Ethical Standards

The Mesopotamian Journal of Computer Science (MJCSC), a premier publication of the Mesopotamian Academic Press and proudly organized by Imam Ja'afar Al-Sadiq University, is committed to upholding the highest standards of publication ethics. This commitment is rooted in the recognition that ethical practices in publishing are the foundation of scholarly discourse and scientific progress. Our publication ethics are designed to ensure the integrity of the scholarly record, foster trust among all stakeholders in the academic community, including authors, reviewers, editors, and readers, and safeguard the reputation of authors and the journal itself.

The ethical guidelines of MJCSC are informed by and adhere to the principles set forth by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). These guidelines are tailored to address the unique challenges and responsibilities of all parties involved in the dissemination of research in computer science and related fields.

By submitting an article to MJCSC, authors affirm their understanding of and agreement with the journal's policies, guaranteeing that their work complies with these ethical standards. Similarly, reviewers and editors of MJCSC pledge to uphold these principles in their evaluation and handling of manuscripts, ensuring fairness, confidentiality, and integrity throughout the publication process.

MJCSC's dedication to ethical standards is unwavering, recognizing that the collective adherence to these guidelines is essential for advancing knowledge, encouraging innovation, and maintaining the trust and respect of the global scientific community. Through this commitment, the Mesopotamian Journal of Computer Science, under the auspices of the Mesopotamian Academic Press and Imam Ja'afar Al-Sadiq University, aspires to be a beacon of ethical, rigorous, and impactful scientific communication.

Diversity and Inclusivity in Scholarly Publishing

The Mesopotamian Journal of Computer Science (MJCSC) is committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusivity in all aspects of its publishing activities. Recognizing the value of diverse perspectives in advancing scientific knowledge, MJCSC endeavors to create an inclusive environment where all individuals, regardless of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, geographical location, or socioeconomic status, have equal opportunity to contribute to and benefit from scholarly publishing.


  • Equitable Participation: MJCSC encourages submissions from a broad range of authors, including those from underrepresented groups and regions, to ensure a rich diversity of voices and perspectives in the published content.
  • Inclusive Peer Review: The journal seeks to involve reviewers and editorial board members from diverse backgrounds, promoting an inclusive review process that respects and values different viewpoints and expertise.
  • Bias Mitigation: MJCSC is dedicated to implementing practices that identify and mitigate bias in the editorial process, from manuscript submission to peer review and decision-making, ensuring fairness and equity for all participants.
  • Accessibility: The journal commits to making its content accessible to a wide audience, including the implementation of practices that enhance the readability and usability of published research for individuals with disabilities.
  • Education and Training: MJCSC will provide its editors, reviewers, and staff with training and resources to understand the importance of diversity and inclusivity and to cultivate an environment that supports these values.


To uphold these principles, MJCSC will:

  1. Regularly review and update its policies and practices to enhance diversity and inclusivity.
  2. Monitor and report on the diversity of its authors, reviewers, and editorial board members, setting specific goals for improvement.
  3. Encourage authors to consider diversity in their research design, analysis, and interpretation of results, acknowledging the potential impact of their work on various communities.
  4. Provide guidelines for authors, reviewers, and editors on recognizing and addressing implicit biases.
  5. Foster collaborations with organizations and initiatives aimed at increasing participation and representation in scientific research and publishing.

Ethical Considerations in Research

Human and Animal Research: All submissions to MJCSC detailing research that involves human participants, human tissues, or human data must include a statement confirming that such research has been conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. This includes obtaining approval from an authorized ethical committee and ensuring informed consent from all participants. Similarly, research involving animals must adhere to international standards and ethical guidelines, ensuring humane treatment and ethical consideration.

Ethical Approval and Informed Consent: Authors must provide the name of the ethics committee or institutional review board that approved the study, along with the approved reference number/ID. A clear statement affirming that participants provided informed consent before their participation is also required. MJCSC reserves the right to seek additional editorial inquiries from reviewers concerning the ethical implications of any study, ensuring that all research we publish meets our ethical expectations.

Responsibility to Investigate Allegations: In cases where allegations of publishing misconduct arise, MJCSC is committed to conducting thorough investigations, potentially involving authors' institutions, funders, or regulatory bodies. Our dedication to ethical scrutiny extends both before and after publication, with procedures in place to address any substantiated evidence of misconduct. This may include the publication of a retraction or correction, as deemed necessary, to maintain the integrity of the scientific record.

Retrospective Ethical Clearance: MJCSC emphasizes that ethical clearance should be obtained prior to the commencement of research. It is generally not possible to gain retrospective ethical clearance, and submissions lacking prior ethical approval may not be considered for peer review. The decision to proceed with such submissions rests at the discretion of the journal's editors, who assess the ethical soundness of each study.

Conflict of Interest: All authors are required to disclose any conflicts of interest that could potentially influence the peer review, presentation, editorial decision-making, or publication of their manuscripts. Conflicts of interest may be financial, personal, or professional and must be openly declared to ensure transparency and maintain trust in the research process.

