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Ethics Policy > For Authors and Reviewers > Ethics Policy

The chief goal of our policy is threefold: to provide advice for our authors, to maintain the scholarly integrity of our journals and their content, and to detail the ethical responsibilities of JKNS, our editors and authors. We expect all authors to read and understand our ethics policy before submitting to any of our journals. This is in accordance with our commitment to the prevention of ethical misconduct, which we recognize to be a growing problem in academic and professional publications. It is important to note that most incidents of plagiarism, redundant publication, copyright infringement or similar occur because of a lack of understanding, and not through fraudulent intent. Our policy is one of prevention and not persecution.

All of the manuscripts should be prepared in strict observation of research and publication ethics guidelines recommended by the Council of Science Editors (http://www.councilscienceeditors.org), International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE, http://www.icmje.org), World Association of Medical Editors (WAME, http://www.wame.org), and the Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors (KAMJE, http://www.kamje.or.kr/intro.php?body=eng_index). Any study including human subjects or human data must be reviewed and approved by a responsible institutional review board (IRB). Please refer to the principles embodied in the Declaration of Helsinki (http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/index.html) for all investigations involving human materials. Animal experiments also should be reviewed by an appropriate committee (IACUC) for the care and use of animals. Also studies with pathogens requiring a high degree of biosafety should pass review of a relevant committee (IBC). The editor of JKNS may request submission of copies of informed consents from human subjects in clinical studies or IRB approval documents. The JKNS will follow the guidelines by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE, http://publicationethics.org) for settlement of any misconduct.

1) Redundant Publication and Plagiarism

Redundant publication is defined as "reporting (publishing or attempting to publish) substantially the same work more than once, without attribution of the original source(s)". Characteristics of reports that are substantially similar include the following: (a) "at least one of the authors must be common to all reports (if there are no common authors, it is more likely plagiarism than redundant publication)," (b) "the subject or study populations are often the same or similar," (c) "the methodology is typically identical or nearly so," and (d) "the results and their interpretation generally vary little, if at all."

If all or part of your patient population was previously reported, this should be mentioned in the Materials and Methods, with citation of the appropriate reference(s).

Please note that submitted manuscripts may be subject to checks using the iThenticate service, in conjunction with CrossCheck, in order to detect instances of overlapping and similar text. The iThenticate software checks submissions against millions of published research papers, documents on the web, and other relevant sources. If plagiarism or misconduct is found, we will retract the article before peer-review process and contact the corresponding author requesting an explanation of the suspect material. In the event that a simple oversight is identified and corrected, no further action is needed. In more egregious cases, editors are obliged to contact the other authors of the manuscript and institutional leaders such as a department chair or dean, which may have serious consequences.

2) Data Fabrication

Data falsification can take many forms from overt to subtle. Clear-cut fabrication of results has no place in scientific literature. It can be difficult to identify and often is found only when co-authors or collaborators find serious questions about a manuscript and bring them to attention. In one case, a reviewer of a manuscript provided evidence that the data presented in no way could have been collected by the submitting authors. Journals must rely heavily on the honor system because they do not typically have direct access to primary data. More subtle forms of data falsification include embellishment, selective publication of results, or even non-publication of results. Efforts to limit these include clinical trials registration, preferably at the outset of a study. The policy of the ICMJE, followed by our journals, is that all clinical trials should be registered, preferably before enrollment of the first patient. ICMJE defines a clinical trial as “any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes” (http://www.icmje.org/about-icmje/faqs/clinical-trials-registration/). Note that certain publishable studies, such as retrospective studies or the use of registry data, do not currently require registration. Manipulation of figures is sometimes unethically done to support or strengthen a hypothesis. It is made easier with modern photo editing programs, but the same programs help us detect figure manipulation. A more subtle issue occurs when, if an author discovers after publication an error that he/she made, he/she ignores it to avoid embarrassment or to just avoid the bother of correcting it. Instead, the author should always notify the editorial office and get an erratum attached to the article. Not doing so is also considered unethical.

Authors have the responsibility to ensure that their published information is correct, to the best of their knowledge.

3) Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest may involve many individuals in the publication process including authors, reviewers, or editors. Conflicts may be financial, legal, scientific, or personal, including academic competition. If in doubt, authors should add the information to their disclosure. The Editor-in-Chief is ultimately responsible for deciding whether something is a conflict of interest.

4) Authorship

The JKNS follows the recommendations for authorship by the ICMJE, 2013 (http://www.icmje.org/icmje-recommendations.pdf) and Good Publication Practice Guidelines for Medical Journals 2nd Edition (KAMJE, 2013, http://kamje.or.kr/data/guide(2).pdf).

The rules for authorship are clearly laid out by the ICMJE as follows.

  1. Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the 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;
  4. 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.

Authors should meet conditions of 1, 2, 3, and 4. In addition, an author should be accountable for the parts of the work he or she has done and should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific other parts of the work. Authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their coauthors. All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. Those who do not meet all four criteria should be acknowledged. These authorship criteria are intended to reserve the status of authorship for those who deserve credit and can take responsibility for the work. The criteria are not intended for use as a means to disqualify colleagues from authorship who otherwise meet authorship criteria by denying them the opportunity to meet criterion 2 or 3. Therefore, all individuals who meet the first criterion should have the opportunity to participate in the review, drafting, and final approval of the manuscript.

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