Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement of the Moldovan Medical Journal
(Updated December 20, 2019)
1.1. The Moldovan Medical Journal follows the highest standards of publication ethics and takes all the necessary measures to prevent the publication misconduct. It is mandatory for all the parties involved in the act of publishing – the authors, the journal editorial staff, the peer reviewers and the publisher – to agree upon the standards of the expected ethical behavior.
1.2. Our publication ethics and malpractice guidelines are based on the Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors made up by the Committee on Publication Ethics (www.publicationethics.org), on the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (www.icmje.org), on the principles of the World Association of Medical Editors (www.wame.org) and on the standards of the National Ethics Committee (www.ms.gov.md) of the Republic of Moldova.
II. Authorship and Author’s Responsibilities
2.1. The Authorship
2.1.1. The authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution or interpretation of the reported study.
2.1.2. It is requested to identify individuals whose work qualifies them as authors as distinct from those who are the contributors.
2.1.3. The people who provide a financial assistance and a technical support or belong to the scientific staff should be acknowledged but not recognized as the authors.
2.1.4. The order of the authorship on the byline should be a joint decision of the co-authors.
2.1.5. This journal is not responsible for any dispute related to the authorship of the submitted paper. Any changes in the authorship (such as the addition or deletion of an (some) author(s) or a change in the sequence in the authors’ list) should be intimated to the editorial office through a letter signed by all the authors before the publication of the paper.
2.1.6. The change in the authorship after a final publication is not taken into account and the guidelines of the above mentioned Committees (www.publicationethics.org, www.icmje.org, www.wame.org, www.ms.gov.md) are followed for any dispute.
2.1.7. The submission of a paper to this journal indicates that the author(s) have agreed upon the content of the paper.
2.2. Corresponding Author
2.2.1. One author should be indicated as a corresponding author for all publication related communications. It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to seek the permission from each author to publish the materials and to get a consensus on the authorship before the submission.
2.2.2. All correspondences are sent to the corresponding author, who will be treated as a final representative voice for all the authors regarding any decision related to the manuscript, unless it is otherwise requested during the submission.
2.2.3. In the absence of any signed letter, the approval of the galley proofs by the corresponding author will work as a certificate of the final agreement.
2.3. Plagiarism and Fraudulent Data
2.3.1. Plagiarism and fraudulent data are considered as a significant violation of truthfulness and involve stealing intellectual property from other individuals’ work.
2.3.2. The Moldovan Medical Journal requires that submitted manuscripts are solely the author’s own work and not the work of the others, unless an explicit permission has been granted. This includes text, figures and tables. The responsibility for plagiarism and fraudulent data lies ultimately with the writer.
2.3.3. The articles should describe the results as accurately as possible and avoid using the statements of opinions as facts. The manuscript should present the results in a direct way and avoid misleading the reader or causing misunderstandings. The articles must be authentic and should not contain manipulated data or fraudulent information. This also applies to the direct translations from one language into another.
2.3.4. The authors have to endorse that all the data in the article are real and authentic. The authors should ensure that they have written the entirely original work, and if the authors have used the work and/or words of other authors this should be appropriately quoted.
2.3.5. Recommendations for avoiding plagiarism:
– Use quotation marks around the words taken verbatim from a source.
– Change no part of the quotation within the context of the sentence.
– Use single marks for a quotation within a quotation.
– Use ellipses (a space and three periods) for a part of the omitted quotation.
– Use brackets around the added words.
– Limit the use of the direct quotes.
– Do not ignore to mention the appropriate articles in the list of references.
– Avoid paraphrasing.
2.4.1. The authors should not publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently is considered an unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.
2.4.2. The publication of some kinds of articles (e. g. translations) in more than one journal is sometimes justifiable, provided that certain conditions are observed. The authors and the editors must agree upon the secondary publication, which must reflect the same data and interpretation of the primary article. The primary article must be cited in the secondary publication.
2.5. Financial Support
2.5.1. All the authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or other substantive conflict of interests that might be construed as influencing the results or interpretation of their manuscript. The potential financial conflicts of interests should be disclosed at the earliest possible stage.
2.5.2. Examples of the potential conflicts of interests which should be disclosed include an employment, consultancies, a stock ownership, honoraria, a paid expert testimony, patent applications/registrations and grants or other funding.
2.6.1. The references are listed with a great accuracy in order of their appearance in the text, and the corresponding numbers are inserted in the text [in square brackets] in proper places.
2.6.2. The references must comply with the general format outlined in the Uniform Requirements for the Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (www.icmje.org), chapter IV.A.9.
