Ethical Guidelines & Editorial Policies

CONTENTS

Statement of Publication Ethics

Publishing Ethical Guidelines

Ethical Guidelines for the Editors

Ethical Guidelines for the Author(s)

Ethical Guidelines for the Reviewers

Ethical Guidelines for Publisher

Editorial Policies

Plagiarism, data fabrication, and image manipulation policy

Identification and dealing with research (Scientific) misconduct

Multiple, redundant or concurrent submissions policy

Authorships

Authorization and declaration

Peer Review Policy

Copyright, licensing and Open Access policy

Permissions Policy

Accessibility and distribution Policy

Article withdrawal, retraction or correction Policy

Replies/responses and comments to published work

Competing/conflict of interests

Experimental animal and human subjects

Long Term Digital Archiving policy

Editorial independence Policy

Rejected Articles-Appeal

Privacy Policy

Research Data Policy

Patient Consent Policy

Sharing articles Policy

Funding Source

Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing

STATEMENT OF PUBLICATION ETHICS

AJLS follow Ethical guidelines of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan and Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE). AJLS also follow mutually agreed Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing by COPE and Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and World Association of Medical Editors (WAME). AJLS use COPE’s procedures and HEC guidelines for dealing with potentially unethical behavior by authors, reviewers or editors.

Ethical issues raised by readers will be investigated by the editorial office following procedures recommended by COPE and HEC guidelines. Disputes on the validity of research reported in published papers can be settled by the editorial board. For disputes around authorship, data ownership, author misconduct, etc., where necessary we will refer to external organizations such as a university ethics committee. Authors are asked to respond to any substantiated allegations made against them. .

PUBLISHING ETHICAL GUIDELINES

Ethical Guidelines for the Editors

The Editor of a research journal plays an important role in establishing and maintaining the professional standards. Publication of a paper in an HEC recognized journal is expected to reflect quality work of the author (s) and the affiliating institution (if any). The Editor is expected to perform the responsibility towards the journal on its all aspects and at varied stages i.e. from receiving of an article to publishing it. Keeping this in view, it becomes prime responsibility of an editor to adapt the following guidelines while publishing papers in his/her research journal

1. The Editor’s Responsibilities

The Editor of a research journal should be responsible for:

  • Establishing and maintaining quality of the journal by publishing quality papers in his/her journal.
  • Promotion of freedom of expression within the cultural, constitutional/legal framework
  • Providing integrity and credibility of the research contributions.
  • Meeting the needs of authors and readers.
  • Maintaining ethical standards of their journal.
  • Providing corrigendum for any correction, clarification and apologies where required

1.2 Good practices for their job would include to:

  • Encourage new ideas and suggestions of authors, peer reviewers, members of editorial board and readers for improving quality of his/her journal.
  • Apply the process of blind peer review in true letter and spirit.
  • Promote innovative findings in respective field and publishing them on priority.
  • Promote anti plagiarism policy.
  • Educate contributors (authors) about ethical practices in research, and
  • Implement the journal’s policy without institutional pressure and revise the policy from time to time

  1. Formation of Editorial Board

  • The Editor must ensure that the Editorial Board comprises prominent scholars of the field who can adequately promote the journal,
  • The Editorial Board should comprise of and be responsible for the following: a. An Editorial Committee, who will be responsible for providing logistics, and b. Advisory Committee, who will be responsible for reviewing the submitted research articles, this committee should have at least 50% representation of scholars from abroad.
  • May appoint Editorial Board members for a prescribed duration and add or revise constitution of the Board if required.
  • The Editor should inform new board members about ethical guidelines and their expected role and update the Editorial Board members about development, challenges and any changes made in the journal policy.
  • The Editorial Board should maintain quality of the journal because an assigned category by the HEC (e.g. W, X, Y, and Z categories) will depend on the quality of published papers in it. It is the professional duty of the Board members to select credible research work, and
  • To ensure smooth functioning of the journal, the Editors are responsible for conducting the Editorial Board meetings on regular basis (at least twice a year).

