Journal of Multiple Sclerosis editors may seek advice about submitted papers not only from technical reviewers but also on any aspect of a paper that raises concerns. These may include, for example, ethical issues or issues of data or materials access. Very occasionally, concerns may also relate to the implications to society of publishing a paper, including threats to security. In such circumstances, advice will usually be sought simultaneously with the technical peer-review process. As in all publishing decisions, the ultimate decision whether to publish is the responsibility of the editor of the journal concerned.
The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) is a leading independent institution providing guidance for the report of biomedical research and health related topics in medical journals.
The threat posed by bioweapons raises the unusual need to assess the balance of risk and benefit in publication. Editors are not necessarily well qualified to make such judgements unassisted, and so we reserve the right to take expert advice in cases where we believe that concerns may arise. We recognize the widespread view that openness in science helps to alert society to potential threats and to defend against them, and we anticipate that only very rarely (if at all) will the risks be perceived as outweighing the benefits of publishing a paper that has otherwise been deemed appropriate for the Portfolio of journal. Nevertheless, we think it appropriate to consider such risks and to have a formal policy for dealing with them if need arises.
Authors of any paper describing agents or technologies whose misuse may pose a risk must complete the dual use research of concern section. This provides an opportunity not only to highlight potential hazards, but also to explain the precautions that have been taken and the benefits of publishing the research. The Reporting Summary is made available to editors, reviewers and expert advisors during manuscript assessment, and is published with all accepted manuscripts.
We have established an editorial monitoring group to oversee the consideration of papers with biosecurity concerns. The monitoring group includes the Editor-in-Chief of the journal; the Head of Editorial Policy is responsible for maintaining a network of advisors on biosecurity issues.
Duties of Editors
The Executive Editor or/and Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Multiple Sclerosis, is responsible for deciding which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published in current volume of the journal. He may be guided by the policies of the journal’s editorial board and constrained by such legal requirements as shall then be in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism.
An editor at any time evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to the nature of the authors or the host institution including race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors.
The editor must not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, other editorial advisers, and the publisher, as appropriate.
Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in an editor’s own research without the express written consent of the author.
When genuine errors in published work are pointed out by readers, authors, or members of editorial board, which do not render the work invalid, a correction (or erratum) will be published as soon as possible. The online version of the paper may be corrected with a date of correction and a link to the printed erratum. If the error renders the work or substantial parts of it invalid, the process of retraction can be initiated. In such case, the retraction communication with explanations as to the reason for retraction will be published as soon as possible. Consequently, the message about retraction will be indicated on article page and in pdf version of retracted article.
If serious concerns are raised by readers, reviewers, or others, about the conduct, validity, or reporting of academic work, editor will initially contact the authors and allow them to respond to the concerns. If that response is unsatisfactory, Journal of Multiple Sclerosis will take this to the institutional level.
Journal of Multiple Sclerosis will respond to all allegations or suspicions of research or publication misconduct raised by readers, reviewers, or other editors. Cases of possible plagiarism or duplicate/redundant publication will be assessed by the journal. In other cases, Journal of Multiple Sclerosis may request an investigation by the institution or other appropriate bodies (after seeking an explanation from the authors first and if that explanation is unsatisfactory).
Retracted papers will be retained online, and they will be prominently marked as a retraction in all online versions, including the PDF, for the benefit of future readers.
Duties of Reviewers
Peer review assists the editor in making editorial decisions and through the editorial communications with the author may also assist the author in improving the paper.
Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself from the review process.
Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor.
Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.
Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also call to the editor’s attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.
Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.
Editor will take reviewer misconduct seriously and pursue any allegation of breach of confidentiality, non-declaration of conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial), inappropriate use of confidential material, or delay of peer review for competitive advantage. Allegations of serious reviewer misconduct, such as plagiarism, will be taken to the institutional level.
Duties of Authors
Authors of reports of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the paper. A paper should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behaviour and are unacceptable.
Authors should ensure that submitted work is original and has not been published elsewhere in any language, and if the authors have used the work and/or words of others that this has been appropriately cited or quoted.
Applicable copyright laws and conventions should be followed. Copyright material (e.g. tables, figures or extensive quotations) should be reproduced only with appropriate permission and acknowledgement.
An author should not in general publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal or primary publication. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behaviour and is unacceptable.
Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Authors should cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work.
Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study. All those who have made significant contributions should be listed as co-authors.
When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his/her own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editor or publisher and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper.