International Journal of Surgery and Medicine (IJSM) strongly encourages authors to check the proofs carefully, paying special attention to spellings of author names as NO corrections or changes can be done after the article is published. Should the author contact International Journal of Surgery and Medicine after publication requesting changes to the published paper there would need to be a Corrigendum published.
Journal editors at IJSM will consider retracting a publication if there is clear evidence the findings are unreliable either because of misconduct or honest error. Publications may also be retracted for instances of duplication, redundancy, plagiarism or the reporting of unethical research.
All retractions issued at IJSM will ensure:
• The retraction and original article are linked in both directions
• The retracted article is clearly identified
• The original HTML version will remain, with both the HTML and PDF of the original article digitally watermarked ‘Retracted’
• A clear explanation giving the reason for the retraction is provided
• The person(s), for example, the authors and/or the Editor, who requested the retraction is clearly stated
IJSM recognizes the purpose of a retraction is to correct the literature and ensure the integrity of the publication record. They are not intended as a means of punishment for authors.
In some instances, for example, minor data errors or minor cases of plagiarism, journal editors may decide the publication can be corrected through a corrigendum or erratum. This option will be considered especially if the majority of the publication is still accurate and the error is an honest mistake.
Retractions will not normally be issued to resolve authorship disputes. The preferred option in this situation is to issue a corrigendum. This is provided the authors can justify the change in authorship, and this usually requires the support of their respective institutions.
To help minimize the impact of incorrect or misleading publications, all efforts will be made to issue retractions as soon as possible.
For more details please refer to COPE’s retraction guidelines.
Appeals and Complaints Policy
Peer review appeals and complaints from authors
IJSM follows the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines on appeals to journal editor decisions and complaints about a journal's editorial management of the peer review process.
We welcome genuine appeals to editor decisions. However, you will need to provide strong evidence or new data/information in response to the editor’s and reviewers’ comments. This is important given a majority of International Journal of Surgery and Medicine’ scholarly articles are reviews and original research, reliant on accurate scientific data.
For scholarly articles of an opinion nature an appeal is less likely to overturn an editor's decision. These can include viewpoints and opinion pieces where editorial judgment about readability and relevance weighs most heavily. In any case, all opinion-led articles should be evidence-based and fully referenced. For opinion-led articles, you should always present your evidence and explain how it led you to form your opinion.
Editors don’t expect frequent appeals and they rarely reverse their original decisions. Therefore, if you receive a decision to reject your manuscript, you are strongly advised to submit to another journal. The decision to reject a manuscript for publication will often involve the editor’s judgment of priority/ importance. These are things which authors usually cannot address through an appeal. However, if you believe that there is a case to be made for a genuine appeal please follow the instructions below.
I want to appeal an editorial decision
If you wish to appeal a journal editor’s decision, please submit an appeal letter to our online editorial office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please address this to the editor and explain clearly the basis for an appeal. You should:
detail why you disagree with the decision. Please provide specific responses to any of the editor’s and/or reviewers' comments that contributed to the reject decision.
provide any new information or data that you would like the journal to take into consideration.
provide evidence if you believe a reviewer has made technical errors in their assessment of your manuscript.
include evidence if you believe a reviewer may have a conflict of interest.
After receiving the appeal, editors may involve any associate editors who handled the peer review of the original submission and/or IJSM, depending on the nature of the appeal. Editors may confirm their decision to reject the manuscript, invite a revised manuscript, or seek additional peer- or statistical review of the original manuscript.
Editors will consider one appeal per article and all decisions on appeals are final. The timely review and decision-making process for new submissions will take precedence over appeals.
I want to comment on the editorial management of a journal
Where you, as an author, wish to comment on aspects of the journal's editorial management please submit an email to the IJSM editorial office – email@example.com.
It is important to note that IJSM cannot consider appeals where the subject matter is the focus of on-going legal proceedings. Similarly, we reserve the right to decline, suspend or to discontinue an appeal made under this policy in the event that legal proceedings commence, and the claim concerns the same subject matter as the appeal.