  1. Fair play and Impartiality
  • The criteria for the selection of research papers must be impartial and the Editor should select academically and scientifically sound articles.
    The Editor should:
    Promptly respond to the author (s) of the papers submitted for publication, and
    b. Assign a specific number to an article submitted for processing; and pay impartial consideration to all research papers submitted for publication.
  • To ensure evaluation of the content of research papers impartially.
  • Disregard the discriminating factors, e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, religious belief, cultural sentiments, political affiliation, seniority and/or institutional association of the author(s) while selecting articles for publication
  • To ensure impartiality of the review process by informing the reviewer (s) that s/he needs to disclose any conflicts of interest regarding the submitted research paper.
  1. Confidentiality
  • The Editor must ensure confidentiality of the author(s) and reviewers during the process of double-blind peer review,
  • Information pertaining to a research paper should not be disclosed by the Editor to anyone except the author(s), reviewer(s), and editorial board members,
  • Upon reaching a decision about a research paper, only the Editor may disclose or announce title of the study and name of the author(s) that has been accepted for publication. Any other information may only be disclosed with the prior approval of the author(s), and
  • Confidentiality of the participants of the research should also be ensured by protecting personal information (e.g. identifiable personal details, images, and/or individual results). Editor should declare clear guidelines to the contributors (authors) regarding confidentiality of the individual participant.
  • Prior to publication, the content of the manuscript should be kept confidential, both the Editor and reviewer(s) will not share or use any part of the work.
  1. Editing and Formatting Guidelines
  • The Editor should prepare clear guidelines about preparing and formatting of a paper and print these guidelines in each issue of the journal
  • The guidelines should cover information related to 'content' and 'format' of a research paper,
  • Any preferred manual of style (e.g. APA, Chicago Manual, MLA Style, etc) should be declared as a policy decision
  1. The Review Process
  • Details about the review process should be declared
  • Editor should ensure that all published papers have gone through a double-blind peer review, and at least one of the reviewers is from outside the country.
  • The Editor should ensure that peer-review is masked in both directions and as such the identity of the author is removed from the manuscript prior to its review in order to protect the confidentiality and privacy.
  • The Editor should provide enough guidelines to reviewers, including necessary information about the review process and provide them a reviewer comment form for recording his/her comments.
  • The Editor must ensure that peer review process is prompt, nondiscriminatory and highly professional
  • The Editor should develop a system of confidentiality of research papers undergoing the review process
  • The Editor is required to send reviewers' comments to author(s) promptly and should ensure that the corrections suggested by the reviewers are incorporated by the author(s) in true letter and spirit
  • The Editor to critically evaluate peer review practices regularly and make improvements, if, require.
  • The Editor should maintain a database of competent and qualified reviewers. For this purpose, s/he may use various sources other than personal contacts to identify new reviewers (e.g. referring by author (s), citations and references section in a book/journal), and
  • The Editor should refer troublesome cases (e.g. in case of one acceptance and one rejection or any conflict arisen after review) to Advisory Committee in order to resolve the matter amicably.
  1. Dealing with Misconduct
  • The Editor should encourage reviewers to comment on ethical issues and possible research and publication misconduct (e.g. inappropriate research design, incomplete detail on participant's consent, data manipulation, and presentation).
  • The Editor should encourage reviewers to comment on the validity of submitted research paper and identify 'subtle (simply copy-paste)' and/or 'blatant (paraphrasing)' type of plagiarism, if, practiced by the author(s).
  • The Editor should confirm plagiarism (carry out objective check through Turnitin) and/or searching for similar titles to the submitted research paper, and
  • The Editor should be prepared to publish a corrigendum, remove and retract a plagiarized article if it comes to his/her knowledge subsequent to its publication.
  1. Transparency
  • The Editor must ensure that multiple papers as a principal investigator submitted by an author should not be published in the same issue.
  • Only ONE co-authorship is allowed for those authors who also contribute a research paper as a principal investigator in the same issue.
  • For the members of the Editorial Board (including the Editor), it will only be limited to ONE paper per issue either to submit research paper as a principal investigator or coauthor, and
  • The Editor should adopt authorship or co-authorship policy that will set an example in the scientific community and strictly discourage any misconduct (e.g. forcible inclusion of a name in the author list). Authorship should only be given to those individuals who have substantially contributed in the said article.
  1. Conflict of Interest
  • The Editor should not edit a submitted paper for those author(s) and/or institution against which s/he has any conflicts of interest (e.g. resulting from competitive, collaborative and/or professional standing).
  • The Editor should also apply this guideline on their reviewers and Editorial Board members.
  • To ensure unbiased review, the Editor should declare a clear-cut policy for his/her own submission and a research paper submitted by an Editorial Board member, and
  • The Editor must publish a list of common interests (e.g. financial, academic and/or any other type) for all Editorial Board members and editorial staff. This list should be updated from time to time
  • To ensure unbiased review, the Editor should declare a clear-cut policy for his/her own submission and a research paper submitted by an Editorial Board member.
  • In case of article (s) submitted by the Editor, the decision pertaining to the editor's submitted article/s, one of the Associate Editors must take responsibility for the evaluation of the article and information pertaining to reviewers should be kept confidential.
  1. Disclosure
  • The Editor must not use any unpublished information/data from the submitted research paper without the permission of the author(s), and
  • Any information received after the peer review process must be kept confidential and not used for personal gains.
  1. Publication Decisions
  • The Editor should only shortlist research papers which have relevance to the scope of the journal clearly stated in the Journal, using his /her judgment, but without any personal bias.
  • After completion of the reviewing process, the submission of revised manuscript, and assessing the quality and validity, the Editor has a right to accept or reject a research paper.
  • The Editor's decisions to accept or reject a paper for publication should be based purely on merit, academic standards and professional demands of the journal
  • The Editor must justify the reason (s) of rejecting a research paper to author(s). This may include:
    Failure to fit in the scope of the journal (may be communicated after preliminary review)
    b. Insufficient depth of content
    c. Major errors related to design, analysis, write up and format
    d. Any misconduct or conflicting factors (e.g. plagiarism, copyright infringement, legal issues, fake data, authorship issues)
  • The Editor is required to timely communicate the editorial decision to the author(s)
  • The Editors should not reverse decisions in favor or against author(s) on their own
  1. Establishing a Procedure for Appeal
  • The Editor is responsible for establishing a proper mechanism for appeals launched against:
    a. The rejection of a research paper.
    b. Objections to publications causing harm to any party.
    c. Infringement of Ethical boundaries in any manner

Ethical Guidelines for the Author(s)

The following ethical guidelines are obligatory for all author(s) violation of which may result in application of penalties by the editor, including but not limited to the suspension or revocation of publishing privileges.

Reporting Standards

  • It is the author(s)' responsibility to ensure that the research report and data contain adequate detail and references to the sources of information in order to allow others to reproduce the results.
  • Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.

Originality and Plagiarism

  • It is the author(s)' responsibility to ascertain that s/he has submitted an entirely original work, giving due credit, by virtue of proper citations, to the works and/or words of others where they have been used
  • Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is not acceptable.
  • Material quoted verbatim from the author(s)' previously published work or other sources must be placed in quotation marks.
  • Material quoted verbatim from the author(s)' previously published work or other sources must be placed in quotation marks.

