published works. If there is no confirmation the editorial staff will announce that credibility of the previous works hasn’t been certified.

Conflict of interests

To provide credibility of the published articles and public trust in the peer-review process the editorial staff carries out activity in handling the conflict of interests of authors, reviewers, editorial staff and editorial board members according to the designed system.

While preparing of concrete manuscript conflict of interests can arise in the case when one of participants in the publication and peer-reviewing process (an author, reviewer and editor) has liability that may influence his/her opinion. The causes of conflict of interest arising during the process of the article publication may be financial or personal relationships, academic competition and intellectual passion of both directly the participants of publishing (authors, reviewers and editors) and their close relatives.

All participants of the process of the manuscript preparation for publishing must inform the editorial staff about potential causes for the conflict of interest.

While submitting the manuscript to the editorial staff authors must indicate on the title page the data whether the conflict of interests does or does not exist to inform the editorial staff about the source of the research support such as grants, equipment, medicinal preparations; to guarantee in the covering letter, that they haven’t received any rewards from manufacturers of medicinal preparations, medical equipment, materials including the competitors able to affect the research results. Authors should inform about a sponsor and his role in determining the study design, in collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in making the decision to submit the report for publication. If the supporting source had no such involvement, the authors should state this. If necessary and asked by the editorial staff, authors must provide the additional information permitting the editorial staff to assess the impact of sponsors to the process of research.

Authors have the right to indicate in the covering letter the names of those specialists they feel should not be asked to review a manuscript because of potential, usually professional, conflicts of interest. The given information is strictly confidential and is taken in consideration while organizing the reviewing.

Reviewers should inform the editorial staff about possibility of arising the conflict of interest while reviewing and the causes that may affect their view point concerning the manuscript. They have the right to refuse to review a certain article if consider it to be justified.

To assure an unbiased independent and objective expertise of the viewed manuscripts and to avoid the conflict of interest, the editors conduct their peer-reviewing in a strict correspondence to the reviewing requirements established in the journal.

All the articles submitted to the editorial staff are subjected to peer-reviewing. Two independent reviewers are allocated by the editor-in-chief (deputy editor-in-chief) from the members of the editorial board, editorial council who are specialists in the corresponding field. Leading specialists of the Ukraine and CIS countries who have the scientific degree can be involved in peer-reviewing. Editor-in-chief doesn’t appoint external reviewers when there is an evident possibility of the conflict of interests. Reviewers are informed that manuscripts of articles are the author’s private property and are the data which are not subject to divulgation. Peer-reviewing is confidential. Reviewers submit a peer-review to the editorial staff in which they point out topicality of the conducted study, completeness and credibility of the submitted data, degree of the results’ novelty, their scientific and practical significance, economic and social value as well as substantiated conclusions about the article in general, remarks and if required recommendations concerning its improvement. The author of the reviewed article can get acquainted with the peer-review text.

Decision whether to allow the article publishing is made collegially at the editorial board sitting.

Members of the editorial staff as well as members of the editorial board who take part in decision making concerning the definite manuscript mustn’t have a personal, professional and financial interest. Otherwise they should inform the editor-in-chief about their interest and refuse to take part in decision-making to avoid the conflict of interest.

Basing on the reviewers’ opinion the editorial staff makes decision concerning possibility of publishing the manuscript in the submitted form, necessity to modify or reject it.

If disagrees with the opinion of reviewers the author has the right to present the well-reasoned reply to the editorial staff. Inability and unwillingness of the author to take into consideration substantiated remarks and recommendations of reviewers are the cause to reject further viewing of the article.

In debatable cases the article can be referred for peer-reviewing to the optional reviewer. During the sitting of the editorial board, all obtained peer-reviews and the author’s replies are studied when decision is made concerning the article admission.

When the decision concerning the article admission for publication is made, the executive secretary informs the author about it and specifies terms of publication. If the paper is rejected the author gets the detailed motivated refusal.

The editors can use information presented in reports about the conflict of interest and about financial interest from the authors, reviewers, editorial board members when making decision to publish the article. The editorial staff has the right to publish this information if considers it to be important for the article assessment.

Correction and approval of manuscripts

The editors reserve the right to truncate the published materials and adapt it to the journal’s headings. The text of the article prepared for publishing and with the corrections made by the editors is sent to the authors for approval in PDF format by e-mail. Author’s corrections and approval should be sent to the editors within 5- day’s period. After this period is over the editorial staff will consider that author have approved the text.

Copyright

If the article is accepted for publishing, the authors provide copyright to the editor in accordance with the contact.

Copyright transfer implies the right of the editors, without permission of authors, for arrangement in the journal of the preliminary information about forthcoming publication of the article; transfer the right to distribute the article by the third side; permitting an open access to articles, data about the author, address for correspondence at the Web-site of the journal; transfer the electronic copies of the article, data about authors, address for correspondence to the international informational bases for permitting an open access of unlimited number of people to the article and the information.

Authors have the right to use the published data for their further researches, for dissertations, monographs, manuals and other scientific publications preparing with an obligatory link to the publication in the journal; to place the electronic copy of the article provided by the editors at the personal Web-sites or Web-site of the institution where the research has been conducted, Web-sites of professional societies and associations members of which the authors are.

At the same time authors can’t transfer copyright to use the article for distribution or open access of unlimited number of people to the third side without the permission of the editorial staff.

