Ethical Statement

Editor’s Responsibilities

The Editor of a research journal should be responsible for:

  • Establishing and maintaining 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.

Fair play and Impartiality

The criteria for the selection of research papers must be impartial and the Editor should select academically and scientifically sound articles,

Ethical Guidelines for the Author(s)

The  following  ethical  guidelines  are  obligatory  for  all  author(s)  violation  of  which  may  result  in application    of    penalties    by    the    editor,    including    but    not    limited    to    the    suspension    or revocation of publishing privileges.

Reporting Standards

  • 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    statements    constitute    unethical    behavior    and    are unacceptable.

Originality and Plagiarism

  • 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 have been used.
  • Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is not acceptable.
  • Material quoted   verbatim   from   the   author(s)'   previously   published   work   or   other   sources must be placed in quotation marks.
  • As per    HEC’s    policy,    in    case    the    manuscript    has    a    similarity    index    of    more than 19%, it will either be rejected or left at the discretion of the Editorial Board for the purposes of a conditional acceptance.

Declaration

  • Authors are   required   to   provide   an   undertaking   /   declaration   stating   that   the   manuscript under  consideration  contains  solely  their  original  work  that  is  not  under  consideration  for publishing in any other journal in any form.
  • Authors may  submit  a  manuscript  previously  published  in  abstracted  form,  for  g.  in the proceedings    of    an    annual    meeting,    or    in    a    periodical    with    limited    circulation    and availability such as reports by the Government agencies or a University.
  • A manuscript   that   is   co-authored   must   be   accompanied   by   an   undertaking   explicitly stating   that   each   author   has   contributed   substantially   towards   the   preparation   of   the manuscript in order to claim right to authorship.
  • It is  the  responsibility  of  the  corresponding  author  that  s/he  has  ensured  that  all  those  who have   substantially   contributed   in   the   manuscripts   have   been   included   in   the   author   list and they have agreed to the order of authorship.

Multiple, Redundant and Current Publication

  • Authors should   not   submit   manuscripts   describing   essentially   the   same   research   to   more than  one  journal  or  publication  except  if  is  a  re-submission  of  a  rejected  or  withdrawn manuscript.
  • Authors may   re-publish   previously   conducted   research   that   has   been   substantially   altered or corrected using more meticulous analysis or by adding more data.
  • The authors   and   editor   must   agree   to   the   secondary   publication,   which   must   cite   the primary references and reflect the same data and interpretation of the primary document.
  • Concurrent submission   of   the   same   manuscript   to   more   than   one   journal   is   unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable.

Acknowledgment of Sources

  • A paper  must  always  contain  proper  acknowledgment  of  the  work  of  others,  including clear   indications   of   the   sources   of   all   information   quoted   or   offered,   except   what is common knowledge.
  • The 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 the acknowledgement).
  • It is  duty  of  the  author(s)  to  conduct  a  literature  review  and  properly  cite  the  original publications that describe closely related work.

Authorship Credit

  • 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  the  name(s)  of  only  those  co- authors 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. Others who have participated in certain substantive aspect of the research should be acknowledged for their contribution in an "Acknowledgement" section.

Privacy of Participants

  • Authors must   respect   the   privacy   of   the   participant   of   research   and   must   not   use   any information obtained from them without their informed consent.
  • Authors should   ensure   that   only   information   that   improves   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  case  of  the  demise  of  a  participant,  consent  must  be  obtained  from  the  family  of the deceased.

Data Access and Retention

  • If any  question  arises  about  the  accuracy  or  validity  of  the  research  work  during  the  review process, the author(s) should provide raw data to the Editor.

Images

  • The author(s)  should  ensure  that  images  included  in  an  account  of  research  performed  or in the data collection as part of the research are free from manipulation,
  • The author(s)  must  provide  an  accurate  description  of  how  the  images  were  generated  and produced.

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.
  • The 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 various stages of the research.

Copyright

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.

Manuscript Acceptance and Rejection

  • The review  period  can  last  between  1-2  months  or  longer  and  during  this  period  the  author(s) reserve the right to contact the Editor to ask about status of the review.
  • Once the  review  process  has  been  completed,  the  author  will  be  informed  about  the  status of   the   manuscript   which   could   either   be   an   acceptance,   rejection   or      In   the case of rejection, the author(s) reserves the right to publish the article elsewhere.
  • In case  of  revisions,  the  author(s)  must  provide  an  exposition  of  all  corrections  made  in  the manuscript  and  the  revised  manuscript  should,  then,  go  through  the  process  of  affirmation  of revisions and be accepted or rejected accordingly.
  • In case of dissatisfaction over the decision of rejection, the author can appeal the decision by contacting the Editor.