Declaration

  • Authors are required to provide an undertaking / declaration stating that the manuscript under consideration contains solely their original work that is not under consideration for publishing in any other journal in any form.
  • Authors may submit a manuscript previously published in abstracted form, for e.g. in the proceedings of an annual meeting, or in a periodical with limited circulation and availability such as reports by the Government agencies or a University.
  • A manuscript that is co-authored must be accompanied by an undertaking explicitly stating that each author has contributed substantially towards the preparation of the manuscript in order to claim right to authorship
  • It is the responsibility of the corresponding author that s/he has ensured that all those who have substantially contributed in the manuscripts have been included in the author list and they have agreed to the order of authorship.

Multiple, Redundant and Concurrent Publication

  • Authors should not submit manuscripts describing essentially the same research to more than one journal or publication except if a re-submission of a rejected or withdrawn manuscript is.
  • Authors may re-publish previously conducted research that has been substantially altered or corrected using more meticulous analysis or by adding more data.
  • The authors and editor must agree to the secondary publication, which must cite the primary references and reflect the same data and interpretation of the primary document.
  • Concurrent submission of the same manuscript to more than one journal is unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable

Acknowledgment of Sources

  • A paper must always contain proper acknowledgment of the work of others, including clear indications of the sources of all information quoted or offered, except what is common knowledge.
  • The author(s) must also acknowledge the contributions of people, organizations and institutes who assisted the process of research, including those who provided technical help, writing assistance or financial funding (in the acknowledgement).
  • It is duty of the author(s) to conduct a literature review and properly cite the original publications that describe closely related work.

Authorship Credit

  • Authorship of the work may only be credited to those who have made a noteworthy contribution in conceptualization, design, conducting, data analysis and writing up of the manuscript.
  • It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to include the name(s) of only those coauthors who have made significant contributions to the work.
  • The corresponding author should ensure that all co- authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication. Others who have participated in certain substantive aspect of the research should be acknowledged for their contribution in an "Acknowledgement" section.

Privacy of Participants

  • Authors must respect the privacy of the participant of research and must not use any information obtained from them without their informed consent.
  • Authors should ensure that only information that improves understanding of the study is shared.
  • Authors must ensure that in instances where the identity of the participant needs to be revealed in the study, explicit and informed consent of the concerned party is obtained
  • In the case of the demise of a participant, consent must be obtained from the family of the deceased

Data Access and Retention

  • If any question arises about the accuracy or validity of the research work during the review process, the author(s) should provide raw data to the Editor.

Images

  • The author(s) should ensure that images included in an account of research performed or in the data collection as part of the research are free from manipulation,
  • The author(s) must provide an accurate description of how the images were generated and produced.

Disclosure and Conflicts of Interest

  • The potential and relevant competing financial, personal, social or other interest of all author(s) that might be affected by publication of the results contained in the manuscript must be conveyed to the editor.
  • The author(s) should disclose any potential conflict of interest at the earliest possible stage, including but not limited to employment, consultancies, honoraria, patent applications/registrations, grants or other funding.
  • All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed alongside a brief overview of the role played, if any by the responses during various stages of the research

Copyright

  • Authors may have to sign an agreement allowing the journal to reserve the right to circulate the article and all other derivative works such as translations.

Manuscript Acceptance and Rejection

  • The review period can last between 1-2 months or longer and during this period the author(s) reserve the right to contact the Editor to ask about status of the review
  • Once the review process has been completed, the author will be informed about the status of the manuscript which could either be an acceptance, rejection or revisions. In the case of rejection, the author(s) reserves the right to publish the article elsewhere.
  • In case of revisions, the author(s) must provide an exposition of all corrections made in the manuscript and the revised manuscript should, then, go through the process of affirmation of revisions and be accepted or rejected accordingly.
  • In case of dissatisfaction over the decision of rejection, the author can appeal the decision by contacting the Editor

Ethical Guidelines for the Reviewers

Preamble:

Review of the manuscript by reviewers is not only an essential component of formal scholarly engagement but is also a fundamental step in the publication process as it aids Editor in the editorial decision making. It also allows author(s) to improve their manuscript through editorial communications. Scholars accepting to review a research paper have an ethical responsibility to complete this assignment professionally. The quality, credibility and reputation of a journal also depend on the peer review process. The peer review process depends on the trust and demands that a reviewer is supposed to fulfill ethically. These professionals are the momentum arm of the review process, but they may be performing this job without any formal training. Therefore, they may be (especially young professionals) unaware of their ethical obligations. The Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan wants to list down 'Ethical Guidelines for Reviewers' so that all reviewers provide their valuable services in a standardized manner.

Suitability and Promptness

The Reviewers should:

  • Inform the Editor, if they do not have the subject expertise required to carry out the review and s/he should inform the Editor immediately after receiving a request.
  • Be responsible to act promptly and submit review report on time.
  • Immediately inform the Editor of any possible delays and suggest another date of submission for a review report, and
  • Not unnecessarily delay the review process, either by prolonged delay in submission of their review or by requesting unnecessary additional data/information from the Editor or author(s).

Standards of Objectivity

  • The reviews should be objectively carried out with a consideration of high academic, scholarly and scientific standards.
  • All judgments should be meticulously established and maintained in order to ensure the full comprehension of the reviewer's comments by the editors and the author(s).
  • Both reviewers and author(s) in rebuttal should avoid unsupported assertions,
  • The reviewer may justifiably criticize a manuscript, but it would be inappropriate to resort to personal criticism on the author(s), and
  • The reviewers should ensure that their decision is purely based on the quality of the research paper and not influenced, either positively or negatively, by any personal, financial, or other conflicting considerations or by intellectual bias.

Disclosure and Conflict of Interest

  • A reviewer should not, for the purpose of his/her own research, use unpublished material disclosed in a submitted manuscript, without the approval of the Editor.
  • The data included in the research paper is confidential and the reviewer shall not be allowed to use if for his/her personal study,
  • A reviewer must declare any potentially conflicting interests (e.g. personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious). In such situation, s/he will be required to follow the journal's policies
  • A reviewer should be honest enough to declare conflicts of interest, if, the research paper under review is the same as to his/her presently conducted study.
  • If the reviewer feels unqualified to separate his/her bias, s/he should immediately return the manuscript to the Editor without review and justify to him/her about the situation.

Confidentiality

  • Reviewers should consider the research paper as a confidential document and must not discuss its content on any platform except in cases where professional advice is being sought with the authorization of the Editor, and
  • Reviewers are professionally and ethically bound not to disclose the details of any research paper prior to its publication without the prior approval of the Editor.

Ethical Considerations

  • If the reviewer suspects that the research paper is almost the same as someone else's work, s/he will ethically inform the Editor and provide its citation as a reference.
  • If the reviewer suspects that results in the research paper to be untrue/unrealistic/fake, s/he will share it with the Editor,
  • If there has been an indication of violating ethical norms in the treatment of human beings (e.g. children, female, poor people, disabled, elderly, etc.), then this should be identified to the Editor, and
  • If the research paper is based on any previous research study or is replica of an earlier work, or the work is plagiarized for e.g. the author has not acknowledged/referenced others' work appropriately, then this should be brought in the Editor's knowledge.

Originality

For evaluating originality, the reviewers should consider the following elements:

  • Does the research paper add to existing knowledge?
  • Are the research questions and/or hypotheses in line with the objective of the research work?

Structure

If the layout and format of the paper is not according to the prescribed version, the reviewers should discuss it with the Editor or should include this observation in their review report. On the other hand, if the research paper is exceptionally well written, the reviewer may overlook the formatting issues. At other times, the reviewers may suggest restructuring the paper before publication. The following elements should be carefully evaluated:

  • If there is serious problem of language or expression and the reviewer gets the impression that the research paper does not fulfill linguistic requirements and readers would face difficulties reading and comprehending the paper. The reviewer should record this deficiency in his/her report and suggest the editor to make its proper editing. Such a situation may arise when the author(s)’ native language is not English.
  • Whether the data presented in the paper is original or reproduced from previously conducted or published work. The papers which reflect originality should be given preference for publication.
  • The clarity of illustrations including photographs, models, charts, images and figures is essential to note. If there is duplication, then it should be reported in the review report. Similarly, descriptions provided in the “Results” section should correspond with the data presented in tables/figures, if not then it should be clearly listed in the review report.
  • Critically review the statistical analysis of the data. Also check the rational and appropriateness of the specific analysis.
  • The reviewers should read the “Methodology” section in detail and make sure that the author(s) has demonstrated the understanding of the procedures being used and presented in the manuscript
  • The relationship between “Data, Findings and Discussion” requires a thorough evaluation thoroughly. Unnecessary conjecture or unfounded conclusions that are not based on the presented data are not acceptable.
  • Further questions to be addressed are whether: the organization of the research paper is appropriate or deviates from the standard or prescribed format?
  • Does the author(s) follow the guidelines prescribed by the journal for preparation and submission of the manuscript?
  • Is the research paper free from typographical errors?

Review Report

  • The reviewer must explicitly write his/her observations in the section of 'comments' because author(s) will only have access to the comment’s reviewers have made,
  • For writing a review report, the reviewers are requested to complete a prescribed form (s).
  • It is helpful for both the Editor and author(s) if the reviewer writes a brief summary in the first section of the review report. This summary should comprise the reviewer's final decision and inferences drawn from a full review.
  • It is helpful for both the Editor and author(s) if the reviewer writes a brief summary in the first section of the review report. This summary should comprise the reviewer's final decision and inferences drawn from a full review.
  • Indicating any deficiencies is important. For the understanding of the Editor and author(s), the reviewers should highlight these deficiencies in some detail with specificity. This should help justify the comments made by the reviewer,
  • When a reviewer decides regarding the research paper, it should be clearly indicated as 'Reject', 'Accept without revision', or 'Need Revision' and either of the decisions should have justification.
  • The reviewers should indicate the revisions clearly and comprehensively, and show willingness to confirm the revisions submitted by the author(s), if Editor wishes so, and
  • The final decision about publishing a research paper (either accept or reject) will solely rest with the Editor and it is not a reviewer's job to take part in this decision. The editor will surely consider reviewer's comments and have a right to send the paper for another opinion or send it back to the author(s) for revision before making the final decision.

 

Ethical Guidelines for Publisher

Safeguard editorial independence

We are committed to ensuring that the potential for advertising, reprint or other commercial revenue has no impact or influence on editorial decisions.

Guardianship of the scholarly record

Elsevier, as the world's leading journal publisher, takes its duties of guardianship over the scholarly record extremely seriously. Our journals record "the minutes of science" and we recognise our responsibilities as the keeper of those "minutes" in all our policies [5], not least the ethical guidelines that we have adopted here.

Educate researchers on publishing ethics

We also provide extensive education and advice on publishing ethics standards, particularly for early career researchers.

Provide editors with technical, procedural & legal support

We support editors in communications with other journals and/or publishers where this is useful to editors and are prepared to provide specialised legal review and counsel if necessary.

 

Editorial Policies

Plagiarism, data fabrication and image manipulation policy

Plagiarism is not acceptable in AJLS. Plagiarism is commonly defined as the representation of the words or ideas of another as one's own in any academic work (Rutgers University, Academic Integrity Policy, Section 2C). In scientific writing and publishing, plagiarism most often occurs when ideas or key phrases are taken from a literature source and the source is not cited. Copying a sentence from another work and merely replacing a few words in that sentence also is considered plagiarism.

Plagiarism is prohibited because it is dishonest. Authors who do not credit the original sources of ideas and phrases are guilty of stealing the original authors’ scientific contributions. Scientific discoveries and progress build on the previous accomplishments of other scientists. They deserve—and receive—proper recognition when their contributions used in current works are acknowledged with proper citations. Reuse of text that is copied from another source must be between quotation marks and the original source must be cited. If a study's design or the manuscript's structure or language has been inspired by previous studies, these studies must be explicitly cited.

Plagiarism includes copying text, ideas, images, or data from another source, even from your own publications, without giving credit to the original source. All submissions will be subjected to plagiarism evaluation before editorial processing. Authors should be experienced enough to differentiate ethical behaviours (e.g. citation and quotation) from unethical ones (e.g. general plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and copy-and-paste). Manuscripts that cannot pass the plagiarism (<19%) evaluation pre-screening, will be automatically rejected without review and the plagiarism evaluation will not be provided to authors and strict action will be taken against author. All papers submitted must pass through an initial screening and will be checked through the advanced plagiarism detection software (Turnitin). If plagiarism is detected after publication, we may publish a Correction or retract the paper.

Identification and dealing with research (Scientific) misconduct

AJLS also deals with identification and dealing with allegations of research misconduct including plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication. Editors should follow COPE and HEC guidelines to handle this scenario. All papers submitted must pass through an initial screening and will be checked through the advanced plagiarism detection software (Turnitin). If plagiarism is detected after publication, we may publish a Correction or retract the paper.

AJLS follows the guidelines provided by COPE, WAME, and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan for dealing with scientific misconduct.

The following examples and forms of misconduct have been taken from WAME, originally with minor modification from the ORI publication Analysis of Institutional Policies for Responding to Allegations of Scientific Misconduct:

  • Falsification of data: ranges from fabrication to deceptive selective reporting of findings and omission of conflicting data, or deliberate suppression and/or distortion of data.
  • Plagiarism: The appropriation of the language, ideas, or thoughts of another without crediting their true source, and representation of them as one's own original work.
  • Improprieties of authorship: Improper assignment of credit, such as excluding others, misrepresentation of the same material as original in more than one publication, inclusion of individuals as authors who have not made a definite contribution to the work published; or submission of multi-authored publications without the concurrence of all authors.
  • Misappropriation of the ideas of others: an important aspect of scholarly activity is the exchange of ideas among colleagues. Scholars can acquire novel ideas from others during the process of reviewing grant applications and manuscripts. However, improper use of such information can constitute fraud. Wholesale appropriation of such material constitutes misconduct.
  • Violation of generally accepted research practices: Serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing or carrying out research, improper manipulation of experiments to obtain biased results, deceptive statistical or analytical manipulations, or improper reporting of results.
  • Material failure to comply with legislative and regulatory requirements affecting research: Including but not limited to serious or substantial, repeated, deliberate violations of applicable local regulations and law involving the use of funds, care of animals, human subjects, investigational drugs, recombinant products, new devices, or radioactive, biologic, or chemical materials.
  • Inappropriate behavior in relation to misconduct: this includes unfounded or knowingly false accusations of misconduct, failure to report known or suspected misconduct, withholding or destruction of information relevant to a claim of misconduct and retaliation against persons involved in the allegation or investigation. [1]

AJLS also includes redundant publication and duplicate publication, lack of declaration of competing interests and of funding/sponsorship, and other failures of transparency to be forms of misconduct.

Reponses to possible misconduct

All allegations of scientific misconduct are taken very seriously at AJLS. We follow the guidelines prescribed by the previously mentioned organizations. The manuscript processing will be halted while the fact-finding investigation is being carried out.

[1] WAME. Recommendations on Publication Ethics Policies for Medical Journals [Internet]. 2015 [cited 28 December 2015]. Available from: http://www.wame.org/about/recommendations-on-publication-ethics-policie

Multiple, redundant or concurrent submissions policy

An author should not in general publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal of primary publication. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical behaviour and is unacceptable.

In general, an author should not submit for consideration in another journal a paper that has been published previously, except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis or as an electronic preprint.

Publication of some kinds of articles (e.g. clinical guidelines, translations) in more than one journal is sometimes justifiable, provided certain conditions are met. The authors and editors of the journals concerned must agree to the secondary publication, which must reflect the same data and interpretation of the primary document. The primary reference must be cited in the secondary publication.

Authorships

AJLS follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines which state that in order to qualify for authorship of a manuscript, authors must satisfy the following:

 

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content
  • Final approval of the version to be published
  • 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 contributed to the work but do not qualify for authorship should be listed in the acknowledgements. More detailed guidance on authorship is given by the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Any change to the author list during the editorial process or after publication should be approved by all authors, including any who have been removed. The corresponding author should act as a point of contact between the editor and the other authors and should keep co-authors informed and involve them in major decisions about the publication. We reserve the right to request evidence of authorship, and changes to authorship after acceptance will be made at the discretion of AJLS.

Authorization and declaration

Authors must accept full responsibility for the content of their articles. The Members of the Editorial Board and the Publisher of the journal are not responsible for the statements and opinions expressed by the authors in their articles/write-up published in the journal. To use the copyrighted material (for example table, figure etc.), the author/s must seek the permission from the Author/s and Publisher of the material and send the copy of the permission letters via e-mail to the Administrative Editor for records. In case, if it is not possible than do not use that material.

While submitting the paper the author (s) must give a declaration in cover letter that “the article has not been published or sent for publication elsewhere”. And the authors acknowledge that they have disclosed all and any actual or potential conflicts of interest with their work or partial benefits associated with it.

Peer Review Policy

AJLS operate double-blind peer review, meaning that the author and reviewer does not know the identity of each other.

