Policies & Guidelines

1. Peer Review Policy

All submitted manuscripts are reviewed through 'double-blind' peer review process that means the identities of the authors are kept confidential from the reviewers, and vice versa.

To make this possible, anonymized version of the manuscript are sent to referees. Submitted papers are first considered by the editor after submission. Papers that do not fall within the scope of the journal are 'desk-rejected'. In addition, papers that fail to meet a minimum threshold for quality and originality are also rejected without being sent out to the reviewers.

Papers passing through this initial editorial scrutiny are then typically sent out to minimum two referees (one national and one international). ". If one or more of these turn down the invitation to provide a review, other referees will subsequently be appointed. Normally, at least two authoritative reviews are needed before the respective editor can make a decision as to whether to accept, reject, or ask for a 'revise and resubmit' of the submitted paper.

2. Publication Charge Policy

All articles published in our journals are open access and freely available online, immediately upon publication.

The journal does not charge an article submission fee.

Authors do not pay Article Processing Charge (APC) and Article Publication Fee (APF) to cover the costs of peer review administration and management, professional production of articles in PDF and other formats, and dissemination of published papers in various venues, in addition to other publishing functions.

All the expenses are born by its publisher, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. There are no charges for rejected articles, no submission charges, and no surcharges based on the length of an article, figures or supplementary data. All the items (Manuscripts, Editorials, Teaching Modules, Corrections, Addendums, Retractions, Comments, etc.) are published free of charge.

3. Publication Malpractice Statement

Journal of Quantitative Methods and its publisher, University of Management and Technology, follow the ethical guidelines for publication outlined by the COPE (Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and the Core Practices for Journalas well as Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. In view of that, the authors, the reviewers, and the editors are expected to follow the best-practice guidelines:

HEC Guidelines

 

Editor's Guidelines

4.  Authorship Policy

 Authorship Credit

Authorship credits may only be given to those who have made a substantial contribution in constructing the article.

The corresponding author of the article holds the responsibility to give credits to the co-authors that are significantly involved in the work. Also, the corresponding author should make sure that all the co-authors have approved to the final submission and ready-to-publish version of the article.

Others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the research should be acknowledged for their contribution in an "Acknowledgement" section.

Changes in Authorship

The authors are fully responsible to provide the names of the authors upon submitting the article to the journal. Once the article is accepted for publication, any addition, deletion or rearrangement of the authors’ names will not be entertained unless approved by the journal’s editor. To request such a change, the corresponding author must provide the journal’s editor with: (a) the reason for the change in author list and (b) written confirmation (e-mail, letter) from all authors that they agree with the addition, removal or rearrangement, along with the confirmation from the author being added or removed. Only in exceptional circumstances and with considerable reason/s will the editor may consider the addition, deletion or rearrangement of authors after the manuscript has been accepted. While the editor considers the request, the processing of the manuscript for publication will be put on hold. If the manuscript has already been published in an online issue, any requests may not be entertained by the editor.

Order of Authors

It the responsibility of the authors to have a mutual agreement on the order of the authors before submitting the article to the journal. Any such disagreements must be ruled out before the submission.

Guest Authorship

The “guest” author makes no significant contributions to the study, hence, do not qualify for authorship. The UMT journals do not allow the appearance of guest authorship on the articles.

Anonymous Authorship

Because authorship should be transparent and requires public accountability, it is not appropriate to use pseudonyms or to publish scientific reports anonymously. In extremely rare cases, when the author can make a credible claim that attaching his or her name to the document could cause serious hardship (e.g., threat to personal safety or loss of employment), a journal editor may decide to publish anonymous content.

Acknowledgment

In the Acknowledgments section, authors may wish to include the names and contributions of those whose involvement in a study did not qualify them for authorship (because of the journal policy) but has contributed to the article in some way.

Contributors

"Ghost" and/or "Guest" author phenomenon has been common in the traditional listing of research papers. This has been raising inappropriate authorship practice in which some individuals who did not have an actual input in the experiment. For this, the journal highly recommends that only authors who have made a significant scientific contribution to the research in the manuscript shall be listed individually in the submitted manuscript (including students and lab technicians).

Duplicate Submission

Articles that are found to have been published elsewhere, or are under consideration for publishing elsewhere, will be considered as a "duplicated" material.  In case the author(s) have used their own previously published work (or work that is currently under review), they are asked to cite the previous work and indicate how their submitted manuscript offers novel contributions and adds value differently (from the previous work).

Citation Manipulation

Submitted manuscripts that are found to include citations in order to increase the number of citations to a given author’s work, or to articles published in a particular journal, will be considered as a "citation manipulation"-containing material.

5.  Accessibility Policy

We are committed to continuously enhance the accessibility of our published database to maximize the readability without any interruption. We process all our articles through the Open Journal System (OJS) that automatically generates the files in ‘html’ and converts those that are not in the desired format, making our files easily accessible on the web to all kinds of users.

Open Access Statement 

This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author.

All articles are available on the internet to all users immediately upon publication. Non-commercial and commercial use and distribution in any medium is permitted, provided the author and the journal are properly credited.

6.  Corrections and Retraction Policy

Authors who discover errors in articles they have published should have the corresponding author contact the journal’s editorial office with a detailed description of the correction that is needed. Corrigenda (corrections of author’s errors) and errata (corrections of publisher’s errors) will be published at no charge to the authors. Requests for corrections that affect the interpretation or conclusions of a published article will be reviewed by the editors.

 An article may be retracted when the integrity of the published work is substantially undermined owing to errors in the conduct, analysis and/or reporting of the study. Violation of publication or research ethics may also result in a study’s retraction. The original article is marked as retracted but a PDF version remains available to readers, and the retraction statement is bi-directionally linked to the original published paper. Retraction statements will typically include a statement of assent or dissent from the authors.

In exceptional circumstances, the editorial office reserves the right to remove an article from the journal’s online platforms. Such action may be taken when (i) the editorial office has been advised that content is defamatory, infringes a third party’s intellectual property right, right to privacy, or other legal right, or is otherwise unlawful; (ii) a court or government order has been issued, or is likely to be issued, requiring removal of such content; (iii) content, if acted upon, would pose an immediate and serious risk to health. Removal may be temporary or permanent. Bibliographic metadata (e.g. title and authors) will be retained, and will be accompanied by a statement explaining why the content has been removed.

7.  Digital Archiving Policy

The journal is fully committed to store the published material on digital archives to ensure that the articles will always be available to readers, even in the event of a publication being lost or discontinued. The best way to ensure that journal articles will always be accessible to readers, is to deposit all published articles into a long-term digital preservation service or archive.

All UMT journals are digitally archived on PN Preservation Networks (CLOCKS) on regular basis. The journal has further ensured that the metadata of all of its open access journals is compatible to all the well-known repository services and their digital crawlers may regularly collect it for record and preservation. Besides, the journal also assigns Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) to all its issues and the contents to facilitate reaching their permanent links on the internet.

Moreover, the journal management system automatically self-archives the data on UMT servers regularly.

8.  Confidentiality Policy

The editors and the publication handling/managing staff keeps all information about a submitted manuscript confidential and shares it only with those involved in the evaluation, review, and publication processes as per the journal’s publication policy. The journal is operating through an automated journal management system to ensure transparent double-blind peer review process as well as confidentiality of the information. The Editors should consider adding a confidentiality notice to all correspondence, including reviewer forms, to serve as a reminder to authors, editors, and reviewers.

9.  Conflict of Interests Policy

A Declaration of Conflicting Interests policy refers to a formal policy a journal may have to require a conflict of interest statement or conflict of interest disclosure from a submitting or publishing author.

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) states in its Guidelines on Good Publication Practice (2003) that: “Conflicts of interest arise when authors, reviewers, or editors have interests that are not fully apparent and that may influence their judgments on what is published. They have been described as those which, when revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived.”

Many scholars, researchers and professionals may have potential conflicts of interest that could have an effect on, or could be seen to have an effect on their research. As a result, the journal requires a formal declaration of conflicting interests enabling a statement to be carried within the paginated published article.

A potential conflict of interest may arise from relationships, allegiances or hostilities to particular groups, organizations or interests, which may influence one’s judgments or actions excessively. The issue is particularly sensitive when such interests are private and/or may result in personal gain.

All manuscripts submitted to the journal are evaluated fairly and are not necessarily rejected when any competing interests are declared. 

Examples of conflicts of interest might include the following, although it is not an exhaustive list:

  • Having received fees for consulting.
  • Having received research funding.
  • Having been employed by a related company.
  • Holding stocks or shares in a company which might be affected by the publication of your paper.
  • Having received funds reimbursing you for attending a related symposia, or talk.

If there are other interests which the reasonable reader might feel has affected your research you may also wish to declare them. (Please note that it is not expected that details of financial arrangements be disclosed when a competing interest is declared.)

10.  Conflict of interests

Upon identification of any conflict of interest, the editors may require more information from the author that may include the following:

  1. Acknowledgement of financial support/sponsorship in their contribution.
  2. Any commercial or financial involvements that might present an appearance of a conflict of interest related to the contribution are disclosed in a covering letter accompanying the contribution and all such potential conflicts of interest will be discussed with the editor as to whether disclosure of this information with the published contribution is to be made in the journal.
  3. If they have signed an agreement with any sponsor of the research reported in the contribution that prevents you from publishing both positive and negative results or that forbids you from publishing this research without a prior approval of the sponsor.
  4. If they have checked the manuscript submission guidelines to ensure whether the journal requires a Declaration of Conflicting Interests and have complied with the requirements specified where such a policy exists.

Authors are required to fill and sign the Copyright and Author Consent Form upon submitting the manuscript.

Editor obligations regarding conflicting interests

The same obligations equally apply to the editors or guest editors writing an editorial for the journal. When you are submitting or publishing your article in a journal which requires you to make a Declaration of Conflicting Interests, please include such a declaration at the end of your manuscript after any Acknowledgements and prior to the Funding Acknowledgement, Notes (if relevant) and References, under the heading 'Declaration of Conflicting Interest'. If no conflict exists, please state that 'The Author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest'.

 *Please note, a Conflict of Interest Statement will not appear in journals that do not require a declaration of conflicting interests. Where a declaration is required the disclosure information must be specific and include any financial relationship that all authors of the article has with any sponsoring organization and the for-profit interests the organization represents, and with any for-profit product discussed or implied in the text of the article.

10.  Privacy Policy

The journal respects privacy and ensures that the personal information of author(s) is protected in line with the intellectual property and copyrights Ordinance 1962 and is applicable to all personal information of users who are using services through website. This privacy policy excludes information provided to the staff of UMT journals and public information. Our journal highly encourages research ethics, including confidentiality, consent, transparency and integrity (e.g. reporting standards, conflicts of interest, research funding, appeals and complaints. The journal’s privacy policy aligns with Committee on Public Ethics (COPE) code of conduct.
We collect personal information to communicate with you, to collect feedback about services, to inform you about latest news and events related to the journal. We collect personal information such as name, email addresses, academic qualifications, professional affiliations, address, contact number, city, state and country of residence and information that user voluntarily provide through various forms given on the website. For browsing, viewing and downloading articles on this website user is not required to provide any personal information.
The journal’s website users may opt for not sharing personal information i.e. quit using the Website. Some services compulsorily require submitting personal information. For example: author name is required when submitting a manuscript. The journal never shares personal information of sit users collected on this website and retains personal information as long as it is relevant to our purpose or until you request to remove your information from your database. If any user wants to remove his/her personal information, he/she may contact at “Contact Us” page. The UMT journals may require no personal information which might include your gender, zip code, date of birth, education, occupation, financial information and interests. The journal uses your information to improve quality of products and services, to keep our users up-to-date. We may combine personal information with other information, when required.
You agree to the terms and conditions of the privacy policy by using the website. We may make changes in the privacy policy in the case of exceptional circumstances. We recommend that to check the privacy statement regularly to keep you updated about such changes. You have to exit the site immediately if you don’t agree to any term and condition of privacy statement.

11.  Anti-plagiarism and Anti-predatory Procedures

It is the journal’s editorial policy to welcome the original work that is not under consideration for any other publication at the same time. All authors are obliged to be aware of the importance of presenting content that is based on their own research and expressed in their own words. Plagiarism is considered to be bad practice and unethical. As per the part of journal’s Copyrights Policy, originality guidelines are designed to assist authors in understanding acceptable and unacceptable practice. Our approach is specifically aimed at promoting and protecting authors' work.

The following types of plagiarism should be avoided:

Verbatim copying - Verbatim copying of more than 10% or 15% (or a significant passage or section of text) of another person's work without acknowledgement, references or the use of quotation marks.

Paraphrasing - Improper paraphrasing of other person's work is where more than one sentence within a paragraph or section of text has been changed or sentences have been rearranged without appropriate attribution. Significant improper paraphrasing (more than 10% of work) without appropriate attribution is treated as seriously as verbatim copying.

Re-using parts of a work without attribution - Re-use of elements of other person's work, for example, a figure, a table or a paragraph without acknowledgement, references or the use of quotation marks. It is incumbent on the author to obtain the necessary permission to reuse elements of another person's work from the copyright holder.

Self-plagiarism – It is required that all authors sign a copyright form that clearly states that their submitted work has not been published previously. If elements of a work have been previously published in another publication, including any UMT publication, the author is required to acknowledge the earlier work and indicate how the subsequent work differs and builds upon the research and conclusions contained in the previous work. Verbatim copying of author's own work and paraphrasing is not acceptable and we recommend that research should only be reused to support new conclusions.

We recommend that authors cite all previous stages of publication and presentation of their ideas that have culminated in the final work, including conference papers, workshop presentations and listserv communications. This will ensure that a complete record of all communication relating to the work is documented.

Republication of original work – Only original and innovative work is published in the journal with a small number of exceptions only. These exceptions include conference papers, archival papers that are republished in special issues and at the discretion of the editor. The original work is fully and correctly attributed and permission from the appropriate copyright holder obtained. Besides, it is the author’s obligation to mention any facts in this regard in the compliance with ethical standard statement at the end of the manuscript.

Attribution - References to other publications must be in APA 6.0 style. All references should be carefully checked for completeness, accuracy, and consistency. You should include all author names and initials and give any journal title in full.

Handling allegations of plagiarism – The journal seeks to uphold academic integrity and to protect authors' rights and to ensure this, the editors take all cases of plagiarism very seriously. The editors are also aware of the potential impact of an allegation of plagiarism can ruin a researcher's career. Therefore, they have procedures in place to deal with alleged cases of plagiarism. In order to take an unbiased approach, they investigate each case thoroughly, seeking clarification from all affected parties.

This journal is an academic publication and uses software such as Turnitin.com to get help when an alleged case of plagiarism is brought to the attention. If the editors are approached by a third party with an allegation of plagiarism, they would always seek a response from the author(s)/contributors or copyright holder(s) before deciding on a course of action. Their decisions will be unbiased and objective as well not influenced by other parties.

The journal is not obliged to discuss individual cases of alleged plagiarism with third parties. We reserve the right not to proceed further with a case if the complainant presents a false name or affiliation or acts in an inappropriate or threatening manner towards the journal editors and staff.

Prior Publication

If submitted manuscript or its significant part has been previously published, it is not generally acceptable for publication in the journal. However, for abstracts and posters presented at conferences, the authors are responsible to inform the editor and acknowledge the first source of publication. Articles that have been presented at a conference but not published by the conference organizers may also be considered. The author should confirm that they have not granted the conference organizers a license to the work; if the author retains all the rights in the work, the journal editor may consider the article for publication based on the fact that articles presented at a conference are unlikely to be the same or substantially the same version as that being accepted by the journal. 

In all cases, the author should disclose any prior publication or distribution to the editor and ensure appropriate attribution to the prior distribution and/or publication of the material.

 

 

Ethical Guidelines for Author(s)

The following ethical guidelines are obligatory for all author (s) violation of which may result in application of penalties by the editor (s), including but not limited to the suspension or revocation of publishing privileges.

Reporting Standards 

  • It is the author (s)’ responsibility to ensure that the research report and data contain adequate detail and references to the sources of information in order to allow others to reproduce the results. 
  • Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statement constitutes unethical behavior and will be unacceptable.

Originality and Plagiarism 

  • It is the author(s)’ responsibility to ascertain that s/he has submitted an entirely original work, giving due credit, by virtue of proper citations, to the works and/or words of others where they are used.
  • Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behavior and is not acceptable.
  • Material quoted verbatim from the author (s)’ previously published work or other sources must be placed in quotation marks. 
  • As per HEC policy, in case manuscript has been found to have a similarity index of more than 19% it will either be rejected or left at the discretion of the editor for purposes of a conditional acceptance.

Declaration

  • Authors are required to provide an undertaking / declaration stating that the manuscript under consideration contains solely their original work that is not under consideration for publishing in any other journal in any form. 
  • Authors can submit manuscript previously published in abstracted form, e.g. in the proceedings of an annual meeting, or in a periodical with limited circulation and availability e.g. reports by government agencies or university departments. 
  • Manuscript that is co-authored must be accompanied with an undertaking explicitly stating that each Author has contributed substantially towards the preparation of the manuscript in order to claim right to authorship.
  • It is responsibility of the corresponding author that s/he has ensured that all those who have substantially contributed in the manuscripts have been included in the author list and they have agreed to the order of authorship.  

Multiple, Redundant and Current Publication

  • Authors should not submit manuscripts describing essentially the same research to more than one journal or publication except if is a re-submission of a rejected or withdrawn manuscript. 
  • Authors can re-publish previously conducted research that has been substantially altered or corrected using more meticulous analysis or by adding more data. 
  • The authors and editor must agree to the secondary publication, which must cite the primary references and reflect the same data and interpretation of the primary document.
  • Concurrent submission of the same manuscript to more than one journal is unethical publishing behavior and is unacceptable. 

