POLICIES; OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN JOURNAL
INTRODUCTION: Ophthalmology Pakistan is a peer reviewed, official journal of College of Ophthalmology & Allied Vision Sciences (COAVS) that is published quarterly, with 04 issues per year.
POLICY MAKING: The process of policy making and their implementation at the OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN is based on recommendations of the editorial board, which is headed by the Editor-in-Chief. The editorial board meetings are normally held quarterly, but the Editor-in-Chief may summon an extraordinary meeting as and when it is deemed necessary.
EDITORIAL FREEDOM: OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN follows the framework of editorial freedom given by ICMJE (http://www.icmje.org) and the World Association of Medical Editors (https://www.wame.org). The editor-in-chief has complete authority and autonomy regarding inclusion/ exclusion of the entire editorial content of the journal. The publication timing and frequency are decided by him/her. Editor’s decisions shall be guided by the quality of work (which includes but is not limited to, interest and relevance to the audience), and not on the personal, pecuniary, commercial or any other vested interests.
SELECTION OF EDITORIAL BOARD, EDITORS, REVIEWERS: The selection of members of the editorial board or reviewers is based upon vision and mission of College of Ophthalmology Pakistan (COAVS). The members are contacted through email or telephone and their names are included in the relevant list, after their consent. Decisions are accordingly taken by Academic Council of the College.
PROCESSING OF MANUSCRIPT:
Authorship criteria: According to ICMJE authorship has to be based on the following four criteria:
- Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work
- Drafting the work or reviewing it critically for important intellectual content
- Final approval of the version to be published
- Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved
Submission: The manuscript can be submitted online only by creating an account at the website of the journal www.ophthalmologypakistan.com
Initial Assessment: When an article is received for publication, an acknowledgement email is sent to the author on the email address provided by the correspondence author. Then, the submitted article is initially assessed by the editor whether it conforms to the prescribed format of OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN as given in Instructions to the Authors. After that the sequence and authenticity of references is checked by a staff member, plagiarism is checked using “Turnitin” ® software by the Librarian, while statistical analysis is checked by the statistician of the college. Initial deficiencies, if found by the editor and statistician, are communicated to author for redressing at this stage if minor. If deficiencies are too much then either article is returned to the author for making changes or marked as rejected.
Peer Review: OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN follows double blind peer-review procedure. After clearing the initial stage, the articles, bearing only a number, are sent to two reviewers for peer review. Two weeks' time is given to reviewers for reviewing the manuscript. In case a revision is suggested, their comments/suggestions are communicated again to the author. Revisions must be returned to the OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN within two weeks. In case of conflict or disputed articles, the matter is referred to the Chief Editor and, if required, article is sent to a third reviewer for a final review. It must be noted that editors do not act as reviewers.
Editing and proof reading: After receiving the revised article, it is sent for editing and proofreading of text for grammatical and technical correctness. The final proofs are sent to the corresponding authors for approval of the corrected manuscript. Three days are given to author to return their feedback failing which the manuscript is processed as final. The Managing Editor checks final proofs at the dummy stage before sending them for printing.
OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN observes/follows the ICMJE (http://www.icmje.org), and Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan guidelines/criteria for all types of plagiarism. https://hec.gov.pk/english/services/faculty/Plagiarism/Pages/default.aspx). It is the authors' responsibility to see that their submission is free from all types of plagiarism including paraphrasing and self–plagiarism. Manuscripts submitted to OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN can be sent to HEC, other medical journals' editors and international agencies for authentication of originality. The disciplinary committee of OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN would deal with cases of plagiarism and comprise of the staff, editors and the Chief Editor or his representative.
In the event of detection of plagiarism, further processing of the article shall be immediately stopped and the author will be contacted to give an explanation. In case there is unsatisfactory or no reply, the matter will be referred to the disciplinary committee that may decide further course of action. If the article has already been published it will be temporarily retracted from publication and an announcement shall be made on the website as well as in the next issue of OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN. Same process of demanding an explanation from the author will be repeated. If there is unsatisfactory or no reply, the article will be permanently retracted and the author will be blacklisted. HEC and author's institute will also be informed. In case the author(s) claim that they had retracted the article, documentary evidence of the same will have to be provided. Similarly those claiming intellectual / idea or data misrepresentation in an article published in OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN must provide documentary proof in their claim.
POLICY ON REJECTED ARTICLES: When a manuscript is rejected, the rejected material is deleted from the editorial systems of OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN after one year. When a manuscript is published, OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN keeps copies of the original submission, reviews, revisions, and correspondence for at three years.
POLICY ON PUBLICATION MISCONDUCT: According to the ICMJE recommendations, scientific misconduct in research and non-research publications includes but is not necessarily limited to data fabrication, data falsification (including deceptive manipulation of images), purposeful failure to disclose conflicts of interest, and plagiarism.
OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN shall deal with such situations by first asking the corresponding author to provide an explanation in view of the available evidence. If the author does not respond or is unable to satisfy the editorial board, the manuscript is dropped from consideration, if unpublished, and retracted if published. Notice of retraction will be given in print and on the website (as described in the retraction policy of the OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN). The authors will be blacklisted for further submissions and considerations at the journal. The authors' institutional Head will also be informed of the action.
POLICY OF DISCLOSURE AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST OF EDITORS, REVIEWERS AND AUTHORS: The potential for conflict of interest and resulting bias exists when professional judgment concerning a primary interest (such as patients’ welfare or the validity of research) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain).
- Editors will not be involved in editorial processing of the manuscripts, in which they have any conflict of interest with any of the authors or institutions related with manuscript. That manuscript will be handled by some other member of the editorial board.
- Editors and editorial board members will not use unpublished information from manuscripts submitted in OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN for their own research work/paper without the authors’ written consent.
- The invited reviewers will notify the editors about any conflict of interest, which might result from competitive, collaborative or any relationship with the authors of a manuscript and their work. The reviewer will decline to review such a manuscript.
- The reviewers will not use or disclose the unpublished material or information acquired through the peer review process.
- Authors must state all possible conflicts of interest, including financial, consultant, institutional and other relationships that might lead to bias or conflicts of interest. If this is not applicable, this should be explicitly stated as none declared. A ‘conflict of interests’ statement should be included at the end of the manuscript submitted to OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN. The Editor may ask for further information or documents relating to conflict of interests.
- Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership or options, honoraria, patents, and paid expert testimony) are potential conflicts of interest. Other interests may also represent or be perceived as conflicts, such as personal relationships or rivalries, academic competition, and intellectual beliefs.
Few examples are:
- Receiving reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the manuscript, either now or in the future.
- Holding stocks or shares in an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the manuscript, either now or in the future.
- Holding, or currently applying for, patents relating to the content of the manuscript.
- Authors from pharmaceutical companies, or other commercial organizations that sponsor clinical trials, should declare these as conflict of interests on submission and should be produced in a responsible and ethical manner.
- The policies also apply to any company or individuals that work on industry-sponsored publications, such as freelance writers, contract research organizations and communications companies.
If any already published tables, illustrations or photographs, are included in the manuscript, a letter of permission for re-publication obtained from author and the editor of the journal (where it was previously published) must be provided. If the participant has died, the consent for publication must be sought from the next of kin of the participant. This documentation must be made available to the Editor if requested, and will be treated confidentially.
STATEMENTS OF PRIORITY POLICY: The statements of priority (such as "we are the first to report...") should be avoided in the manuscripts because of the inability to be familiar with all published works or presentations on a subject. If ever, it is needed, the statement should be "we are unaware of previous reports of this finding and could find no reference to it in a computerized search (include the name of the database, such as PubMed)."
ETHICAL POLICIES ON RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMANS: OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN strictly adheres to the ethical principles outlined by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) available at: http://publicationethics.org/ and Declaration of Helsinki (https://www.wma.net/what-we-do/medical-ethics/declaration-of-helsinki/).
Research involving human subjects, human material, or human data, must be approved by an appropriate ethics committee. Such manuscript should include a statement referring to the name of the ethics committee and the reference number must be given.
If the study is granted an exemption from ethics approval letter/statement, this should also be mentioned in the manuscript (the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption must also be mentioned). The editor may ask for further information and documentation to support this. Editor has the right to reject the manuscripts if he finds out that the research has not been carried out within an appropriate ethical framework.
Ethical approval for new clinical technique/tools or in a new clinical settings must be provided. Authors should obtain informed patient consent for any experimental use of a novel procedure or tool.
For datasets containing clinical data, authors have an ethical and legal responsibility to respect participants’ rights to privacy and to protect their identity. Authors should gain informed consent for publication of the dataset from participants at the point of recruitment to the trial. Authors must demonstrate that publication of patients’ data does not compromise anonymity or confidentiality or breach local data protection laws, for the dataset to be considered for publication.
Research involving humans in special situations requires informed consent (to participate in the study) by the participants or their parent or legal guardian in the case of children. Special consent should be sought for vulnerable populations like prisoners, insane, internally displaced persons (IDP) from the legal custodians or the state.
Clinical Trials Registration must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and should be approved by an appropriate ethics committee. This Policy follows International Committee of Medical Journals Editors (ICMJE) criteria. ICMJE defines a clinical trial as any research project that prospectively assigns human subjects to intervention or comparison groups to study the cause-and-effect relationship between a medical intervention and a health outcome. Studies designed for other purposes, such as to study pharmacokinetics or major toxicity (e.g., phase 1 trials), would be exempted. A trial registration number must be included in the manuscript and Authorship form.