Through these guidelines, MJCSC aims to foster a culture of ethical research and publishing, ensuring that all contributions to the scientific community are conducted responsibly and with the highest standards of ethical consideration.

Author Responsibilities

Authors play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and quality of scholarly publications. As contributors to the scientific community, authors are expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards in their conduct and reporting. The following guidelines outline the key responsibilities of authors engaged in the publication process:

Originality and Plagiarism: Authors must ensure their submissions are entirely original works. Any use of the work and words of others must be appropriately cited or quoted. Plagiarism in any form is unacceptable and is subject to stringent measures against it.

Data Access and Retention: Authors should be prepared to provide access to their raw data in connection with their paper for review by the editors and should also retain such data for a reasonable time after publication to facilitate further inquiry.

Multiple, Redundant, or Concurrent Publication: Publishing multiple manuscripts detailing the same research across different journals or primary publications is unethical. Concurrent submissions of the same manuscript to different journals are not permitted.

Acknowledgment of Sources: Authors must acknowledge all sources of data used in their research and cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work.

Authorship of the Paper: Authorship should be limited to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. Anyone who has made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors.

Disclosure and Conflicts of Interest: Any potential conflict of interest must be disclosed at the earliest stage possible. This includes any financial, personal, or professional relationships that might influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. Financial support for the project should also be disclosed.

Fundamental Errors in Published Works: If an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in their published work, it is their responsibility to promptly inform the editors or publisher and collaborate with them to correct or retract the paper as necessary.

Use of AI Technologies: The use of artificial intelligence and AI-assisted technologies in research and manuscript preparation must be clearly disclosed. Authors are responsible for ensuring the ethical use of such technologies and for maintaining the integrity of their contributions.

Adherence to these responsibilities ensures the transparency, reliability, and ethical integrity of the publication process, fostering trust and respect within the academic community and with the public at large.

Reviewer Responsibilities

Reviewers play a pivotal role in the scholarly publication process by ensuring the integrity, quality, and transparency of research dissemination. Their responsibilities, grounded in ethical principles, contribute significantly to the decision-making process of editors and the improvement of the manuscripts they review. The following outlines the key responsibilities of reviewers:

Contribution to Editorial Decisions: Reviewers assist editors in making editorial decisions and, through constructive feedback, help authors enhance the quality of their manuscripts. Their insights and assessment must be objective and aimed at facilitating scientific discourse.

Promptness: If a selected reviewer feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that prompt review will be impossible, they should notify the editor and excuse themselves from the review process.

Confidentiality: Manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor overseeing the review process.

Objectivity: Review must be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Reviewers should express their views clearly with supporting arguments that help authors improve their work.

Acknowledgment of Sources: Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also alert the editor to any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.

Disclosure and Conflict of Interest: Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer’s own research without the express written consent of the author. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.

Standards of Objectivity: Comments and recommendations should be formulated clearly and supported by arguments to help authors improve their manuscript. Reviewers should refrain from making derogatory comments.

Detection of Ethical Issues: A reviewer should be alert to potential ethical issues in the manuscript and should bring these to the attention of the editor, including any substantial similarity or overlap with any other manuscript they are aware of.

By fulfilling these responsibilities, reviewers uphold the quality and integrity of the publication process, contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge and ethical scholarship.

Editorial Responsibilities

Editors hold a key position in maintaining the ethical standards of the publication process, ensuring the integrity and quality of scholarly work. Their responsibilities are critical to the advancement of scientific knowledge and uphold the trust of the academic community and the public. The following outlines the essential duties of editors:

Fair Play and Independence: Editors evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors. Decisions to edit and publish are not influenced by the policies of governments or other agencies outside of the journal itself.

Confidentiality: Editors and editorial staff must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, and the publisher, as appropriate.

Disclosure and Conflicts of Interest: Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in an editor's own research without the express written consent of the author. Editors should recuse themselves from considering manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the submission.

Decision-Making and Peer Review: Editors are responsible for deciding which of the manuscripts submitted to the journal should be published, based on the validation of the work in question, its importance to researchers and readers, and the reviewers’ comments. Furthermore, editors should ensure that the peer review process is fair, unbiased, and timely.

Guidance for Authors and Reviewers: Editors should provide clear guidelines to authors for the preparation and submission of manuscripts and ensure that reviewers are aware of their responsibilities and standards of expected ethical behavior. They should also ensure that peer reviewers' identities are protected.

Monitoring Ethical Standards: Editors should regularly monitor the ethical standards of their journals and work to improve them as necessary. This includes developing and updating guidelines for ethical publishing and investigating allegations of unethical conduct.

Engagement with the Academic Community: Editors should seek feedback from authors, reviewers, and readers for the improvement of the journal’s processes and should encourage responsible conduct of research and publishing ethics among authors and reviewers.

Responsibility for Retractions, Corrections, and Expressions of Concern: Editors should take reasonably responsive measures when ethical concerns are raised with regard to a submitted manuscript or published paper, including issuing corrections, retractions, or expressions of concern as appropriate.