Acknowledgment of Sources

  • A paper must always contain proper acknowledgment of the work of others, including clear indications of the sources of all information quoted or offered, except that what is common knowledge.  
  • Author (s) must also acknowledge the contributions of people, organizations and institutes who assisted the process of research, including those who provided technical help, writing assistance or financial funding (in acknowledgement).  
  • It is duty of the author (s) to conduct a literature review and properly cite the original publications that describe closely related work.  

Authorship of the Work

  • Authorship of the work may only be credited to those who have made a noteworthy contribution in conceptualization, design, conducting, data analysis and writing up of the manuscript.  
  • It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to include name of only those coauthors who have made significant contributions to the work.
  • The corresponding author should ensure that all co- authors have seen and approved the final version of the paper and have agreed to its submission for publication. 

Others who have participated in certain substantive aspect of the research should be acknowledged for their contribution in an “Acknowledgement” section. 

Privacy of Participants

  • Authors must respect the privacy of the participant of research and must not use any information obtained from them without their informed consent.  
  • Authors should ensure that only information that improves the understanding of the study is shared.  
  • Authors must ensure that in instances where the identity of the participant needs to be revealed in the study, explicit and informed consent of the concerned party is obtained.  
  • In the event of the demise of a participant, consent must be obtained from the family of the deceased.  

Data Access and Retention

  • If question arises about the accuracy or validity of the research work during the review process the author (s) should provide raw data to the editor.

Images

  • The author (s) should ensure that images included in an account of research performed or in the data collection as part of the research are free from manipulation, 
  • Authors must provide an accurate description of how the images were generated and produced.             

Disclosure and Conflicts of Interest

  • The potential and relevant competing financial, personal social or other interest of all author (s) that might be affected by publication of the results contained in the manuscript must be conveyed to the editor. 
  • Author (s) should disclose any potential conflict of interest at the earliest possible stage, including but not limited to employment, consultancies, honoraria, patent applications/registrations, grants or other funding. 
  • All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed alongside a brief overview of the role played, if any by the responses during the various stages of research. 

Copyright

Authors may have to sign an agreement allowing the journal to reserve the right to circulate the article and all other derivative works such as translations. 

Manuscript Acceptance and Rejection

  • The review period can last between 1-2 months or longer and during this period author has reserve a right to contact editor to ask about the status of the review. 
  • Once the review process has been completed, the author will be informed about the status of the manuscript which could either be an acceptance, rejection or made revision. In the event of rejection, the Author reserves the right to publish the article elsewhere. 
  • In case of revisions, the author must provide an exposition of all corrections made in the manuscript and the revised manuscript will, then, go through the process of affirmation of revisions and be accepted or rejected accordingly. 
  • In case of dissatisfaction over the decision of rejection, author can appeal the decision by contacting the editor.  

 

Ethical Guideline for Peer Reviewers

Preamble: 

Review of manuscript by peer-reviewers is not only an essential component of formal scholarly engagement, but is also a fundamental step in the publication process as it aids a journal editor in making editorial decisions. It also allows an author to improve the paper via editorial communications. Scholars when they accept to review the research paper have an ethical responsibility to complete this assignment professionally. The quality, credibility and reputation of a journal also depend on the peer review process.

The peer review process depends on trust, and demands that professional involved supposed to fulfill his/her role ethically. These professionals are the momentum arm of this process, but they are may be performing this job without any formal training. As a consequence, they may be (especially young professors) unaware of their ethical obligations. The Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan wants to set out ‘Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers’ so that all peer reviewers provide their valuable services in a standardized manner.  

Suitability and Promptness 

Peer reviewers should:

  • Inform the editor, if they do not have the subject expertise required to carry out the review and s/he should inform the editor immediately after receiving a request,
  • Be responsible to act promptly and submit review report on time, 
  • Immediately inform the editor of any possible delays and suggest another date of submission a review report, and
  • Not unnecessarily delaying the review process, either by prolonged delay in submission of their review or by requesting unnecessary additional data/information from the editor or author(s).

Standards of Objectivity 

  • Reviews should be objectively carried out with a consideration of high academic, scholarly and scientific standards, 
  • All judgments should be meticulously established and maintained in order to ensure the full comprehension of the reviewer’s comments by the editors and the author(s),
  • Both reviewers and author(s) in rebuttal should avoid unsupported assertions, 
  • Reviewer may justifiably criticize a manuscript but it would be inappropriate and impressible to resort to personal criticism on the author(s), and
  • Reviewers should ensure that their decision is purely based on the quality of the research paper and not influenced, either positively or negatively, by any personal, financial, or other conflicting considerations or by intellectual biases.

Disclosure and Conflict of Interest

  • A reviewer should not, for the purpose of his/her own research, use unpublished material disclosed in a submitted manuscript, without the approval of the editor,
  • The data included in the research paper is required to be kept confidential and the reviewer shall not be allowed to used for his/her any personal study, 
  • Reviewer must declare any potentially conflicting interests (e.g. personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious). In this situation, s/he will require to follow journal’s policies on situations they consider to represent a conflict to reviewing,
  • A reviewer should be honest to declare conflicts of interest, if, the research paper under reviews is the same to his/her presently conducted study, 
  • If the reviewer feels unqualified to separate his/her bias, s/he should immediately return the manuscript to the editor without review, and justify to him/her about this. 

Confidentiality

  • Reviewers should kept the research paper as confidential document and must not discuss its content in any platform except in cases where a professional advice is being sought with the authorization of the editor, and
  • Reviewers are professionally and ethically bound not to disclose the details of the research paper prior to its publication without the prior approval of the editor.

Ethical Considerations

  • If reviewer would suspect that the research paper is almost the same of someone else’s work, s/he will ethically inform the editor and provide its citation as a reference,
  • If reviewer would suspect the results in research paper to be untrue/unrealistic/fake, s/he will share it with the editor,  
  • If there has been an indication for violating the ethical norms in the treatment of human beings (e.g. children, female, poor people, disabled, elderly, etc), then this should be identified to the editor, and
  • If the research paper based on any previous research study or is replica of an earlier work, or the work is plagiarized e.g. the author has not acknowledged/referenced others’ work appropriately, then this should be brought in the editor’s knowledge.  

Originality

For evaluating originality, peer reviewers should consider the following elements:

  • Does the research paper add to the existing knowledge? 
  • Do research questions and/or hypotheses are appropriate to the objective of the research work? 

Structure

If the layout and format of the paper is not per prescribed one, the reviewers should discuss it with the editor or should include this observation in his/her review report. On the other side, if the research paper is exceptionally well, the reviewer may overlook the formatting issues. Other times, reviewers may suggest restructuring the paper before publication. The following elements should be carefully evaluated:

  • If there is serious problem of language expression and reviewer gets an impression that the research paper does not fulfill the linguistic requirements and readers would face difficulties to read and comprehend the paper. Such situation would usually arise when the author’s native language is not English. The reviewer should record this deficiency in his/her report and suggest the editor to make its proper editing.
  • The data presented in the paper is original or reproduced from previously conducted or published work. The papers which reflect originality are more likely to be given preference for publication.
  • The clarity of illustrations including photographs, models, charts, images and figures is essential to note. If there is duplication that should be reported in the review report. Similarly, descriptions provided in the ‘results’ section should correspond with the data presented in tables/figures, if not then it should be clearly listed in the review report.
  • Critically review the statistical analysis of the data. Also check rational and appropriateness of the specific analysis.   
  • Reviewers should read the ‘Methodology’ section in detail and make sure that the author(s) has demonstrated the understanding of the procedures being used and presented in the manuscript.  
  • The relationship between ‘Data, findings’ and ‘Discussion’ requires evaluating thoroughly. Unnecessary conjecture or unfounded conclusions that are not based on the presented data are not acceptable.
  • The organization of the research paper is appropriate or deviate from the standard or prescribed format? 
  • Does the author(s) follow the guidelines prescribed by the journal for preparation and submission of the manuscript?
  • Is the research paper free from typographical errors?

Review Report

  • Reviewer must explicitly write his/her observations in the section of ‘comments’ because author(s) will only see the comments reviewers have made, 
  • For writing a review report, the reviewers are requested to complete a prescribed form(s),
  • It is helpful for both the editor and author(s) if the reviewer writes a brief summary in the first section of the review report. This summary should comprise of reviewer’s final  decision and inferences drawn from full review,
  • Any personal comments on author(s) should be avoided and final remarks must be written in a courteous and positive manner,
  • Indicating any deficiencies is important. For the understanding of editor and author(s), the reviewers should highlight these deficiencies in some detail with specificity. This will also justify the comments made by the reviewer,
  • When reviewer makes a decision regarding research paper, it will clearly indicate as ‘Reject’, ‘Accept without revision’, or ‘Need Revision’ and either of the decisions should have justification of the same.
  • The reviewers should indicate the revisions clearly and comprehensively, and show willingness to confirm the revisions submitted by the author (s), if editor wishes so, and
  • The final decision about publishing a research paper (either accept or reject) will solely rest with the editor and it is not a reviewer’s job to take part in this decision. The editor will surely consider reviewer’s comments and have a right to send the paper for another opinion or send back to the author(s) for its revisions before making the final decision.

