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Research and Publication Ethics > Editorial Policy > Research and Publication Ethics

1. Research Ethics

All manuscripts should be prepared with strict observation of the research and publication ethics guidelines presented by the Council of Science Editors (https://www.councilscienceeditors.org/), International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE; https://www.icmje.org/), World Association of Medical Editors (WAME; https://www.wame.org/), and the Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors (KAMJE; https://www.kamje.or.kr/en/main_en).
Any study including human subjects or human data must be reviewed and approved by a responsible institutional review board (IRB). Authors should refer to the principles embodied in the Declaration of Helsinki (https://www.wma.net/policies-post/wma-declaration-of-helsinki-ethical-principles-for-medical-research-involving-human-subjects/) for all investigations involving human materials.
Animal experiments should also be reviewed by an appropriate committee for the care and use of animals (e.g., the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee). Studies with pathogens requiring a high degree of biosafety should pass review by a relevant committee (e.g., the Institutional Biosafety Committee). JMISST always requests the submission of copies of informed consent forms from human subjects in clinical studies or IRB approval documents.

2. Conflicts 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 or bias his or her actions. Such relationships are also known as dual commitments, competing interests, or competing loyalties. These relationships vary from being negligible to having a great potential for influencing judgment. Not all relationships represent a true conflict of interest. Nonetheless, the potential for conflict of interest can exist regardless of whether an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her 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, or the science itself. Conflicts can occur for other reasons as well, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion (http://www.icmje.org/conflicts-of-interest/). If there are any conflicts of interest, authors should disclose them in the manuscript. Conflicts of interest may occur during the research process; however, it is important to provide disclosure. If there is a disclosure, editors, reviewers, and readers can approach the manuscript with an understanding of the situation and background of the completed research.
The Editor will decide whether information on the conflict should be included in the published paper. If necessary, before publishing such information, the Editor will consult with the corresponding author. I n particular, all sources of funding for a study should be explicitly stated.

3. Authorship and Contributorship

Authors are required to clearly state their contributions to a manuscript in the cover letter. To be listed as an author, one should have contributed substantially to all four categories established by the ICMJE: (1) conception and design, or acquisition, or analysis and 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 the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Each author should be accountable for the parts of the work he or she has done. In addition, each author should be able to identify which coauthors are responsible for specific other parts of the work and should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of any 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.
When a large, multicenter group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding author should clearly indicate the preferred citation and identify all individual authors as well as the group name. Journals generally list other members of the group in the Acknowledgments. Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship. Authors are responsible for replying to all questions asked by reviewers or editors that relate to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work. All persons who have made a substantial contribution, but who are not eligible to be considered authors, should be named in the acknowledgments. Authors are expected to consider carefully the way authors should be listed and ordered before submitting their manuscript, and to provide a definitive list of authors with their original submission. Any addition, deletion, or rearrangement of author names in the authorship list should be made before the manuscript has been accepted—and only if approved by the journal Editor. To request such a change, the Editor must receive the following from the corresponding author: (1) the reason for requesting a change in the list of authors; and (2) written confirmation (by email or letter) from all authors saying that they agree with the addition, removal, or rearrangement.

4. Readership

JMISST is primarily for clinicians and researchers who care patients with spine and spinal cord diseases. They are able to obtain tailored information to adopt for their research and practice. Its readership can be expanded to other positions: • Researchers can get the recent topics of clinical research in spine and spinal cord field and detailed research methods; • Clinicians in the field can get the new information and recent development for care of patients; • Medical teacher can access and adopt a variety of data in medical education; • Allied health professionals including nurses are able to get the recent information for care of patients with spine and spinal cord diseases; • Medical health students can understand the recent trends of the field and interesting cases for their work; • Policy makers are able to reflect the results of the articles to the nation-wide health care policies for patients with spine and spinal cord diseases; • The public, especially family of patients with spine and spinal cord diseases are able to read the advancement in their family’s diseases so that they have a better knowledge on the diseases and a confidence in the clinicians’ devotion to their family.

5. Redundant Publication and Plagiarism

A 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).” The characteristics of reports that are substantially similar include the following: (1) “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),” (2) “the subject or study populations are often the same or similar,” (3) “the methodology is typically identical or nearly so,” and (4) “the results and their interpretation generally vary little, if at all.”
When submitting a manuscript, authors should include a letter informing the Editor of any potential overlap with other already published material or material being evaluated for publication and should also state how the manuscript submitted to JMISST differs substantially from this other material. If all or part of the patient population was previously reported, this should be mentioned in the Materials and Methods, with citation of the appropriate reference(s).
The editorial committee checks similarity by using the iThenticate (http://www.ithenticate.com/) program for all submitted articles to prevent plagiarism. The editorial committee rejects any article suspected of plagiarism and asks the author to check whether it is plagiarized and resubmit as appropriate.

6. Obligation to Register Clinical Trials

A clinical trial defined as “any research project that prospectively assigns human subjects to intervention and comparison groups to study the cause-and-effect relationship between a medical intervention and a health outcome,” and clinical trials should be registered in a primary registry prior to publication.
JMISST accepts the registration in any of the primary registries that participate in the WHO International Clinical Trials Portal (https://www.who.int/clinical-trials-registry-platform), as well as https://www.anzctr.org.au/, www.clinicaltrials.gov, www.umin.ac.jp/ctr/index/htm and www.trialregister.nl. The clinical trial registration number shall be published at the end of the abstract.

7. Process for Identifying and Dealing With Allegations of Research Misconduct

When the journal faces suspected cases of research and publication misconduct, such as a redundant (duplicate) publication, plagiarism, fabricated data, changes in authorship, undisclosed conflicts of interest, an ethical problem discovered with the submitted manuscript, a reviewer who has appropriated an author’s idea or data, complaints against editors, and other issues, the resolving process will follow the flowchart provided by the Committee on Publication Ethics (http://publicationethics.org/resources/flowcharts). The Editorial Board will discuss the suspected cases and reach a decision. We will not hesitate to publish errata, corrigenda, clarifications, retractions, and apologies when needed.
JMISST adheres to the research and publication ethics policies outlined in the International Standards for Editors and Authors (https://publicationethics.org/resources/resources-and-further-reading/international-standards-editors-and-authors) and the ICMJE Recommendations ("The Uniform Requirements") (https://www.icmje.org/about-icmje/faqs/icmje-recommendations/). Any studies involving human subjects must comply with the principles of the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki. Clinical research should be approved by the Institutional Review Board and obtain patient consent. A patient’s personal information generally cannot be published in any form. However, if it is absolutely necessary to use a patient’s personal information, the consent of the patient or his/her guardian will be needed before publication. Animal studies should be performed in compliance with all relevant guidelines, observing the standards described in the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
Cases that require editorial expressions of concern or retraction shall follow the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE) flowcharts available from: http://publicationethics.org/resources/flowcharts. If a correction is needed, it will follow the ICMJE Recommendation for Corrections, Retractions, Republications and Version Control available from: http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/publishing-and-editorial-issues/corrections-and-version-control.html as follows:
Honest errors are a part of science and publishing and require publication of a correction when they are detected. Corrections are needed for errors of fact. The minimum standards are as follows: First, the journal shall publish a correction notice as soon as possible, detailing changes from and citing the original publication on both an electronic and numbered print page that is included in an electronic or a print Table of Contents to ensure proper indexing; second, the journal shall post a new article version with details of the changes from the original version and the date(s) on which the changes were made through CrossMark; third, the journal shall archive all prior versions of the article, and this archive can be directly accessible to readers; and fourth, previous electronic versions shall prominently note that there are more recent versions of the article via CrossMark.

8. Handling Complaints and Appeals

The policies of the journal are primarily aimed at protecting the authors, reviewers, editors, and the publisher of the journal. If not described below, the process of handling complaints and appeals follows the guidelines of the Committee of Publication Ethics available from: https://publicationethics.org/appeals
Who complains or makes an appeal?
Submitters, authors, reviewers, and readers may register complaints and appeals in a variety of cases as follows: falsification, fabrication, plagiarism, duplicate publication, authorship dispute, conflict of interest, ethical treatment of animals, informed consent, bias or unfair/inappropriate competitive acts, copyright, stolen data, defamation, and legal problems. If any individuals or institutions want to inform the journal about a relevant case, they can send a letter to the editor through https://jmisst.org. For complaints or appeals, concrete data with answers to all factual questions (who, when, where, what, how, why) should be provided. Who is responsible for resolving and handling complaints and appeals?
The Editor, Editorial Board, or Editorial Office is responsible for them.
What may be the consequences of resolution?
The consequences depend on the type or degree of misconduct. The consequence of resolution will follow the guidelines of the COPE (http://publicationethics.org/resources/flowcharts).
The Editorial Board of JMISST will discuss suspected cases and reach a decision. JMISST will not hesitate to publish errata, corrigenda, clarifications, retractions, and apologies when needed.

9. Postpublication Discussions and Corrections

Postpublication discussions can be conducted through letters to the editor. If any readers have a concern about any articles published, they can submit a letter to the editor about the issue. If any errors or mistakes in the article are found, the article can be corrected through an erratum, corrigendum, or retraction.

10. Policies on Data Sharing and Reproducibility

JMISST encourages data sharing wherever possible, unless this is prevented by ethical, privacy, or confidentiality matters. Authors wishing to do so may deposit their data in a publicly accessible repository and include a link to the DOI within the text of the manuscript. For example, “Data sharing: The data analyzed for this study have been deposited in Harvard Dataverse (https://dataverse.harvard.edu/) and are available at DOI.”
Clinical Trials: JMISST accepts the ICMJE Recommendations for data sharing statement policy. Authors may refer to the editorial, “Data Sharing statements for Clinical Trials: A Requirement of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors,” in the Journal of Korean Medical Science (https://dx.doi.org/10.3346/jkms.2017.32.7.1051).

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