By diligently adhering to these responsibilities, editors not only enhance the quality and integrity of the publication process but also contribute to the preservation of the academic record and ensure that the process of publishing remains a reliable means of scientific communication.

Sanctions for Ethical Violations

Ensuring the integrity of the scholarly record necessitates clear policies and procedures for addressing ethical violations. When authors, reviewers, or editors fail to adhere to ethical guidelines, it undermines the trust in the academic publication process and the validity of scientific work. As part of the commitment to maintaining high ethical standards, the following sanctions may be applied in response to breaches of these guidelines:

Initial Assessment: Upon receiving allegations of unethical behavior, a preliminary assessment will be conducted to determine the validity of the claims. This assessment may involve direct communication with the parties involved and a review of the evidence.

Warning: In cases of minor breaches, a warning may be issued to the individual(s) involved, detailing the nature of the violation and reminding them of the publication's ethical standards.

Revision or Retraction of Work: For serious ethical violations related to a published work, such as plagiarism, fabrication of data, or duplications, the publication may retract the article or require a formal correction or retraction notice to be published, clarifying the nature of the ethical violation.

Suspension of Submission Privileges: Authors found to have committed serious ethical violations may be prohibited from submitting any new manuscripts to the journal for a period determined by the severity of the infraction.

Removal from Editorial or Reviewer Positions: Editors or reviewers who consistently fail to follow ethical guidelines, or who abuse their positions, may be removed from their roles within the journal.

Notification to Affiliated Institutions: In cases of severe ethical violations, the journal may contact the offender's affiliated institutions, funders, or regulatory bodies to inform them of the misconduct and the sanctions applied.

Ban on Future Submissions: Individuals found guilty of gross ethical misconduct may be permanently banned from submitting to the journal in the future.

Public Disclosure: Depending on the severity and nature of the ethical violation, the journal may opt to publicly disclose the details of the misconduct and the sanctions applied, ensuring transparency with the academic community and readership.

Sanctions are applied only after a thorough investigation and deliberation process, ensuring that all parties have an opportunity to respond to allegations of misconduct. The primary goal of these sanctions is not punitive but to maintain the integrity of the scholarly record, promote ethical conduct, and protect the trust of the academic community and the public in the research and publications produced.

Use of AI and AI-assisted Technologies in Scientific Writing

The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-assisted technologies presents both opportunities and challenges in the realm of scientific research and publication. While these technologies can enhance research processes, improve data analysis, and facilitate the writing of manuscripts, their use must be approached with caution to ensure the integrity and authenticity of scholarly work. The following principles guide the responsible use of AI and AI-assisted technologies in the submission of manuscripts:

Transparency: Authors must disclose the use of AI and AI-assisted technologies in their research and manuscript preparation. This includes detailing the extent of the technology's involvement in data analysis, literature review, hypothesis generation, and manuscript writing.

Authorship and Contribution: AI-generated contributions do not qualify for authorship. Authorship should be reserved for individuals who have made significant intellectual contributions to the work. The use of AI tools should be acknowledged appropriately in the manuscript, similar to other resources.

Responsibility and Accountability: Authors retain responsibility for the content of their manuscripts, including the integrity of data and the accuracy of results, even when AI technologies are employed. Authors must be able to explain the role of AI in their research and defend the validity of their findings.

Ethical Use and Compliance: The deployment of AI technologies in research must adhere to ethical guidelines governing the field of study. This includes respecting privacy, ensuring the confidentiality of data, and avoiding bias in AI algorithms that could influence research outcomes.

Verification and Reproducibility: Manuscripts that utilize AI and AI-assisted technologies should provide sufficient details to allow for the verification and reproducibility of the results. This includes sharing algorithms, models, and datasets, consistent with ethical standards and copyright laws.

Editorial Oversight: Editors may request additional information about the use of AI technologies in submitted manuscripts. Peer reviewers may also be tasked with specifically assessing the ethical deployment and impact of AI on the research findings.

The use of AI and AI-assisted technologies in scientific writing should augment, not replace, the intellectual contributions of human authors. By adhering to these guidelines, authors ensure that their use of AI tools upholds the principles of scientific integrity, transparency, and accountability, contributing positively to the advancement of knowledge within their respective fields.

Legal Compliance and Privacy Principles

In the ever-evolving landscape of scientific research and publication, adherence to legal standards and privacy principles is paramount. These guidelines are designed to protect the rights of individuals, ensure the integrity of research data, and comply with applicable laws and regulations. Authors, reviewers, and editors are expected to be aware of and comply with these principles throughout the publication process.

Compliance with Laws and Regulations: All research and publication activities must adhere to the relevant laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which they are conducted. This includes but is not limited to data protection laws, copyright laws, and regulations governing human and animal research.

Data Privacy and Confidentiality: The privacy and confidentiality of research participants must be safeguarded. Personal data should be anonymized whenever possible, and sensitive information must be handled with the utmost care, following all applicable data protection guidelines.

