Publication Ethics and Publication Malpractice Statement
The Bulgarian Rheumatology Society (BRS) and its academic journal Revmatologiia (Bulgaria) encourage the best standards of publication ethics and take all possible measures against publication malpractices. The members of the Editorial Board abide by the ICMJE (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, http://www.icmje.org/), COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics, http://publicationethics.org/) and CSE (Council of Science Editors, https://www.councilscienceeditors.org/) recommendations and guidelines. Additionally, the Editors and Publisher follow the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing (https://oaspa.org/principles-of-transparency-and-best-practice-in-scholarly-publishing-3/).
The main role of the Editorial Board is to support the operation of the Journal within specific terms of reference which are regularly reviewed; to oversee papers that are submitted for review; play a leading role with certain submissions and liaise with the authors about revisions, if necessary.
The most important key points are included below, but editorial board members, authors and reviewers should always refer to the four documents listed above for full details.
Responsibilities of Editors
• The Editor-in-Chief and other decision-making (handling) editors of this journal are expected to provide unbiased and highly professional decisions to publish original works of interest to our readers.
• The editors should regularly advance their editorial skills by attending educational meetings, including those aimed at discussing matters arising at the journal.
• In case of receiving complaints and appeals from the authors and reviewers, the editors should attentively evaluate all related issues and make prompt decisions.
• The editors should act responsibly in compliance with the Core Practices of the Committee on Publication Ethics (https://publicationethics.org/core-practices).
• Research Integrity Editor should support the Editor-in-Chief of the Revmatologiia journal in delivering the objectives and targets of the journal in all the areas for research integrity. He should support the implementation of the new policies, including contributing to the development of training materials and events.
• Social Media Coordinator takes all necessary steps to select potentially influential articles and promote those on the Bulgarian Rheumatology Journal Twitter and other official social media accounts. The Social Media Coordinator actively promotes selected articles in line with all ethics norms and specific recommendations on social media
Responsibilities of Reviewers
• Reviewers are experts in the scientific field of the articles they review. They are chosen by the Editor-in-Chief and handling editors to evaluate the quality of the submissions and to provide unbiased, courteous, constructive, and evidence-based comments in a timely manner (http://www.wame.org/recommendations-on-publication-ethics-policies-for-medical-journals#Peer%20Review).
• Reviewers should disclose any conflicts of interest that may introduce undue bias in their comments.
• Reviewers should maintain confidentiality throughout the peer review process and avoid retaining, copying, or using the manuscripts they review for personal purposes.
• They should alert the editors to any identified overlaps of the submissions they review with other published items.
• Reviewers should provide recommendations to editors on further processing or publication of the submission, but they should be also aware that the final decisions are made by the Editors-in-Chief.
• The Journal endorses the Publons initiative. Reviewers are encouraged to list their accomplishments on Publons.
Responsibilities of Authors
• Authors are ultimately responsible for the scientific quality and correctness of their submissions. Prior to the submission, they should check all ethical statements in their articles and ensure that no part of their submissions to this journal has been copied or published elsewhere. They should also confirm that the submission to this journal is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. In case of adopting graphical materials from other sources, official permissions from primary publisher and considerations of the copyrights are mandatory.
• All contributors listed as authors should meet all four authorship criteria of the International Committee of Medical Editors (2013) (http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/defining-the-role-of-authors-and-contributors.html#two)
• Corresponding authors are responsible for listing as co-authors only the contributors with substantial contribution to the work and accountability for all its aspects. They are also responsible for properly coordinating revisions, responding to editors' and reviewers' comments, listing all co-authors' ORCID iDs (https://orcid.org/) and getting final approvals from all co-authors.
• Upon request of the editors, authors of original research articles should provide access to their records of primary data and statistical analyses.
• If it is not against the regulations of the authors' academic, research or funding institutions, they are responsible for archiving their published works at institutional and individual online repositories and scholarly networking websites, such as ResearchGate (https://www.researchgate.net/).
• Authors should ensure that their studies involving human or animal subjects conform to local, regional, and institutional regulations, such as WMA Declaration of Helsinki (https://www.wma.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/DoH-Oct2013-JAMA.pdf) and NIH Policy on Use of Laboratory Animals (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/air/index.htm). The approval of the study by an ethics committee is required along with statements about human subjects' consent and their privacy.
• Authors should disclose any financial or non-financial conflicts of interest that may introduce undue subjectivity and bias in their research reports (http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/author-responsibilities--conflicts-of-interest.html).
• Authors should notify the editors if any mistake or major error is identified in their articles post-publication, warranting corrections or retractions by the publisher.
Responsibilities of the Publisher
The Publisher is responsible for advancing its editors credentials by arranging regular online and face-to-face editorial meetings and regularly monitoring and improving the quality of manuscript processing and publishing. Preventing any unethical publishing practice is a top priority for the publisher. If any violations of publication ethics norms are revealed, the publisher and handling editors should take appropriate actions (publishing corrections, initiating retractions, interaction with indexing databases, etc.).
Plagiarism, redundancy and retractions
Discussing others' ideas require proper citation(s). Referring to scientific facts published elsewhere require skilful writing free of verbatim copying and relevant reference(s). The Editors regularly consult with Research Integrity Editor to avoid textual similarity and plagiarism by anti-plagiarism software checks. The authors may be asked to add Disclaimer to their submitted manuscripts to ensure that all parts of their manuscripts, particularly reviews, are original and not posted or published elsewhere.
Duplicate, secondary and redundant submissions
If authors post their article on any preprint server (e.g., medRxiv, bioRxiv) and then submit it to the Journal, they should add related Disclaimer to avoid any confusion post-publication. Ethical duplicate submission of certain materials, such as society recommendations, is acceptable in line with the ICMJE related recommendations (http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/publishing-and-editorial-issues/overlapping-publications.html).
To avoid redundant publications, the authors of systematic reviews synthesizing evidence based on database searches are requested to register their protocol with PROSPERO registry (https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/) and submit their review with related note.
Conflict of interest disclosures and funding
All authors are requested to fill in and submit the ICMJE conflict of interest form (http://www.icmje.org/conflicts-of-interest/) at the manuscript submission and disclose any financial and non-financial conflicts of interest in the manuscript notes. All types of financial and non-financial support from research funding organizations, pharmaceutical agencies and other sponsoring bodies should be disclosed and reported, with grant funding protocol numbers and related e-links, if available. The role of pharmaceutical agencies at all stages of research and writing should be also explicitly disclosed and reported in the manuscript notes.
All reviewers and handling editors will be also requested to disclose their potential conflicts of interest during the peer review.
On rare occasions of the submission of editorial and research works from the Editor-in-Chief and other handling editors, extra efforts will be taken to avoid any conflicts and assign unrelated handing editors to process and evaluate these works for publication.
The authors should ensure that their research has been carried out in strict accordance with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects (https://www.wma.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/DoH-Oct2013-JAMA.pdf), EU Legislation for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (https://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/lab_animals/legislation_en.htm) and NIH Policy on Use of Laboratory Animals (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/air/index.htm). In case of animal studies, the authors should add note stating that all applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
All authors of research studies are obliged to report ethics approval protocol number, date and name of the approving institution. Related entry in the Methods section of original research articles is mandatory along with the statement on written informed consent obtained from the enrolled healthy subjects, patients, or parents/relatives of minors.
Ethics approval is mandatory for surveys and observational studies. If the authors have obtained waivers for written informed consent forms for any such studies, detailed description of the study approval and waiver should again appear in a relevant part of the Methods section.
If the authors' research involves chemicals, vaccines, radioactive materials, or any hazardous substances that may put at risk the examined human and animal subjects' health, related statement must be clearly noted in the manuscript.
The privacy of human subjects should be observed. Case studies with photographs and other materials that may disclose the subjects' identity should be properly masked.
Last updated: June 16, 2020