Principles of Transparency

Peer-review process - A peer-reviewed biomedical journal is one that regularly obtains advice on individual manuscripts from reviewers who are not part of the journals editorial staff. - Peer review is intended to improve the accuracy, clarity, and completeness of published manuscripts and to help editors decide which manuscripts to publish. - Peer review does not guarantee manuscript quality and does not reliably detect scientific misconduct. Problem of Peer review manipulation Peer review manipulation, also referred to as fraudulent peer review, can be defined as subversion of the peer review process by an author or another person engaged on behalf of the author to deceive a journal editor into sending a peer review invitation, such that the authors or a third party related to them can determine or control the contents of the review. The following statement addresses the selection and process of contacting peer reviewers with specific reference to avoiding peer review manipulation, based on the cases identified to date. It does not address the peer review process comprehensively. The discovery of peer review manipulation has resulted in many retractions (see discussion). In many of these instances, authors had recommended peer reviewers, either real experts in the field of their work or imaginary persons, with fake reviewer email addresses that were controlled by either the authors themselves or a third party associated with, or hired by, the authors. The editors used the authors suggested reviewers, including emails, and were thus deceived into sending reviewer invitations and links for submission of peer reviews to these email addresses, enabling authors or a third party related to them to submit or control reviews of their own manuscripts. Editors should remain alert to the possibility of peer review manipulation, especially if reviewer comments are submitted extremely rapidly or the review is extremely positive and superficial. In such cases, it may be helpful to invite an additional, independent review, or to redouble efforts to check the identity and contact details of the suggested reviewer. While these recommendations are intended to help prevent the problem of fraudulent peer review, other methods to subvert peer review undoubtedly will be developed. Editors should be appropriately skeptical of potential new sources of reviewer names and contact information (From WAME Website; 21 January 2015). Following principles are performed in all TMU Press journals - Peer reviewers should be experts in the manuscripts content area, research methods, or both; a critique of writing style alone is not sufficient. - Peer reviewers should be selected based on their expertise and ability to provide high quality, constructive, and fair reviews. - For research manuscripts, editors may, in addition, seek the opinion of a statistical reviewer. - Peer reviewers advise editors on how a manuscript might be improved and on its priority for publication in that journal. - Editors decide whether and under which conditions manuscripts are accepted for publication, assisted by reviewers advice. - Peer reviewers are sometimes paid for their efforts but usually provide their opinions free of charge, as a service to their profession. - Editors should require all peer reviewers to disclose any conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, related to a particular manuscript and should take this information into account when deciding how to use their review. Generally speaking, people with a direct financial interest in the results of the manuscripts should not be reviewers. - To be considered peer reviewed, a journal should have obtained external reviews for the majority of manuscripts it publishes, including all original research and review articles. Some editors request peer review for other kinds of articles, such as opinion pieces (commentaries/editorials) and correspondence. To have been peer reviewed, a manuscript should have been reviewed by at least one external reviewer; it is typical to have two reviewers and sometimes more opinions are sought. - Editors of peer-reviewed journals need not send all submitted manuscripts out for review. Manuscripts that seem unlikely to be published in that journal may be returned to authors without external review, to allow authors to submit the manuscript to another journal without delay and to make efficient use of reviewers and editors time. - Editors should state their journals peer review policies, including which kinds of article are peer reviewed and by how many reviewers, in the instructions for authors. - Editors should also periodically publish statistics describing their journals review process, such as number of manuscripts submitted, acceptance rate, and average times from manuscript submission to rejection letter to authors and, for accepted manuscripts, time to publication. - Editors should avoid using only author-recommended peer reviewers to review a paper. - Editors should not use an author-recommended reviewer unless the persons contact information is obtained from an independently validated source, e.g., from the reviewers publications or referred by a member of the Journals editorial board. Note that email addresses with top level domains such as .edu are more likely to be reliably linked to the correct individual than those with other less tightly controlled domains (e.g., gmail or yahoo accounts). However, editors should not require reviewers to use their .edu or other professional email addresses because some institutions may not have reliable email access, particularly in low or middle income countries, and their faculty may prefer to use non-institutional email addresses. [In these limited cases, Editors may want to encourage potential reviewers to include the non-institutional email address on their institutional Web page]. Editors should consider applying similar diligence to reviewer-suggested reviewer names and emails. - If the editor determines that an author has supplied a reviewer email address that is not correct, then the editor should ask the author for an explanation. Merely supplying an incorrect email address (e.g., with a typo or an outdated email address) does not imply a deliberate intent to deceive or manipulate. If the email address appears to have been submitted with intent to deceive the editor as to the address's owner, then the editor should take additional steps depending on the source of the deception, such as contacting the authors institution. - Editors should make every effort to find expert reviewers in the topics(s) addressed in the manuscript who are free of significant conflicts of interest. These efforts include the editors own expertise, and use of electronic databases, manuscript reference lists, editorial board recommendations, journal database searches, and the like. For highly specialized areas, chairs of departments and the like may have suggestions as to faculty with expertise. - To avoid inviting peer reviewers with significant conflicts of interest, editors generally should exclude from consideration: (a) individuals who have coauthored manuscripts with the authors in the recent (e.g., 10 years) past, (b) individuals who work at the same institution as the authors, particularly if they are in the same area as an author or the institution is small, and (c) individuals who have other conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, for or against the paper (for a discussion of conflicts of interest see here). If editors make exceptions to these general principles when inviting reviewers, they should keep in mind the exception and its potential implications for the reviewers recommendations. - Potential reviewers should be asked to recuse themselves prior to accepting a peer review invitation if they have a conflict of interest for or against the manuscript or if they are otherwise unable to review the manuscript objectively. Reviewers who agree to review and then discover a potential conflict should contact the editor. - Every peer-reviewed medical journal should have its own Conflict of Interest policies for authors, reviewers, and editors that are publicly available and these should be provided to potential reviewers (see here). - Journal peer review systems should include a step asking the reviewers to report their potential conflicts of interest, requesting explanation and preventing review without editor intervention if reviewers answer in the affirmative. (From WAME website; Posted October 19, 2007) Authorship Editorial principles Decision about submitted manuscript to TMU Press journals is based only on its importance, originality, clarity, and relevance to the journal's scope and content. Studies with negative results despite adequate power, or those challenging previously published work receive equal consideration. Afarand Scholarly Publishing Editorial Team (ASPET) has the responsibility to edit the accepted manuscripts before publishing to prevent potential falsifications and consistency of structural principles. If a published paper is subsequently found to have errors or major flaws, ASPET take responsibility for promptly correcting the written record in the journal. The specific content of the correction may address whether the errors originated with the author or the journal. The correction is listed in the table of contents to ensure that it is linked to the article to which it pertains in public databases (e.g., Scopus, PMC, PubMed, etc.). Ratings of review quality and other performance characteristics of editors are periodically assessed to assure optimal journal performance, and contribute to decisions on reappointment. Individual performance data must be confidential. These performance measures are also used to assess changes in process that might improve journal performance. The handling of manuscripts that may represent a conflict of interest for editors is described under the section on conflict of interest. All the ASPET members 1. Respect their journals constituents (readers, authors, reviewers, and the human subjects of research) by: Making the journals processes (e.g., governance, editorial staff members, number of reviewers, review times, acceptance rate) transparent; Thanking reviewers for their work; Protecting the confidentiality of human subjects. 2. Promote self-correction in science and participate in efforts to improve the practice of scientific investigation by: Publishing corrections, retractions, and critiques of published articles; Take responsibility for improving the level of scientific investigation and medical writing in the larger community of potential authors and readers. 3. Assure honesty and integrity of the content of their journal and minimize bias by: Managing conflicts of interest; Maintaining confidentiality of information; Separating the editorial and business functions of the journal. 4. Improve the quality of their journal by: Becoming familiar with the best practice in editing, peer review, research ethics, methods of investigation, and the rationale and evidence base supporting them; Establishing appropriate programs to monitor journals performance; Soliciting external evaluations of the journals effectiveness (Partly From WAME Website) Author fees/Access All TMU Press journals are open-accessed and we are committed to the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing. Also there are no fee and charges for the evaluating process and reviewing in TMU Press journals and only in some titles, authors should pay part of the editing costs of manuscripts after acceptance for publish due to meet the structural & technical level of publishing. Authorship Authorship is a way of making explicit both credit and responsibility for the contents of published articles. Credit and responsibility are inseparable. The guiding principle for authorship decisions is to present an honest account of what took place. Criteria for authorship apply to all intellectual products, including print and electronic publications of words, data, and images. Journals should make their own policies on authorship transparent and accessible. Criteria for Authorship - Everyone who has made substantial intellectual contributions to the study on which the article is based (for example, to the research question, design, analysis, interpretation, and written description) should be an author. - It is dishonest to omit mention of someone who has participated in writing the manuscript (ghost authorship) and unfair to omit investigator who have had important engagement with other aspects of the work. - Only an individual who has made substantial intellectual contributions should be an author. - Performing technical services, translating text, identifying patients for study, supplying materials, and providing funding or administrative oversight over facilities where the work was done are not, in themselves, sufficient for authorship, although these contributions may be acknowledged in the manuscript. - It is dishonest to include authors only because of their reputation, position of authority, or friendship (guest authorship). - Many journals publish the names and contributions of everyone who has participated in the work (contributors). Not all contributors necessarily qualify for authorship. The nature of each contributors participation can be made transparent by a statement, published with the article, of their names and contributions. - One author (a guarantor) should take responsibility for the integrity of the work as a whole. Often this is the corresponding author, the one who sends in the manuscript and receives reviews, but other authors can have this role. All authors should approve the final version of the manuscript. - It is preferable that all authors be familiar with all aspects of the work. However, modern research is often done in teams with complementary expertise so that every author may not be equally familiar with all aspects of the work. For example, a biostatistician may have greater mastery of statistical aspects of the manuscript than other authors, but have somewhat less understanding of clinical variables or laboratory measurements. Therefore, some authors contributions may be limited to specific aspects of the work as a whole. - All authors should comply with the journals policies on conflict of interest. Number of Authors - Editors should not arbitrarily limit the number of authors. - There are legitimate reasons for multiple authors in some kinds of research, such as multi-center, randomized controlled trials. In these situations, a subset of authors may be listed with the title, with the notation that they have prepared the manuscript on behalf of all contributors, who are then listed in an appendix to the published article. - A corporate author (e.g., a Group name) representing all authors in a named study may be listed, as long as one investigator takes responsibility for the work as a whole. In either case, all individuals listed as authors should meet criteria for authorship whether or not they are listed explicitly on the byline. - If editors believe the number of authors is unusually large, relative to the scope and complexity of the work, they can ask for a detailed description of each authors contributions to the work. If some do not meet criteria for authorship, editors can require that their names be removed as a condition of publication. Order of Authorship - The authors themselves should decide the order in which authors are listed in an article. - No one else other than authors knows as well as they do their respective contributions and the agreements they have made among themselves. - Many different criteria are used to decide order of authorship. Among these are relative contributions to the work and, in situations where all authors have contributed equally, alphabetical or random order. - Readers cannot know, and should not assume, the meaning of order of authorship unless the approach to assigning order has been described by the authors. - Authors may want to include with their manuscript a description of how order was decided. If so, editors should welcome this information and publish it with the manuscript. Authorship Disputes - Disputes about authorship are best settled at the local level, before journals review the manuscript. However, at their discretion editors may become involved in resolving authorship disputes. - Changes in authorship at any stage of manuscript review, revision, or acceptance should be accompanied by a written request and explanation from all of the original authors. - The integrity of the published record of scientific research depends not only on the validity of the science but also on honesty in authorship. - Editors and readers need to be confident that authors have undertaken the work described and have ensured that the manuscript accurately reflects their work, irrespective of whether they took the lead in writing or sought assistance from a medical writer. - The scientific record is distorted if the primary purpose of an article is to persuade readers in favor of a special interest, rather than to inform and educate, and this purpose is concealed. Ghost authorship Ghost authorship exists when someone has made substantial contributions to writing a manuscript and this role is not mentioned in the manuscript itself. WAME considers ghost authorship dishonest and unacceptable. Ghost authors generally work on behalf of companies, or agents acting for those companies, with a commercial interest in the topic, and this compounds the problem. For example, a writer employed by a commercial company may prepare an article, then invite an expert in the field to submit the work, perhaps with minor revisions, under his or her own name. The submitting author may be paid, directly or indirectly, for this service. In other circumstances, investigators may pay a professional writer to help them prepare their article but not mention this assistance, gaining credit for writing they have not done. Although editors seek to avoid publication of ghost written articles, these articles are often very difficult to detect. Submitting authors bear primary responsibility for naming all contributors to manuscripts and describing their contributions. Ghost authorship would be avoided if corresponding authors listed everyone else who participated in the work, including those who contributed only to the writing, along with their individual contributions and institutional affiliations; stated explicitly how the work was paid for; and fully disclosed any further potential competing interests. However, responsibility for ghost written manuscripts goes beyond individual authors. Other parties, including companiessuch as marketing, communications, and medical education companies who are paid to assist pharmaceutical and medical device companies in disseminating favorable messages about their productsmay initiate the sequence of events for which the author is the final and most easily identified participant. These other participants are also responsible for ghost written manuscripts and addressing their roles should be part of the solution. To prevent some instances of ghost authorship, editors should make clear in their journal's information for authors that medical writers can be legitimate contributors and that their roles and affiliations should be described in the manuscript. When editors detect ghost written manuscripts, their actions should involve both the submitting authors and commercial participants if they are involved. Several actions are possible: publish a notice that a manuscript has been ghost written, along with the names of the responsible companies and the submitting author; alert the authors' academic institutions, identifying the commercial companies; and provide specific names if contacted by the popular media or government organizations; Together, these actions would increase transparency and public accountability about ghost writing and its manipulation of the scientific record and deter others from this practice. (From WAME Website) Allegations of violations As the number of journals and also published articles rising up, the number of potential violations in preparing, reviewing and publishing the manuscripts grow up. One of our important goals as the pioneer of scholarly publishing in Iran and also the region, is preventing violations in publishing scholarly materials. In this way we follow COPE's Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. These guidelines are in below catogories: - Cooperation between research institutions and journals on research integrity cases: guidance from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) [PDF, 178 KB. Version 1, March 2012] - Retraction guidelines [PDF, 121 KB. Version 1, September 2009.] - Guidelines for the Board of Directors of Learned Society Journals [PDF, 66 KB. Version 1, October 2008.] - Sharing of Information Among Editors-in-Chief Regarding Possible Misconduct [PDF, 138 KB. Version 1, March 2015.] Details - How to deal with text recycling [PDF, 652 KB. August 2014] - A short guide to ethical editing for new editors [PDF, 144 KB. Version 1, March 2011.] - Guidance for Editors: Research, Audit and Service Evaluations [PDF, 107 KB. Version 2, January 2014.] - COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers [PDF, 145 KB. Version 1, March 2013.] - How to handle authorship disputes: a guide for new researchers [PDF, 64 KB. 2003.] (From COPE Website) Conflicts of interests All submitted manuscripts to TMU Press journals must have ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest for each author. In the cases that a reviewer suspects undisclosed conflict of interest in a submitted manuscript or a reader suspects undisclosed conflict of interest in a published article TMU Press Editorial Team has to follow COPE's guidelines. Financial codes Many scientific journals derive a substantial income from advertising or reprints, creating a potential conflict of interest. Editorial decisions of TMU Press journals are not influenced by advertising revenue or reprint potential and editorial and advertising functions at our journals are independent. Although TMU Press journals do not accept any advertisments, advertisers and donors should have no control over editorial material under any circumstances. Reprinted articles of TMU Press journals are published as they originally appeared in the journal (including subsequent corrections); that is, there is no alteration or revision of articles for a supplement or reprint other than corrections. The content of special supplementary issues (if any) are determined only by the usual editorial process and are not influenced in any way by the funding source or advertisers. Limitations on how reprinted articles may be combined with advertisements or endorsements of a product or company are explicitly addressed in journal policy. TMU Press journals supplements undergo peer review the same as the rest of the journal. - Reading "Open access: The true cost of science publishing" is highly recommended. - TMU Press is comitted to the below principles - Journals should have a formal advertising policy and this should be made available to all constituents of the journal. Briefly, journals should require all advertisements to clearly identify the advertiser and the product or service being offered. In the case of drug advertisements, the full generic name of each active ingredient should appear. Commercial advertisements should not be placed adjacent to any editorial matter that discusses the product being advertised, nor adjacent to any article reporting research on the advertised product, nor should they refer to an article in the same issue in which they appear. Limitations on how reprinted articles may be combined with advertisements or endorsements of a product or company should be explicitly addressed in journal policy. Ads should have a different appearance from editorial material so there is no confusion between the two. Similar limitations (for the regular journal as well as supplements) may include placement of ads for related products on the front, rear, or inside cover pages of an issue that carries an editorial or original article on that topic. Policies on these issues should be explicit, and published in print or on the Web. - Products or services being advertised should be germane to (a) the practice of medicine, (b) medical education, or (c) health care delivery. - Advertisements may not be deceptive or misleading. Exaggerated or extravagantly worded copy should not be allowed. Advertisements should not be accepted if they appear to be indecent or offensive in either text or artwork, or contain negative content of a personal, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, or religious character. - Journals must have the right to refuse any advertisement for any reason. The decision as to acceptance (and any questions about eligibility raised by readers or others) should be made in consultation with the journal's editorial content team and the editorial team should be regularly informed about the evaluation of advertising, especially those that are refused due to non-compliance with the journal's guidelines. Publishing schedule/Archiving The period of publishing of all TMU Press journals is precisely and clearly mentioned in their exclusive websites (and also in TMU Press official website). TMU Press has a close relationship with EBSCO and all its journals are indexed at EBSCOhost. Also TMU Press tries to index all its material in qualitative indices, e.g. Scopus, PMC, Medline, Thomson-Reuters and etc.