Informed Consent: For research involving human participants, obtaining informed consent is a critical requirement. Consent documents should clearly communicate the scope of the study, the use of data collected, and any potential risks or benefits to participants. The documentation of informed consent must be available for review by the editors if necessary.

Ethical Approval for Research: Research involving human participants, animals, or sensitive data must have received ethical approval from the appropriate institutional review boards or ethics committees. Authors should provide evidence of such approval upon submission of their manuscript and include details in the published work.

Intellectual Property Rights: Authors are responsible for ensuring that their work does not infringe on the intellectual property rights of others. This includes obtaining permissions for the use of copyrighted material and respecting patent rights.

Transparency in Funding and Conflicts of Interest: The sources of funding for research should be transparently disclosed in the manuscript. Any potential conflicts of interest, whether financial, personal, or otherwise, that could influence the research or interpretation of findings, must be clearly stated.

Protection of Research Participants: The welfare of research participants must always be a priority. Studies should be designed and conducted in a manner that minimizes risk and protects the dignity, rights, and well-being of participants.

Handling Sensitive Data: When dealing with sensitive or classified information, authors must ensure that their publication does not compromise security or privacy. The publication of such information should be in line with ethical considerations and legal restrictions.

One-time Publication Principle

The integrity of the academic record is foundational to the progress of scientific research and its dissemination. To uphold this integrity, the principle of one-time publication is essential. This principle ensures that manuscripts are submitted and published once, avoiding the pitfalls of duplicate publication that can dilute the novelty and impact of research findings. Authors, by adhering to this principle, contribute to a more transparent, efficient, and credible scholarly communication system.

Originality and Novelty: Manuscripts submitted for publication must represent original research not previously published or under consideration for publication elsewhere. This includes journal articles, conference papers, book chapters, and any other forms of primary publication.

Disclosure of Related Submissions: Authors must disclose any related submissions to other publications at the time of submission. This includes works in progress, submitted, accepted, or published elsewhere that are closely related to the manuscript under consideration.

Rationale for Concurrent Submissions: On rare occasions, there may be a valid reason for submitting closely related work to more than one publication simultaneously. In such cases, authors must provide a clear and compelling rationale for the concurrent submission, detailing how the submissions differ and why separate publications are warranted.

Avoiding Fragmentation of Research: Submitting multiple manuscripts based on a single research project or dataset, divided to increase the number of publications rather than for valid scientific reasons, is discouraged. Such practices can fragment the scientific record and make it difficult for readers to access the full context of the research.

Citations and References: If parts of the manuscript overlap with previously published work, authors must cite these works appropriately, providing context for the contribution of the new submission beyond the existing literature.

Responsibility for Compliance: Authors bear the primary responsibility for ensuring that their submissions comply with the one-time publication principle. They should carefully consider the novelty and originality of their work in the context of their broader research output.

Editorial Verification: Editors play a critical role in verifying the originality of submissions and their compliance with the one-time publication principle. Through the use of plagiarism detection software and careful review of authors' publication histories, editors help maintain the scholarly record's integrity.

Adherence to the one-time publication principle is a collective responsibility of authors, reviewers, and editors. By ensuring that each manuscript is published once and in the most appropriate venue, the academic community upholds the value and credibility of scientific research and its communication.

Confidentiality in Peer Review

The integrity, quality, and transparency of the research published depend significantly on the peer review process. Our journal employs a single-blind review system, wherein the identities of the reviewers are concealed from the authors throughout the review process. This confidentiality plays a pivotal role in ensuring that manuscripts are evaluated fairly and based on the content of their scholarship, free from any bias related to the author's identity, affiliations, or previous work. Upholding confidentiality within this framework is crucial for maintaining trust among authors, reviewers, editors, and the wider academic community.

Reviewer Confidentiality Obligations: Reviewers are obligated to treat the manuscripts they review and all associated communications as confidential. The sharing or discussion of any part of the manuscript with unauthorized parties is strictly prohibited unless explicit permission has been granted by the editor overseeing the manuscript's review.

Editorial Responsibility for Confidentiality: Editors bear the primary responsibility for protecting the confidentiality of the submission and review process. This includes safeguarding submitted materials, communications with reviewers, and any other information related to the manuscript under consideration. Only those directly involved in the editorial process have access to this information.

Anonymity in the Single-Blind Review Process: While the reviewers' identities are shielded from the authors, the converse is not true in a single-blind review system. Despite the authors' identities being known to the reviewers, it is imperative that this information does not influence the review's objectivity.

Usage of Submitted Materials: Under no circumstances may reviewers or editors use unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript for their own research without the explicit written consent of the author(s).

Addressing Breaches of Confidentiality: Any deliberate breach of the confidentiality guidelines by reviewers or editors is considered a serious ethical violation. Consequences may include removal from the journal's editorial or reviewer roster and, if necessary, further actions such as notification to the violator’s institution or professional bodies.

Protection of Intellectual Property: Ensuring confidentiality also serves to safeguard the authors' intellectual property until their work is officially published. This principle is fundamental to respecting and preserving the original contributions of authors to their field of study.

