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Research and publication ethics

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Annals of Coloproctology (ACP) adheres to the guidelines and best practices published by professional organizations, including International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations (https://www.icmje.org/recommendations/); the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing (https://doaj.org/apply/transparency/), a joint statement by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), and Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA); and the Good Publication Practice Guideline for Medical Journals (https://www.kamje.or.kr/board/view?b_name=bo_publication&bo_id=13/). Furthermore, all processes of handling research and publication misconduct shall follow the applicable COPE flowchart (https://publicationethics.org/guidance/Flowcharts/).

Table of Contents

Authorship

Authorship credit should be based on the 4 ICMJE criteria: (1) substantial contributions to conception, design, or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data; (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; (3) final approval of the version to be published; and (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 it are appropriately investigated and resolved. All authors should meet all 4 criteria. The corresponding author must complete and sign the copyright transfer agreement and conflict of interest disclosure form.

  • • A list of each author’s role and ORCID should accompany the submitted paper.
  • • Correction of authorship: After the initial submission of the manuscript, any changes regarding authorship, such as adding or deleting author(s) or changing the order of authors, must be explained in a letter to the editor from the authors involved. The letter must include the following from the corresponding author: (1) an explanation for the change in authorship and (2) a written confirmation (email or letter) from all authors that they agree with the change in authorship. This letter must be signed by all authors of the paper, including the author(s) who are being added or removed. ACP does not alter authorship after publication unless a mistake has been made by the editorial staff. Any changes will be done in accordance with COPE flowcharts, and a correction may be published as a result.
  • • Contributors: Any researcher who have made substantial contributions to the study in terms of idea development, manuscript writing, conducting research, data analysis, and financial support, but do not meet all 4 ICMJE criteria for authorship, should have their contributions acknowledged in the Acknowledgments section of the article. ACP encourages authors to properly acknowledge the contributions of patients and the public to their research when appropriate.
  • • Role of corresponding author: The corresponding author takes primary responsibility for communication with the journal during the manuscript submission, peer review, and publication process, and typically ensures that all the journal’s administrative requirements, such as providing details of authorship, ethics committee approval, clinical trial registration documentation, and gathering conflict of interest statement forms, are properly completed. The corresponding author should be available throughout the submission and peer review process to respond to editorial queries in a timely manner, and after publication, should be available to respond to critiques of the work and cooperate with any requests from the journal for data or additional information or questions about the article.
  • • Recommendations for working with people with personal connections: Authors who intend to include minors (under the age of 19 years) or their family members (such as spouse, children, or relatives) in their research, including publishing or presenting papers together, should clearly indicate this in the cover letter. For further information, please refer to the Guidelines for Preventing Illegitimate Authorship by the National Research Foundation of Korea (https://www.cre.re.kr/).

Originality and duplicate publication

All submitted manuscripts must be original and should not be under consideration for publication by other scientific journals at the same time. Duplication of any part of an accepted manuscript in another scientific journal without the approval of the Editorial Board is strictly prohibited. If any instances of duplicate publication are discovered, the authors will be publicly acknowledged in the journal, their affiliated institutions will be notified, and appropriate penalties will be imposed on the authors.

Secondary publication

Manuscripts may be republished if they satisfy the conditions for secondary publication outlined in the ICMJE Recommendations (https://www.icmje.org/recommendations/).

Conflict of interest

A conflict of interest exists when an author (or the author’s institution), reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence (bias) their actions (such relationships are also known as dual commitments, competing interests, or competing loyalties). These relationships vary from being negligible to having great potential for influencing judgment. Not all relationships represent true conflicts of interest. Nevertheless, the potential for a conflict of interest can exist regardless of whether an individual believes that the relationship affects their scientific judgment. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and science itself. However, conflicts can also occur from personal relationships, academic competition, or intellectual passion. Conflicts of interest may also arise during the research process; however, the important point is the disclosure itself (https://www.icmje.org/disclosure-of-interest/). To ensure the credibility of the journal and the authors, it is essential that all conflicts of interest are disclosed. If there are any conflicts of interest, authors should inform the editor and disclose them in the manuscript. In particular, all sources of funding applicable to the study should be explicitly stated. Disclosing conflicts of interest allows editors, reviewers, and readers to approach the manuscript with an understanding of the situation under which the research work was performed.

Statement of human and animal rights

Clinical research should be conducted in accordance with the World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Helsinki: Medical Research Involving Human Subjects (https://www.wma.net/what-we-do/medical-ethics/declaration-of-helsinki/). Clinical studies that do not meet the Declaration of Helsinki will not be considered for publication. All clinical studies involving human participants should include a certificate, agreement, or approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB). For clinical studies with animal subjects, there should be a certificate, agreement, or approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). ACP will not consider any studies involving humans or animals without appropriate approval. If necessary, the editor or reviewers may request copies of these documents to resolve questions about IRB/IACUC approval and study conduct. For human subjects, identifiable information such as names, initials, hospital numbers, dates of birth, or other protected healthcare information should not be disclosed. For animal subjects, research should adhere to the guidelines outlined in the National or Institutional Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and must be performed with ethical consideration for all experimental animals.

Statement of informed consent

Informed consent should be obtained from patients who participated in the clinical investigations unless the requirement is waived by the IRB. Copies of written informed consents should be kept for studies involving human subjects. Images of human subjects should only be used if the information is essential for scientific purposes and explicit permission has been obtained as part of the consent. Even with consent, identifying details should be omitted if they are not necessary. Authors must ensure that any alterations made to maintain the anonymity of individuals in photographs do not compromise the scientific accuracy of the image. If consent has not been obtained, it is generally not sufficient to anonymize a photograph simply by using eye bars or blurring the face of the individual concerned.

Registration of clinical trial research

Any research involving clinical trials should be registered with the primary national clinical trial registry site, such as the Korea Clinical Research Information Service (CRiS; https://cris.nih.go.kr/), a primary national registry site accredited by the World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/clinical-trials-registry-platform/network/), or ClinicalTrials.gov (http://clinicaltrials.gov/), a service of the US National Institutes of Health.

Description of participants

Ensure correct use of the terms “sex” (when reporting biological factors) and “gender” (when reporting identity, psychosocial, or cultural factors). Unless inappropriate, the sex and/or gender of study participants, animals, or cells should be reported, and the methods used to determine them should be described. If the study was conducted exclusively in one population, such as one sex, the authors should provide justification for the exclusion of the other population, unless it is obvious (e.g., in the case of prostate cancer). The method used to determine race or ethnicity and its relevance should also be defined by the authors.

Management of research and publication misconduct

In case the journal encounters suspected cases of research and publication misconduct, such as redundant (duplicate) publication, plagiarism, fraudulent or fabricated data, changes in authorship, undisclosed conflict of interest, ethical problems with a submitted manuscript, a reviewer who has appropriated an author’s idea or data, complaints against editors, and so on, the resolution process will follow the flowchart provided by COPE (https://publicationethics.org/guidance/Flowcharts/). The discussion and decision on the suspected cases are carried out by the Editorial Board in accordance with the Regulations of the Research Ethics Council.

Editorial responsibilities

The Editorial Board is committed to maintaining high standards of publication ethics and will continuously work towards this goal by providing guidelines for retracting articles; preserving the integrity of academic record; prioritizing intellectual and ethical standards over commercial interests; publishing corrections, clarifications, retractions, and apologies when necessary; and preventing plagiarism and fraudulent data. The responsibilities of editors include the authority to accept or reject articles; ensuring that there is no conflict of interest with regards to the articles they accept or reject; promoting the publication of corrections or retractions when errors are discovered; and preserving the anonymity of reviewers.

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