Policy Document

POLICY DOCUMENT

PAKISTAN POSTGRADUATE MEDICAL JOURNAL

Pak. Postgrad. Med. J. (PPMJ)

ISSN: 2079-5858 (Print)

ISSN: 2710-1924 (Online)

 

About Us

PPMJ is a quarterly, peer-reviewed, open-access medical journal.  It publishes original research articles, review articles, current practices, short communications & case reports. It attracts manuscripts not only from within Pakistan but also from abroad.

Copies of PPMJ  are sent to all the important medical libraries all over Pakistan. Eminent members of the medical profession at home and abroad regularly contribute their write-ups, manuscripts to our publications.

We pursue an independent editorial policy that allows healthcare professionals to express their views without fear or favour. That is why many opinion-makers in the medical and pharmaceutical profession use this publication to communicate their viewpoint.

Aims and Scope

The journal is a peer-reviewed biomedical journal that aims to provide medical health professionals with current information relevant to diagnosis and treatment.

Each issue contains a series of timely, in-depth original research papers, systematic review articles, case reports, commentaries, short communication, new technology, editorials and letters to the editor by scholars of biomedical sciences from Pakistan and abroad covering a range of current topics in medical research.

It covers the core biomedical health science subjects, basic medical sciences and emerging community problems, prepared in accordance with the “Uniform requirements for submission to biomedical journals” laid down by the International Committee of Medical Journals Editors (ICMJE).

All publications of PPMJ are peer-reviewed by subject specialists from Pakistan and locally and abroad.

 

Frequency of Publication

PPMJ is a quarterly, peer-reviewed, open-access medical journal.

 

Charges Policy

There are no article submission, processing, and publication charges.

 

Peer Review

After an initial assessment, the paper selected is subjected to peer review by two external peer reviewers belonging to the subject speciality identified by the Editor.

The journal follows a double-blind peer-review procedure.

An average of two weeks is given to reviewers for reviewing the manuscript. A single manuscript is sent to any reviewer at a time.

In case of conflict or disputed articles, the matter is discussed with the Chief Editor and finally to a third reviewer as nominated by him.

The editors do not serve as peer reviewers for the journal, but the editors reserve the right to edit the accepted article to confirm the journal’s house style.

Research Misconduct

Every author is expected to conduct research following the highest acceptable ethical standards practised worldwide.

PPMJ sanctions zero tolerance for research misconduct pre-publication and post-publication in any aspect of research and demand prompt investigation, resolution, and penalisation for all such allegations under HEC Policy on Research Ethics in particular and Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines in general.

It is the prime responsibility of the Editor to determine whether or not an inquiry is warranted and to submit its final report when all necessary investigations, reviews, hearings, and appeals are dealt with.

In all such cases, PPMJ encourages and expects all scientific community members to liaise in reporting and responding to suspected Research Misconduct activity within its purview while adhering to the final decision taken under this Policy.

Definitions

  1. Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, reviewing research, or reporting results. It does not include honest errors or honest differences of opinion. Research Misconduct is said to have occurred if:
  • There is a significant deviation from the existing ethical practices of research
  • The misconduct be committed intentionally, knowingly, or by negligence
  • The allegation is verified and proven by a preponderance of the evidence provided.
  1. Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
  2. Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes or changing or omitting data or results. The credit of authorship or research impact is not accurately represented in the research record.
  3. Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
  4. Allegation means a disclosure of possible Research Misconduct through any means of communication. The disclosure may be by a written, electronic, or oral statement or any other modes of communication made in confidentiality or publically.
  5. Breach of Confidentiality means any deviation from the non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement between the Journal and the person (Author/Reviewer/Editorial member, Publisher, IT manager etc.) about the research record submitted.
  6. Research Record means the record of data or results that embody the facts resulting from research, including, but not limited to, research proposals, laboratory records, both physical and electronic, progress reports, abstracts, theses, oral presentations, internal reports, journal articles, and any documents and materials provided in the course of submission of a manuscript or during an enquiry. 
  7. Impact of the Research Misconduct involves (but is not limited to):
  • The degree to which the misconduct was known, intentional, or because of negligence
  • Whether the misconduct was an isolated event or part of an arrangement
  • If the misconduct had a significant impact on the research record, research subjects, other researchers, institution(s), or the public welfare.
  • If there is an immediate public safety or health risk involved, including an immediate need to protect human or animal subjects.
  • If there is a need to suspend research activities by the delinquent person or a group
  • If there is a need for reporting to and asking for action by the other stakeholder organisations, e.g. funding agencies, scientific councils/associations/commissions, employers, research monitoring agencies etc.