Communication and Decision-Making: While the identities of the reviewers are not disclosed to authors, editors may share reviewers' comments and recommendations with the authors to enhance their manuscript. All such communications must strictly adhere to the confidentiality rules established by our journal.

Conflict of Interest Declaration for Reviewers

In the peer review process, it's crucial to identify and manage any conflicts of interest (COI) that might affect the impartiality of the review. A conflict of interest occurs when personal relationships, financial interests, or other factors could compromise or appear to compromise a reviewer's objectivity. Reviewers play a critical role in maintaining the integrity of the scholarly publication process, and as such, they must approach their duties free from any bias or conflict.

Identification of Conflicts: Reviewers should assess their own potential conflicts of interest with respect to the manuscript they are asked to review. This includes any financial, academic, personal, or other relationships that might influence their evaluation of the manuscript.

Disclosure Requirement: Before accepting to review a manuscript, reviewers must disclose any potential conflicts of interest to the editors. This disclosure should include all relevant information that could question the reviewer's objectivity or which could be perceived as a potential source of bias.

Action Following Disclosure: Upon disclosure of a potential conflict of interest, editors will assess the nature of the conflict to determine whether the reviewer can provide an objective assessment. Depending on the circumstances, the editor may decide to:

  • Proceed with the review, if the conflict is deemed manageable or insignificant.
  • Assign the manuscript to another reviewer if the conflict could potentially bias the review process.

Confidentiality and COI: Even after disclosing a conflict of interest, reviewers are obliged to maintain confidentiality about the manuscript and the review process. The details of the conflict should not be disclosed to third parties without explicit permission from the editor.

Reviewer Recusal: If a reviewer recognizes a conflict of interest that could bias their review, they should recuse themselves from the review process. It is better to avoid participating in the review than to risk compromising the integrity of the evaluation.

Guidance for Reviewers: The journal provides guidance for reviewers on how to identify and disclose potential conflicts of interest. This guidance helps ensure that reviewers are aware of what constitutes a conflict and the importance of disclosure.

Ongoing Monitoring: Reviewers are encouraged to reassess their potential conflicts of interest throughout the review process and to report any new conflicts to the editor as soon as they arise.

Detailed Roles and Duties of Editorial Board Members

Editorial board members are instrumental in guiding the direction, integrity, and quality of a journal. Their roles extend beyond mere advisory capacities, embedding them deeply in the journal’s operational and ethical framework. The following outlines the comprehensive responsibilities and roles of editorial board members:

Upholding Journal Standards: Editorial board members are responsible for maintaining and enhancing the journal's quality, accuracy, and integrity. They play a crucial role in setting and upholding academic and ethical standards for publications.

Manuscript Evaluation: While not directly involved in the day-to-day review of manuscripts, board members may be called upon to provide expert evaluation for complex cases or when a conflict of interest is identified among regular reviewers. Their expertise ensures the high quality of accepted manuscripts.

Advisory Role: Board members advise on journal policy and scope. They may suggest improvements, identify topics for special issues, and recommend strategies to enhance the journal’s profile and impact within the scientific community.

Advocacy and Promotion: Members promote the journal to colleagues, at academic conferences, and through other venues to attract high-quality submissions and subscriptions. They serve as ambassadors of the journal, enhancing its reputation and reach.

Guest Editing: Often, board members take on the role of guest editors for special issues aligned with their areas of expertise. This includes managing the call for papers, overseeing the review process, and making decisions on submissions.

Ethics and Integrity: Editorial board members are key to enforcing the journal’s ethical guidelines, handling allegations of misconduct, and ensuring the integrity of the publication process. They support the editor-in-chief in maintaining the journal’s adherence to ethical standards.

Conflict Resolution: Board members may be involved in resolving disputes or conflicts related to manuscript submissions, authorship, reviews, and ethical concerns. Their expertise and impartiality help ensure fair and just outcomes.

Mentorship: Senior members of the editorial board may mentor new reviewers, editors, and board members, sharing insights into the peer review process, editorial decision-making, and the ethical responsibilities associated with scholarly publishing.

Engagement with the Academic Community: Board members may engage with the academic community through conferences, seminars, and workshops to gather feedback, understand community needs, and discuss the journal's direction and policies.

Continuous Improvement: They are involved in the continuous evaluation and improvement of the journal’s policies, workflows, and editorial practices, aiming to enhance the efficiency, fairness, and transparency of the publication process.

Editorial board members are pivotal to the scholarly publishing process, ensuring the journal not only maintains its course towards excellence but also adapts and evolves in response to new challenges and opportunities in the field of research. Their commitment to the journal’s mission and ethical standards exemplifies leadership in the academic community, contributing significantly to the advancement of knowledge.

Retrospective Ethical Clearance

In the realm of academic publishing, ensuring that all research involving humans, animals, or sensitive data adheres to the highest ethical standards is paramount. Retrospective ethical clearance—seeking approval for research after it has been conducted—is generally not recognized as a substitute for obtaining ethical approval prior to the commencement of research. This section outlines the importance of prospective ethical clearance and the implications for research that lacks prior ethical approval.

