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Editorial policies

Authorship and contributorship

Authorship credit should be based only on (1) substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work; (2) drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; (3) final approval of the version to be published; agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors.

Acquisition of funding, the collection of data, or general supervision of the research group do not, by themselves, justify authorship, nor does the fact of being in sole charge of the clinic or organisational unit in which the article was prepared. Such contributions should be listed as acknowledgements, as well as those of colleagues who provided reagents, discussions and critical input, editorial help, technical services, etc.

Disclosure of financial and non-financial relationships and activities, and conflicts of Interest

When authors submit a manuscript of any type or format they are responsible for disclosing all relationships and activities that might bias or be seen to bias their work. All authors are requested to sign the ICMJE Conflict of Interest form. Disclosure information for each author needs to be part of a disclosure section in the manuscript.

Duplicate submissions

By their signature, the authors also certify that neither this manuscript, nor any other with substantially similar content by one or more of the same authors, has been published or accepted, or is currently being assessed by another journal with a view to publication. Previously published data can be reproduced in exceptional cases, provided that a full disclosure is made and a plausible reason for republication is given.

Plagiarism detection / scientific misconduct

EMH Swiss Medical Publishers Ltd. is a member of CrossCheck, a service offered by CrossRef and powered by iThenticate software. In our online editorial system, all newly submitted manuscripts are automatically compared with the CrossCheck database. Submissions with overlaps to already published articles are carefully checked for plagiarism by the editorial team.

Scientific misconduct includes but is not necessarily limited to data fabrication, data falsification, purposeful failure to disclose relationships and activities, and plagiarism. We take allegations of misconduct very seriously. Problems concerning scientific misconduct are dealed following the guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Obligation to register clinical trials

We require registration of interventional trials in a primary register that participates in WHO’s International Clinical Trial Registry Platform or in ClinicalTrials.gov at or before the time of first patient enrollment as a condition of consideration for publication, in accord with ICMJE recommendations.

Ethics approval of research

We require every article reporting results of prospective research using human subjects or samples, or results of animal research, to include a statement that the study obtained ethical approval, including the name of the ethics committee(s) or institutional review board(s) and the number/ID of the approval(s). Where ethical approval is not required, the manuscript should include a clear statement of this and the reason why.

When reporting research involving human data, authors should indicate in the methods section whether the procedures followed were assessed and approved by a legally qualified ethics review committee (institutional or national) or, if no formal ethics committee is available, were in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration as revised in 2013. If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the study. Approval by a responsible review committee does not preclude editors from forming their own judgement whether the conduct of the research was appropriate.

When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate in the methods section whether the institutional and national guides for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.

Protection of patients’ rights to privacy

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information, including patients’ names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should disclose to these patients that the material will be available via the Internet after publication. Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, however, and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity.

Patient consent should be archived by the authors and not submitted to the journal. The authors should provide the journal with a written statement that they have received and archived written patient consent. A standard informed consent form may be obtained from the publisher.

Data sharing

All submitted research articles must contain a data sharing statement as described here.

Review process

Prior to publication, all manuscripts, with the exception of Editorials and Technical comments, undergo a single blind peer review, conducted by independent experts in the field and, if applicable, by a professional statistician. During the review process, authors can check the status of their submitted manuscript via the online manuscript submission and review system.

The Editorial Board may decline a paper on the basis of internal review. They will then rapidly return the manuscript, usually within two weeks.

Authors who believe that their article has been rejected unfairly may submit an appeal via our online submission system or by sending an e-mail to the editorial office.

Editors and reviewers are explicitly requested to report conflicts of interest that could influence their opinion of the manuscript in question, in which case they will be excluded from the reviewing process of this manuscript. When an editor is author or co-author of a manuscript, she or he is excluded from publication decisions and has no insight into the reviewing process of the article in the manuscript management system.

Post-publication discussions

We welcome debate post publication either through letters to the editor (technical comments) or the comment functions.

If a correction of a published article is needed it is dealed following the ICMJE guidelines.