As stipulated in the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), only this person can be deemed an author of a manuscript who:
- has made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the paper; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data required for the paper, and
- has drafted the article or revised it critically for intellectual content, and
- has approved the final version for publication, and
- has taken full accountability for all aspects of the work in ensuring that issues related to the accuracy and integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved (ICMJE).
Authorship implies a significant and creative intellectual contribution to the work, assistance in writing the manuscript and reviewing its final draft; yet authorship roles can vary. The decision regarding co-authorship and the participation of others in the manuscript, and the resulting sequence in which their names appear, must be taken early in the research process, to avoid disputes and misunderstandings which could delay or prevent the publication of a paper.
On submitting a manuscript for publication in a journal of Medical Communications, the corresponding author is bound to provide information on the specific contributions each author has made to the article (since authors may express different views regarding the nature and magnitude of contributions, each author may be asked to describe their own). Although all authors are responsible for the quality, accuracy, and ethics of the submitted manuscript, one author must be identified who will reply if questions arise or more information is needed, and who will take responsibility for the whole paper (referred to as the corresponding author). The respective contributions in the work must be determined in the covering letter attached to the manuscript. If any of the authors have links to a sponsoring/funding institution or corporation, the nature of the relationship must be provided in the relevant section of the covering letter or in the final part of the manuscript in the following sections: Conflict of Interest, Funding/Support and role of the sponsor, Acknowledgments. Those data points will be published in the article along with the scope of contributions.
Medical Communications undertakes to publicise and condemn all disclosed cases of “ghost-writing” where the contribution of a particular person has not been revealed, as well as “quest authorship” (“guest” or ”gift” author) where a person whose contribution to the manuscript has been close to none or none at all has been declared its author. As stipulated in the Code of Ethics for Scientific Researcher of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the major responsibility for handling the revealed misconduct lies with the parties employing scientific researchers, namely universities and high schools, scientific institutions and state or private research centres.
All contributors to the work who cannot be considered its authors (as they do not meet the aforementioned criteria for authorship) should be listed in the “Acknowledgements” section. Examples of activities that do not qualify a contributor for authorship (as they are insufficient to fall under the legal definition of authorship) are: acquisition of funding, data collection, general supervision of a research group or general administrative support, and writing assistance, statistical calculation, technical editing, language editing, and proofreading (by an author’s editor or a translator). Those whose contributions do not justify authorship may be acknowledged individually or together as a group under a single heading (e.g. “Clinical Investigators” or “Participating Investigators”). In such case their contributions should be specified (e.g. “served as scientific advisors,” “critically reviewed the study proposal,” “collected data,” “provided and cared for human subjects,” “participated in writing or technical editing of the manuscript”) (ICMJE).
Changes in Authorship
In accordance with the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), Medical Communications requires that all authors provide a written consent to any proposed changes in authorship of both the submitted and published articles. This applies to additions, deletions, a change of order to the authors’ names or a change to the attribution of contributions. The written consent must be sent via direct email by each of the authors. It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure that all authors express their consent to the proposed changes. In case of a disagreement amongst the authors over authorship and a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached, the authors must contact their institution(s) for a resolution. It is not the Editor’s responsibility to resolve any disputes regarding authorship. A change in authorship of a published article can only be made via publication of an Erratum (see COPE Flowcharts – Changes in Authorship).
Submission of Manuscripts
Prior to submitting a manuscript, authors should read the “Instruction for Authors” on the journal’s page. Manuscripts must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines provided.
Authors listed in the manuscript should have met the aforementioned requirements for authorship, and their relevant contributions must be specified.
All authors should approve the final version of the manuscript prior to submission. Once a manuscript is submitted, it is assumed that all authors have read and approved it.
Contact data of the corresponding author should be stated in the manuscript (namely the surname/other name, affiliation, postal code and email, phone/fax number). Statement regarding the Conflict of interest should also be provided in the manuscript.
Peer Review Process
Medical Communications attaches its utmost importance to the highest standards through a comprehensive and restrictive review of the submitted manuscripts.
All articles published in the journals of Medical Communications are subjected to a rapid and thorough assessment. Details of the peer review process applied in each of the journals depend on their respective editors – each journal has its own assessment procedure. Peer reviewers remain anonymous and the final draft manuscript is not made available to anyone before it is published.
