The ESRF Research Journal for Undergraduate Medical Students (RJUMS) holds moral values and ethics in high regard. In accordance with this, authors are expected to maintain high standards of ethical considerations when submitting an article. Our ethical guidelines are provided here. Please go through the same. However, it has been noted that despite this, there may be discrepancies and/or misconduct reported from time to time. Deception may be deliberate, by reckless disregard of possible consequences, or by ignorance. In accordance with WAME guidelines and COPE case reports, the misconduct/malpractice can be classified under the following:

  • Falsification of data: ranges from fabrication to deceptive selective reporting of findings and omission of conflicting data, or willful suppression and/or distortion of data.
  • Plagiarism: The appropriation of the language, ideas, or thoughts of another without crediting their true source, and representation of them as one's own original work.
  • Improprieties of authorship: Improper assignment of credit, such as excluding others, misrepresentation of the same material as original in more than one publication, inclusion of individuals as authors who have not made a definite contribution to the work published; or submission of multi-authored publications without the concurrence of all authors.
  • Misappropriation of the ideas of others: an important aspect of scholarly activity is the exchange of ideas among colleagues. Scholars can acquire novel ideas from others during the process of reviewing grant applications and manuscripts. However, improper use of such information can constitute fraud. Wholesale appropriation of such material constitutes misconduct.
  • Violation of generally accepted research practices: Serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing or carrying out research, improper manipulation of experiments to obtain biased results, deceptive statistical or analytical manipulations, or improper reporting of results.
  • Material failure to comply with legislative and regulatory requirements affecting research: Including but not limited to serious or substantial, repeated, willful violations of applicable local regulations and law involving the use of funds, care of animals, human subjects, investigational drugs, recombinant products, new devices, or radioactive, biologic, or chemical materials.
  • Inappropriate behavior in relation to misconduct: this includes unfounded or knowingly false accusations of misconduct, failure to report known or suspected misconduct, withholding or destruction of information relevant to a claim of misconduct, and retaliation against persons involved in the allegation or investigation.
  • Unresponsive authorship: Includes deliberate/ignorant non-correspondence (beyond reasonable time frame) after review completion, for final corrections/proofreadings, thereby delaying the acceptance process of an article.
  • Simultaneous submission without aiming at duplicate publication: includes simultaneous submission of the same article in another journal, while the review process is undergoing in this Journal. A submission in another Journal can only be undertaken after formal withdrawal of the article from this journal prior to acceptance. If at any point, an article is found to be under review/submitted for review in another Journal, the concerned author(s) will be charged for malpractice.
  • Withdrawal of paper at proof stage: includes the request to withdraw article with/without submission in another journal beyond the stage of Review. Click here to see how to withdraw article prior to Review.

In addition to the above, RJUMS strongly disregards deliberate misrepresentation of qualifications, experience, or research accomplishments to advance the research program, obtain external funding, or for other professional advancements.

How we Handle Author Misconduct/Malpractice

 Journals do not have the resources or authority to conduct a formal judicial inquiry or arrive at a formal conclusion regarding misconduct. Any allegation of Misconduct/Malpractice is handled exclusively by the Editorial Board, in correspondence with the Eureka Scientech Research Foundation, and not by any single person. Following the receipt of the complaint, the Editorial Board may convene at the earnest, or take up the case at its next pre-publication meeting, depending on the severity of the case. The allegation hearing may be presided over by the Editor-in-Chief, or the Senior most Member present. Initial fact-finding will usually include a request to all the involved parties to state their case and explain the circumstances, in writing. In questions of research misconduct centering on methods or technical issues, the Editor-In-Chief may confidentially consult experts who are blinded to the identity of the individuals. During the process, the peer review and publication process for the manuscript in question will be halted while the process above is carried out. The investigation described above will be completed even if the authors withdraw their paper, and the responses below will still be considered.

Journals have an obligation to readers and patients to ensure that their published research is both accurate and adheres to the highest ethical standard. Therefore, if the Editorial Board concludes there is a reasonable possibility of misconduct, responses should be undertaken, chosen in accordance with the apparent magnitude of the misconduct, as per US Office of Research Integrity guidelines.

Malpractice by Peer Reviewers/Editors

As per the COPE case studies and WAME guidelines, Malpractice by Peer Reviewers/Editors can be of the following categories(non exhaustive):

  • Sharing of manuscript/author information: includes copying/re-formatting/distribution of an Author’s copyrighted manuscript by reviewers/editors, before publication, by any means (electronic, physical or verbal), including Social Media.
  • Sharing of Identification: includes self-identification to authors thereby compromising on the validity of Double Blinded Peer Review.
  • Personal/Professional Requests: includes but not limited to citations of their own papers as “suggestions” by reviewers or editors.
  • Manipulation during Peer Review: includes deliberate attempt to find author’s identity and leverage it for personal/professional gains, colluding to pass on review for acceptance, failing to abide by the standards and objective reviewer guidelines laid out by the Journal.
  • Bribery: includes, monetary and/or physical nexus in exchange for acceptance/rejection of papers. This is an extremely serious offence, and will be dealt as a severe case.
  • Misappropriation of Ideas: using an author’s manuscript wholly or partially in an editor/reviewer’s manuscript constitutes cheating, and is subject to Copyright Fraud, and carries legal consequences, in addition to Journal’s own ethical policies.

How we Handle Misconduct by Editors/Reviewers.

Any allegation of misconduct is first inspected by the Editor-in-Chief, in consultation with the Editorial Board. Following preliminary enquiry, the Editor in question is asked to draft in writing the possible reason/circumstances leading to the alleged misconduct. In case the allegation is brought about against the Editor-in-Chief, the Highest member of the board shall preside over the Meetings of the Editorial Board.

In case the Malpractice allegation is discovered during Review, the following flowchart as per COPE shall be followed:

In case of Malpractice allegation is discovered after Review of the concerned article, the following flowchart as per COPE is to be followed: