Editorial policies

Overview

The journals published by Zabol University of Medical Sciences endorse the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) Policy Statement on Geopolitical Intrusion on Editorial Decisions, the Council of Science Editors’ White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.

Submitting a manuscript to a journal published by Zabol University of Medical Sciences implies that all contributors listed as authors have read and agreed to the content of the submitted work and that the submission observes the policies of the journal.

Table of contents

Ethics and consent

Ethics approval

The journal published by Zabol University of Medical Sciences follow the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and adhere to its Best Practice Guidelines.

Every submission reporting a research must include a statement to verify that ethics approval was sought for the study (or a statement that it was not required and why), including the name of the ethics committee(s) or institutional review board(s), the reference number/ID of the approval(s), and a statement that participants gave informed consent before participating. Even when a study has been approved by a research ethics committee or institutional review board, editors may ask authors for more detailed information about the ethics of the work. Also, research involving human subjects, human tissue, or human data must have been performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and must have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. Submissions may be declined if the journals’ editors come to conclusion that a research has not been carried out within an appropriate ethical framework. The editors may also contact the institutions’ ethics committee for further information in certain cases.

Allegations of publication misconduct, both before and after publication will be carefully inspected and we reserve the right to contact authors' institutions, funders, or regulatory bodies if necessary. If a conclusive evidence of misconduct is noticed, proper steps will be taken to correct the scientific record, which may include supplying a correction or retraction.

Authors are assumed that they are aware of publication ethics, specifically with regard to authorship, dual submission, plagiarism, figure manipulation, competing interests and compliance with standards of research ethics. In cases of suspected misconduct, COPE standards and practices will be followed and advice from the COPE forum will be ascertained.

Retrospective ethics approval

If a study has not been granted ethics committee approval prior to commencing, retrospective ethics approval usually cannot be obtained and it may not be possible to consider the submission for peer review.

Patient consent and confidentiality

Any item submitted to the journals published by Zabol University of Medical Sciences that contains personal medical information about an identifiable living individual requires patient’s explicit consent before it can be published. Consequently; all studied patients are required to sign an informed consent form after reading the studies’ information sheet.

If consent cannot be obtained because the patient cannot be traced in a study, then publication will be possible only if the information can be sufficiently anonymized. Anonymization means that neither the person nor anyone else could identify the individual with certainty.

If the patient is dead the authors should seek permission from a relative (as a matter of courtesy and medical ethics). If the relatives are not contactable, the journals will balance the worthwhileness of the case, the likelihood of identification, and the likelihood of offence in decision to publish a submitted paper.

Images—such as x-rays, laparoscopic images, ultrasound images, pathology slides, or images of undistinctive parts of the body—may be used without consent so long as they are anonymized by the removal of any identifying marks and are not accompanied by text that could reveal the patients’ identity.

Research involving animals

Experimental research on vertebrates or any regulated invertebrates must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. The Basel Declaration outlines fundamental principles to adhere when conducting research on animals and the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) has also published ethical guidelines.

For experimental studies involving client-owned animals, authors must also document informed consent from the client or owner and adherence to a high standard (best practice) of veterinary care.

Trial registration

Based on the ICMJE recommendations a clinical trial is defined as “any research project that prospectively assigns people or a group of people to an intervention, with or without concurrent comparison or control groups, to study the cause-and-effect, relationship between a health-related intervention and a health outcome.”

In agreement with the ICMJE’s recommendations, all journals published by Zabol University of Medical Sciences will not consider reports of clinical trials unless they were registered prospectively before recruitment of any participants.

As a condition of consideration for publication, journals published by the Zabol University of Medical Sciences require registration of all trials in a public registry of trials approved by the ICMJE (any registry that is a primary register of the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platformwww.who.int/ictrp/network/primary/en/index.html).

The trial registration number and the date of registration should be included in the last line of the submission abstract.

Standards of reporting

Authors are encouraged to use the relevant research reporting guidelines for the study type provided by the EQUATOR Network when preparing their manuscript. Authors should adhere to these guidelines when drafting their manuscript, and peer reviewers will be asked to refer to these checklists when evaluating such studies. This will ensure that the authors have provided enough information for editors, peer reviewers, and readers to understand how the research was performed and to judge whether the findings are likely to be reliable.

The key reporting guidelines are:

Statistical methods

Authors are requested to include full information about the applied statistical methods and measures in their research, including justification of the appropriateness of the statistical test used (see the SAMPL guidelines for more information). Reviewers will be asked to check the statistical methods, and the submission may be sent for statistical review by specialists if considered necessary. The editors may also consult a specialist in the field of methodology.

