- Ethical Guidelines for Author(s)
The following ethical guidelines are obligatory for all author (s) violation of which may result in application of penalties by the editor (s), including but not limited to the suspension or revocation of publishing privileges.
- It is the author (s)’ responsibility to ensure that the research report and data contain adequate detail and references to the sources of information in order to allow others to reproduce the results.
- Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statement constitutes unethical behavior and will be unacceptable.
- It is the author(s)’ responsibility to ascertain that s/he has submitted an entirely original work, giving due credit, by virtue of proper citations, to the works and/or words of others where they are used.
- As per HEC policy, in case a manuscript has been found to have a similarity index of more than 19% it will either be rejected or left at the discretion of the editor for purposes of conditional acceptance.
- A paper must always contain a proper acknowledgment of the work of others, including clear indications of the sources of all information quoted or offered, except that what is common knowledge.
- Author (s) must also acknowledge the contributions of people, organizations and institutes who assisted the process of research, including those who provided technical help, writing assistance or financial funding (in acknowledgment).
- It is the duty of the author (s) to conduct a literature review and properly cite the original publications that describe closely related work.
1.1 Authorship of the Work
- Authorship of the work may only be credited to those who have made a noteworthy contribution in conceptualization, design, conducting, data analysis, and writing up of the manuscript.
- It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to include names of only those coauthors who have made significant contributions to the work.
- 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.
1.2 Privacy of Participants
- Authors must respect the privacy of the participant of the research and must not use any information obtained from them without their informed consent.
- Authors should ensure that only information that improves the understanding of the study is shared.
- 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.
- In the event of the demise of a participant, consent must be obtained from the family of the deceased.
1.3 Disclosure and Conflicts of Interest
- The potential and relevant competing financial, personal social or other interest of all author (s) that might be affected by publication of the results contained in the manuscript must be conveyed to the editor.
- Author (s) should disclose any potential conflict of interest at the earliest possible stage, including but not limited to employment, consultancies, honoraria, patent applications/registrations, grants or other funding.
- All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed alongside a brief overview of the role played, if any by the responses during the various stages of research.
Authors may have to sign an agreement allowing the journal to reserve the right to circulate the article and all other derivative works such as translations.
- Ethical Guideline for Peer Reviewers
2.1 Peer 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,
- Immediately inform the editor of any possible delays and suggest another date of submission a review report, and
- Not unnecessarily delaying the review process, either by prolonged delay in submission of their review or by requesting unnecessary additional data/information from the editor or author(s).
2.2 Standards of Objectivity
- Reviews should be objectively carried out with a consideration of high academic, scholarly and scientific standards,
- All judgments should be meticulously established and maintained in order to ensure the full comprehension of the reviewer’s comments by the editors and the author(s),
- Both reviewers and author(s) in rebuttal should avoid unsupported assertions,
- Reviewer may justifiably criticize a manuscript but it would be inappropriate and impressible to resort to personal criticism on the author(s), and
- Reviewers should ensure that their decision is purely based on the quality of the research paper and not influenced, either positively or negatively, by any personal, financial, or other conflicting considerations or by intellectual biases.
2.3 Disclosure and Conflict of Interest
- A reviewer should not, for the purpose of his/her own research, use unpublished material disclosed in a submitted manuscript, without the approval of the editor,
- The data included in the research paper is required to be kept confidential and the reviewer shall not be allowed to used for his/her any personal study,
- Reviewer must declare any potentially conflicting interests (e.g. personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious). In this situation, s/he will require to follow journal’s policies on situations they consider to represent a conflict to reviewing,
- A reviewer should be honest to declare conflicts of interest, if, the research paper under reviews is the same 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 this.
- Reviewers should kept the research paper as confidential document and must not discuss its content in any platform except in cases where a professional advice is being sought with the authorization of the editor, and
- Reviewers are professionally and ethically bound not to disclose the details of the research paper prior to its publication without the prior approval of the editor.
- If reviewer would suspect that the research paper is almost the same of someone else’s work, s/he will ethically inform the editor and provide its citation as a reference,
- If reviewer would suspect the results in research paper to be untrue/unrealistic/fake, s/he will share it with the editor,
- If there has been an indication for violating the 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, and
- If the research paper based on any previous research study or is replica of an earlier work, or the work is plagiarized e.g. the author has not acknowledged/referenced others’ work appropriately, then this should be brought in the editor’s knowledge.
For evaluating originality, peer reviewers should consider the following elements:
- Does the research paper add to the existing knowledge?
- Do research questions and/or hypotheses are appropriate to the objective of the research work?
