Journal of Medical Council (JIMC) considers ethical policy as a set of guidelines issued by an organization to its workers and management to help them conduct their actions according to its primary values and ethical standards. The purpose of ethical principles in medical journals is to select, through peer review, the highest quality manuscripts. In order to achieve this, the entire peer review and publication process must be thorough, clear, concise, and fair. Every step of this process involves important ethical principles and decisions. JIMC believes that a journal's reputations depend on the trust of readers, authors, researchers, reviewers, editors, patients, research subjects, funding agencies, and administrators of public health policy. This trust is enhanced by explaining as clearly as possible the journal's policies in regard to the ethical treatment of all manuscripts submitted to JIMC in the publication process.
A comprehensive policy on publication which addresses all the major areas of ethics is as follows:
Study Design and Ethics
Based on JIMC policy a good research should be well justified, well planned, and well designed, so that it can address the research question. Statistical analysis should be considered in study design. Upon request of JIMC data and records must be retained and produced for review. Scientific misconduct includes any form of data fabrication, falsification, concealment, deceptive reporting, or misrepresentation of data.
All studies involving people, medical records, and human tissues should obtain approval from a formally constituted review board (Institutional Review Board or Ethics committee). For those investigators who do not have access to formal ethics review committees, the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki should be followed. Informed consent should always be obtained from the participants.
Animal experiments should require full compliance with local, national, ethical, and regulatory principles, and local licensing arrangements.
According to the JIMC policy authorship implies to a significant intellectual contribution to the work/study, some role in writing the manuscript, reviewing and editing the final draft of the manuscript. Early in the research process the participants should determine that who will be an author, and in what sequence, in order to avoid disputes and misunderstandings which can delay or prevent publication of a paper.
For all manuscripts, the corresponding author should provide information on the specific contributions each author has made to the article. All authors are responsible for the quality, accuracy, and ethics of the work, but one author must be identified who will reply if questions arise or more information is needed, and who will take responsibility for the work as a whole. The authors are responsible for all components of the manuscript. If writers are provided by the sponsoring or funding institution or corporation to draft or revise the article, the name of the writer and their sponsoring organization must be provided. Their names and contributions will be mentioned in the Acknowledgments section.
Peer review is a double blind fundamental step in the publication process. Peer reviewers are experts chosen by JIMC editors to provide written assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of written research, with the aim of improving the reporting of research and identifying the most appropriate and highest quality material for the journal. The selected reviewers must meet the standards regarding their research background, publication of articles, scientific knowledge, and previous review. They must be experts in the scientific topic addressed in the articles they review, Reviewers who have a major competing interest in the subject of the article (e.g. those working for a company whose product was tested, its competitors, those with special political or ideological agendas, etc.) are not invited for the review process.
The decision of JIMC editorial team on a manuscript is based only on its importance, originality, clarity, and relevance to the journal's scope and content. If a published paper is subsequently found to have errors or major flaws, JIMC takes responsibility for promptly correcting the written record.
Originality, Prior Publication, and Media Relations
JIMC seeks only original work that has not been previously published. JIMC does not accept the republication of a paper in another language, or simultaneously in multiple journals with different audiences. At the time of submission, authors should disclose details of related papers they have authored, and any closely related papers previously published or currently under review at another journal. Previous publication of an abstract during the proceedings of meetings (in print or electronically) does not preclude subsequent submission for publication, but full disclosure should be made at the time of submission. Abstracts presented at meetings, conferences and congresses could be considered for evaluation based on to the Editor-In-Chief's decision.
Plagiarism is defined as the use of others' published and unpublished ideas or words (or other intellectual property) without attribution or permission, and presenting them as new and original rather than derived from an existing source. JIMC considers plagiarism as a scientific misconduct.
Research ethics addresses the application of ethical principles or values to different issues and fields of research, including:
The main actors in the field are researchers, research ethics committees (RECs) or other ethics bodies, funders and sponsors, and publishers. In Iran please refer to:http://ethics.research.ac.ir/IndexEn.php.
The major ethical issues in conducting research are: a) Informed consent, b) Beneficence- Do not harm c) Respect for anonymity and confidentiality d) Respect for privacy.
Responding to Allegations of Possible Misconduct
The most common forms of scientific misconduct include: falsification of data, fabrication, plagiarism, incorrectness of authorship, stealing of the ideas of others, material failure to comply with legislative and regulatory requirements affecting research, and inappropriate behavior in relation to misconduct.
All allegations of misconduct will be referred to the Editor-In-Chief, who will review the circumstances in consultation with the deputy editors. Initial fact-finding will include a request to all the involved parties to state their case, and explain the circumstances, in writing. In questions of research misconduct centering on methods or technical issues, the Editor-In-Chief may confidentially consult experts who are blinded to the identity of the individuals, or if the allegation is against an editor, an outside editor expert. The Editor-In-Chief and deputy editors will arrive at a conclusion as to whether there is enough evidence to lead a reasonable person to believe there is a possibility of misconduct.
When allegations concern authors, the peer review and publication process for the manuscript in question will be halted while the process above is carried out. The investigation described above will be completed even if the authors withdraw their paper, and the responses below will still be considered. In the case of allegations against reviewers or editors, they will be replaced in the review process while the matter is investigated.
Responses to possible misconduct
JIMC keeps its right to conduct the following steps in case of any misconduct: