Ethics & malpractice policy

Ethical responsibilities of authors

The Journal for Modeling in Ophthalmology (JMO) has the basic commitment of upholding the integrity of the scientific record. In doing this, JMO will follow the COPE guidelines on how to deal with any real or potential actions of misconduct. In particular, it is the authors’ responsibility to ensure that: 

  • The submitted manuscript (partly or in full) has not been published previously and/or elsewhere. The only admitted exception is that the submitted manuscript is an expansion of previously published work. In this respect, transparent re-use of material has to be ensured by the authors to avoid text-recycling (‘self-plagiarism’).
  • All the co-authors have granted explicit consent to submit, and that consent has also been granted —tacitly or explicitly —  by the responsible authorities of the institute/organization where the work has been carried out, before the work is submitted.
  • All the authors whose name appears on the submission have contributed to the scientific work and therefore share collective responsibility and accountability for the results in the submission.
  • Upon request, authors should be ready to send any documentation or data that may be useful to verify the validity of the results. Required information could be in the form of raw data, samples, and records, whereas requirement of access to confidential or proprietary data is excluded.
  • The corresponding author collects the conflict of interest (COIs) disclosure forms from all the authors. In the case where formal agreement exists allowing author representation, the disclosure form can be signed by the corresponding author on behalf of all authors.
    • Financial COIs include such things as employment, consultancies, stock ownership or options, honoraria, patents, and paid expert testimony.
    • Scientific COIs may include personal relationships or rivalries, academic competition, and intellectual beliefs.

JMO strives for reproducibility and rigor in the methods; this applies both to modeling and clinical papers. In particular:

  • No page limit is imposed on the manuscripts, with the goal of allowing detailed description of the work in the spirit of reproducibility.
  • Authors are encouraged to share the details of their work also through the submission of supplementary material, such as codes and datasets, but this is not mandatory.

Plagiarism and fraud

Plagiarism occurs whenever the authors of a submitted manuscript present the work of others as if it was their own without full acknowledgment. Plagiarism includes copying the entire body of a previously published work, and/or significant portions of it, without due acknowledgment. Authors are required to ensure that:

  • No data have been fabricated, falsified, or manipulated (including deceptive images) to support their conclusions.
  • No data, text, or theories by others are presented as if they were the author’s own (‘plagiarism’). Proper acknowledgements to other works must be given (including material that is closely copied (near verbatim), summarized, and/or paraphrased). Quotation marks are used for verbatim reproduction of material. Permissions are secured for any copyrighted material, including text, figures, tables, and other types of material. This is exclusively the authors’ responsibility.
  • Failure to publish the results of clinical trials and other human studies, or selective inclusion of results may be considered to be scientific misconduct
  • Important note: the journal may use software tools to screen for plagiarism.

Ethical misconduct

In case of suspected misconduct, the JMO Editor-in-Chief will initiate appropriate procedures as detailed by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), available here.

Should the investigation validate concerns raised in the allegation, the accused author will be contacted and given an opportunity to address the issue. If misconduct has been established beyond reasonable doubt, this may result in the implementation by the JMO Editor-in-Chief of the following measures, including, but not limited to:

  • If the article is still under consideration, it may be rejected and returned to the author.
  • If the article has already been published online, depending on the nature and severity of the infraction, either an erratum will be published alongside the article or, in severe cases, retraction of the article will occur. The reason must be detailed in the published erratum or retraction note. Please note that ‘retraction’ means that the paper is maintained on the platform, watermarked ‘retracted’ and motivation for retraction is provided in a note linked to the watermarked article.
  • The authors’ institution may be informed.

JMO may elect to publish an expression of concern pending the outcomes of investigation as detailed by COPE. If the procedures involve an investigation at the authors’ institution, JMO may seek to discover the outcome of that investigation and notify readers of the outcome if appropriate. If the investigation proves scientific misconduct, JMO will publish a retraction of the article. There may be circumstances in which no misconduct is proven, but an exchange of letters to the editor may still be published to highlight matters of debate to our readers.

Research involving human subjects and/or animals

It is responsibility of the authors to ensure that:

  • All procedures followed in experimental trials reported in the manuscript were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5).
  • Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study. If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach, and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. If any identifying information about patients is included in the article, the following sentence should also be included: “Additional informed consent was obtained from all patients for which identifying information is included in this article”.
    • Patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent. Identifying information, including names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, or pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication.
    • Informed consent for this purpose requires that an identifiable patient be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should disclose to these patients whether any potential identifiable material might be available via the Internet as well as in print after publication.
    Such patient consents will be written and archived by JMO.
  • All institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.