Main Article Content
Khyber Medical University Journal (KMUJ) strongly believes in research integrity and follows the principles of transparency and best practice in scholarly publishing as suggested by leading organizations like International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE), Council of Science Editors (CSE), Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) and Pakistan Association of Medical Editors (PAME).
A: MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION AND REVIEW PROCEDURE
1. Submission, screening, and triage
• Every new manuscript submitted to KMUJ will be immediately checked by editorial office for an initial inspection to ensure the completion of submitted files as per journal requirements and adequacy of documentation including author’s undertaking, ethics approval and article-processing fee.
• Manuscripts not submitted according to KMUJ instructions for authors, will be returned to the author for correction prior to the initiation of further processing.
• After initial scrutiny, manuscripts will be triaged by any editor/member editorial board. During this initial (internal) review, the editor will check the manuscript for originality, significance and suitability of manuscript as per scope and format of the journal.
• At this point, the editor may reject the manuscript if deemed unsuitable for the journal, the quality of the manuscript is poor, the subject matter is outside the scope of the journal or criteria for the submission of manuscripts are not met.
• All manuscripts are subject to a similarity check using the Turnitin service. As per HEC policy, articles exceeding the limit of similarity are returned for clarification and/or correction.
• Editor may send the manuscripts back to authors for revision/correction as pointed out during editorial review
• Revised manuscripts are judged on the adequacy of responses to suggestions and criticisms made during the initial review. If editor is satisfied with the changes made by authors, he will initiate the External peer review of the manuscript.
• The manuscript will be sent to the subject experts for External peer review.
2. Peer Review
• The manuscript with publication potential will be sent to TWO subject experts for peer review, Peer reviewer will evaluate the suitability of the article for publication based on its quality, novelty, and relevance for publication.
• A period of minimum 4 weeks will be given for a reviewer to go through a manuscript and send his suggestions to the editor. Failing which will generate a reminder from the editor with additional 4 weeks’ time for review to be completed.
• If a reviewer is unable to meet the period agreed upon or he declines to review the manuscript, the manuscript will be sent to another reviewer.
• The editor may establish a system for rapid review of especially important manuscripts. This may include review only by editors or asking reviewers to complete their evaluations within a shorter period of time than is allowed routinely. Authors who seek rapid review should explain why their manuscripts merit such review.
3. Final decision
• Reviewers are advisors to authors and editors. The editor may ask reviewers to make recommendations regarding acceptance, revision or rejection of manuscripts.
• Editor will pay attention to the recommendations of the reviewers, but the final decision will be taken by editor.
• Manuscript suggested revision would be sent back to authors for revision.
• Authors will be requested to do relevant corrections in the manuscript as suggested by the reviewers and resubmit within two weeks.
• Authors will be asked to send a detailed covering letter addressing the issues pointed out by the reviewers with a point by point answer describing the corrections done/ reasons for not doing so.
• If reviewers and editors are satisfied with the changes, the manuscript will be accepted and will be assigned to the future issue for publication.
• The editor/copy editor reserves the right to edit the accepted article as per format of the journal.
B: PEER REVIEW POLICY
KMUJ is a PEER REVIEWED journal following BLIND PEER REVIEW system. KMUJ is having a panel of peer-reviewers with diversity in knowledge, viewpoint and expertise in relevant specialties.
Responsibilities of reviewers
- The first responsibility of reviewers is to evaluate manuscripts critically but constructively and to prepare detailed comments about the research and the manuscript to help authors improve their work. The reviewers have to assess the manuscript according to the reviewers’ proforma sent to each reviewer along with the manuscript. The evaluation should include:
- Assessments of the originality and importance of the research;
• The design of the study;
• The methods of study, including analytic and statistical methods;
• The presentation of the results;
• Important findings of results discussed with new emerging findings
• Possible confounding; the strength of the conclusions
• The overall quality of the manuscript.
- The second responsibility is to make recommendations to the editor regarding the suitability of the manuscript for publication in that journal. Reviewers may be asked to write some narrative comments about the manuscript that support their recommendation to the editor regarding acceptance or rejection. They also can be asked to grade some characteristics of the manuscript, such as originality, quality, accuracy, readability and interest to readers, or to complete detailed questionnaires about these qualities and even assign a priority score.
- Reviewers should declare to the editor any potential conflicts of interest with respect to the authors or the content of a manuscript they are asked to review, and in most instances when such conflicts exist should decline to review the manuscript.
