PUBLICATION ETHICS

PUBLISHER/COPY EDITOR RESPONSIBILITIES

Handling the Peer-Review Process: Our journals are committed to execute a sound and robust peer-review process and intensive qualitative editing process for delivery of quality publications. Varied advertisements, language service, special service, or other commercial interests shall not affect the decision of the editors and reviewers.

Article Withdrawal and Corrections to the Record: If an article is found plagiarised having fake, duplicate or fraudulent data, or showing clear evidence of infringements of ethical codes, the published articles may be considered for withdrawal. The unpublished article is summarily rejected in such cases. Such articles (html, pdf, xml, zip) can be replaced by the content stating the withdrawal of the manuscripts. Minor errors such as typos, textual changes, or clearer statements on the existing contents can be corrected and published as corrections.

Integrity and Quality of Services: Despite very transparent modes, we ensure that all contents of a paper are strictly confidential before publication, meeting standard of archiving and abstracting and timely publication of the accepted manuscripts.

Publication Ethics Statement: In our journals, publication of scientific contents is meticulous, methodical and comprehensive processes that involve fully ethical and qualitative managerial practices. The Grassroots Institute and respective journals take the responsibility to ensure that a rigorous peer-review has been performed, and intensive editorial process is executed, and strict ethical policies and standards are observed for manuscript handling. In cases of plagiarism, fraudulent data, inappropriate authorship credit, and similar anomalies, respective journals handle these misconducts very seriously and our Editors are trained to proceed in such cases with a zero-tolerance policy. To effectively maintain high publication standards, The Grassroots Institute strives to work with editors, authors, peer-reviewers and copy editors on one-to-one bases. The publication ethics, attributed to all journals of The Grassroots Institute, are based on the guidelines of Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Code of Conduct. Our all journals follow COPE standards for publication ethics.

BE CAREFUL ABOU THE PLAGIARISM

What is ‘plagiarism’? The plagiarism includes copying text, ideas, images, or data from another source, even from your own publications, without giving any credit to the original source. It is essential to cite the source if text is reused or copied from another source. The reused text must be between quotes and the original source must be cited. Please note that if plagiarism is detected during the peer review process, the manuscript may be rejected. If plagiarism is detected after publication, we need to publish a correction or retract the paper.

Some authors may also manipulate the images. Any kind of manipulation in the images already published by someone else is not permitted. If irregular image manipulation is identified and confirmed during the peer review process, we may reject the manuscript.

The Grassroots Institute is committed to maintaining high standards through a rigorous peer-review together with strict ethical policies. Any infringements of professional ethical codes, such as plagiarism, fraudulent use of data, bogus claims of authorship, are taken very seriously.

An Initial Plagiarism Check is carried out for every manuscript submitted to the journals of The Grassroots Institute.

CODE OF CONDUCT

As described above, our journals abide to the COPE’s Code of Conduct. Our all the journals follow the COPE Guidelines and Core Practices as prescribed by COPE. Such core practices pertain to the following 10 contexts:

TRANSPARENCY & BEST PRACTICE

While publishing our journals, The Grassroots Institute is committed to follow the transparency and best practices as set by the Committee on Publication Ethics, the Directory of Open Access Journals, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, and the World Association of Medical Editors. The following are the principles of transparency:

