Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement
The Iraq Medical Journal (IMJ) adheres to the ethical policies outlined by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the Editorial Board codes of conduct. To ensure compliance with these policies, readers, authors, reviewers, and editors working with IMJ are expected to follow them. IMJ is committed to upholding ethical standards in publishing and reserves the right to determine which research papers or articles are suitable for publication in each issue. For more information on publishing and ethical guidelines, please visit the (COPE).
Duties and Responsibilities of Publishers
- IMJ ensures that editorial decisions regarding manuscript submissions are final.
- IMJ makes decisions on manuscript submissions based solely on professional judgment, and not influenced by any commercial interests.
- IMJ maintains the integrity of academic and research records.
- IMJ monitors the ethical conduct of all parties involved in the publishing process, including the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editors, Editorial Board Members, Reviewers, Authors, and Readers.
- IMJ performs thorough checks for plagiarism and fraudulent data in all submitted manuscripts.
- IMJ is always prepared to publish corrections, clarifications, or retractions as needed, in order to maintain the accuracy and integrity of our publications.
Duties and Responsibilities of Editors:
The following are the editorial policies of the Iraq Medical Journal (IMJ):
- IMJ Editors have full authority to accept or reject a manuscript.
- IMJ Editors must maintain the confidentiality of submitted manuscripts under review or until they are published.
- The Editor-in-Chief, with the help of other editors and reviewers, decides whether submitted manuscripts should be published.
- IMJ Editors must preserve the anonymity of reviewers.
- IMJ Editors should disclose and avoid any potential conflict of interest.
- IMJ Editors must maintain academic integrity and aim to meet the needs of readers and authors.
- IMJ Editors are willing to investigate any plagiarism and fraudulent data issues and are willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions, or apologies when needed.
- IMJ Editors limit themselves only to the intellectual content of submitted manuscripts.
- IMJ Editors are obligated to maintain the confidentiality of submitted manuscripts and should not divulge any information related to them to individuals outside the group of corresponding authors, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, and the publisher, as appropriate.
- Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted paper will not be used by IMJ Editors or members of the editorial board for their research purposes without the author's explicit written consent.
Duties and Responsibilities of Reviewers
The following are the reviewing policies of the Iraq Medical Journal (IMJ):
- Reviewers for IMJ should assist the Editors in deciding whether to publish submitted manuscripts.
- Reviewers should maintain the confidentiality of the manuscripts they are invited to review.
- Reviewers should provide comments promptly, which will help editors make informed decisions about whether to publish the submitted manuscript.
- Reviewers are required to treat the manuscript received for peer review as confidential and should not use the information obtained through peer review for personal advantage.
- Reviewers are expected to provide technical, professional, and objective comments on all invited manuscripts. Personal biases or unrelated opinions are not appropriate in the review process.
- Reviewers are required to disclose any conflicts of interest with the authors, companies, or institutions associated with the manuscript they are asked to review. If a conflict of interest exists, the reviewer should recuse themselves from the review process to ensure objectivity and fairness.
- Reviewers should disclose and avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
Duties and Responsibilities of Authors
- Manuscripts should be written in English with proper grammar and terminology.
- Manuscripts must be submitted on the understanding that they have not been published elsewhere and are not currently under consideration by another journal published by the same or any other publisher.
- The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that all co-authors have approved the submission for publication.
- Authors should participate in the peer review process to evaluate manuscripts from others in order to sustain the peer review system.
- Authors must ensure that manuscripts emanating from a particular institution are submitted with the necessary institutional approval.
- Submission of a manuscript is subject to the condition that the authors permit editing for readability.
- Authors are requested to disclose any financial support received for their research and provide a brief description of the role played by the funder/sponsor in any part of the work.
- Under the open access license, authors retain copyright ownership of their content, while allowing others to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy the content, provided the original authors and source are cited properly.
- The corresponding author will serve as the point of contact with the editorial office, review the edited manuscript, and proofread it, with the consent of all authors.
- Authors must promptly notify the journal editor or publisher if they discover a significant error or inaccuracy in their published work, leading to the manuscript's retraction or correction.
- Submitted manuscripts are subject to screening for plagiarism using Plagiarism Prevention Software, and authors must be aware that plagiarism is a serious violation of publication ethics.
- All authors must review and complete the submission final checklist before submitting the manuscript to IMJ.
Principles of Transparency
- Peer review process: IMJ follows a rigorous double-blind peer review process for both its electronic and print biannual publications, which is clearly outlined on the journal's website under the "Peer Review" section. The journal has established policies to ensure a fair and thorough review of all submitted manuscripts.
- Editorial Board: The journal has a distinguished editorial board, composed of experts in the field of Medical sciences. The full names and affiliations of the editorial board members are provided on the journal's website under the "Editorial Board" section.
- Contact Information: The journal provides clear contact information for its editorial office, which can be found under the "Contact Us" section of its website.
- Access and Author Fees: IMJ is a fully open-access journal, and there are Author Publication Fees (APC) charged to authors. The full text of all published articles is freely available to all readers who can access the journal's website.
- Copyright: The journal clearly states the type of copyright under which authors' works will be published, and upon acceptance of a manuscript, authors are required to complete a "Journal Publishing Agreement" (Copyright Agreement).
- Research Misconduct: IMJ takes a strong stance against research misconduct, including plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication, among other types of misconduct. The Editor-in-Chief takes reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of any such papers.
- Website: The journal's website has been designed to uphold high ethical and professional standards, ensuring that all content is easily accessible and presented in a clear and concise manner.
- Journal Name: The name of the journal, "Iraq Medical Journal (IMJ)", is unique and easily distinguishable from other journals.
- Conflicts of Interest: Authors are required to disclose any potential conflicts of interest through a Conflict of Interest Disclosure form when submitting their articles to IMJ.
- Publishing Schedule: IMJ publishes biannually, and its publication schedule is clearly indicated on its website.
- Archiving: The journal has a plan for electronic backup and preservation of all published content, which is outlined on its website.
Violation of Publication Ethics
- Plagiarism: IMJ considers plagiarism as the intentional use of someone else's ideas or original material without proper citation or attribution. Any manuscript under review or published with IMJ is subject to plagiarism screening using iThenticate, a plagiarism-prevention software. Copying even a single sentence from another manuscript or one's own previously published work without citation is considered plagiarism and a serious violation of publication ethics. A searchable list of all journals in the iThenticate database is available at ithenticate.com.
- Data Fabrication and Falsification: Data fabrication and falsification refer to the intentional creation or manipulation of research data or results that do not reflect the actual experiment conducted. Data falsification involves the manipulation, changing, or omission of data or results from research findings. Both data fabrication and falsification are considered forms of scientific misconduct.
- Simultaneous Submission: Simultaneous submission occurs when a manuscript or significant sections of it are submitted to a journal that is already considering the same manuscript or sections for publication.
- Duplicate Publication: Duplicate publication occurs when two or more papers, without proper cross-referencing, share essentially the same hypotheses, data, discussion points, and conclusions.
- Redundant Publications: Redundant publications involve dividing study outcomes into several articles, usually to increase the number of publications for academic purposes.
- Improper Author Contribution or Attribution: All authors listed in the manuscript must have made a significant scientific contribution to the research and approved all claims made in the manuscript. It is essential to acknowledge everyone who contributed significantly, including students and laboratory technicians.
- Citation Manipulation: Citation manipulation involves excessive citation of a particular author's work or articles published in a particular journal to increase the citation count artificially, misrepresenting the importance of the work or the journal.
- Sanctions: Any documented violation of IMJ's policies, regardless of where the violation occurred, will result in the immediate rejection of the manuscript and the prohibition of the authors from submitting any new manuscripts to any journal for at least 36 months. The prohibition may be imposed individually or in combination with other authors of the infringing manuscript. The authors will also be prohibited from serving on the editorial board of any journal.
Handling Cases of Misconduct
Once IMJ confirms a violation against IMJ’s publication ethics, IMJ addresses ethical concerns diligently following an issue-specific standard practice as summarized below:
- The Editor will inform the Editorial Office of IMJ and provide relevant material and a draft letter to the corresponding author requesting an explanation in a non-judgmental manner.
- If the author's explanation is unacceptable and serious unethical conduct is suspected, the matter will be referred to the Publication Committee via the Editorial Office for deliberation. The Committee will then decide if a ban on future submissions is warranted.
- If the infraction is less severe, the Editor, with advice from the Publication Committee, will send a letter of reprimand to the author, reminding them of IMJ's publication policies. If the manuscript has been published, the author may be asked to publish an apology in the journal to correct the record.
- The corresponding author will be notified, and any work by the author responsible for the violation or any co-authored work under review by IMJ will be immediately rejected.
- The authors responsible for the violation will be prohibited from serving on IMJ's editorial board or as a reviewer for IMJ. IMJ reserves the right to take further action.
- In extreme cases, the authors' affiliations will be notified, and the authors will be prohibited from submitting their work to IMJ for five years.
- In cases of serious fraud resulting in the retraction of the article, a retraction notice will be published in the journal, linked to the article in the online version, and marked "retracted" with the retraction date.
Retraction / Withdrawal of Article
IMJ follows the general principle of scholarly communication that the editor of a learned journal has sole responsibility for deciding which articles should be published, guided by the editorial board's policies and constrained by legal requirements. This principle underscores the importance of the scholarly archive as a permanent and historical record of scholarship. Published articles should remain extant, exact, and unaltered as far as possible. However, exceptional circumstances may necessitate the retraction or removal of an article, and such actions should only be taken with great care. In all cases, the official archives at the Iraqi Academic Scientific Journals will retain all versions of the article, including any retracted or removed versions.
Withdrawal of Article
IMJ places great emphasis on upholding the credibility and completeness of the scholarly record, as it is a vital aspect for researchers and librarians alike. Maintaining trust in the authenticity of its electronic archive is of utmost importance to IMJ. While Articles in Press serve as early versions of articles that may contain errors or may have been unintentionally submitted twice, they may also occasionally breach professional ethical codes. These may include multiple submissions, false claims of authorship, plagiarism, fraudulent use of data, or other such violations. If an article in press is found to have errors or is discovered to be a duplicate of a previously published article, or if it violates IMJ's publishing ethics guidelines as per the editors' discretion, it may be "Withdrawn" from IMJ. This means that the article's HTML and PDF content will be removed and replaced with an HTML page and PDF indicating that the article has been withdrawn in accordance with IMJ's Policy on Article in Press Withdrawal, along with a link to the current policy document.
Retraction of Article
IMJ recognizes the seriousness of ethical violations in scholarly communication, including multiple submissions, bogus claims of authorship, plagiarism, fraudulent use of data, and other similar infringements. In some cases, the retraction of an article is necessary to correct errors in submission or publication. Retractions are a longstanding practice in the scholarly community, and IMJ has adopted best practices for article retractions, including:
- A retraction note titled “Retraction: [article title]” will be published in a subsequent issue of the journal and listed in the contents list. The note will be signed by the authors and/or the editor.
- In the electronic version, a link will be provided to the original article.
- The online article will be preceded by a screen containing the retraction note. The link will direct the reader to this screen, after which they can access the article itself.
- The original article will remain unchanged, except for a watermark on each page of the PDF indicating that it has been retracted.
- The HTML version of the document will be removed from the journal's website.
IMJ is committed to upholding ethical standards in scholarly communication and recognizes the importance of maintaining trust in the authority of its publications.
Article removal: legal limitations
In rare instances, it may become imperative to expunge an article from the online database. Such a course of action will only be undertaken in cases where the article in question is defamatory or infringes upon the legal rights of others, or where the article is, or may potentially become, the subject of a court order, or where the article, if left unaltered, might pose a significant health risk. Under these exceptional circumstances, while the metadata comprising the article's title and authors will be retained, the text itself will be supplanted with a screen that unambiguously declares the article's removal for legal reasons.
In situations where the publication of an article poses a potential threat to public health, the authors may opt to retract the original article and provide a corrected version. Such instances will be handled in accordance with the standard retraction procedures, albeit with a modification wherein the database retraction notice will include a hyperlink to the republished and amended article, alongside a comprehensive history of the document. It is important to adhere to these measures in order to maintain the integrity and accuracy of scholarly literature.
Expression of concern
In situations where conclusive evidence about the reliability or integrity of a published work cannot be obtained, such as conflicting accounts from authors, institutions refusing to investigate alleged misconduct, or investigations taking an unreasonably long time to conclude, the editor may opt to issue an expression of concern, rather than an immediate retraction.
These expressions of concern will be linked to the original publication, both in electronic databases and by including the author and title of the original publication as a heading, and will state the reasons for the concern.
If more conclusive evidence about the publication's reliability becomes available later, the expression of concern will be either replaced by a retraction notice if the article is shown to be unreliable, or by an exonerating statement linked to the expression of concern if the article is shown to be reliable and the author is exonerated.
To ensure the accuracy and integrity of our publications, corrections will be implemented according to the following guidelines:
- The title of the correction document will explicitly state the nature of the correction, using terms such as "Erratum," "Corrigendum," "Addendum," "Retraction," or "Expression of concern."
- The correction will be published as a separate document with a unique Digital Object Identifier (DOI), and it will be included in the table of contents for the original work.
- The correction document will cite the original publication to provide context.
- The correction will provide clear explanations for any errors or issues with the original work, or outline the editor's concerns regarding the content.
- Whenever possible, the correction document will be electronically linked to the original publication.
- The correction will be designed to facilitate indexing and abstracting services in identifying and linking the correction to the original publication.
This statement outlines the criteria for an erratum, which is a correction of an important error that has been introduced during the production of a work. The error must affect the publication record, scientific integrity, or reputation of the authors or the work. This includes errors of omission, such as failure to make factual proof corrections requested by authors within the deadline provided by IMJ and within the IMJ policy. Errata for typing or grammatical errors will not be published unless a simple error is significant, such as an incorrect unit. If a significant error is found in a figure or table, a new corrected figure or table may be published as an erratum, but only if the editor deems it necessary for readers to understand the work.