 

Ethical Guideline for Editor

Editor of a research journal plays an important role in establishing and maintaining the professional standards. Publication of a paper in an HEC recognized journal is expected to be a reflection of quality work of author (s) and the affiliating institution (if any). Editor is expected to perform the responsibility towards the journal on its all aspects and at varied stages i.e. from receiving of an article to publishing it. Keeping this in view, it becomes prime responsibility of an editor to adapt the following guidelines while publishing papers in his/her research journal.

1.  Editor’s Responsibilities 

 Editor of a research journal should be responsible for:

  • To establish and maintain quality of the journal by publishing quality papers in his/her journal,
  • Promotion of freedom of expression within the cultural, constitutional/legal framework,
  • Providing integrity and credibility of the research contributions,
  • Meeting the needs of authors and readers,
  • Maintaining ethical standards of their journal,
  • Providing corrigendum for any correction, clarification and apologies where required. 

1.1 Good practices for their job would include to:

  • encourage new ideas and suggestions of authors, peer reviewers, members of editorial board and readers for improving quality of his/her  journal,
  • apply the process of blind peer review in true letter and spirit,
  • promote innovative findings in respective field and publishing them on priority,
  • promote anti plagiarism policy,
  • educate contributors (authors) about ethical practices in research, and
  • implement the journal’s policy without institutional pressure and revise the policy from time to time.

1.2  Formation of Editorial Board

  • Editor must ensure that editorial board comprises of prominent scholars of the field who can adequately promote the journal,
  • The editorial board shall be comprised of: 
  • Editorial Committee, who will be responsible for providing logistics, and
  • Advisory Committee, who will be responsible for reviewing the submitted research papers. This committee should have at least 50% representation of scholars from abroad.
    • May appoint editorial board members for a prescribed duration and add or revise the board if required,
    • Editor should inform new board members about ethical guidelines and their expected role and update editorial board members about development, challenges and any changes made in the journal policy,
    • The editorial board should maintain the quality of the journal because an assigned category by the HEC (e.g. X, Y, and Z categories) will depend on the quality of published papers in it.  It is professional duty of the board members to select credible research work, and
    • To ensure smooth functioning of the journal, editors are responsible to conduct the editorial board meetings on regular basis (at least twice a year).

 2.    Fair play and Impartiality 

  • The criteria for the selection of research papers must be impartial and editor should select academically and scientifically sound papers,
  • Editor should: 
  • Promptly respond to the author (s) of the papers submitted for publication, and
  • Assign a specific number to an article submitted for processing; and pay impartial consideration to all research papers submitted for publication
    • ensure to evaluate (get evaluated) the content of research papers impartially and on merit, and
    • disregard the discriminating factors, e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, religious belief, cultural sentiments, political affiliation, seniority and/or institutional association of the author(s) while selecting articles for publication, and
    • ensure impartiality of the review process by informing reviewer (s) that s/he needs to disclose any conflicts of interest regarding the submitted research paper. 

 3.   Confidentiality

  • The editor must ensure confidentiality of the author(s) and reviewers during the process of double-blind peer review,
  • Information pertaining to a research paper should not be disclosed by the editor to anyone except the author(s), reviewer(s), and editorial board members,  
  • Upon reaching a decision about a research paper, the editor may only disclose or announce title of the study and name of the author(s) that has been accepted for publication. Any other information may only be disclosed with the prior approval of the author(s), and  
  • Confidentiality of the participants of the research should also be ensured by protecting personal information (e.g. identifiable personal details, images, and/or individual results), editor should declare clear guidelines to the contributors (authors) regarding confidentiality of the individual participant.
  • Prior to publication, the content of the manuscript should be kept confidential, both the editor and reviewer(s) will not share or use any part of the work. 

 4.   Editing and Formatting Guidelines

  • The editors should prepare clear guidelines about preparing and formatting of a paper and print these guidelines in each issue of the journal,
  • The guidelines should cover information related to ‘content’ and ‘format’ of a research paper,
  • Any preferred manual of style (e.g. APA, Chicago Manual, MLA Style, etc) should be declared as a policy decision.