At least two review reports are collected for each submitted article. Suggestions of reviewers can be made by the academic editor during pre-check. Alternatively, Chief Editor or editor will use qualified Editorial Board Members, qualified reviewers from our database, or new reviewers identified by web searches for related articles.

Checks applied to all reviewers:

  • That they hold no conflicts of interest with the authors, including if they have published together in the last five years.
  • That they hold a PhD (preferable).
  • They must have recent publications in the field of the submitted paper
  • We ask reviewers to inform the journal editor if they hold a conflict of interests that may prejudice the review report, either in a positive or negative way.
  • Enough guidelines must be provided to reviewers together with a review comments form for recording comments.

Invited reviewers will be asked to:

  • Accept or decline any invitations quickly, based on the manuscript title and abstract
  • Suggest alternative reviewers if an invitation must be declined
  • Request an extension in case more time is required to compose a report
  • Let us know if anyone else, such as a student, will participate in writing the review.

As part of the assessment, reviewers will be asked:

to rate the originality/novelty, significance, quality of the presentation, scientific soundness, interest to the readers, overall merit and English level of the manuscript;

  • to provide a detailed, constructive review report.
  • to provide an overall recommendation for the publication of the manuscript;
  • Accept in Present Form: The paper is accepted without any further changes.
  • Accept after Minor Revisions: The paper is in principle accepted after revision based on the reviewer’s comments. Authors are given five days for minor revisions.
  • Reconsider after Major Revisions: The acceptance of the manuscript would depend on the revisions. The author needs to provide a point by point response or provide a rebuttal if some of the reviewer’s comments cannot be revised. Usually, only one round of major revisions is allowed. Authors will be asked to resubmit the revised paper within ten days and the revised version will be returned to the reviewer for further comments.
  • Reject: The article has serious flaws, makes no original contribution, and the paper is rejected with no offer of resubmission to the journal.

Manuscripts submitted to AJLS should meet the highest standards of publication ethics:

  • Manuscripts should only report results that have not been submitted or published before, even in part.
  • Manuscripts must be original and should not reuse text from another source without appropriate citation.
  • For biological studies, the studies reported should have been carried out in accordance with generally accepted ethical research standards.

If reviewers become aware of such scientific misconduct or fraud, plagiarism or any other unethical behaviour related to the manuscript, they should raise these concerns with the in-house editor immediately. Reviewers must not recommend citation of work by themselves or close colleagues when it is not clearly necessary to improve the quality of the manuscript under review.

To assist academic editors, AJLS staff handle all communication with reviewers, authors, and the external editor; however, Academic Editors can check the status of manuscripts and the identity of reviewers at any time. Reviewers are given 14-21 days to write their review. For the review of a revised manuscript, reviewers are asked to provide their report within 5 days. In both cases, extensions can be granted on request.

A paper can only be accepted for publication by an academic editor, editor or chief editor based on expert reviewers' comments.

Journal editors will check to make sure that there is no conflict of interests before contacting reviewers and will not consider those with competing interests. Reviewers are asked to declare any conflicts of interest. Authors can also enter the names of potential peer reviewers they wish to exclude from consideration in the peer review of their manuscript, during the initial submission progress. The editorial team will respect these requests so long as this does not interfere with the objective and thorough assessment of the submission.

Copyright, licensing and open Access policy

For all articles published in AJLS, the copyright is retained by the author(s), provided proper credit is given to AJLS and it is properly cited.

The content of AJLS is licensed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License 4.0 (CC BY NC).

Articles published in AJLS are Open-Access articles distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License 4.0 (CC BY NC). All content is freely available without any charge to the user or his/her institution. Users can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from AJLS or the author for non-commercial purposes.

Permissions Policy

It is important to take permission for reproducing material from other published sources (figures, tables, text etc.) that does not fall into the public domain, or for which they do not hold the copyright. Any part of the article accessed from another source, should be accompanied by a signed letter of consent from the copyright holder, which may be the author, journal or the publisher.

Permission is required for:

  • Your own work published by other publishers and for which you did not retain copyright.
  • Substantial extracts from the work of anyone works or a series of work.
  • Use of tables, graphs, charts, schemes and artworks if they are unaltered or slightly modified.
  • Photographs for which you do not hold copyright.

Permission is not required for

  • Reconstruction of your own table with data already published elsewhere. Please note that in this case, you must cite the source of the data in the form of either "Data from..." or "Adapted from...".
  • Very short quotes are considered fair use and therefore do not require permission.
  • Graphs, charts, schemes and artwork that is completely redrawn by the authors and significantly changed beyond recognition do not require permission. However, you may need to check the copyright permissions of any underlying data.

Accessibility and distribution Policy

Articles published in AJLS are Open-Access articles distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License 4.0 (CC BY NC). All content is freely available without any charge to the user or his/her institution. Users can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from AJLS or the author for non-commercial purposes.

Article withdrawal, retraction or correction Policy

AJLS have the same policy regarding corrections and retractions. We differentiate between Addendum, Erratum, Corrections, Retractions, Comments, and Expressions of Concern. For any paper that is updated, the previously published version remains available from the abstract page, except for Retractions where the original PDF remains available but is prominently water-marked as retracted. Articles will only be completely removed from the website when there is legal requirement to do so.

Complaints made against papers or requests to update are thoroughly investigated by the Editorial Office with the support of the Editorial Board and final approval by the Editor-in-Chief. Other persons and institutions will be consulted as necessary, including university authorities, or experts in the field.

Addendum

If crucial information was omitted from the original publication, an Addendum can add new content to the paper. In this case, the existing content does not change.

Erratum

Erratum are used to fix formatting, technical and other non-scientific errors (including changes to authorship).

Corrections

Any changes after publication that affect the scientific interpretation of a paper made to a paper are announced using a Correction.