Principles of Transparency
  1. Website: A journal's website, including the text that it contains, shall demonstrate that care has been taken to ensure high ethical and professional standards. It must not contain information that might mislead readers or authors, including any attempt to mimic another journal/publisher’s site. An ‘Aims & Scope’ statement should be included on the website and the readership clearly defined. There should be a statement on what a journal will consider for publication including authorship criteria (e.g., not considering multiple submissions, redundant publications) to be included. ISSNs should be clearly displayed (separate for print and electronic).
  2. Name of journal: The Journal name shall be unique and not be one that is easily confused with another journal or that might mislead potential authors and readers about the Journal’s origin or association with other journals.
  3. Peer review process: Journal content must be clearly marked as whether peer reviewed or not. Peer review is defined as obtaining advice on individual manuscripts from reviewers’ expert in the field who are not part of the journal’s editorial staff. This process, as well as any policies related to the journal’s peer review procedures, shall be clearly described on the journal website, including the method of peer review used. Journal websites should not guarantee manuscript acceptance or very short peer review times.
  4. Ownership and management: Information about the ownership and/or management of a journal shall be clearly indicated on the journal’s website. Publishers shall not use organizational or journal names that would mislead potential authors and editors about the nature of the journal’s owner.
  5. Governing body: Journals shall have editorial boards or other governing bodies whose members are recognized experts in the subject areas included within the journal’s scope. The full names and affiliations of the journal’s editorial board or other governing body shall be provided on the journal’s website.
  6. Editorial team/contact information: Journals shall provide the full names and affiliations of the journal’s editors on the journal website as well as contact information for the editorial office, including a full address.q
  7. Copyright and Licensing: The policy for copyright shall be clearly stated in the author guidelines and the copyright holder named on all published articles. Likewise, licensing information shall be clearly described in guidelines on the website, and licensing terms shall be indicated on all published articles, both HTML and PDFs. If authors are allowed to publish under a Creative Commons License, then any specific license requirements shall be noted. Any policies on posting of final accepted versions or published articles on third party repositories shall be clearly stated.
  8. Author fees: Any fees or charges that are required for manuscript processing and/or publishing materials in the journal shall be clearly stated in a place that is easy for potential authors to find prior to submitting their manuscripts for review or explained to authors before they begin preparing their manuscript for submission. If no such fees are charged that should also be clearly stated.
  9. Process for identification of and dealing with allegations of research misconduct: Publishers and editors shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, including plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication, among others. In no case shall a journal or its editors encourage such misconduct, or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place. In the event that a journal’s publisher or editors are made aware of any allegation of research misconduct relating to a published article in their journal, the publisher or editor shall follow COPE’s guidelines (or equivalent) in dealing with allegations.
  10. Publication ethics: A journal shall also have policies on publishing ethics. These should be clearly visible on its website, and should refer to: i) Journal policies on authorship and contributorship; ii) How the journal will handle complaints and appeals; iii) Journal policies on conflicts of interest / competing interests; iv) Journal policies on data sharing and reproducibility; v) Journal’s policy on ethical oversight; vi) Journal’s policy on intellectual property; and vii) Journal’s options for post-publication discussions and corrections.
  11. Publishing schedule: The periodicity at which a journal publishes shall be clearly indicated.
  12. Access: The way(s) in which the journal and individual articles are available to readers and whether there is associated subscription or pay per view fees shall be stated.
  13. Archiving: A journal’s plan for electronic backup and preservation of access to the journal content (for example, access to main articles via CLOCKSS or PubMed Central) in the event a journal is no longer published shall be clearly indicated.
  14. Revenue sources: Business models or revenue sources (e.g., author fees, subscriptions, advertising, reprints, institutional support, and organizational support) shall be clearly stated or otherwise evident on the journal’s website. Publishing fees or waiver status should not influence editorial decision making.
  15. Advertising: Journals shall state their advertising policy if relevant, including what types of adverts will be considered, who makes decisions regarding accepting adverts and whether they are linked to content or reader behaviour (online only) or are displayed at random. Advertisements should not be related in any way to editorial decision making and shall be kept separate from the published content.
  16. Direct marketing: Any direct marketing activities, including solicitation of manuscripts that are conducted on behalf of the journal, shall be appropriate, well targeted, and unobtrusive. Information provided about the publisher or journal is expected to be truthful and not misleading for readers or authors.
MALPRACTICE STATEMENT

In the era of electronic communications, there are ample opportunities of producing fabricated and fictious data. The journals published by The Grassroots Institute fully endorse and conform the most prevalent ethical guidelines and publication standards. Therefore, ethical issues and scientific misconduct (as described in Retraction section) are obviously handled very seriously by our journals. If something serious anomaly is noticed during the process of review, editing or processing of article, the author is asked for clarifications. In case, the clarifications are unsatisfactory, the article can either be rejected before publication or be retracted if already published. The authors can appeal in writing against the Editor's decision on the manuscript.

The Editorial Office of all our journals also check the manuscripts for plagiarism and any fraudulent data prior to the processing of the manuscript before the peer review process. If plagiarism is detected at this stage or latter, the manuscript is rejected and is not reconsidered in any of our journals. In serious issues of scientific misconduct, our editors will investigate the allegations of publication/scientific misconduct (as explained in Retraction section) and may take appropriate action if the allegations are proven. Authors are expected to comply with the best ethical publication practices when publishing in our journals.

CORRECTIONS & RETRACTIONS
Corrections (Erratum) and Addendum

Immediately after an article is published online, the Editorial Office informs all the concerned authors to check and verify not only the contents of the published article but also the information placed on the webpages. Within 3 days time, the authors file their corrections wherever they spot and intimate the respective journal, which undertakes those corrections.

Once the issue of the journal is published, if an article has major changes (e.g., in a figure, in conclusions, whole paragraph added, correction of a species name or equation, or addition of missing details about a method, etc.) affecting significantly the scientific interpretation of a paper, an Addendum can be published in the next issue of the journal. In case, crucial results (e.g., missing grant number, additional affiliation, clarification regarding some aspect of methods/analysis, etc.) were unintentionally overlooked or removed from the original text, through an Addendum the original article can be amended with the mentions of the previously omitted results. The Addendum would be published, with the manuscript number of the article.

Retractions

Why retractions? An article published by a journal by The Grassroots Institute can be retracted only if a scientific misconduct is observed. The scientific misconduct includes data fabrication, data falsification including deceptive manipulation of images, ethical breaches, and plagiarism. Sometimes, the inappropriate methodology compromising integrity of research may also lead to retraction of the published article.

The Grassroots Institute follows the recommendations of the Retraction Guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) for retraction. Potential retractions are thoroughly investigated by the Editorial Office with the support of the Editorial Board and final approval by the Editor-in-Chief. There may be circumstances in which no misconduct is proven, but an exchange of letters to the Editors could be published to highlight matters of debate to readers.

There may be circumstances in which no misconduct is proven, but an exchange of letters to the Editors could be published to highlight matters of debate to readers.

Comments and Replies

In the situation of a complaint of reader against an article’s contents, a reader will approach the Editorial Office or the Editor-in-Chief of a journal. In such circumstances, the Editorial Office may invite the reader to write a short and reasoned Comment on that particular article. After consideration and review by the Editors, the Comment may be published. The Editorial Office may approach the author(s) of the article and invite to prepare a Reply. If the reader’s Comments are substantiated by the authors, the Editorial Office may consequently publish a Correction or Reply.

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