The single most important criterion for acceptance is the originality of the work. However, a decision to approve a manuscript for publication is not based solely on the scientific validity of its content. Other factors such as the extent and importance of new information included in the paper compared to that in other papers being considered, the journal’s need to represent a wide range of topics, and the overall suitability for the target journal may also influence the editorial decision.
Conflict of Interest
Confidence of the scientific community in the results of the published research is highly dependent on the observance of scientific accuracy and good practices in science. One of the most important aspects of ethics in science is to inform the Editors openly about any conflicts of interest. Given that conflict of interest is almost impossible to avoid, it is not Medical Communications’ intention to reject those papers for which conflicting interests have been disclosed. The occurrence of conflicting interests does not imply that a manuscript will be rejected, yet the identification of such conflict must be provided in the published paper.
The Editors may ask for further information relating to conflicting interests. The reviewers are also required to declare conflict of interest, if any, and will be excluded from the peer review process if conflicting interests exist.
Conflicts of interest may be financial or non-financial; they occurs when the authors’ interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by their personal or financial relationships with other parties or organizations. For the avoidance of embarrassment upon disclosing conflicting interests, both financial and non-financial, following the publication of an article, its Authors should disclose them themselves.
Financial conflicting interests include (but are not limited to):
- receiving reimbursements, fees, funding, or salary from an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the article, either now or in the future
- holding stocks or shares in an organization that may in any way gain or lose financially from the publication of the article, either now or in the future
Non-financial conflicting interests may have the following nature: political, personal, religious, ideological, academic, and intellectual.
If having read these guidelines, you are still not certain whether you have conflict of interest, please, contact the Editors.
Authors should download and complete a copy of the ICMJE disclosure form, which is available as a PDF format at http://www.icmje.org/conflicts-of-interest/. They should keep a copy of the form and send another copy to their corresponding author. The corresponding author must insert within the submitted manuscript a summary statement derived from the information provided in the forms. This will be included in the published article (following publication, the forms must be made available by the corresponding authors upon request).
Statement regarding conflict of interest shall be provided in “Conflict of interest” section by the end of the manuscript in the part preceding bibliography as well as in the covering letter.
It is Medical Communications’ understanding that all submitted manuscripts and all communication with authors and peer reviewers remains confidential. Authors are also bound to approach communication with Medical Communications in this manner: correspondence with the Editors, peer review reports and other confidential material must not be posted with any website or otherwise publicized without a prior consent from the Publisher, regardless of whether or not the submission will eventually be published.
Overlapping, Duplicate, Redundant Publication
All manuscripts submitted for publication in the journals of Medical Communications must be original and their publication (or substantial parts of it), must not be considered by any other journal at the same time. Authors shall declare any potentially overlapping publications on submission and attach the relevant statement as a separate document. Any overlapping publications should be cited or detailed. Any ‘in press’ or unpublished manuscript cited, or relevant to Editors’ and reviewers’ assessment of the manuscript, should be made available if requested by the Editors. Medical Communications reserves the right to judge potentially overlapping or redundant publications on a case-by-case basis.
In general, a manuscript should not have already been published in any journal or in any other citable form – self-receipt shall be deemed unethical. If justified and made clear upon submission, there are exceptions to this rule.
Medical Communications takes seriously all cases of a covert redundant publication (including auto-plagiarism, and particularly so called “salami slicing” where many papers are published based on the same research, and so called “shotgunning” where similar manuscripts are sent for publication to a number of journals). These will be handled as per the COPE guidelines, and the Editor’s may contact the authors’ institution for this matter. Medical Communications endorses the policies of the ICMJE in relation to overlapping publications.
Changes to the published articles that affect the interpretation and conclusions of the article, but do not fully invalidate it, will, at the Editors’ discretion, be made via publication of an Erratum attached to the original article or published in subsequent issues of the journal. Changes in authorship of the published articles will also be made via an Erratum. See Changes in Authorship (above) and Corrections, Retractions, and Editorial Expressions of Concern for further information.
On rare occasions, when the scientific information provided in an article is substantially undermined, it may be necessary for it to be retracted. In such cases Medical Communications will follow COPE guidelines. Retracted articles will remain in public domain and will be linked to a retraction note (see also Corrections, Retractions, and Editorial Expressions of Concern).