Retractions

An article needs to be completely removed from the research literature if either the content or authorship are misleading, or if it failed to comply with legal or ethical requirements, especially related to the protection of research participants. AJLS follows the recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) for retraction. The primary purpose of retraction is to correct the publication record; it is not used as a sanction against authors and readers must be careful in interpreting motives behind actions that lead to retraction.

Replies/responses and comments to published work

Comments are short letters from readers about the results reported or the experimental methods used in a published article. When a Comment is received, the authors will be approached to provide a Reply and, where possible, the Comment and Reply will be published together. Further action, such as Correction or Retraction, may follow the receipt of a Comment if deemed necessary by the Editorial Office. Comments and Replies will undergo peer review at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief.

We recommend Comments where readers have a different interpretation of results to the authors, have suggestions or feedback about the methodology used, or if they would like to propose an extension of the research.

Competing/conflict of interests

A Conflict of Interest is defined as a set of conditions in which professional judgment concerning a primary interest, such as the validity of research, may be influenced by a secondary interest. A Conflict of Interest (sometimes called a Disclosure Statement) is a notification from the author that there's no financial/personal interest or belief that could affect their objectivity, or if there is, stating the source and nature of that potential conflict. Authors must declare personal relationships with others or any financial with organizations which could inappropriately effect (bias) their work and this publication can result in gain or lose financially. Examples of conflict include consultancies, employment, stock ownership, paid expert testimony, honoraria, Patent applications, patent registrations, direct academic competition and funding or other grants. Corresponding author is expected to obtain the relevant information from all authors. Declaration must be included in cover letter. Declaration statement will be published after acknowledgment section.

Experimental animal and human subjects

When reporting experiments on human subjects, please indicate whether the procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional or regional) or with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975 (as revised in 1983). Include Institutional Review Board or Animal Care and Use Committee approvals. Also, authors must have informed consents from patients or guardians. If a patient is dead, then the data protection act does not apply but author must seek permission from relative. If an animal is used in experiments, authors must seek permission (clearance certificate) from bioethics committee of the department/institute or university.

Long Term Digital Archiving policy

AJLS have applied for archiving and preservation of content in J-gate, EBSCO, CLOCKSS and DOAJ.

For the purposes of record-keeping, AJLS retains copies of submitted manuscripts and supporting files. However, for articles that are rejected we will comply with requests from authors to delete files.

Editorial independence Policy

We are committed to ensuring that the potential for advertising, reprint or other commercial revenue has no impact or influence on editorial decisions.

Principle of Editorial Independence:

  • We believe strongly in ensuring that we keep the editorial decision-making processes of our publications separate from our publisher interests.
  • Safeguarding this editorial independence requires that all editorial decisions, or concerns or complaints about editorial decisions, are dealt with strictly within the editorial structures of a publication.
  • These structures typically include editors, editors-in-chief, editorial boards or review boards and ombudsmen or analogous structures for the editorial governance of any given publication.
  • It further requires that no one on the commercial or executive side of the business can get involved in, interfere with, or even comment on editorial decisions under any circumstances.
  • To deviate from the rigorous application of this principle in any individual situation would ultimately serve to undermine the integrity of the principle of editorial independence altogether.

Rejected Articles-Appeal

Authors may appeal a rejection by sending an e-mail to the Editorial Office of the journal. The appeal must provide a detailed justification, including point-by-point responses to the reviewers' and/or Editor's comments. The Managing Editor of the journal will forward the manuscript and related information (including the identities of the referees) to the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor, or Editorial Board member. The academic Editor being consulted will be asked to give an advisory recommendation on the manuscript and may recommend acceptance, further peer-review, or uphold the original rejection decision. A reject decision at this stage is final and cannot be reversed.

Privacy/confidentiality Policy

Editors, authors and reviewers are required to keep confidential all details of the editorial and peer review process on submitted manuscripts. Unless otherwise declared as a part of open peer review, the peer review process is confidential and conducted anonymously; identities of reviewers are not released. Reviewers must maintain confidentiality of manuscripts. If a reviewer wishes to seek advice from colleagues while assessing a manuscript, the reviewer must consult with the editor and should ensure that confidentiality is maintained and that the names of any such colleagues are provided to the journal with the final report. Regardless of whether a submitted manuscript is eventually published, correspondence with the journal, referees' reports and other confidential material must not be published, disclosed or otherwise publicised without prior written consent. Reviewers should be aware that it is our policy to keep their names confidential and that we do our utmost to ensure this confidentiality. We cannot, however, guarantee to maintain this confidentiality in the face of a successful legal action to disclose identity.

Collection of information

We collect information about you in three ways: directly from your input, from third-party sources, and through automated technologies. The types of personal information that we collect directly from you depend on the content and features of the Service you use and how you otherwise interact with us.

Use of information

During registration, information like name, valid email address, affiliation, etc is collected which are used to properly set up accounts to use AJLS services. Some of the information can be used by AJLS to contact you regarding the manuscript. We may also use your personal information to respond to your requests, inquiries, comments or concerns. We may also use your information to invite you to submit manuscripts or review manuscripts.

Data retention

We retain your personal information for as long as necessary to provide the Service and fulfill the transactions you have requested, or for other essential purposes such as complying with our legal obligations, maintaining records, resolving disputes, maintaining security, detecting and preventing fraud and abuse, and enforcing our agreements.

Safeguard/security of information

Usage information collected will be safeguard by Journal against any theft, misuse, loss. Precautions will be used to protect your data from unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction using appropriate technical and organizational measures.

Your choices

As a registered user, you will have the option to update your account information. Users can request for his personal information which AJLS holds on the website. We will delete information when the author request to deactivate his account. However, some information will be retained for certain period to comply with legal duties and to answer issues. AJLS may be linked to other databases, so please note AJLS will be not responsible for the privacy practices of other websites, nor their services or contents.

Changes in policy

Also, AJLS has the right to change this policy without prior notice. Your continued use of any service following the posting of any changes will mean that you have accepted and agreed to the changes.

Contact

If you have any questions about the privacy policies of AJLS, please contact us from AJLS to contact us on a section from the homepage.

Research data Policy

Data sharing enables others to reuse the results of experiments and supports the creation of new science that is built on previous findings, making the research process more efficient. Data sharing also supports transparency and reproducibility, building trust in science. AJLS is playing a key role in supporting researchers who want to store, share, discover and reuse data and we are committed to working with other stakeholders to address challenges in making data more effective.

Patient Consent Policy

Appropriate consents, permissions and releases must be obtained where authors wish to include case details or other personal information or images of patients and any other individuals in an AJLS publication

Sharing articles Policy

Articles published in AJLS can be distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License 4.0 (CC BY NC). All content is freely available without any charge to the user or his/her institution. Users can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from AJLS or the author for non-commercial purposes.

Funding Source

Authors should list all funding sources in the Acknowledgments section. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of their funder designation.

 

Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing

AJLS also follows mutually agreed Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing by COPE and Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and World Association of Medical Editors (WAME). 

Principles of Transparency

  1. Website
    A journal's website, including the text that it contains, shall demonstrate that care has been taken to ensure high ethical and professional standards. It must not contain information that might mislead readers or authors, including any attempt to mimic another journal/publisher’s site.
    An 'Aims & Scope' statement should be included on the website and the readership clearly defined. There should be a statement on what a journal will consider for publication including authorship criteria (e.g. not considering multiple submissions, redundant publications) to be included. ISSNs should be clearly displayed (separate for print and electronic).
  2. Name of journal
    The Journal name shall be unique and not be one that is easily confused with another journal or that might mislead potential authors and readers about the Journal's origin or association with other journals.
  3. Peer review process
    Journal content must be clearly marked as whether peer reviewed or not. Peer review is defined as obtaining advice on individual manuscripts from reviewers expert in the field who are not part of the journal's editorial staff. This process, as well as any policies related to the journal's peer review procedures, shall be clearly described on the journal's Web site, including the method of peer review used. Journal websites should not guarantee manuscript acceptance or very short peer review times.
  4. Ownership and management
    Information about the ownership and/or management of a journal shall be clearly indicated on the journal's website. Publishers shall not use organizational or journal names that would mislead potential authors and editors about the nature of the journal's owner.
  5. Governing body
    Journals shall have editorial boards or other governing bodies whose members are recognized experts in the subject areas included within the journal's scope. The full names and affiliations of the journal's editorial board or other governing body shall be provided on the journal's website.
  6. Editorial team/contact information
    Journals shall provide the full names and affiliations of the journal's editors on the journal's website as well as contact information for the editorial office, including a full address.
  7. Copyright and Licensing
    The policy for copyright shall be clearly stated in the author guidelines and the copyright holder named on all published articles. Likewise, licensing information shall be clearly described in guidelines on the website, and licensing terms shall be indicated on all published articles, both HTML and PDFs. If authors are allowed to publish under a Creative Commons license, then any specific license requirements shall be noted. Any policies on posting of final accepted versions or published articles on third party repositories shall be clearly stated.
  8. Author fees
    Any fees or charges that are required for manuscript processing and/or publishing materials in the journal shall be clearly stated in a place that is easy for potential authors to find prior to submitting their manuscripts for review, or explained to authors before they begin preparing their manuscript for submission. If no such fees are charged that should also be clearly stated.
  9. Process for identification of and dealing with allegations of research misconduct
    Publishers and editors shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, including plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication, among others. In no case shall a journal or its editors encourage such misconduct, or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place. In the event that a journal's publisher or editors are made aware of any allegation of research misconduct relating to a published article in their journal, the publisher or editor shall follow COPE's guidelines(or equivalent) in dealing with allegations.
  10. Publication Ethics
    A journal shall also have policies on publishing ethics. These should be clearly visible on its website, and should refer to: i) Journal policies on authorship and contributorship; ii) How the journal will handle complaints and appeals; iii) Journal policies on conflicts of interest / competing interests; iv) Journal policies on data sharing and reproducibility; v) Journal's policy on ethical oversight; vi) Journal's policy on intellectual property; and vii) Journal's options for post-publication discussions and corrections.
  11. Publishing schedule
    The periodicity at which a journal publishes shall be clearly indicated.
  12. Access
    The way(s) in which the journal and individual articles are available to readers and whether there are associated subscription or pay per view fees shall be stated.
  13. Archiving
    A journal's plan for electronic backup and preservation of access to the journal content (for example, access to main articles via CLOCKSS or PubMedCentral) in the event a journal is no longer published shall be clearly indicated.
  14. Revenue sources
    Business models or revenue sources (eg, author fees, subscriptions, advertising, reprints, institutional support, and organizational support) shall be clearly stated or otherwise evident on the journal's website. Publishing fees or waiver status should not influence editorial decision making.
  15. Advertising
    Journals shall state their advertising policy if relevant, including what types of adverts will be considered, who makes decisions regarding accepting adverts and whether they are linked to content or reader behavior (online only) or are displayed at random. Advertisements should not be related in any way to editorial decision making and shall be kept separate from the published content.
  16. Direct marketing
    Any direct marketing activities, including solicitation of manuscripts that are conducted on behalf of the journal, shall be appropriate, well targeted, and unobtrusive. Information provided about the publisher or journal is expected to be truthful and not misleading for readers or authors.

 

Abasyn Journal of Life Sciences , ISSN (online): 2663-1040, Published by Abasyn University