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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 83-84

Author's obligations: Often neglected

Department of Ophthalmology, P D Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication23-Oct-2018

Correspondence Address:
Barun K Nayak
Department of Ophthalmology, P D Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcor.jcor_80_18

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How to cite this article:
Nayak BK. Author's obligations: Often neglected. J Clin Ophthalmol Res 2018;6:83-4

How to cite this URL:
Nayak BK. Author's obligations: Often neglected. J Clin Ophthalmol Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Jun 29];6:83-4. Available from: https://www.jcor.in/text.asp?2018/6/3/83/243847

Publication of scientific research is the essence of progress in medical science. The sad truth is that though medical journals are owned by various medical associations, not much importance is given to the “managing” of the journal's office. The editorial office staffs are usually inadequate and inexperienced. The editor's post is mostly honorary and for a limited number of years. Also, the office of the editor keeps moving from city to city based on the location of the new editor who takes over. This leads to a situation where employment of permanent experience staff is neither possible nor practical. Editors resort to a makeshift arrangement on a temporary basis. I, having served as the Editor of IJO earlier (2005–2011) and currently as the Founder-Editor of this journal since 2013, have encountered a noticeable increase in certain irregularities adopted by the authors which I would half-heartedly put down due to lack of knowledge. In this editorial, I have put my pen to paper to point out certain obligations on the part of the authors, which the authors and editors should surely observe.

On five different occasions this year, I noticed that an article was submitted simultaneously in more than one journal which would be considered as author's misconduct. When an article is submitted to a journal, the author needs to submit the copyright of this article to the editorial office of the journal. This form is valid till the said article is “rejected.” If the article is accepted and published, the copyright becomes the permanent property of the said journal. Alternatively, if the author, at any stage, does not want his/her manuscript to be processed further by this journal, he/she can withdraw the manuscript and submit the said article to another journal. But, simultaneous submission of one particular article in more than one journal at a given time is a complete No-No. Keep in mind its internet era today and it is very easy to get caught. Over time, I have noticed a pattern in the behavior of authors. They would repeatedly send mails to our office enquiring about the progress of the manuscript processing. After one or two revisions based on the comments of the peer reviewers, when the article would come to the final stages of acceptance, the authors would suddenly become absolutely quiet and nonresponsive to mails from our editorial office. At this juncture, my office got suspicious and started searching the net. As expected, in all five instances, we found that the said articles by the same authors were being published in some other journals. Surprisingly, some of the journals where they got their articles published were not even peer-reviewed. The dates of submission mentioned on those publications clearly proved that this act would have to be categorized as a case of simultaneous submission which is a major misconduct on part of the authors. Giving the authors the benefit of doubt I decided to write letter to all concerned authors pointing out their misconduct. Any punishment higher than this would appear a bid harsh as this was their first misconduct in this journal. Further, this editorial would help educate all authors in this regard. However, I would like all authors to read the guidelines given by COPE which clearly highlights the action against authors' misconduct.[1],[2],[3]

There is no doubt that the authors have the right to withdraw their article at any stage before its publication. But, the reasons for withdrawal of the article should be given and genuine. It has also been noticed that the authors submit articles to the journals, and after peer-review process, when the article gets value-addition thanks to the hard work of the editor and peer reviewers, the article is withdrawn by the author without giving any reason. The authors can take professional help toward polishing their article, but submitting an article to a journal, getting it peer-reviewed for free and then withdrawing it with the singular intention of submitting it to another journal, is completely unethical. It amounts to simply taking free services from the journal which is provided in good faith.

The issue of authorship has also become a matter of concern for the editor's office. Very often, the author writes to us to include the names of some more authors after the acceptance of the article. This is not correct. There have been a couple of instances where we have received complaints from a person from the same institution stating that his/her name should be in the author's list, but it has been omitted. The authors need to understand that this is a local issue and should be sorted out at the institutional level. Authorship per se should be taken seriously and as per the guidelines provided in the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).[4] The copyright transfer form which is signed by all authors clearly mentions that all authors have contributed significantly and anyone who have contributed significantly have not been left out [Annex 1]. Readers are also referred to read the editorial on authorship issue.[5]

I hope that the prospective authors will get educated on this important part of the publication and will not do something which can be considered as misconduct. I would like to end this editorial with an appeal to the authors to treat the process of getting their articles published seriously. Please realize the responsibilities of the authors and do not fall a prey to the idea of just getting your article published anywhere in any journal. Also, remember that the efforts and time of many stalwarts from your own fraternity go toward the upgradation of your works. Respect their contribution and enjoy the happiness as well as satisfaction at the end of the day by abiding to the rules laid down for publication.

  Annex Top

Annex 1:

Contributors' form (to be modified as applicable and one signed copy attached with the manuscript)

Journal Title: __________________________________________

Manuscript Title: __________________________________________

Manuscript Number: __________________________________________

I/we certify that I/we have participated sufficiently in the intellectual content, conception and design of this work or the analysis and interpretation of the data (when applicable), as well as the writing of the manuscript, to take public responsibility for it and have agreed to have my/our name listed as a contributor. I/we believe the manuscript represents valid work. Each author confirms they meet the criteria for authorship as established by the ICMJE. Neither this manuscript nor one with substantially similar content under my/our authorship has been published or is being considered for publication elsewhere, except as described in the covering letter. I/we certify that all the data collected during the study is presented in this manuscript and no data from the study has been or will be published separately. I/we attest that, if requested by the editors, I/we will provide the data/information or will cooperate fully in obtaining and providing the data/information on which the manuscript is based, for examination by the editors or their assignees. Financial interests, direct or indirect, that exist or may be perceived to exist for individual contributors in connection with the content of this paper have been disclosed in the cover letter. Sources of outside support of the project are named in the cover letter.

I/We hereby transfer(s), assign(s), or otherwise convey(s) all copyright ownership, including any and all rights incidental thereto, exclusively to the Journal, in the event that such work is published by the Journal. The Journal shall own the work, including (1) copyright; (2) the right to grant permission to republish the article in whole or in part, with or without fee; (3) the right to produce preprints or reprints and translate into languages other than English for sale or free distribution; and (4) the right to republish the work in a collection of articles in any other mechanical or electronic format.

We give the rights to the corresponding author to make necessary changes as per the request of the journal, do the rest of the correspondence on our behalf and he/she will act as the guarantor for the manuscript on our behalf.

The article will be published under the terms of the latest Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License, unless the journal notifies the author otherwise in writing.

All persons who have made substantial contributions to the work reported in the manuscript, but who are not contributors, are named in the Acknowledgment and have given me/us their written permission to be named. If I/we do not include an Acknowledgment that means I/we have not received substantial contributions from non-contributors and no contributor has been omitted.

Name Signature Date signed

1. ———————————— ————————— —————

2. ———————————— ————————— —————

3. ———————————— ————————— —————

4. ———————————— ————————— —————

5. ———————————— ————————— —————

6. ———————————— ————————— —————

(Additional signatures may be added provided the authors meet the ICMJE criteria stated above)

  References Top

COPE. Available from: https://www.publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines. [Last accessed on 2018 Oct 09].  Back to cited text no. 1
Nayak BK. Dealing with the various misconducts in the process of publication in biomedical journals. J Clin Ophthalmol Res 2018;6:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
  [Full text]  
Nayak BK. Understanding the various misconducts in the process of publication in biomedical journals. J Clin Ophthalmol Res 2017;5:109-10.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
Nayak BK, Moreker S, Pawar D. ABC of authorship: Aims, banes and credits. Indian J Ophthalmol 2005;53:223-4.  Back to cited text no. 5
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