Ethical Guidelines for the Reviewers

Review  of  the  manuscript  by  reviewers  is  not  only  an  essential  component  of  formal  scholarly engagement, but is also a fundamental step in the publication process as it aids Editor in the editorial decision making. It also allows author(s) improve their manuscript through editorial communications. Scholars accepting to review a research paper have an ethical responsibility to   complete this assignment professionally. The quality, credibility and   reputation of a journal also depend on the peer review process. The peer review process depends on the trust, and demands that a reviewer is supposed to fulfill ethically. These professionals are the momentum arm of the review process, but they may be performing this job without any formal training. As a consequence, they may be (especially young professionals) unaware of their ethical obligations.

Suitability and Promptness

The 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 for a review report, and
  • Not   unnecessarily   delay   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).

Standards of Objectivity

  • The   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,
  • The reviewer may justifiably criticize a manuscript but it would be inappropriate to resort to personal criticism on the author(s), and
  • The  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 bias.

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 confidential and the reviewer shall not be allowed to use if for his/her personal study,
  • A   reviewer   must   declare   any   potentially   conflicting   interests   (e.g.   Personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious).  In such situation, s/he will be required to follow the journal's policies.
  • A reviewer should be honest enough to declare conflicts of interest, if, the research paper under review is the same as 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 the situation.

Confidentiality

  • Reviewers  should  consider  the  research  paper  as  a  confidential  document  and must  not  discuss its   content   on   any   platform   except   in   cases   where   professional   advice   is   being   sought with the authorization of the Editor, and
  • Reviewers   are   professionally   and   ethically   bound   not   to   disclose   the   details   of   any research paper prior to its publication without the prior approval of the Editor.

Ethical Considerations

  • If the reviewer suspects that the research paper is almost the same as someone else's work, s/he will ethically inform the Editor and provide its citation as a reference.
  • If the reviewer suspects that results in the research paper to be untrue/unrealistic/fake, s/he will share it with the Editor,
  • If there has been an indication of  violating 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 is based on any previous research study or is replica of an earlier work, or the work is plagiarized for e.g. the author has not acknowledged/referenced others' work appropriately, then this should be brought in the Editor's knowledge.

Originality

For evaluating originality, the reviewers should consider the following elements:

  • Does the research paper add to existing knowledge?
  • Are the research questions and/or hypotheses in line with the objective of the research work?

Structure

If the layout and format of the paper is not according to the prescribed version, the reviewers should discuss it with the Editor or should include this observation in their review report. On the other hand, if the research paper is exceptionally well written, the reviewer may overlook the formatting issues. At other times, the reviewers may suggest restructuring the paper before publication. The following elements should be carefully evaluated:

  • If there is serious problem of language or expression and the reviewer gets the impression that the research paper does not fulfill linguistic requirements and readers would face    difficulties reading and comprehending the paper. The reviewer should record this deficiency in his/her report and suggest the editor to make its proper editing. Such a situation may arise when the author(s)’ native language is not English.
  • Whether the  data  presented  in  the  paper  is  original  or  reproduced  from  previously conducted or published work. The papers which reflect originality should be given preference for publication.
  • The clarity of illustrations including photographs, models, charts, images and figures is essential to note. If there is duplication then it should be reported in the review report. Similarly, descriptions provided in the “Results” section should correspond with   the   data presented in tables/figures, if not then it should be clearly listed in the review report.
  • Critically review the statistical analysis of the data. Also check the rational and appropriateness of the specific analysis.
  • The reviewers  should  read  the “Methodology”  section  in  detail  and  make  sure  that the author(s)   has   demonstrated the understanding of   the   procedures   being   used   and presented in the manuscript.
  • The relationship between “Data, Findings and Discussion” requires a thorough evaluation thoroughly. Unnecessary conjecture or unfounded   conclusions   that   are   not   based on the presented data are not acceptable.
  • Further questions to be addressed are whether: the organization of the research paper is appropriate or deviates from the standard or prescribed format?
  • Does the  author(s)  follow  the  guidelines  prescribed  by  the  journal  for  preparation and submission of the manuscript?
  • Is the research paper free from typographical errors?

Review Report

  • The reviewer must explicitly write his/her observations in the section of 'comments' because author(s) will only have access to the comments reviewers have made,
  • For writing a review report, the reviewers are requested to complete a prescribed form.
  • 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 the reviewer's final decision and inferences drawn from a full review.
  • Any personal comments on author(s) should be avoided and final remarks should be written in a courteous and positive manner,
  • Indicating any deficiencies is important. For the understanding of the Editor and author(s), the reviewers should highlight these deficiencies in some detail with specificity. This should help justify the comments made by the reviewer,
  • When a reviewer makes a decision regarding the research paper, it should be clearly indicated as
  • 'Reject', 'Accept without revision', or 'Need Revision' and either of the decisions should have justification.
  • 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    The  editor will  surely  consider  reviewer's  comments  and  have  a  right  to  send  the  paper  for  another opinion or send it back to the author(s) for revision before making the final decision.