Competing interests

A competing interest is anything that interferes with, or could reasonably be perceived as interfering with, the full and objective presentation, peer review, editorial decision-making, or publication of research or non-research articles submitted to the journals published by Zabol University of Medical Sciences.

A competing interest exists when professional judgment concerning a primary interest (such as patients’ welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain,—employment, consultancies, stock ownership or options, honoraria, patents, and paid expert—testimony or personal relationship). There is nothing unethical about a competing interest but it should be acknowledged and clearly stated. All authors must declare all competing interests in their covering letter and in the “competing interests” section upon submission. Where authors have no competing interests, the statement should read “The author(s) declare(s) that they have no competing interests with regards to authorship and/or publication of this article.” The Editor may ask for further information relating to competing interests.

Editors and reviewers are also required to declare any competing interests and will be excluded from the peer review process if a competing interest exists.

The policy of Zabol University of Medical Sciences is that none of the journals’ editors should have any financial relationship with any biomedical company.

Declaring all potential competing interests is a requirement and is integral to the transparent reporting of research. Failure to declare competing interests can result in immediate rejection of a manuscript. If an undisclosed competing interest comes to light after publication, Zabol University of Medical Sciences will take action in accordance with COPE guidelines and issue a public notification to the community.

Competing interests can be financial or non-financial, professional, or personal. Competing interests can arise in relation to an organization or a person.

Financial competing interests

Financial competing interests include (but are not limited to):

  • Receiving reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the manuscript, either now or in the future.
  • Holding stocks or shares in an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the manuscript, either now or in the future.
  • Holding, or currently applying for patents relating to the content of the manuscript.
  • Receiving reimbursements, fees, funding or salary from an organization that holds or has applied for patents relating to the content of the manuscript.

Non-financial competing interests

Non-financial competing interests include (but are not limited to) political, personal, ideological, academic, and intellectual competing interests.

Commercial organizations

Authors from pharmaceutical companies, or other commercial organizations that sponsor clinical trials, should declare these as competing interests on submission. They should also adhere to the Good Publication Practice guidelines for pharmaceutical companies(GPP2), which are designed to ensure that publications are produced in a responsible and ethical manner. The guidelines also apply to any companies or individuals that work on industry-sponsored publications, such as freelance writers, contract research organizations and communications companies. Zabol University of Medical Sciences will not publish advertorial content.

Authorship

An 'author' is generally considered to be someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study.

The ICMJE recommends that authorship be based on the following 4 criteria:

1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data.

2. Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content.

3. Final approval of the version published.

4. 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.

In addition to being accountable for the parts of the work the authors have done, an author should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific other parts of the work. In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their coauthors. All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors.

Participation solely in the acquisition of funding, gathering of the data, technical help, writing assistance and general supervision of the research group does not warrant authorship. Those individuals who do not meet all four criteria should appear in the “Acknowledgments” section.

Acknowledgments

The individuals who provided assistance to the submitted work, who do not meet all four criteria of authorship, should be recognized by listing their names and contribution in the “Acknowledgments” section. The authors have to guarantee that anyone named in the “Acknowledgements” section has granted its clearance for permission to be listed for the stated contributions towards the work.

Financial and material support should also be acknowledged. All sources of grant and other support for the project or study, including funds received from contributors, institutions and commercial sources are required to be reported. Consultancies and funds paid directly to investigators must also be listed. The involvement of scientific (medical) writers or anyone else who assisted with the preparation of the manuscript content should be acknowledged, along with their source of funding, as described in theEuropean Medical Writers Association (EMWA) guidelines.

Author information

Author information is published by the journals so that the authors and their institutes be recognizable for the scientific community. Author information is also used to retrieve records in databases and bibliographic indexes, and yet many databases either do not include or do not list all author information. We recognize that some authors have multi-part first, middle or last names and that some authors do not have a middle name, but a part of their first or last name has been used previously to provide a middle name initial in another publication. It is the policy of the journals published by Zabol University of Medical Sciences to publish author information, including their names and affiliations in the same format supplied by the corresponding author upon submission. To ensure that publications have correct author information, to avoid any errors regarding how a certain author name should be spelled or supplied to bibliographic indexes and databases and to keep changes in proofing of the articles or corrections after their publication to a minimum, the authors submitting to the journals published by the Zabol University of Medical Sciences are required, upon submission, to review and approve an automatically-generated presentation of author information, as in a published record, based on their provided information. This includes how author information will appear in databases like PubMed or Scopus. Therefore, the authors should enter their information in the provided submission area in a way that is bibliographically consistent with their previous publications.

Authorship changes

Any change in authorship (i.e. order, addition, and deletion of authors) after initial submission must be approved by all authors. Authors should determine and come to an agreement about the order of authorship among themselves. In addition, any alterations must be clarified to the editor. In line with COPE guidelines, Zabol University of Medical Sciences requires written confirmation from all authors that they agree with any proposed changes in authorship of submission(s) or published item(s). This confirmation must be via direct email from each author. It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure that all authors confirm they agree with the proposed changes. If there is disagreement amongst the authors concerning authorship and a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached, the authors must contact their institution(s) for a resolution. It is not the journal editor’s responsibility to resolve authorship disputes. A change in authorship of a published article can only be amended via publication of an Erratum.

Unique identifiers

ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is an open, non-profit, community-based effort to provide a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers. Scopus author ID is another unique identifier. Zabol University of Medical Sciences encourages use of these unique identifiers to identify the individuals who submit a work to the journals or those who are selected as reviewers to undertake the peer-review of submissions for the journals. The editorial team members of the journals also include their unique identifiers in their profiles.

Citations

Research articles and non-research articles (e.g. Opinion, Review, and Commentary articles) must cite appropriate and relevant literature in support of the claims made. Excessive and inappropriate self-citation or coordinated efforts among several authors to collectively self-cite is strongly discouraged.

Authors should consider the following guidelines when preparing their manuscript:

  • Any statement in the manuscript that relies on external sources of information (i.e. not the authors' own new ideas or findings or general knowledge) should use a citation.
  • Authors should avoid citing derivations of original work. For example, they should cite the original work rather than a review article that cites an original work.
  • Authors should ensure that their citations are accurate (i.e. they should ensure the citation supports the statement made in their manuscript and should not misrepresent another work by citing it if it does not support the point the authors wish to make).
  • Authors should not cite sources that they have not read.
  • Authors should not preferentially cite their own or their friends’, peers’, or institution’s publications.
  • Authors should avoid citing work solely from one country.
  • Authors should not use an excessive number of citations to support one point.
  • Ideally, authors should cite sources that have undergone peer review where possible.
  • Authors should not cite advertisements or advertorial material.

Duplicate publication

Any manuscript that is submitted to a journal published by Zabol University of Medical Sciences must be original and the manuscript or substantial parts of it, must not be under consideration by any other journal. In any case where there is the potential for overlap or duplication we require authors to be transparent. Authors should declare any potentially overlapping publications on submission and where possible, upload these as additional files with the manuscript. Any overlapping publications should be cited. Any ‘in press’ or unpublished manuscript cited or relevant to the Editor’s and reviewers' assessment of the manuscript, should be made available if requested by the Editor. Zabol University of Medical Sciences reserves the right to judge potentially overlapping or redundant publications on a case-by-case basis.

In general, the submitted manuscript should not already have been formally published in any journal or in any other citable form. If justified and made clear upon submission, there are exceptions to this rule, such as publication in the form of a poster or conference presentation.

The journals published by Zabol University of Medical Sciences use CrossCheck’s plagiarism detection technology and take seriously all cases of publication misconduct. Any suspected cases of covert duplicate manuscript submission will be handled as outlined in the COPE guidelines and the Editor may contact the authors’ institution (seeMisconduct policy for more information). Zabol University of Medical Sciences endorses the policies of the ICMJE in relation to overlapping publications.

Pre-print servers and author/institutional repositories

Posting a manuscript on a pre-print server such as ArXiv, BioRxiv, Peer J PrePrints, or similar platforms (both commercial and non-commercial) is not considered to be duplicate publication. The journals published by Zabol University of Medical Sciences will also consider peer reviewing manuscripts that have been posted on an author's personal or institutional website. Material that has formed part of an academic thesis and been placed in the public domain, as required by the awarding institution, will also be considered by journals published by Zabol University of Medical Sciences.

Summary clinical trial results in public registries

Posting of summary clinical trial results in publicly accessible databases is generally not considered duplicate publication. Zabol University of Medical Sciences requires authors of manuscripts reporting clinical trials to have registered their trial in a suitably accessible registry (see our Trial registration policy for more information).

Text recycling

Authors should be aware that replication of text from their own previous publications is text recycling (also referred to as self-plagiarism) and in some cases is considered unacceptable. Where overlap of text with authors’ own previous publications is necessary or unavoidable, duplication must always be reported transparently and be properly attributed and be compliant with copyright requirements. If a submission contains text that has been published elsewhere, authors should notify the journal editors in the submission cover letter.

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