Prospective Ethical Approval: Authors are expected to obtain ethical approval from the appropriate institutional review boards or ethics committees before initiating research. This approval serves as a cornerstone of ethical research practices, ensuring that the study complies with international norms and protects the rights and well-being of participants.

Limitations of Retrospective Clearance: Retrospective ethical clearance is typically not acceptable because it undermines the proactive assessment of potential risks and ethical considerations integral to the research design. Studies conducted without prior ethical approval may face significant scrutiny, and their findings may be questioned for ethical rigor.

Submission and Publication Implications: Manuscripts based on research that has not secured ethical approval prior to commencement may not be considered for peer review or publication. The decision to review such submissions lies at the discretion of the journal's editors, who may weigh the ethical implications against the scientific value and potential impact of the research.

Documenting Ethical Approval: When submitting manuscripts, authors must provide documentation of ethical approval or justify the absence of such approval. This documentation should include the name of the ethics committee or institutional review board that granted approval, the approval number, and a statement affirming that informed consent was obtained from all participants.

Special Considerations: In exceptional cases where retrospective consideration might be given, the journal's editors will evaluate the circumstances, such as the nature of the ethical oversight and steps taken by the authors to address any potential harm or ethical concerns. The ultimate decision will reflect a balance between ethical integrity and the potential contribution of the research to the field.

Role of Editors and Reviewers: Editors and reviewers play a critical role in assessing the ethical adequacy of research methodologies. They must scrutinize the ethical documentation provided and may request further clarification or evidence of ethical considerations, especially in cases where the ethical approval process is ambiguous or incomplete.

Ensuring Ethical Compliance: The journal is committed to upholding ethical standards in all published research. Authors, reviewers, and editors are urged to prioritize ethical considerations in their work, reinforcing the journal's commitment to integrity, transparency, and respect for human and animal rights.

This stance on retrospective ethical clearance underscores the journal's dedication to ethical research practices, ensuring that all published work contributes responsibly and respectfully to the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Research Involving Humans or Animals: Ethical Standards

For research involving humans or animals, it is imperative that studies adhere to stringent ethical standards. These standards safeguard the dignity, rights, and welfare of research subjects and ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and ethically defensible manner. The following guidelines outline the essential ethical considerations and responsibilities for such research:

Compliance with Ethical Guidelines: All research involving human participants, animals, or sensitive data must comply with international, national, and institutional guidelines. For human research, this includes adherence to the Declaration of Helsinki or equivalent ethical standards. Animal research should follow guidelines such as the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, ensuring humane treatment and ethical scientific practices.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Ethics Committee Approval: Prior to the initiation of the research, approval must be obtained from an appropriate IRB or ethics committee. This approval confirms that the ethical implications of the research have been thoroughly reviewed and deemed acceptable. Documentation of this approval must be submitted along with the manuscript.

Informed Consent for Human Participants: Informed consent is a cornerstone of ethical research involving humans. Researchers must ensure that all participants (or their legal guardians) understand the nature of the research, the procedures involved, potential risks and benefits, and their rights to decline participation or withdraw at any time without penalty. Written informed consent should be obtained from all participants, and the process for obtaining consent should be detailed in the manuscript.

Confidentiality and Anonymity: The privacy and confidentiality of research participants must be protected. Identifiable information should be anonymized in the manuscript and any published results. Special care must be taken with sensitive data to prevent unauthorized access or disclosure.

Consideration for Animal Welfare: Research involving animals must prioritize their welfare, employing methods that minimize pain, suffering, and distress. Studies should justify the use of animals, detail the care and handling of the subjects, and demonstrate efforts to refine procedures to enhance animal welfare.

Rigorous Standards for Experimental Procedures: Both human and animal research must employ rigorous methodological standards, ensuring that the study design is scientifically valid and capable of answering the research question without unnecessary use of subjects.

Conflict of Interest Disclosure: Any potential conflicts of interest that could affect the conduct or reporting of research involving humans or animals must be disclosed. This includes financial interests, personal relationships, or professional affiliations that might be perceived as influencing the research outcomes.

Addressing Ethical Concerns Post-Publication: If ethical concerns arise after the publication of research involving humans or animals, the journal is committed to investigating the issues in accordance with COPE guidelines and, if necessary, taking appropriate action, such as publishing corrections, retractions, or expressions of concern.

Adherence to these ethical standards is essential for the credibility of the research and the trustworthiness of the scientific record. Researchers, by conducting their work in accordance with these principles, contribute to the advancement of knowledge in a manner that respects the rights and dignity of all participants and upholds the highest ethical norms.

Reporting Standards and Originality

High-quality scholarly publication is predicated on the foundation of rigorous reporting standards and the originality of contributions. These elements are vital for ensuring the integrity, reliability, and reproducibility of scientific findings. The following principles outline the expectations for authors regarding the reporting and originality of their work:

Clarity and Completeness of Reporting: Authors are expected to present their research findings clearly, concisely, and without omission. This includes providing a detailed methodology that allows for the replication of results, a thorough analysis, and an unbiased discussion of the study's significance and limitations. Manuscripts should follow the recommended reporting guidelines relevant to their research design, such as CONSORT for randomized trials or STROBE for observational studies.