An acceptable registry must include at minimum the following information: a unique identifying number, a statement of the intervention (or interventions) and comparison (or comparisons) studied, a statement of the study hypothesis, definitions of the primary and secondary outcome measures, eligibility criteria, key trial dates (registration date, anticipated or actual start date, anticipated or actual date of last follow-up, planned or actual date of closure to data entry, and date trial data considered complete), target number of subjects, funding source, and contact information for the principal investigator. Further guidelines can be accessed at: http://www.icmje.org/
ETHICAL POLICIES ON RESEARCH INVOLVING ANIMALS: The ethical approval (including the name of the ethics committee and the reference number where appropriate) must be included in the manuscript where animal studies are involved. If a study has been granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, this should also be detailed in the manuscript (including the name of the ethics committee that granted the exemption and the reasons for the exemption). The Editor reserves the right to reject a manuscript, if the research involves protocols that are inconsistent with commonly accepted norms of animal research. The Editor may contact the ethics committee for further information, if he thinks necessary.
Research on endangered species of animals must comply with institutional, national, or international guidelines, and where available should have been approved by an appropriate ethics committee. A statement detailing compliance with relevant guidelines and/or appropriate permissions or license must be included in the manuscript. Further details regarding use of animal in research can be found at https://arriveguidelines.org/ and https://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/lab_animals/legislation_en.htm.
POLICY REGARDING STANDARDS OF REPORTING: OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN advocates complete and transparent reporting of biomedical and biological research according to the standards. Examples of study designs include:
- Randomized controlled trials (CONSORT) and protocols (SPIRIT)
- Systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) and protocols (PRISMA-P)
- Observational studies (STROBE)
- Case reports (CARE)
- Qualitative research (COREQ) Diagnostic/prognostic studies (STARDand TRIPOD)
- Pre-clinical animal studies (ARRIVE)
POLICY ON ARTICLE CORRECTIONS, ARTICLE WITHDRAWAL, RETRACTION, REMOVAL AND REPLACEMENT:
Corrections: If a correction is needed, OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN publishes a correction notice as soon as possible with detailed changes. The correction is on a numbered print page that is included in Table of Contents. The journal may, if necessary, also post a new article version with details of the changes from the original version and the date(s) on which the changes were made.
Article withdrawal: If the authors want to withdraw the manuscript during its processing, they should send an email notifying as to their intention with the signatures of all the authors. The withdrawal request must be complete, scanned and sent to the editor. A final letter from the editorial office for withdrawal of the manuscript will then be dispatched. Electronic signatures are not accepted. Without a formal letter of withdrawal, a manuscript is not considered withdrawn and use of such a manuscript elsewhere will be considered as an ethical misconduct.
Article retraction: If an article needs to be retracted because of multiple submissions, bogus claims of authorship, plagiarism, fraudulent use of data, a retraction note titled “Retraction: [article title]” signed by the editor is published in the subsequent issue of the journal and listed in the contents list.
Article removal (legal limitations): In a case, if an article is clearly defamatory, or infringes others’ legal rights, or where the article could potentially prove to be the subject of a court order, or where the article, if acted upon, might pose a serious health risk, the metadata (Title and Authors) will be retained. The text will be replaced with a screen indicating the article has been removed for legal reasons.
Article replacement: In cases where the authors of the original article may wish to retract the flawed original and replace it with a corrected version, the procedures for retraction will be followed and retraction notice will publish a link to the corrected re-published article.
POLICY ON AUTHOR COMPLAINTS: OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN follows COPE flowcharts regarding author complaints. (https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.2.26)
ADVERTISEMENT POLICY: Currently OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN does not advertise pharmaceutical, medical, surgical or commercial products.
COPYRIGHTS & LICENSE POLICY: Any work published in OPHTHALMOLOGY PAKISTAN shall be the copyright property of the journal. The authors, by submitting their manuscripts, shall transfer the rights of ownership to the publisher. However if the manuscripts is rejected, the ownership is transferred back to the author.
However under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, free copying or distribution of any material, fully or, with editing, adaptation etc. is allowed with reference to this material being published initially in this journal. The Editorial Board tries to ensure the originality and authenticity of the material published in the journal. However, the discussion and conclusions/ recommendations are generally of the authors’ own and which may not be in consonance with those of the Editorial Board or the COAVS.
PROCESSING/PUBLICATION CHARGES: There are no charges levied from authors at any stage of publishing.
JOURNAL ARCHIVING: Long term journal archiving is through internet.