ETHICAL GUIDELINES BY HEC
“These guidelines are retrieved from Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan manual for “Ethical Guidelines for Journals”, which has been prepared by Dr. Rukhsana Kausar, Director Institute of Applied and Clinical Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore”
The following ethical guidelines are obligatory for all author(s) violation of which may result in application of penalties by the editor, including but not limited to the suspension or revocation of publishing privileges.
• Will ensure that the research report and data contain adequate detail and references.
• Fraudulent or knowingly in accurate statements are unethical and unacceptable.
Originality and Plagiarism
• Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is not acceptable.
• Material quoted verbatim must be placed in quotation marks.
• If more than 19% similarity index has found, As per HEC’s policy it will either be rejected or left at the discretion of the Editorial Board for the purposes of a conditional acceptance.
• A declaration is required that the manuscript contains solely author original work that is not under consideration for publishing in any other journal in any form.
• A co-authored paper must be accompanied by an undertaking in order to claim right to authorship and to ensure that all have agreed to the order of authorship.
Multiple, Redundant and Current Publication
• Authors should not submit manuscripts describing essentially the same research to more than one journal or publication except if is a re-submission of a rejected or withdrawn manuscript.
• Concurrent submission of the same manuscript to more than one journal is unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.
Acknowledgment of Sources
• A paper must always contain proper acknowledgment of the work of others.
• The author(s) must also acknowledge the contributions of people, organizations and institutes who assisted the process of research or financial funding (in the acknowledgement).
• It is duty of the author(s) to conduct a literature review and cite the original publications.
• Authorship of the work may only be credited to those who have made a noteworthy contribution in conceptualization, conducting, data analysis and writing up of the manuscript.
• The corresponding author should ensure that all co- authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication.
Privacy of Participants
• Authors must respect the privacy of the participant(s) of research.
• Authors must ensure that in instances where the identity of the participant needs to be revealed in the study, explicit and informed consent of the concerned party is obtained.
Data Access and Retention
• The author(s) should provide raw data to the Editor, if any question arises about the accuracy or validity of the research work during the review process.
• The author(s) must provide an accurate description of how the images were generated and produced, and will ensure they are free of manipulation.
Disclosure and Conflicts of Interest
• The potential conflicts of interest of all author(s) must be conveyed to the editor at the earliest possible stage, including but not limited to employment, consultancies, honoraria, etc.
• All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed.
Manuscript Acceptance and Rejection
• During the review period the author can contact the Editor to ask about its status.
• In case of revisions, the author(s) must provide an exposition of all corrections made in the manuscript and the revised manuscript should, then, go through the process of affirmation of revisions and be accepted or rejected accordingly.
• In case of dissatisfaction over the decision of rejection, the author can appeal the decision by contacting the Editor.
The Reviewers should:
• Inform the Editor, if they do not have the subject expertise required to carry out the review and s/he should inform the Editor immediately after receiving a request.
• Be responsible to act promptly and submit review report on time.
Standards of Objectivity
• The reviews should be objectively carried out with a consideration of high academic, scholarly and scientific standards.
• All judgments should be meticulously established and maintained.
• The decision should purely based on the quality of the research paper and not influenced, either positively or negatively, by any personal, financial, or other conflicting considerations.
• A reviewer should not use unpublished material disclosed in a submitted manuscript, without the approval of the Editor.
• A reviewer must declare any potentially conflicting interests (e.g. personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious).
• A reviewer should be honest enough to declare conflicts of interest, if, the research paper under review is the same as to his/her presently conducted study.
• If the reviewer feels unqualified to separate his/her bias, s/he should immediately return the manuscript to the Editor without review, and justify to him/her about the situation.
• Reviewers should consider the research paper as a confidential document and must not discuss its content on any platform except in cases where professional advice is being sought with the authorization of the Editor.
• If the reviewer suspects that the research paper is almost the same as someone else's work, s/he will ethically inform the Editor and provide its citation as a reference.
• If the reviewer suspects that results in the research paper to be untrue/unrealistic/fake, s/he will share it with the Editor.
• If there has been an indication of violating ethical norms in the treatment of human beings (e.g. children, female, poor people, disabled, elderly, etc), then this should be identified to the Editor.
• If the research paper is based on any previous research study or is replica of an earlier work, or the work is plagiarized for e.g. the author has not acknowledged/referenced others' work appropriately, then this should be brought in the Editor's knowledge.
For evaluating originality, the reviewers should consider the following elements:
• Does the research paper add to existing knowledge?
• Are the research questions and/or hypotheses in line with the objective of the research work?
If the layout and format of the paper is not according to the prescribed version, the reviewers should discuss it with the Editor or should include this observation in their review report. On the other hand, if the research paper is exceptionally well written, the reviewer may overlook the formatting issues. At other times, the reviewers may suggest restructuring the paper before publication. The following elements should be carefully evaluated:
• If there is serious problem of language or expression and the reviewer gets the impression that the research paper does not fulfill linguistic requirements and readers would face difficulties reading and comprehending the paper. The reviewer should record this deficiency in his/her report and suggest the editor to make its proper editing. Such a situation may arise when the author(s)’ native language is not English.
• Whether the data presented in the paper is original or reproduced from previously conducted or published work. The papers which reflect originality should be given preference for publication.
• The clarity of illustrations including photographs, models, charts, images and figures is essential to note. If there is duplication then it should be reported in the review report. Similarly, descriptions provided in the “Results” section should correspond with the data presented in tables/figures, if not then it should be clearly listed in the review report.
• Critically review the statistical analysis of the data. Also check the rational and appropriateness of the specific analysis.
• The reviewers should read the “Methodology” section in detail and make sure that the author(s) has demonstrated the understanding of the procedures being used and presented in the manuscript.
• The relationship between “Data, Findings and Discussion” requires a thorough evaluation thoroughly. Unnecessary conjecture or unfounded conclusions that are not based on the presented data are not acceptable.
• Further questions to be addressed are whether: the organization of the research paper is appropriate or deviates from the standard or prescribed format?
• Does the author(s) follow the guidelines prescribed by the journal for preparation and submission of the manuscript?
• Is the research paper free from typographical errors?
• The reviewer must explicitly write his/her observations in the section of 'comments' because author(s) will only have access to the comments reviewers have made.
•For writing a review report, the reviewers are requested to complete a prescribed form (s).
• It is helpful for both the Editor and author(s) if the reviewer writes a brief summary in the first section of the review report. This summary should comprise the reviewer's final decision and inferences drawn from a full review.
• Any personal comments on author(s) should be avoided and final remarks should be written in a courteous and positive manner.
• Indicating any deficiencies is important. For the understanding of the Editor and author(s), the reviewers should highlight these deficiencies in some detail with specificity. This should help justify the comments made by the reviewer.
• When a reviewer makes a decision regarding the research paper, it should be clearly indicated as 'Reject', 'Accept without revision', or 'Need Revision' and either of the decisions should have justification.
• The reviewers should indicate the revisions clearly and comprehensively, and show willingness to confirm the revisions submitted by the author(s), if Editor wishes so.
• The final decision about publishing a research paper (either accepts or reject) will solely Rest with the Editor and it is not a reviewer's job to take part in this decision. The editor will surely consider reviewer's comments and have a right to send the paper for another opinion or send it back to the author(s) for revision before making the final decision.
The Editor’s Responsibilities
• Establishing and maintaining quality of the journal by publishing quality papers.
• Promotion of freedom of expression within the cultural, constitutional/legal framework
• Encouraging new ideas and suggestions for improving quality of JIRS.
• Appling the process of blind peer review in its true letter and spirit,
• Promoting & implementing anti plagiarism & journal’s policy without institutional pressure.
Fair play and Impartiality
• Will ensure impartial evaluation of the content of research papers,
• Disregard the all discriminating factors during selection of articles, e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, religious belief, etc. of author(s)
• Confidentiality of the author(s) and reviewers during the peer review process will be ensured
• Confidentiality of the participants of the research should also be ensured.
• Prior to publication, the content of the manuscript would be kept confidential
Editing and Formatting Guidelines
• Clear guidelines about preparing and formatting of a paper are available on JIRS webpage.
The Review Process
• Articles are initially scrutinized and then go through double-blind peer review process.
• Sufficient guidelines along with a Reviewer’s Proforma are provided to reviewers (see: Reviewer’s Proforma download section)
• Sharing the reviewer’s comments with author and incorporation of suggested corrections.
• Referring troublesome cases to Advisory Committee.
Dealing with Misconduct
• Will encourages reviewers to comment on ethical issues and possible misconduct.
• Confirmation of plagiarism through Turnitin and/or searching for similar titles etc.
• Will publish a corrigendum, remove and retract a plagiarized article.
• Only one paper as a PI (Principle Investigator) should be published in the same issue.
• Editorial Board Members will only be limited to ONE paper per issue.
• Authorship & co-authorship policy will be strictly adopted.
Conflict of Interest
• The editors and reviewers will not edit a submitted paper for those author(s) and/or institution against which s/he has any conflicts of interest.
• will not use any unpublished information/data from the submitted research paper without the permission of the author(s)
• Only shortlisted research papers relevant to the scope of the journal will be published after completion of the review process
• Acceptation or rejection of a paper will be based on academic standards.
• The Editor will justifies the reason (s) of rejecting a research paper and will timely communicate the editorial decision to the author(s)
Procedure for Appeal
The Editor is responsible for establishing a proper mechanism for appeals launched against:
• The rejection of a research paper.
• Objections to publications causing harm to any party.
• Infringement of Ethical boundaries in any manner.