Originality: All submissions must represent original research not previously published or under consideration for publication elsewhere. Manuscripts should contribute new knowledge, insights, or value to the field of study. Authors must ensure their work is free from plagiarism, including self-plagiarism, and appropriately cite or quote sources that have influenced their research.

Data Transparency: Whenever possible, authors should provide access to the data underlying their findings, allowing others in the scientific community to validate, reuse, or extend the research. Exceptions to this expectation should be clearly justified. The journal encourages the use of supplementary material to make raw data available or the citation of data repositories where the data can be accessed.

Acknowledgment of Sources: Authors have an obligation to properly acknowledge the work of others used in their research. This includes citing relevant literature that has contributed to the design, interpretation, or analysis of the study. Failure to appropriately cite prior work constitutes unethical publishing behavior.

Disclosure of Funding and Conflicts of Interest: Authors must disclose any financial or other conflicts of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. Additionally, all sources of financial support for the project, including grants, sponsorships, and patents, should be disclosed.

Ethical Considerations: Research involving humans or animals must be accompanied by statements regarding the ethical approval of study protocols by relevant ethics committees, as well as the informed consent obtained from study participants or their guardians.

Corrections and Retractions: Should authors identify errors in their published work, they must promptly notify the journal to correct or retract the paper as appropriate. The journal is committed to publishing corrections, retractions, or expressions of concern to maintain the integrity of the academic record.

Adherence to these reporting standards and principles of originality is crucial for the advancement of science and the maintenance of public trust in academic research. By fulfilling these responsibilities, authors contribute to a transparent, ethical, and robust scientific dialogue.

Criteria for Authorship and Contributorship

Determining who qualifies for authorship versus contributorship is crucial for maintaining transparency and integrity in scholarly publishing. Authorship should reflect substantial contributions to the research and the manuscript, whereas contributorship acknowledges important contributions that do not meet the full criteria for authorship. This section outlines the criteria for both roles:

Authorship Criteria:

  1. Substantial Contributions: Individuals claiming authorship must have significantly contributed to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. This includes participating in the ideation, research, analysis, or drafting significant portions of the manuscript.
  2. Drafting and Revising: Authors should be involved in drafting the manuscript or revising it critically for important intellectual content. This ensures that all authors have a stake in the manuscript’s content and are prepared to defend its conclusions.
  3. Approval of the Final Version: All authors must approve the final version of the manuscript to be published. This approval signifies that each author takes public responsibility for the content of the manuscript.
  4. Accountability: Authors must agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work. This involves ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.


  • Contributions that do not meet all the above criteria for authorship should be recognized as contributorship. Contributors might include individuals who provided technical help, writing assistance, general support, data collection, or financial funding.
  • Contributions should be acknowledged in a dedicated “Acknowledgments” section, detailing the nature of the contribution and thanking contributors by name.

Changes in Authorship:

  • The list and order of authors should be agreed upon early in the writing process, with any changes in authorship—such as additions, deletions, or rearrangement of author names—requiring the consensus of all authors, including those being added or removed.
  • Changes in authorship after submission or publication should be accompanied by a clear explanation and justification, and are subject to the approval of the journal editors.

Dispute Resolution:

  • In the case of authorship disputes, the journal expects the authors to resolve the issues collectively. If the dispute cannot be resolved internally, the institution or a mediator may be consulted. The journal may hold the publication process until a resolution is reached.

Transparency in Contributions:

  • To promote transparency, journals may require authors to specify the individual contributions of each co-author. This can be included as a note or a separate section in the manuscript, clarifying the roles and responsibilities.

Changes to Authorship and Authorship Disputes

The composition of authors for a manuscript reflects those who have made significant contributions to the work. It is important to establish the author list and the order of authors accurately before submission, as changes can complicate the publication process and potentially lead to disputes. This section outlines the protocol for managing changes to authorship and resolving authorship disputes:

Before Submission:

  • Authors should discuss and agree upon the order and inclusion of authors based on their contributions to the work before submitting the manuscript. All listed authors must have agreed to be named and must fulfill the criteria for authorship.

Requesting Changes After Submission:

  • Any request to change the authorship (including adding or removing authors or changing the order of authors) after submission must be a joint decision of all original authors. The request should be made in writing to the journal editor, explaining the reason for the change. All authors, including those being added or removed, must agree to any proposed changes.
  • The journal may require confirmation of agreement from all authors involved and may request further justification or documentation as part of its due diligence process.

Authorship Disputes:

  • In cases of authorship disputes, the journal encourages the authors to resolve the issue collaboratively and amicably. If the dispute arises during the review or publication process, the journal reserves the right to halt the process until the dispute is resolved.
  • If authors cannot resolve the dispute independently, they may need to refer the matter to their institution or an independent mediator for resolution. The journal may engage with the corresponding institution(s) or follow guidance from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) if necessary.
  • The journal expects all parties involved to adhere to ethical standards in resolving authorship disputes, ensuring fairness and transparency.

