Health Sciences Quarterly (HSQ) is committed to meeting and upholding standards of ethical principles at all stages of the publication process. It strictly follows the general ethical guidelines provided by the Committee on Publication Ethics and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. Depending on these principles and general publication requirements, editors, peer reviewers, and authors must take the following responsibilities in accordance with professional ethics and norms. The proper and ethical process of publishing is dependent on fulfilling these responsibilities.
1. The Responsibilities of Editors
1.1. The General Responsibilities
Editors should be accountable for everything published in their journals. The editor should make the efforts to improve the quality of and contribute to the development of the journal. The editor should support authors’ freedom of expression.
1.2. Relations with Readers
Readers should be clearly informed about how the research has funded or other scholarly study and whether the funders had any role in the research and its publication and, if so, what this was. The editor should make efforts to ensure that the articles published to align with the knowledge and skills of the readers.
1.3. Relations with Referees
The editor should match the knowledge and expertise of the referees with the manuscripts submitted to HSQ to be reviewed ensuring that the manuscripts are adequately reviewed by qualified reviewers. The editor should require reviewers to disclose any potential competing interests before accepting to review a submission. The editor should provide necessary information about the review process to the referees about what is expected of them. The editor must ensure that the review process is double-blind and never reveal the identities of the authors to the referees or vice versa. The editors encourage referees to evaluate manuscripts from an objective and scientific perspective. If necessary, editors may also request that the manuscript be reviewed in terms of English editing. The editor should develop a database of suitable referees and update it on the basis of referee performance and timing. The referee database; it should be attentive to scientists who evaluate the manuscripts objectively, perform the review process on time, evaluate the manuscript with constructive criticism and act in accordance with ethical policies.
1.4. Relations with Authors
The editor should provide clear publication guidelines and author guidelines of what is expected of them to the authors and continuously review the guidelines and templates. The editor should review the manuscript submitted in terms of guidelines of the journal, importance of the study, and originality, and if the decision to reject the manuscript is made editor should explain it to the authors in a clear and unbiased way. If the decision is made that the manuscript should be revised by the authors in terms of written language, punctuation, and/or rules in the guidelines (spacing, proper referencing, etc.) the authors should be notified and given time to do the corrections accordingly. The authors should be provided with necessary information about the process of their review (at which stage is the manuscript at etc.) complying with the rules of double-blind review. In the case of an editor change, the new editor should not change a decision taken by the previous editor unless it is an important situation.
1.5. Relations with Editorial Board Members
The editor should provide publication policies and guidelines to the editorial board members and explain what is expected of them. The editor should ensure that the editorial board members have the recently updated publication guidelines and policies. The editor should review the editorial board members and include members who can actively contribute to the journal’s development. Editorial board members should be informed about their roles and responsibilities such as;
- Supporting development of the journal
- Accepting to write reviews in their expertise when asked
- Reviewing publication guidelines and improving them consistently
- Taking responsibility in journal’s operation
2. The Ethical Responsibilities of Referees
The referees must only agree to review manuscripts that align with their expertise. The referees must make the evaluation in neutrality and confidentiality. In accordance with this principle, they should destroy the manuscripts they examine after the evaluation process but use them only after they are published. Nationality, gender, religious belief, political belief, and commercial concerns should not disrupt the neutrality of the assessment. The referees must only review manuscripts in which they do not have any conflict of interests. If they notice any conflict of interests they should inform the editor about the issue and decline to be a referee to the related manuscript. Referees must include the Manuscript Evaluation Form for the manuscripts they evaluate without indicating their names to protect the blind review process. And they should include their final decision about the manuscript whether or not it should be published and why. The suggestions and wording of the reviews should be polite, courteous, and scientific. The referees should avoid including hostile, disrespectful, and subjective personal comments. When these comments are detected they could be reviewed and returned to the reviewer to be revised by the editor or editorial board. The referees should respond in time when a manuscript is submitted to them to be reviewed and they should adhere to the ethical responsibilities declared hereby.
3. The Ethical Responsibilities of Author(s)
Submitted manuscripts should be original works in accordance with the specified fields of study. Manuscripts sent for publication should not contradict scientific publication ethics (plagiarism, counterfeiting, distortion, republishing, slicing, unfair authorship, not to mention the supporting organization). The potential conflicts of interest of the author(s) should be stated and the reason should be explained. The bibliography list is complete and should be prepared correctly and the cited sources must be specified. The names of the people who did not contribute to the manuscript should not be indicated as authors, they should not be suggested to change the authors order, remove the author, or add an author for a manuscript that is submitted for publication. Nevertheless, they should identify individuals who have a significant share in their work as co-authors. A study cannot be published without the consent of all its authors. Author(s) are obliged to transmit the raw data of the manuscript to the editor upon request of journal editors. The author(s) should contact the editor to provide information, correction or withdrawal when they notice the error regarding the manuscript in the evaluation and early view phase or published electronically. Author (s) must not send manuscripts submitted for publication to another journal at the same time. Articles published in another journal cannot be resubmitted to be published in the HSQ. In a manuscript that has reached the publication stage, the authors should fill in the "Copyright Transfer Form” and forward it to the editor.
- The Ethical Responsibilities of Publisher
The publisher acknowledges that the decision making process and the review process are the responsibility of the editor of HSQ. The publisher is responsible for protecting the property and copyright of each published article and keeping a record of every published copy. The publisher is obliged to provide free access to all articles of the journal in electronic environment.
- Plagiarism and unethical behavior
All manuscripts submitted to HSQ are reviewed through iThenticate software before publishing. The maximum similarity rate accepted is 20%. Manuscripts which exceed these limits are analyzed in detail and if deemed necessary returned to the authors for revision or correction, if not they could be rejected to be published if any plagiarism or unethical behavior is detected. Following are some of the behaviors which are accepted as unethical:
- Indicating individuals who have not intellectually contributed to the manuscripts as authors.
- Not indicating individuals who have intellectually contributed to the manuscripts as authors.
- Not indicating that a manuscript was produced from author’s graduate thesis/dissertation or that the manuscript included was produced from a project’s data.
- Salami slicing, producing more than one article from a single study.
- Not declaring conflicting interests or relations in the manuscripts submitted.
- Unveiling double blind process.