- Other responsibilities of reviewers include treating the manuscript as a confidential document and completing the review promptly. Reviewers should not show the manuscript to anyone else without the express consent of the editor.
- Reviewers should not make derogatory comments about the manuscript in their comments for the authors. If reviewers do make such comments, the editor may choose to edit the comments or even withhold all the reviewer’s comments from the authors.
- Reviewers must not make any use of the work described in the manuscript.
- Reviewers should not communicate directly with authors or even identify themselves to authors, except by signing their reviews.
- The editor will provide guidance to the reviewers, particularly new reviewers, regarding how the editor wishes the reviewers to evaluate the manuscript and how the reviewers should meet their dual responsibility of providing constructive comments for the author and advice to the editor.
- Reviewers should meet the agreed-upon deadline (usually 4 weeks) for manuscript review and should respond to the reminders if sent any.
Identification and evaluation of reviewers
- The editor will establish a reviewer database that includes information about the expertise of each reviewer as well as addresses and other contact information.
- The editor may identify potential reviewers on the basis of personal knowledge of the topic or from among the authors of references in the manuscript, the membership of the professional societies, colleagues at affiliated institutions, or computer searches of databases such as PubMed, Medline , Publon etc or by asking for names from reviewers who decline to review the manuscript (see below).
- Only those reviewers who consent to be on review panel will be added to the KMUJ online review and tracking system.
- Authors may suggest reviewers for their manuscript, whether invited to do so by the editor or not. The editor may choose to use one or more of these reviewers, but are under no obligation to do so. Authors may ask that certain people not be asked to review their manuscript and editor may decide the case accordingly.
- The editor should ask reviewers, by telephone, fax or e-mail, if they are willing to review a particular manuscript, and give them a date that the review is due at the editorial office (usually 3 to 4 weeks), rather than simply sending the manuscript to the reviewer. As the same time, the editor can ask for the names of others who might review the manuscript should the person initially contacted decline.
- The editor is responsible for keeping track of reviewers, and taking steps to make sure reviews are completed in a timely manner. Each peer review is rated by the editor assigned to the manuscript and stored with the reviewer’s profile in the Rapid Review reviewer database. This rating becomes part of the reviewing history of each peer reviewer, and can be viewed by the editors as they select potential reviewers for future manuscripts. The reviewer database also contains information on the reviewers’ areas of expertise; the number of previous invitations to review and number accepted; dates of submitted reviews, and days taken to produce reviews. Reviewers who consistently decline invitations or who write brief unhelpful reviews are eventually removed from the database.
- To avoid overworking reviewers, each reviewer will be asked to evaluate no more than one manuscript per month. Reviewer has the right to decline the review due to any reason.
Note: Due to blind peer review policy, review details are not shared publicly, however can be shared to International Indexing agencies, Higher Education commission Pakistan & Pakistan Medical & Dental Council on demand or during journal evaluation process, as the case may be.
• “Thank you” email will be sent immediately on completion of the review to each reviewer through online review system.
• Review-credit certificate, duly signed by the editor will be sent through email to the reviewer on demand.
• Names of reviewers will be published online as well as in print copy of the journal.
• Reviewer may claim the credit of review, after getting registered as reviewer on
DECISION MAKING AND COMMUNICATION TO AUTHORS
- The editor makes a decision about the manuscript (accept, invite a revision, or reject) based on a consideration of all the reviewer comments, his own critique, and other external factors.
- What considerations should enter into the decision? These may include the comments and recommendations of the reviewers, the availability of space, and the most important is the judgment of the editor(s) regarding the suitability of the manuscript for the journal and the value and interest of the manuscript to the journal readers.
- The editor may always seek additional review and advice if required.
- Editor will communicate the decisions to authors. This means that the editor may need to provide explanations for the decision independent of the comments of the reviewers that are to be sent to the authors.
- Decisions to reject a manuscript may be based on scientific weakness (poor research design, inappropriate methods of study), lack of originality, lack of importance and interest to readers, or simply lack of space. The editor will explain to authors the reasons for decisions to reject manuscripts. This is particularly important when the editor rejects a manuscript but the tone of the comments of the reviewers that will be sent to the authors is favorable.
- The editor should actively encourage revision of manuscripts thought to be potentially acceptable. When an editor seeks revision of a manuscript, he should make clear which revisions are essential, and which are optional.