International Journal of Surgery and Medicine follows the guidelines of COPE and makes every effort to ensure the highest standards in publication ethics are upheld. IJSM will investigate any allegation of publication misconduct and follow COPEs Core Practices and Flowcharts when dealing with such matters.
All manuscripts submitted to IJSM undergo thorough pre-publication screening including iThenticate anti-plagiarism software checks. Authors are also required to complete conflict of interest (COI) forms and confirmation of authorship during the submission of their article. Authors should be aware of several scientific misconduct issues when submitting an article to IJSM for publication. These issues are outlined below:
Falsification of research includes changing or omitting data in order to make it fit with a desired outcome. Fabrication of research involves making up and reporting data. Both are considered forms of research fraud. When submitting a manuscript to IJSM, authors must ensure all data contained within their manuscript is accurate and correctly represents their work. To help assist IJSM with manuscript evaluation, authors are expected to retain all raw data represented in their manuscripts. If the original data cannot be produced on request, acceptance of a manuscript may be declined.
Plagiarism occurs when an author presents data, text or the ideas of others as their own without the proper attribution or credit. Any manuscript containing plagiarized material submitted to IJSM will not be considered for publication. Authors must take care in ensuring they correctly attribute the work of others in all submissions. Reusing or recycling the author’s own previous work without the correct attribution is considered a form of self-plagiarism or text recycling and such cases will also not be considered for publication. COPE offers a series of guidelines for editors when dealing with cases of text recycling. We use iThenticate anti-plagiarism software.
All manuscripts submitted to IJSM must be original and not published or under consideration for publication elsewhere. This includes articles previously published in another language. Authors must clearly state to the editor whether aspects of the work contained in the current submission has already been reported in a similarly related submission or publication. IJSM will accept unpublished work from an author’s thesis, however the thesis must be acknowledged as the source of the work on submission and adequately cited within the manuscript. It is advised the submitted manuscript contains unique aspects not included in the thesis. If work from a thesis has already been published this cannot be considered original work and will be considered a duplicate publication. Please refer to COPE’s guidelines for more details regarding the publication of theses.
Where duplication involves reporting the exact same data in two or more publications, redundancy involves presenting substantially overlapping data in two or more publications. This includes borrowing or recycling from the authors’ previous work and publishing it again with some additional data. Another form of redundancy is known as ‘salami-slicing’. It refers to the breaking up or segmenting of a larger study into two or more parts and submitting them to one or more journals. As a rule, if a study contains considerably similar hypotheses, data or study population, and methods as another it may be considered redundant and will not be considered for publication, especially if the other work has not been adequately cited.
IJSM expects all images contained within manuscripts to be accurate and free from manipulation. Specific features within an image may not be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed or introduced without adequate notification of what the alteration is. Adjustments to the brightness, contrast or color balance of an image are acceptable if they do not obscure, eliminate or misrepresent information present in the original. Grouping images from different parts of gels, western blots or microscope images must be made explicit in the arrangement of the figure or in the text of the figure legend. Similar to data fabrication, if the original images cannot be produced on request, acceptance of a manuscript may be declined.
Authorship must be strictly limited to those who have made a considerable contribution to the conception, planning, execution and writing of the study. IJSM observes the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship recommendations and will not consider manuscripts suspected of ghost, gift or guest authorship. Ghost authorship occurs when a qualifying author is omitted from the manuscripts authorship list, whereas gift or guest authorship occurs when someone who did not qualify for authorship is listed as an author. IJSM will investigate authorships disputes and follows COPE’s guidelines for resolving such disputes.
Conflicts of interest
A conflict of interest or competing interest involves a situation that has the potential to influence or bias someone’s judgements or views. They arise when a personal judgement concerning a primary interest (such as patient welfare or research results) may be influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain). While there is nothing unethical about having a conflict of interest, not declaring one is considered a form of misconduct. IJSM requires a full disclosure of conflicts of interest on submission of a manuscript and will not consider manuscripts that are suspected of having an undisclosed conflict of interest.
There are various kinds of conflict of interest that fall under several broad headings including, financial ties, personal relationships, institutional affiliations and legal involvement. If an author is in doubt over whether they need to disclose a conflict of interest, they should consult with their institution or the journal Editor-in-chief, who can guide them on the right course of action.
Ethical issues with a submitted manuscript
Ethical misconduct in research generally occurs when researchers fail to comply with the legislative and regulatory requirements affecting their work. This includes the substantial or persistent violation of relevant local, national or international regulations and laws. In most cases these violations relate to the use of funds, care of animals, human participants, pharmaceuticals and biological or chemical materials.
IJSM takes its role in ensuring all publications meet ethical requirements seriously. Manuscripts will not be considered for publication where evidence exists that a study was not suitably approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee. Similarly, submissions will not be considered where concerns are raised by the journal editors or peer reviewers over a lack of patient consent, improper patient identification protection or a lack of animal ethical approval.
Appropriation of an author's ideas or data by a reviewer
Peer review is an essential part of the academic publication process. Peer reviewers are given privileged access to the unpublished work of others and they are entrusted in this role. In very rare instances peer reviewers may breach this trust and appropriate the work they were assigned to review. Despite cases of this being extremely rare, IJSM recognizes the damage such actions would cause to the peer review process. All peer reviewers at IJSM are advised to read and consider the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers before accepting to review a manuscript and expected to treat any article and associated materials received in the course of the review as confidential. Any reviewer found to have committed misconduct by appropriating the work of others will be permanently removed from the peer review database and reported to their institution.
Image integrity and manipulation
Scientific digital images are considered an integral part of any publication and International Journal of Surgery and Medicine expects all images contained within manuscripts to be accurate and free from unnecessary modification. To help ensure image integrity, International Journal of Surgery and Medicine recommends authors consider the following guidelines when preparing figures for publication:
The original data image should always be retained and be available for review by the journal editors, if requested. If the original data images cannot be produced, the manuscript may be rejected.
Authors are advised that editing or enhancing any digital image should always be performed on a copy of the raw data image. Authors are reminded that enhancing an image for aesthetic reasons can obscure, eliminate or misrepresent the real data and can be perceived as an act of research misconduct.
Making simple adjustments to the image such as the brightness and contrast are acceptable but must be applied to the whole image. The adjustments should be minor, and care must be taken to ensure they do not cause relevant features of the image to disappear completely.
Cropping of images is acceptable as long as the intention is to remove irrelevant aspects of the image to help draw attention to a particular feature. Cropping must not be performed to change or influence how the data is to be interpreted.
Images that are intended to be compared to one another must always be acquired under the same conditions. Similarly, any post-acquisition image processing should also be performed on both images.
Authors should be aware that software filters used to improve image quality are not generally intended for use on biological or medical images. If software filters are used it is advised this is noted either in the figure legend or the methods section of the article.
Cloning or copying objects into a digital image from other parts of the same image or a different image is not advised. Copying a section of an image from one region to another is often done to clean up imperfections, however in some instances this can be considered a form of research misconduct. Similarly, cloning an object, for example, a band from a Western blot, and adding it to a region of an image it did not previously appear can also be considered a form of misconduct.
Intensity measurements, such as comparisons between different wavelengths or fluorescence levels, are often difficult to perform in a uniform and accurate manner. It is recommended intensity measurements are performed on raw data to help avoid artefacts and electronic noise.
Journals at IJSM often resize images to fit the page. For this reason, it is advised images have a scale bar which can be resized with the image. Stating the magnification of a microscope objective in the figure legend, for example, can sometimes become impractical if the image is resized prior to publication.
Authors must take care when resizing digital images as this can change the images aspect ratio and create unwanted artefacts, making important features of the image less distinct.
If the author has any doubts regarding the use of any image modifications, they should advise the journal editors at the time of submission. This allows the editors and reviewers to assess the modifications on a case by case basis.
These guidelines are based on information provided by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). For more details on image integrity and manipulation please refer to the best practice guidelines provided at The Office of Research Integrity’s website.