Authors should inform about their agreement to transfer the copyright in the covering letter when sending the article to the editors. When the article is not accepted for publication, the given contract is not valid. The editors will inform the author within 5 calendar days after the decision is made.

Ethical Issues of Publications

Multiple publications

The editors don’t accept for publishing the articles which are simultaneously sent to other journals for publication or which include materials largely published as articles by other print or electronic media. Author must guarantee in the covering letter that the submitted article hasn’t been published earlier or submitted to the other journal for reviewing and publication. These requirements don’t spread to the articles, which are not accepted for publishing by other journals as well as the published works which include preliminary results of the research. The editorial staff doesn’t exclude the viewing of articles, presented earlier at the scientific conference in the form of theses or poster presentations, but not fully published or viewed for publishing in the collection of scientific papers or for publishing in the analogous format. In the new publication the reference to these materials should be mentioned and indicated.

The editors welcome when authors provide the data about their previously published works on the topic and materials included in the submitted article. Copies of such materials should be appended to the submitted article; it will help the editors to decide whether to refer the submitted article to the multiple (duplicate) publications. Under the multiple (duplicate) publications is meant the publication of the article the content of which largely coincide with the content of the work already published in the print or electronic form.

The editorial staff has the right to check in the international informational bases concerning publications of other articles by authors. If it is found out that authors try to present the repeated or duplicate publication without informing about this, the editors have the right to reject the article submission. In case that after publication of the article in the journal it will be established that the analogous article has been published in other editions, and authors haven’t informed the editors about it, the report that the given publication is a repeated or duplicate one, with explanation or approval of the author or without them will be published in the nearest issue.

In individual cases the editorial staff can make decision concerning possibility of the repeated publication. The cause for such decision is accepting the necessity of maximally wide distribution of the materials presented in the article to scientific medical community.

Repeated publications are realized in a strict correspondence with international copyright laws, ethical norms and in case of author’s and editor’s agreement. Permission for such repeated publication may be free of charge.

Publication of this article may be possible in case the following conditions are followed:

  1. Authors got approval of editors of both journals;
  2. The editorial staff that publishes the repeated publication should get the copy of the primary version;
  3. The repeated (duplicate) publication should be published in terms, determined by both editors but not earlier than one week after the primary version publication to provide priority of the primary publication;
  4. The article for the repeated publication should be intended for another group of readers; in this case a reduced version may be enough;
  5. The repeated version accurately discloses the data and their interpretation presented in the primary version;
  6. The title page of the repeated version must include the note that the article has already been fully or partially published and the reference to the primary publication is given;
  7. In the headline of the revised version one should point out that it is the repeated publication (exact reprint, truncated edition, complete or truncated translation of the text) of the original article.

Publication of negative results

The editors display serious attention to publication of the results of any thoroughly conducted research no matter whether its results are positive or negative ones. At the same time the editors take into consideration that many researches revealing negative results are actually uncompleted and incomplete. Possibility to publish not ultimate results of researches is viewed in a specific order by the editorial board as such articles have no biomedical value and spend the resources of the journal.

Correspondence and publication of critical remarks

The editors of the journal give possibility for readers to send their comments, questions or critical remarks concerning the published articles as well as short reports and comments not related to previously published articles by mail or e-mail to the address of the editorial staff. All received correspondence the editors will obligatory study.

All received critical remarks concerning the published articles are studied at the meeting of the editorial board. Authors of the critical materials should inform about any competitive interests or the conflict of interest when sending these materials. In case the criticism is grounded the journal takes responsibility to place the critical materials in the journal. The authors of the criticized article are given the possibility to publish their replies. The given materials will be placed in the section “Letters to the editorial staff”. At the same time the published correspondence can be corrected by the editors (publication size, grammar and style correctness). Authors of the critical materials and authors of replies should approve the editorial changes of both the primary letter and the reply. As a rule, critical materials and replies of authors are published by the editors in the same issue.

Welcoming the discussion progressing concerning the articles published in the journal, the editors take responsibility to study carefully the sent critical materials trying to reveal all rough, inaccurate and slanderous statements and don’t let appearance of personal comments influencing the opinion or data.

Commercial considerations and advertising

The publishing of the papers is free of charge. Absence of financial commitments to the authors permits the editors to follow the independent publishing policy and select only high-quality articles.

To decrease the cost of the journal and to provide its availability for the wide range of specialists the editors compensate publishing expenses partially by means of advertising. The journal publishes only handouts of medicinal preparations, medical equipment, medical goods authorized for use by law. Advertising articles as well as articles funded by manufacturers and/or their distributers are not taken.

According to the rules accepted in the journal the advertising space of the journal shouldn’t exceed 5%. The editors are responsible to refuse advertisement placing if false information in it is revealed or publish information for readers in case if it is further established that in the earlier published advertisement material the advertiser presented incomplete or not reliable information.

Complaints and appeals

Authors, readers, reviewers if ethics violations in the work of the editors are revealed have the right to address to the ethics committee a founder of the journal.

Complaints and appeals are studied by the ethics committee during 1 month period. The results of complaints viewing are sent to the applicant in the written form.

The ethics committee studies only appeals in which there are claims concerning violation by authors, reviewers, editors of the journal of ethical norms. Complaints and appeals concerning the manuscript rejection because of low scientific level are not studied by the ethics committee as the editorial board and the editorial council of the journal is exclusively competent to solve this problem.