SOPs for handling Research Misconduct

  1. Any application relating to disclosure of Research Misconduct1 shall be submitted to the Complaint Cell of PPMJ. The mode of complaint submission must be written or a statement through electronic media.
  2. If desired, the complainant's name may remain confidential, in good faith, to the extent possible and allowed by law.
  3. After receipt of the application and deliberation with the complainant, the Editor determines whether or not these allegations fall absolutely under Research Misconduct and warrants further inquiry.
  4. The Editor shall be responsible for pursuing such allegation while probing the matter to identify the delinquent subject(s) through research record(s) or any other evidence provided.
  5. Each allegation shall be handled according to Journal policy adapted from COPE Guidelines.
  6. During Enquiry, maintenance of custody and appropriate compilation of the research record (for further presentation) shall be managed by a designated member of the Editorial Board.
  7. After thorough deliberation, the Editorial team shall decide that:
  • The allegation of misconduct cannot be substantiated and hence dismissed whereby no OR further action is required against the Complainant for misleading the Editorial Board and submitting a false allegation

OR

  • The allegation is corroborated and requires a further course of action according to COPE guidelines while considering the seriousness/impact of the misconduct.
  1. The Editor shall submit the final Investigatory Report with recommendations to the Institute's Disciplinary Committee. A copy of the information may be submitted to the Ethical Review Committee of the Institute. The final Investigatory Report shall include the following information:
  • The name(s) and position(s) of the Complainant(s), if not confidential
  • The name(s) and position(s) of the Respondents
  • A description of the nature of each Allegation of Research Misconduct
  • A summary of the steps taken during the Enquiry
  • Identification and summary of the research records and evidence reviewed and taken into custody
  • A summary of the results of the Enquiry considering the merits of any reasonable explanation by the Respondent (s)
  • A final recommendation is whether the allegations were made in good faith and punishment is warranted based on the impact of research misconduct.
  • Any significant written comments or statements made and signed by the Respondent(s) or Complainant(s)
  1. Upon receipt of the Investigatory Report, the Disciplinary Committee of the Institute, with Editor PPMJ as a Co-opted Member, shall propose to take punitive action against the offender, if the offence is proved, that may include but not limited to:
  • A reprimand in the name of the offender(s)
  • Official information to the organisation/institute where the author(s) is employed/enrolled vigorously recommends that the respective Institute and Organization take disciplinary action against the offender as per its policy. Its report may be shared with Editor PPMJ in due course of time.
  • Withdrawal or retraction of the manuscript or any other published/disseminated material with the addition of a Retraction Note on the journal website.
  • Black listing from the Journal as an Author and Reviewer permanently, which may be published in the print media or maybe publicised on different websites at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor.
  • The offender will be asked to write a formal apology letter to the victim and the Editorial Board for breaching the copyright and non-disclosure agreement.
  • Prosecution by a Tribunal court if an infringement of intellectual property rights has occurred.
  • Any further action suggested by COPE guidelines or HEC Plagiarism Policy may be adopted. (see Flow Charts below)
  1. The decision of the Disciplinary Committee shall be forwarded to the Director QEC of the Institute for onwards submission to HEC that may take any further action in this regard.
  2. Right to Appeal: The affected person(s) will have the right to appeal to the Chairman HEC / Vice-Chancellor / Rector / Head of the Organization for a review of the findings or may submit a mercy petition within 30 days from the date of final notification. Such appeals/petitions will be disposed-off within 60 days of receipt by the Disciplinary Committee of the Institute as per the laid down regulations regarding such appeals.

 

Plagiarism Policy

PPMJ follows the ICMJE and HEC guidelines/criteria for all types of plagiarism.

All submitted manuscripts are subjected to plagiarism checking through the software Turnitin (courtesy of HEC). Manuscripts with a more than 19% similarity index are not processed further unless rectified. Authors are responsible for plagiarism in any form, including paraphrasing and self-plagiarism. Manuscripts submitted to PPMJ can be sent to HEC, other medical journals' editors, and international agencies for authentication of originality.

The disciplinary committee of PPMJ would deal with plagiarism cases and comprise the staff, editors, and the Chief Editor or his representative.

For a plagiarised article (multiple submissions) in processing, identifying actions will lead to the dropping of the article from further processing/consideration of publication. The corresponding author will be required to explain on demand. In case of an unsatisfactory reply, the matter will be referred to the disciplinary committee that may decide the course of action.

The allegedly plagiarised article will be temporarily retracted from publication for published articles, and a notice to the effect will be published in the PPMJ. The author will be served an explanation demand. In case of non-response in the stipulated time or unsatisfactory explanation, the article will be permanently retracted, and the author will be blacklisted. HEC and the author's institute will also be notified.

In case of multiple submissions, other editors will also be informed. If such a defence is pleaded, the author(s) will have to provide documentary proof of retraction from publication. Those claiming intellectual / idea or data theft of an article must provide documentary proof in their claim.

Copyrights

The Pakistan Postgraduate Medical Journal (PPMJ) owns all copyright to any work published by the journal. Authors agree to execute copyright transfer of their Forms-ACP (Authors Certification Proforma) as requested for their contributions to be accepted by the journal.

Material printed in this journal, being the copyright of the PPMJ, may not be reproduced without the permission of the editors or publisher. Instructions to authors appear on the last page of each issue.

The PPMJ accepts only original material for publication with the understanding that except for abstracts, no part of the data has been published or will be submitted for publication elsewhere before appearing in this journal.

The Editorial Board makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of material printed in the journal. However, the conclusions and statements expressed are views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editorial Board or the PPMJ.

Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses entered in this journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal.

They will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.