 5.   Review Process

  • Details about review process should be declared,
  • Editor should ensure that all published papers have gone through a double-blind peer review, and at least one of the reviewers is from outside the country, 
  • Editor should ensure that peer-review is masked in both directions and as such the identity of the author is removed from the manuscript prior to its review in order to protect the confidentially and privacy, 
  • Editor should provide sufficient guidelines to reviewers, including necessary information about the review process and provide them a reviewer comment form for recording his/her comments,
  • Editor must ensure that peer review process is prompt, nondiscriminatory and highly professional,
  • Editor should develop a system of confidentiality of research papers undergoing the review process,
  • Editor is required to send reviewers’ comments to author(s) promptly,
  • Editor should ensure that the corrections suggested by the reviewers are incorporated by the author(s) in letter and spirit, 
  • Editor to critically evaluate peer review practices regularly and make improvement, if, required, 
  • Editor should maintain a database of competent and qualified reviewers. For this purpose, s/he may use various sources other than personal contacts to identify new reviewers (e.g. referring by author (s), citations and references section in a book/journal), and
  • Editor should refer trouble cases (e.g. in case of one acceptance and one rejection or any conflict arisen after review) to advisory committee in order to resolve the matter amicably.

6.  Dealing with Misconduct

  • Editor should encourage reviewers to comment on ethical issues and possible research and publication misconduct in case the submitted research paper has indulged in (e.g. inappropriate research design, incomplete detail on participant’s consent, data manipulation, presentation,
  • Editor should encourage reviewers to comment on the validity of submitted research paper and identify ‘subtle (simply copy-paste)’ and/or ‘blatant (paraphrasing)’ type of plagiarism, if, practiced by the author(s), 
  • Editor should confirm plagiarism (carry out objective check through Turnitin) and/or searching for similar titles to the submitted research paper, and
  • Editor should be prepared to publish a corrigendum, remove and retract a plagiarized article if it comes to his/her knowledge subsequent to its publication. 

7.   Transparency

  • Editor must ensure that multiple papers as a principal investigator submitted by an author should not be published in the same issue,
  • Only ONE co-authorship will be allowed for those author who will also contribute a research paper as a principal investigator in the same issue, 
  • For the members of the editorial board (including the editor), it will only be limited to ONE paper per issue either to submit research paper as a principal investigator or coauthor, and  
  • Editor should adopt authorship or co-authorship policy that will lead to set example in the scientific community and strictly discourage any misconduct (e.g. forcible inclusion of a name in the author list). Authorship should only be given to those individuals who have substantially contributed in the said article

8.   Conflict of Interest

  • Editor should not edit a submitted paper for those author(s) and/or institution against which s/he has any conflicts of interest (e.g. resulting from competitive, collaborative and/or professional standing),
  • Editor should also apply this guideline on their reviewers and editorial board members.
  • To ensure unbiased review, the editor should declare a clear cut policy for his/her own submission and a research paper submitted by a editorial board member, and
  • Editor must publish a list of common interests (e.g. financial, academic and/or any other type) for all editorial board members and editorial staff. This list should be updated from time to time.
  • To ensure unbiased review, the editor should declare a clear cut policy for his/her own submission and a research paper submitted by a editorial board member.
  • Suggested that "decision pertaining to the editor's submitted article/s, one of the associate editors must decide and the information about reviewers should be kept confidential from the editor

9.   Disclosure

  • Editor must not use any unpublished information/data from the submitted research paper without the permission of the author(s), and
  • Any information received after peer review process must be kept confidential and not used for personal gains.

10.  Publication Decisions

  • editor to only short list research papers which have relevancy with the scope of the journal based on his/her judgment, but without any prejudice,    
  • After completion of the reviewing process, submission of revised manuscript, and assessing the quality and validity, the editor has a right to accept or reject a research paper,  
  • Editor’s decisions to accept or reject a paper for publication should be purely based on merit, academic standards and professional demands of the journal,
  • Editor must justify the reasons of rejecting a research paper to author(s). This may include:
  • Failure to fit in the scope of the journal (can be communicated after preliminary review)
  • Insufficient depth of content
  • Major errors related to design, analysis, write up and format
  • any misconduct or conflicting factors (e.g. plagiarism, copyright infringement, legal issues, fake data, authorship issues)
    • Editors are required to timely communicate the editorial decision to the author(s),  ? Editors should not reverse decisions in favor or against author(s) at his/her own.

 11.  Establishing a Procedure for Appeal

  • Editor is responsible for establishing a proper mechanism for appeals launched against:
  • the rejection of a research paper
  • objections to publications causing harm to any party
  • infringing ethical boundaries in any manner