- If the comments of the reviewers are contradictory, the editor must decide and tell the authors which comments the authors should follow. Editors may add their own comments and suggestions for revision, and they (or some person in the editorial office designated by the editor) are responsible for ensuring that manuscripts meet the journal.
LIST OF REVIEWERS
C: RESEARCH & PUBLICATION ETHICS POLICY
KMUJ promotes the research integrity and adherence to the core values of research like objectivity, honesty, openness, fairness, accountability, and stewardship. We expect that researchers who want to submit their manuscripts to KMUJ believe in the culture of responsible research.
KMUJ endorses the core practices of COPE and deal any suspected misconduct as per COPE guidelines. KMUJ is also following the policies of WAME regarding research ethics and professionalism and Council of Science Editors.
Research ethical committees approval
• It is mandatory for authors to provide the institutional ethical review board/committee approval/exemption for all research articles, at the time of submission of article.
• Authors have to submit the approval of relevant authority or institution where research was conducted, if required.
• When reporting experiments on human subjects, indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional or regional) and with the latest version of Helsinki Declaration. Avoid using patient’s names, initials, or hospital numbers, especially in illustrative material.
• When reporting experiments on animals, indicate whether the institution’s or a national research council’s guide for, or any national law on, the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.
PROTECTION OF RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS: HUMAN AND ANIMAL RIGHTS POLICY
- KMUJ aims to publish ethical and responsible research and expects from its contributors to adhere to international and national guidelines for the safety and protection of the research participants.
- KMUJ requires all authors to declare any issues related with human and animal rights that may be inherent in their submissions.
- All articles under consideration that experiment on human subjects and animals in research are required to have institutional review board approval in accordance with ethical standards set forth in the ICMJE- Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.
- On rare occasions, when there is a suspicion that research has not been conducted within an appropriate ethical framework, editorial board of KMUJ may reject the manuscript (even if approval from an ethics committee has been obtained) and/or contact the author(s)’ ethics committee about the issue concerned.
HUMAN RIGHTS POLICY
- KMUJ is following ICMJE Recommendations on Protection of Research Participants, and World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of helsinki – ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects
- Authors reporting experiments on human subjects should indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the national and international ethical standards on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.
- If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study.
Informed consent & maintaining the confidentiality of research participants
- Authors of manuscripts presenting research on human subjects should provide a copy of ethical approval certificate along an undertaking that “informed consent to participate” was taken from adult participants and/or from parents/guardians of participants under 16 years of age. This should also be documented in methods section of the manuscript.
- Consent must be obtained for all Case Reports, Clinical Pictures, and Adverse Drug Reactions.
- Authors should avoid identifying patient information, including patients' names, initials, or hospital numbers, in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent/ guardian) gives written, informed consent for publication.
- Consents might be required by the editor on images from participants in the study. Consent form must be made available to Editors on request, and will be treated confidentially.
- Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained, e.g. masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity.”
- Masked Study Participants- If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic malformations, authors should provide written assurance to the editors that alterations do not distort scientific meaning.
- Authors are advised to follow the CARE guidelines for case reports.
ANIMALS RIGHTS POLICY
- KMUJ publishes research conducted on animals and would like its contributors to strictly follow the national and international guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animal in research.
- Authors can take guidance on animal research ethics from WMA statement on animal use in biomedical research , International Association of Veterinary Editors’ Consensus Author Guidelines on Animal Ethics and Welfare and Guide for the care and use of laboratory animals
- In addition to ICMJE recommendations, KMUJ also support 3Rs principals (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) for humans and animals usage in research. Briefly 3Rs are mentioned below Replacement: approaches, which avoid or replace the use of animals Reduction: approaches, which minimize the number of animals used per experiment Refinement: approaches which minimize animal suffering and improve welfare
- Prior to acceptance of a manuscript, to verify compliance with the above policies, the authors must:
- Provide ethical review committee approval certificate indicating that the study protocol was in accordance with international, national, and/or institutional guidelines.
- Declare that the experiments on animals were conducted in accordance with local Ethical Committee laws and regulations as regards care and use of laboratory animals.
- Sign a letter certifying that legal and ethical requirements have been met with regards to the humane treatment of animals described in the study;
- Indicate in the Methods (experimental procedures) section that appropriate measures were taken to minimize pain or discomfort, and details of animal care should be provided.
