The journal has adopted clear and rigorous ethical guidelines for best working practices. It follows guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and abides by its Code of Conduct in dealing with potential cases of misconduct. It adheres to the principles outlined below, which have been devised to ensure accurate, trustworthy, transparent and efficient publication of scientific papers.
Policies, Principles and Ethical Guidelines
- Declaration of Authorship
- Conflicts of Interest
- Duplicate Publication
- Data Fabrication and Data Falsification
- Research on Animals or Human volunteers
Declaration of Authorship
All persons designated as authors should have participated sufficiently in the work and should have made a substantial, direct, and intellectual contribution to the work. Journal of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology believes that the authorship is justified when the following criteria are fulfilled:
- All authors should contribute to conception, design, analysis and/or interpretation of the data
- All authors should participate in drafting the article and revising it critically for important intellectual content
- All authors must approve the final version of the manuscript that is to be published.
- All authors must take public responsibility for the work and must ensure that they would respond to the questions regarding accuracy and integrity of the work.
Contributors who do not meet all four of the above authorship criteria should be acknowledged by listing them in the Acknowledgments and Disclosures section. Acquisition of funding, general supervision of the research group, provision of technical services, collection of data, writing assistance, language editing, proofreading etc., are not in themselves sufficient contributions to justify authorship. Journal of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology does not accept honorary or guest authorship.
One author should take primary responsibility for the work as a whole and this primary author or corresponding author should assure that all authors meet basic standards for authorship. It is not the role of journal editors to determine who qualifies or disqualifies for authorship. To conform to the good editorial practice, the journal requires the corresponding author to sign ‘License to Publish Form’ which confirms that all authors consent to take public responsibility for the content of the paper and that consent from patients has been obtained.
After manuscript submission or publication, if authors request to remove or add an author, they should give an explanation to the Journal editor and submit a signed statement of agreement for the requested change from all listed authors and from the author to be removed or added. If manuscript is authored by a group, name of the group can be mentioned instead of author names. Members of the group will be designated as collaborators instead of authors.
Conflicts of Interest
Journal of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology requires all authors, editors, members and reviewers to disclose any conflicts of interest that may be inherent in the submissions. Financial relationships, personal relationships, academic relationship, intellectual passion, etc., are usually considered to be the most important conflicts of interest. Such arrangements must be disclosed where there is any risk of a perception of compromise. The policy of the journal is that the judgment or decision taken on submitted manuscript should not be compromised or affected by any conflict of interest. The corresponding author must ensure that all authors have been asked to disclose any conflict of interest. Reviewers must disqualify themselves from reviewing the specific manuscript if they believe that they are involved in any conflict of interest. If a potential bias exists, editors and editorial staff should withdraw themselves from handling the paper.
When a conflict of interest is disclosed either by the author or editor, a footnote describing the conflict must be included with the published article. All sources of funding must be disclosed at the end of the main text under a separate heading ‘Funding’. Authors, referees, or editors who have deliberately or recklessly failed to disclose conflicts of interest may receive sanctions, including being banned from publishing in Journal of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology for a period of time.
Journal of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology considers plagiarism as a serious scientific misconduct and a breach of journalistic ethics.
- Plagiarism is the unreferenced use of other’s published and unpublished ideas, thoughts (or other intellectual property) without their permission or acknowledgment and/or the representation of them as one's own original work.
- Reusage of text from his or her own published work without providing the appropriate references is duplicate publication or self-plagiarism.
- Republication of an unattributed translation of another person’s work is also plagiarism.
- Usage of other’s images without inserting appropriate acknowledgments or without seeking permission for republication from copyright holder of the image is also considered as plagiarism
Journal of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology verifies the originality of submitted manuscripts through plagiarism software. If a large amount of text is found to be plagiarized, then the manuscript is subject to rejection. But in case of minor plagiarism where author makes unattributed usage of few phrases of standard methods description or parts of introduction from a previously published paper, the editor contacts author and raises concerns regarding the plagiarized material. The decision regarding rejection or consideration of an article would be made after receiving the article with proper attributions and corrections.
If plagiarism is found after publication, the journal conducts required investigation and contacts author for any minor corrections. If major plagiarism is found in the published article, the journal retracts the paper and informs the same to all authors and/or author’s institution and/or funding agencies. The Plagiarism is a serious ethical offense and is subject to sanctions like penalties, suspension, and even expulsion.
Duplicate publication is the publication of the same intellectual material or substantially similar paper in more than one journal without acknowledging the source and without obtaining the permission of the original copyright holder. Any manuscript submitted to Journal of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology must be original and must not undergo simultaneous publication i.e., it must not be under consideration by any other journal. The journal does not accept the paper in which there are superfluous differences such as a new title or a modified abstract, with the data set and findings remaining same between the original and the second paper.
Both duplicate publication and simultaneous publication are considered as violations of authorial integrity and publication ethics. These practices are serious violations of copyright laws. The copyright for the paper lies with the author and not with the journal, but authors do not have the right to republish the paper. Even though authors pay publication fee, this practice leads to the waste of the most important resources in academic and scientific publishing, i.e., the time and work of the referees and the editors, as two (or more) journals would spend time and money on carrying out the same production tasks.
Any potentially overlapping publications should be cited. Authors must upload the copies of related files as additional files along with the submission of manuscript. The editor of the journal makes the judgment on the amount of overlap. If duplicate publication is found, the editor may return the paper without review, announce the duplication publicly in an editorial, ban the author from submitting articles in this journal, and/or contact the authors’ employers/academic institution.
If the author wishes to submit a paper that is “under consideration” in one journal, to another journal, then the author must:
- Get written consent from co-authors.
- Inform the first journal editor that you are willing to withdraw your paper.
- Get a formal notification from the first journal editor that your paper has been withdrawn from consideration.
- Enclose the copy of notification along with the submission of manuscript to the second journal.
Exceptional case: Multiple submissions may be allowed when all the editors of the 2 (or more) journals agree to simultaneously or jointly publish the paper. Editors should include a statement making the simultaneous publication clear to readers.
Data Fabrication and Data Falsification
Data fabrication is the practice of inventing data or results, making up the data and recording and/or reporting them in the research record. Data falsification is the manipulation of research data with the intention of giving a false impression. These include modifying images, omitting conflicting data or inconvenient results, changing, adding or removing data points, selective reporting of research findings etc. Journal of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology is strictly against data fabrication and data manipulation. They represent serious issues in scientific ethics, diluting and undermining the integrity of scientific literature. Both these schemes challenge the credibility of everyone and everything involved in a research effort. They lead others to erroneous conclusions that may have adverse consequences for patients in clinical research and clinical practice. It could waste other researcher’s time, effort, resources and energies attempting to replicate or build on the data presented in a falsified paper.
With regard to images, the Journal of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology accepts the improvement of images for better readability such as adjusting the contrast and/or brightness or color balance but only when the usage of the images are properly acknowledged to the author of the original image. The technical manipulation of the image such as removing or adding new elements into the image, is considered as data fabrication and the journal does not accept such image manipulations.
If data fabrication or data falsification is found, the editor may return the paper without review, announces the issue publicly in an editorial, bans the author from submitting articles in this journal, and/or contact the authors’ employers/academic institution.
Journal of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology keeps all details of a submitted manuscript confidential and do not comment or publicize about manuscripts while they are under consideration or when they are rejected. The editors and reviewers themselves are not allowed to discuss or reveal the data of the manuscripts and any associated supplementary material before its publication. They are not allowed to use knowledge that they have gained from an unpublished article to further their own interests. However, they are free to discuss the data once the article is published. The comments and feedback of the reviewers will not be published and the identity of the reviewers will remain anonymous.
Reviewers are not permitted to share the manuscript with lab members as a whole or with colleagues outside of the lab for reviewing purposes. If the reviewer wishes to review an article along with a junior member of their laboratory, the reviewer must get approval from the editor. The junior member must be named as a co-reviewer and the same rules of confidentiality and publishing ethics will be applied to the co-reviewer.
Authors are encouraged to present and discuss the material submitted to the Journal of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology at scientific conferences and are free to publish abstracts in conference proceedings. But authors must decline to discuss the data present in the manuscript with members of the media.
Research on Animals or Human volunteers
Experiments involving human volunteers or animals must have been approved by the Ethical Committee of the institution within which the work was performed. Physicians should take into consideration the national and international ethical, legal and regulatory norms and standards for research on humans and animals. In the case of use of laboratory animals, technicians/authors must confirm that all national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals have been followed and approval has been obtained from the responsible authorities. By submitting the article to the journal, the authors assure that, the animals are treated humanely and the procedures used in the study are in such a way that experimental animals did not suffer unnecessarily. Statements regarding the approval given by the appropriate ethics commission and informed consent given by participating patients should already be mentioned at the time of submission of the manuscript.
Journal of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology is committed to high ethical standards and transparent publication practices. The journal remains open and transparent in the entire processing of manuscript, including peer-reviewed publication, ensuring fast, fair and informed editorial decisions with full accountability. The Enhanced editorial screening procedures of this journal remain as a hallmark of reliable scientific process and ensure transparency, reproducibility, and accountability in the scientific publication. The editorial board comprises of members who are recognized experts in the subject areas included within the journal’s scope. Names and affiliations of journal’s editors are available on the journal’s website. The author’s fee is negotiable based on the classification of countries given by the world bank and the ability to pay does not influence editorial decisions. The journal clearly indicates the periodicity of publication. The data of the manuscript is made available in both human-readable format and machine-readable format.
The journal has clear policies on handling plagiarism, duplicate publication, data fabrication and potential conflicts of interest of editors, authors, and reviewers. In no case, the journal encourages such misconduct and takes necessary steps to prevent it.