2.5 Review Report
- Reviewer must explicitly write his/her observations in the section of ‘comments’ because author(s) will only see 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 of reviewer’s final decision and inferences drawn from full review,
- Any personal comments on author(s) should be avoided and final remarks must be written in a courteous and positive manner,
- Indicating any deficiencies is important. For the understanding of editor and author(s), the reviewers should highlight these deficiencies in some detail with specificity. This will also justify the comments made by the reviewer,
- When reviewer makes a decision regarding research paper, it will clearly indicate as ‘Reject’, ‘Accept without revision’, or ‘Need Revision’ and either of the decisions should have justification of the same.
- 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, and
- The final decision about publishing a research paper (either accept 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 back to the author(s) for its revisions before making the final decision.
- Ethical Guideline for Editor
Editor of a research journal plays an important role in establishing and maintaining the professional standards. Publication of a paper in an HEC recognized journal is expected to be a reflection of quality work of author (s) and the affiliating institution (if any). Editor is expected to perform the responsibility towards the journal on its all aspects and at varied stages i.e. from receiving of an article to publishing it. Keeping this in view, it becomes prime responsibility of an editor to adapt the following guidelines while publishing papers in his/her research journal.
3.1 Editor’s Responsibilities
- To establish and maintain quality of the journal by publishing quality papers in his/her journal,
- Promotion of freedom of expression within the cultural, constitutional/legal framework,
- Providing integrity and credibility of the research contributions,
- Meeting the needs of authors and readers,
- Maintaining ethical standards of their journal,
- Providing corrigendum for any correction, clarification and apologies where required.
3.2 Formation of Editorial Board
- Editor must ensure that editorial board comprises of prominent scholars of the field who can adequately promote the journal,
- The editorial board shall be comprised of:
- Editorial Committee, who will be responsible for providing logistics, and
- Advisory Committee, who will be responsible for reviewing the submitted research papers. This committee should have at least 50% representation of scholars from abroad.
- May appoint editorial board members for a prescribed duration and add or revise the board if required,
- Editor should inform new board members about ethical guidelines and their expected role and update editorial board members about development, challenges and any changes made in the journal policy,
- The editorial board should maintain the quality of the journal because an assigned category by the HEC (e.g. X, Y, and Z categories) will depend on the quality of published papers in it. It is professional duty of the board members to select credible research work, and
- To ensure smooth functioning of the journal, editors are responsible to conduct the editorial board meetings on regular basis (at least twice a year).
3.3. Fair play and Impartiality
- The criteria for the selection of research papers must be impartial and editor should select academically and scientifically sound papers,
- Editor should:
- Promptly respond to the author (s) of the papers submitted for publication, and
- Assign a specific number to an article submitted for processing; and pay impartial consideration to all research papers submitted for publication
- ensure to evaluate (get evaluated) the content of research papers impartially and on merit, and
- disregard the discriminating factors, e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, religious belief, cultural sentiments, political affiliation, seniority and/or institutional association of the author(s) while selecting articles for publication, and
- ensure impartiality of the review process by informing reviewer (s) that s/he needs to disclose any conflicts of interest regarding the submitted research paper.
- The editor must ensure confidentiality of the author(s) and reviewers during the process of double-blind peer review,
- Information pertaining to a research paper should not be disclosed by the editor to anyone except the author(s), reviewer(s), and editorial board members,
- Upon reaching a decision about a research paper, the editor may only disclose or announce title of the study and name of the author(s) that has been accepted for publication. Any other information may only be disclosed with the prior approval of the author(s), and
- Confidentiality of the participants of the research should also be ensured by protecting personal information (e.g. identifiable personal details, images, and/or individual results), editor should declare clear guidelines to the contributors (authors) regarding confidentiality of the individual participant.
- Prior to publication, the content of the manuscript should be kept confidential, both the editor and reviewer(s) will not share or use any part of the work.
3.5 Editing and Formatting Guidelines
- The editors should prepare clear guidelines about preparing and formatting of a paper and print these guidelines in each issue of the journal,
- The guidelines should cover information related to ‘content’ and ‘format’ of a research paper,
- Any preferred manual of style (e.g. APA, Chicago Manual, MLA Style, etc) should be declared as a policy decision.
3.6 Publication Decisions
- editor to only short list research papers which have relevancy with the scope of the journal based on his/her judgment, but without any prejudice,
- After completion of the reviewing process, submission of revised manuscript, and assessing the quality and validity, the editor has a right to accept or reject a research paper,
- Editor’s decisions to accept or reject a paper for publication should be purely based on merit, academic standards and professional demands of the journal,
- Editor must justify the reasons of rejecting a research paper to author(s). This may include:
- Failure to fit in the scope of the journal (can be communicated after preliminary review)
- Insufficient depth of content
- Major errors related to design, analysis, write up and format
- any misconduct or conflicting factors (e.g. plagiarism, copyright infringement, legal issues, fake data, authorship issues)
- Editors are required to timely communicate the editorial decision to the author(s), ? Editors should not reverse decisions in favor or against author(s) at his/her own.