- INFORMED CONSENT: Authors should submit the undertaking that informed consent was taken from the client if they involved the client-owned animals.
• All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship. An author is generally considered to be someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study. To qualify as an author one should meet all the 4 criteria for authorship as recommended by The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.
1) have made substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data [must have contributed for at least ONE of these] AND
2) have been involved in drafting the manuscript or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
3) have given final approval of the version to be published, AND
4) agree 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.
• Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content. Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group, alone, does not justify authorship.
• Authors are advised to consult COPE guidelines to avoid and handle disputes regarding authorship
• All articles submitted to KMUJ are screened through Turnitin software for similarity index.
• KMUJ follows the standard definition and description of plagiarism and we endorse The COPE, ICMJE, & Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan policies regarding plagiarism.
• Intellectual contribution and originality of every article is to be defined by the authors and this is the responsibility of authors to be aware of various forms of plagiarism like plagiarism of ideas, text, paraphrasing, self-plagiarism including redundant/duplicate publication, salami slicing (data fragmentation) and text recycling etc. ignorance regarding plagiarism and its various forms will not be considered as an excuse.
• Any manuscript submitted for publication or a manuscript accepted for publication or even an article that has already been published in the journal is found to be plagiarized, the matter will be dealt with according to COPE guidelines.
• Editorial Board will immediately stop the processing/ publication of the article and will ask for an explanation from the authors. The corresponding author will be required to respond with an explanation within 30 days of receiving the letter from the editor.
• In case an acceptable explanation is provided by the author(s), the KMUJ editorial board recommend appropriate changes after which the review process for the submitted manuscript may commence.
• In case of non-response in the stipulated time or unsatisfactory explanation, the KMUJ editorial board will decide regarding the fate of the article and authors including
o Rejection of the manuscript,
o Withdrawal of already published article (as the case may be)
o Debarment of the authors(s) from further publication in the KMUJ for one year or permanent depending upon the nature of offence.
o The author will be on watch.
• HEC, PMDC, PAME and authors ‘institute will also be notified for information and possible action.
• The author(s) will have to provide documentary proof of retraction from publication, if such a defence is pleaded.
• Those claiming intellectual/idea or data theft of an article must provide documentary proof in their claim.
D: KMUJ CROSSMARK POLICY: ERRATA, RETRACTIONS, AND EXPRESSIONS OF CONCERN
Editorial board of KMUJ believes in integrity of published research as has been reflected in our several editorials on research integrity and ethics in the past issues of KMUJ. Editorial board is committing to maintain the content it publishes, and to alert the readers about the changes in the contents, if and when they occur. KMUJ provides its forum to the readers for offering responsible alternative opinions and will publish any correspondence (Letter to the editor or a reply to the letter) regarding its published contents.
If any error or misconduct is reported after publication, KMUJ will update, correct, or retract the contents, if such actions are deemed appropriate after a complete and fair investigation. In case of violation of professional ethical codes like plagiarism, fabrication or falsification of results, multiple submission or duplicate publication and bogus claims of authorship in published articles, the editorial board of KMUJ will decide about the retraction of the articles. At times the article may occasionally be retracted for correction of errors in submission or publication and will be replaced with the corrected one.
KMUJ will maintain the integrity of the publication by publishing Erratum (publishing error)/Corrigendum (author error) or corrections of the published articles. The retraction note titled “Retraction: [article title]” will be published with its own DOI, in the paginated part of a subsequent issue of the journal and listed in the contents list. The relevant changes in the online version will be reflected through CrossMark icon.
Crossmark is a multi-publisher initiative from Crossref to provide a standard way for readers to locate the current version of a piece of content. By applying the Crossmark logo, Khyber Medical University Journal is committing to maintaining the content it publishes, and to alerting readers to changes if and when they occur.
Clicking on the CrossMark icon will show the current status of a document and may also provide additional publication record information about the document.
Crossmark status will be kept as current, if:
- Minor changes(like correcting formatting and spelling), with no substantive changes to alert the reader
- The changes that don’t affect the crediting or interpretation of the work,
- The changes between versions of a work don’t reflect major changes in the content of the paper
Crossmark status of the work will be affected in case of major substantial changes like:
- The retraction of an article due to an error, or
- A correction to an author’s name.
The KMUJ content that will have the CrossMark icon is restricted to current and future journal content.
