Research and Publication Ethics
Enacted April 1, 2015
Revised on January 1, 2020 (4th Revision)
This statement aims to provide guidelines about the responsibilities of authors who submit papers to The World Journal of Men's Health (WJMH). This statement also helps reviewers and editors to prevent any misconduct by anyone associated with the publication of the papers. This statement covers all papers, including review articles, original articles, case reports, letters to editor, and any other papers submitted to WJMH. For the policies on research and publication ethics not stated in the Instructions, Guidelines on Good Publication (https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines) or Good Publication Practice Guidelines for Medical Journals (https://www.kamje.or.kr/en/main_en) can be applied.
1. Research Ethics
All manuscripts should be prepared in strict observation of the research and publication ethics guidelines recommended by the Council of Science Editors (CSE, http://www.councilscienceeditors.org/), the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE, http://www.icmje.org/), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME, http://www.wame.org), and the Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors (KAMJE, https://www.kamje.or.kr/en/main_en). Any study that includes human subjects or human data must be reviewed and approved by a responsible institutional review board (IRB).
Please refer to the current (2013) version for the Declaration of Helsinki (DoH) statement (https://www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-declaration-of-helsinki-ethical-principles-for-medical-research-involving-human-subjects/) for all investigations involving human subjects. Animal experiments should be reviewed by a committee appropriate for the care and use of animals. Also, studies with pathogens requiring a high degree of biosafety should pass the review of a relevant committee. The editor of WJMH may request submission of copies of informed consent agreements from human subjects in clinical studies or IRB approval documents.
For reporting randomized controlled trials, WJMH requires compliance with the statement of CONSORT (http://www.consort-statement.org). A PRISMA statement (http://www.prisma-statement.org/) is required for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses.
Conflict-of-Interest statement
Conflict of interest exists when an author or the author’s institution, reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence or bias his or her actions. Such relationships are also known as dual commitments, competing interests, or competing loyalties. These relationships vary from being negligible to having a great potential for influencing judgment. Not all relationships represent true conflict of interest. On the other hand, the potential for conflict of interest can exist regardless of whether an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her scientific judgment. Financial relationships such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, and paid expert testimony are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, or of the science itself. Conflicts can occur for other reasons as well, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion (http://www.icmje.org/conflicts-of-interest/). If there are any conflicts of interest, authors should disclose them in the manuscript. The conflicts of interest may occur during the research process as well; however, it is important to provide disclosure. If there is a disclosure, editors, reviewers, and reader can approach the manuscript after understanding the situation and the background of the completed research.
Statement of human and animal rights
(1) Statement of human rights
When reporting experiments on human subjects, authors should indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national). If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the ethical standards, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach, and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study.
(2) Statement on the welfare of animals
The welfare of animals used for research must be respected. When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether the international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals have been followed, and that the studies have been approved by a research ethics committee at the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted (where such a committee exists). When reporting experiments on animals, authors should be asked to indicate whether the institutional and national guide for the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.
(3) An ethics statement should be included in the Materials and Methods section: Please see the “Information for Authors-Format”.
Statement of informed consent and institutional review board approval
Copies of written informed consents should be kept for studies on human subjects. For the clinical studies with human subjects, there should be a certificate, an agreement, or the approval by the IRB of the author’s affiliated institution. If necessary, the editor or reviewers may request copies of these documents to resolve questions about IRB approval and study conduct.
2. Obligation to Register Clinical Trial
A clinical trial, which is defined as “any research project that prospectively assigns human subjects to intervention and comparison groups to study the cause-and-effect relationship between a medical intervention and a health outcome,” must be registered with the primary registry prior to publication. WJMH accepts registration in any of the primary registries that participate in the WHO International Clinical Trials Portal (http://www.who.int/ictrp/en/), the NIH ClinicalTrials.gov (https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/), the ISRCTN Resister (http://www.isrctn.com), or the Clinical Research Information Service (https://cris.nih.go.kr/cris/index.jsp). The clinical trial registration number should be included in the Ethics Statement of the Material and Methods.
3. Authorship and Author’s Responsibilities
WJMH follows the recommendations for authorship by the ICMJE, 2018 (http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/). Authorship be based on the following 4 criteria: (1) Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND (2) Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND (3) Final approval of the version to be published; AND (4) 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.
In addition to being accountable for the parts of the work he or she has done, an author should be able to identify which coauthors are responsible for specific other parts of the work. In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their co-authors.
All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. Those who do not meet all four criteria should be acknowledged. These authorship criteria are intended to reserve the status of authorship for those who deserve credit and can take responsibility for the work. The criteria are not intended for use as a means to disqualify colleagues from authorship who otherwise meet authorship criteria by denying them the opportunity to meet criteria 2 or 3. Therefore, all individuals who meet the first criterion should have the opportunity to participate in the review, drafting, and final approval of the manuscript.
When a large multi-author group has conducted the work, the group ideally should decide who will be an author before the work is started and confirm who is an author before submitting the manuscript for publication. All members of the group named as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, including approval of the final manuscript, and they should be able to take public responsibility for the work and should have full confidence in the accuracy and integrity of the work of other group authors. They will also be expected as individuals to complete conflict-of-interest disclosure forms. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding author should specify the group name if one exists, and clearly identify the group members who can take credit and responsibility for the work as authors. Journals generally list other members of the group in the Acknowledgments.
Non-Author Contributors
Contributors who meet fewer than all 4 of the above criteria for authorship should not be listed as authors, but they should be acknowledged. Examples of activities that alone (without other contributions) do not qualify a contributor for authorship are acquisition of funding; general supervision of a research group or general administrative support; and writing assistance, technical editing, language editing, and proofreading.
4. Peer Reviews and Responsibilities for the Reviewers
Reviewers should judge a paper objectively and avoid bias toward the author or a result of the research. Reviewers should evaluate whether the contents of a paper are appropriate to the publication in WJMH.
Reviewers should have no conflict of interest, which includes financial and competitive relationships with the authors or their research.
When a relevant published work has not been cited, reviewers should point out it to the authors.
Once a review is processed, reviewers should keep secret the contents of a submitted paper. Except when the reviewer needs advice for evaluation of a paper, reviewers should not show the paper to others.
5. Editorial Responsibilities
Through a review process of a paper, editors have complete responsibility and authority to reject and accept an article. When the authorship in an article seems to have problems, the editorial board can ask for clarification of the role of each author.
Editors who have financial or competitive relationships with the authors or their research should not participate in the review process of the paper.
An article should be accepted only when its findings and significance are reasonably certain. In addition, editors must decide whether to accept an article based on its value to the field, not on personal points of view.
When errors are found in a published article, editors should immediately publish a correction or a retraction. The editorial board should retract any article that shows evidence of malpractices. Malpractices include fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, and duplicate publication.
Reviewers’ information related to an article should not be available to the authors or others except the editor in charge of the article.
6. Publication Ethics and Process to Manage the Research and Publication Misconduct
The editorial board should monitor and guard publication ethics for all papers submitted to WJMH. All manuscripts submitted to the WJMH may be screened, using the iThenticate tool (Similarity Check), for textual similarity to other previously published works. When a paper has a similarity index over 40% with another published paper, it can be rejected with no review process.
When malpractices are found in an article submitted to WJMH, WJMH will follow the flowchart by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE, http://publicationethics.org/resources/flowcharts) for settlement of any misconduct.
The editorial board of WJMH will discuss the suspected cases and reach a decision.
The editorial board of WJMH is always willing to publish corrections, errata, corrigenda, clarifications, retractions, and apologies when needed.
7. Originality and Duplicate Publication
All submitted manuscripts should be original and should not be in consideration by other scientific journals for publication. Any part of the accepted manuscript should not be duplicated in any other scientific journal without permission of the Editorial Board, although the figures and tables can be used freely if the original source is verified according to the Creative Commons Attribution License. It is mandatory for all authors to resolve any copyright issues when citing a figure or table from other journal that is not open access.
8. Secondary Publication
It is possible to republish manuscripts if the manuscripts satisfy the condition of secondary publication of the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals by International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), available from http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/. These are:
The authors have received approval from the editors of both journals (the editor concerned with the secondary publication must have access to the primary version).
The priority for the primary publication is respected by a publication interval negotiated by editors of both journals and the authors.
The paper for secondary publication is intended for a different group of readers; an abbreviated version could be sufficient.
The secondary version faithfully reflects the data and interpretations of the primary version.
The secondary version informs readers, peers, and documenting agencies that the paper has been published in whole or in part elsewhere—for example, with a note that might read, “This article is based on a study first reported in the [journal title, with full reference]”—and the secondary version cites the primary reference.
The title of the secondary publication should indicate that it is a secondary publication (complete or abridged republication or translation) of a primary publication. Of note, the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) does not consider translations as “republications” and does not cite or index them when the original article was published in a journal that is indexed in MEDLINE.