Post-publication Changes:

  • Changes to authorship after publication are highly discouraged and may only be considered under exceptional circumstances, such as evidence of forgotten or deserving authors, or in cases where authorship criteria were not met initially. Such changes require publication of a correction notice or erratum, detailing the nature of the change. To request any changes in authorship, the journal must receive a completed authorship change form that is signed by all authors and provides a reason for the requested change.
  • In cases where misconduct in authorship arrangement is discovered after publication, the journal may retract the article or publish a statement of concern or correction, depending on the situation's specifics.

Acknowledgments and Contributions

Acknowledgments and contributions sections in academic publications play a crucial role in ensuring transparency, giving credit where it's due, and maintaining the integrity of the scholarly record. These sections allow authors to recognize individuals who contributed to their study or manuscript but do not meet the criteria for authorship, as well as to disclose funding sources and any potential conflicts of interest. The following guidelines outline the proper use and importance of acknowledgments and contributions in academic publications:


  • Individual Contributions: This section should list individuals who contributed to the work but do not qualify for authorship, including those who provided technical help, writing assistance, or general support. For each individual listed, authors should briefly describe the nature of the contribution.
  • Institutional Support: Acknowledge any support received from institutions, including access to equipment, facilities, or resources.
  • Financial Support: Authors must disclose all sources of funding for the research, specifying the role of the funding body in the design of the study, collection, analysis, interpretation of data, and in writing the manuscript, if applicable.
  • Permissions: Acknowledge permissions obtained for the use of copyrighted material not owned by the authors.


  • Detailed Author Contributions: For transparency and accountability, authors are encouraged to specify the contribution of each co-author to the manuscript. This can include, but is not limited to, conceptualization, methodology, software, validation, formal analysis, investigation, resources, data curation, writing (original draft preparation and review and editing), visualization, supervision, project administration, and funding acquisition.
  • Collaborator Acknowledgments: Collaborators who contributed to the work but whose roles do not justify authorship should be listed in the acknowledgments section with a description of their contribution.

Ethical Considerations:

  • Consent: Authors should ensure they have consent from all individuals mentioned in the acknowledgments section before publication.
  • Conflict of Interest: Any potential conflict of interest related to the acknowledged contributions or financial support must be clearly stated.

Procedures and Documentation:

  • Journals may require authors to provide a form or statement outlining the specific contributions of each co-author and acknowledged individual to ensure clarity and prevent disputes.

Implementing detailed acknowledgments and contributions sections supports the ethical publication of academic research by ensuring that all participants who contributed significantly to the work are appropriately recognized. This practice fosters a culture of transparency and integrity within the academic community, encouraging collaboration and the ethical conduct of research and publication.

Management of Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest (COI) can arise when personal, financial, or other considerations have the potential to compromise or bias professional judgment and objectivity in research and publication. The management of conflicts of interest is crucial to uphold the integrity of scholarly work and maintain trust among authors, reviewers, editors, readers, and the broader academic community. The following principles outline the approach to identifying, disclosing, and managing conflicts of interest:


  • Individuals involved in the publication process, including authors, reviewers, and editors, must regularly assess their activities for any potential conflicts of interest that could affect the impartiality of their work.


  • Authors: At the time of manuscript submission, authors are required to disclose any relationships or activities that could be perceived as potential conflicts of interest. This includes, but is not limited to, financial interests (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, and patents) and personal relationships or affiliations that could influence the research.
  • Reviewers: Reviewers must disclose any conflicts of interest that could bias their evaluation of a manuscript. If a significant conflict exists, they should recuse themselves from the review process.
  • Editors: Editors should also disclose any potential conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from handling submissions where such conflicts may compromise their objectivity.


  • Upon disclosure, journals will assess the nature of the disclosed conflicts and determine whether a COI may influence the research or publication process. Depending on the situation, measures may be taken to manage the conflict, such as involving additional, independent reviewers, delegating editorial decisions to other editors, or publishing a disclosure statement alongside the article.
  • Journals should have clear policies and procedures for handling disclosed conflicts of interest to ensure that decisions are made transparently and fairly.


  • Journals may choose to publish COI disclosures to inform readers, allowing them to consider potential biases while evaluating the research. The decision to publish such information should be consistent and apply to all articles.


  • Journals and academic institutions should educate their contributors and staff about the importance of disclosing conflicts of interest and the potential impact of COI on the credibility and integrity of research.

Regular Review:

  • Policies on conflicts of interest should be regularly reviewed and updated as necessary to address emerging ethical challenges and maintain the highest standards of integrity in scholarly publishing.

Effective management of conflicts of interest safeguards the credibility of the scientific literature and reinforces the principle that research and publication decisions should be driven solely by the pursuit of knowledge and the public good.

For more information on COPE's guidelines and best practices for ethical publishing, authors are encouraged to visit the COPE website (


Updated on : 31 March 24