E: CONFLICT OF INTEREST
- At the end of the text, under a subheading “Conflict of interest”, all authors must disclose any financial and personal relationships with other people or organisations that could inappropriately influence (bias) their work.
- Examples of financial conflicts include employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, paid expert testimony, patents or patent applications, and travel grants, all within 3 years of beginning the work submitted.
- If there are no conflicts of interest, authors should state that.
- All authors are required to provide a signed statement of their conflicts of interest as part of the author’s declaration.
- The Conflict of Interest statements for each author should be stated separately - e.g.
- Muhammad Bilal declares that he has no conflict of interest.
- Fatima Khan has received research grants from Pharmaceutical Company X.
- Wasim Chaudhry has received a speaker honorarium from Pharmaceutical Company Y.
- Abdul Basit, received a travel grant from Pharmaceutical Company Y to attend international conference.
- If multiple authors declare no conflict, it should be written in one sentence:
- Muhammad Bilal, Fatima Khan, Wasim Chaudhry and Abdul Basit declare that they have no conflict of interest.
E: FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE & ROLE OF THE FUNDING SOURCE
• All sources of funding should be declared as an acknowledgment at the end of the text.
• At the end of the Methodology section, under a subheading
• Role of the funding source, authors must describe the role of the study sponsor (s), if any, in study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the paper for publication.
• If there is no Methodology section, the role of the funding source should be stated as an acknowledgment. If the funding source had no such involvement, the authors should state.
• The corresponding author should confirm that he or she had full access to all the data in the study and had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication.
F: ARTICLE PROCESSING CHARGES
• KMUJ will charge Pak Rs 6,000 only (including Rs 2000 as processing charges AND Rs 4000 as publication charges & postal charges of 2 hard copies with in Pakistan) on original articles only.
• There will be no charges for publication of Case report, review article, Viewpoint, letter to editor and guest editorials.
• Authors of ORIGINAL ARTICLES have to submit bank draft of Pak Rs 2000 at time of submission and remaining Rs 4000 when the manuscript is accepted for publication.
• Articles are processed only after the receipt of processing fee.
G: WAIVER POLICY
KMUJ offers a complete or partial fee waiver on a case-to-case basis for Undergraduate Medical students of Pakistan as well as authors from low-income countries (WHO-HINARI Group-A countries list).
H: ADVERTISING POLICY
KMUJ does not publish any advertisement from pharmaceutical or any other organization
I: OPEN ACCESS, COPYRIGHT & PERMISSIONS
• KMUJ offers FREE FULL TEXT DOWNLOADING of its online contents to its readers. No subscription or payment is required for downloading of full text online articles.
• The work published by KMUJ is licensed and distributed under a creative commons licence BY-NC/2.0
• Readers may "Share—copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format" and “Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material’"
• Authors retain the rights of free downloading/unlimited e-print of full text and sharing/disseminating the article without any restriction, by any means including twitter, scholarly collaboration networks like Google Scholar, LinkedIn, Academia.edu, ResearchGate, Twitter, and any other professional or academic networking site.
J: DATA SHARING POLICY
Khyber Medical University Journal ENCOURAGES authors to share and make data (including, but not limited to: raw data, processed data, software, algorithms, protocols, methods & materials) open where this does not violate protection of human subjects or other valid subject privacy concerns. Authors are further encouraged to cite data and provide a data availability statement.
K: COMPLAINT POLICY
• If any reader, author or reviewer has any complaints against the journal, its staff, editorial board or publisher, it may be submitted to "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" through an email with a subject mentioning COMPLAINT.
• Complaints may also be submitted regarding issues related to inappropriate authorship, gift and ghost authorship; undeclared conflicts of interests, plagiarism, multiple, duplicate, concurrent publication/simultaneous submission, unethical research; fabrication/falsification of results, selective reporting; research standards violations, reviewer bias/competitive harmful acts by reviewers or any contribution to KMUJ that infringes copyright or other intellectual property rights.
• KMUJ will investigate the complaint and after enquiry report, KMUJ will establish a decision about the complaint, which will be communicated to all relevant quarters.
• Although every effort is taken to improve the standard of KMUJ and to make it free from errors, however, we accept that occasionally mistakes might happen. KMUJ welcomes highlighting any error or mistake to be corrected.
Work published in KMUJ is licensed under a
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.