III. Editorial Responsibilities and Publishing Ethics Issues
3.1. Acceptation and Rejection
3.1.1. Equal rights. Articles are accepted for consideration regardless of nationality, gender, race, and sexual orientation, ethical, religious and political beliefs of the authors.
3.1.2. The editor has a complete responsibility and authority to reject or accept an article. The editor of the journal is responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published.
3.1.3. The editor should have no conflict of interests with respect to rejected or accepted articles.
3.1.4. The editor is guided by the policies of the journal’s editorial board and constrained by the valid legal requirements concerning libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism.
3.1.5. The article may be rejected without a review if the editor considers the article obviously not suitable for a publication.
3.2. Guidelines for the Retracting Articles
3.2.1. The rejected papers are given the opportunity for a formal appeal. The appeal requests should be made in writing to the Editorial Office. The author should provide the detailed reasons for the appeal and point-by-point responses to the reviewers’ and editor’s comments.
3.2.2. If an appeal is rejected, the further appeals on the decision will not be considered and the paper will not be accepted again. The editor-in-chief confers with the other editors or reviewers in making this decision.
3.3. Privacy and Confidentiality
3.3.1. The manuscripts must be reviewed with the due respect for the authors’ confidentiality. In submitting their manuscripts the authors entrust the editors with the results of their scientific work and creative effort, on which their reputation and career may depend. The author’s rights may be violated by the disclosure of the confidential details during a review of his/her manuscript.
3.3.2. The reviewers also have rights to confidentiality, which must be respected by the editor. Confidentiality may have to be breached if dishonesty or fraud is alleged but otherwise must be honored.
3.3.3. The editors must make clear to their reviewers that the manuscripts sent for the review are privileged communications and are the private property of the authors.
3.3.4. The reviewers and members of the editorial staff must respect the authors’ rights by avoiding publicly discussing the authors’ works or appropriating their ideas before the manuscripts are published.
3.3.5. The reviewers must not be allowed to make copies of the manuscript for their files and must be prohibited from sharing them with others, except when there is the editor’s permission.
3.3.6. The reviewers should return or destroy the copies of manuscripts after submitting the reviews. The editors should not keep copies of the rejected manuscripts.
3.4. No Plagiarism, No Fraudulent Data
3.4.1. The editorial office maintains the integrity of the scientific community. The Editorial Board is monitoring the elements of plagiarism and fraudulent data. The authors are strongly requested to exclude an inaccuracy or manipulation in the data, borrowing negligently from a citation. The fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behavior and are unacceptable.
3.4.2. The papers, having a political profile, or the papers, including biased or incorrect evaluations of other scientific works and other specialists, are not accepted for the publication.
3.4.3. If plagiarism or fraudulent data are found in any paper after an internal investigation, a letter is immediately sent to all the authors, their affiliated institutes and funding agencies and subsequently the paper will be retracted.
3.4.5. The evident cases of misconduct may result in a three-year or a longer ban on the future submission to the Moldovan Medical Journal.
3.5. Conflict-of-Interests Policy
3.5.1. The editor and publisher require all authors and reviewers to declare any conflicts of interests that may be inherent in their submissions. The conflict of interests for a given manuscript exists when a participant in the peer review and publication process – the author, reviewer or editor – is connected to the activities that can inappropriately influence his or her judgment, whether or not this judgment is in fact affected. The financial relationships with the industry, for example, through employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, expert testimony, either directly or through immediate family, are usually considered to be the most important conflicts of interests.
3.5.2. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic competition and intellectual passion. The public trust in the peer review process and the credibility of published articles depend partly on how well the conflict of interests is handled during the writing process, peer review and making the editorial decision. A bias can often be identified and eliminated by a careful attention to the scientific methods and conclusions of the work. The financial relationships and their effects are less easily detected than other conflicts of interests. The participants of the peer review and publication should disclose their conflicting interests, and the information should be made open, so that the others can judge their effects.
3.5.3. When submitting a manuscript, whether an article or a letter, the authors are responsible for recognizing and disclosing the financial and other conflicts of interests that might affect their work. They should acknowledge all the financial support to the work and other financial or personal connections to it in the manuscript.
3.5.4. The external peer reviewers should disclose to the editors any conflicts of interests that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should disqualify themselves from reviewing the specific manuscripts if they consider it appropriate. The editors must be made aware of reviewers’ conflicts of interests to interpret the reviews objectively and judge for themselves whether the reviewer should be disqualified. The reviewers should not use the knowledge connected with the paper before its publication to promote their own interests.
3.6. Patients, Animals, Study Participants and Informed Consent Policy
3.6.1. Patients and study participants have a right to privacy that should not be violated without their informed consent. Identifying information, including names, initials or hospital record numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs or pedigrees unless the information is essential for the scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives a written informed consent for the publication.
The informed consent for this purpose requires that an identifiable patient be shown the manuscript to be published. The authors should disclose to these individuals whether any potential identifiable material might be available via the Internet as well as in print after the publication. The consent of the patient and study participant should be written and archived by the journal, authors or both, as dictated by the local law.
3.6.2. Non-essential identifying details should be omitted. The informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. For example, masking the eye region in the photographs of the individuals is an inadequate protection of the anonymity. If the identifying characteristics are altered to protect the anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, the authors should provide the assurance and the editors should note the fact, that such alterations do not distort a scientific meaning.
3.6.3. The requirement for the informed consent is included in the journal’s Guide for the Authors. When the informed consent has been obtained, the article is accepted for the publication.
3.6.4. The research must meet all the applicable standards for the ethics of experimentation and research integrity. If the work involves the use of animal or human subjects, the author should ensure that the manuscript contains a statement that all procedures have been performed in compliance with the relevant laws and institutional guidelines and that the appropriate institutional committee has approved them. The authors should include in the manuscript the statement that the informed consent has been obtained for the experimentation with humans and animals.
3.6.5. If the work involves chemicals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use, the author must clearly identify these in the manuscript.
3.7. Errors, Inaccuracy and Corrections
3.7.1. When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper.
3.7.2. The authors, reviewers and readers are asked to inform the Editorial Office if some grammar mistakes, figure or table displacements sneaked in the text of the article.
3.7.3. The editor and publisher are always willing to publish the corrections, clarifications and apologies when needed.
4. Editorial and Peer Review Process
4.1. We consider that one of the main objectives of the peer review system is to improve the quality of a candidate’s manuscript.
4.2. The manuscript received for the publication is treated as a confidential document. The articles must not be shown to other parties or discussed with them except those authorized by the editor.
4.3. The editorial staff must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than a corresponding author, reviewers, other editorial advisers and the publisher.
4.4. The unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in the editors’ own researches without the express written consent of the authors.
4.5. All the articles are double-blind peer reviewed by two independent experts. During the reviewing process the identities of the both authors and reviewers are kept hidden to ensure an unbiased evaluation.
4.6. The reviewers evaluate the manuscripts for their intellectual content without any regard to the race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ethnic origin, citizenship or political philosophy of the authors.
4.7. The factors that are taken into account while reviewing are relevance, soundness, significance, originality, readability and an adequate language style.
4.8. Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself from the review process.
4.9. The reviewer should have no conflict of interests with respect to the research, the authors and/or the research founders. The potential conflict of interests is acknowledged by all the authors and editorial reviewers. If such a conflict is recognized, the reviewer is excluded from the review process and another reviewer is assigned.
4.10. We strongly advise that a negative evaluation review should explain the weaknesses of the manuscript, so that the concerned authors can understand the basis of the rejection and improve the manuscript on the base of those comments.
4.11. The reviews should be made objectively. The referees should express their views clearly along with presenting the supporting arguments. It is expected that the reviewers should suggest the authors how they can strengthen their paper to make it acceptable.
4.12. The reviewers are encouraged to be honest but not offensive in their language (unnecessarily harsh words may be modified or removed at the editor’s discretion). We believe in a constructive criticism. The criticism of the author’s personality is inappropriate.
4.13. The reviewers’ comments should be sufficiently informative and helpful for the editorial decision to be reached. The authors should not confuse straightforward and true comments with an unfair criticism as well.
4.14. The reviewers should indicate the relevant published works that have not been cited by the author. A reviewer should also attract the editor’s attention to any substantial similarities or overlaps among the manuscripts under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.
4.15. With the help of the reviewers’ comments a final decision (accepted or accepted with minor revision or accepted with major revision or rejected) is taken and sent to the corresponding author.
In updating this document, the ideas from similar statements of other publishers have been used and we are obliged for them.
The statement is adopted by the Editorial Board of the Moldovan Medical Journal on Updated December 20, 2019, Proceedings No 9.
Boris Topor, MD, PhD, Professor
Editor-in-Chief of the Moldovan Medical Journal
Telephone: +373 22 205209
192, Stefan cel Mare Avenue
The Republic of Moldova