Ethical considerations

28th February 2014

Cover_Annaly_#1_2014__v5.qxdThe Editorial Board of Annals of Surgical Hepatology strictly adheres to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.
The ethical principles that guide the work of the editors and the Editorial Board, their relationships with the authors, subscribers, readers, sponsors, and regulatory authorities have been formulated based on the above document available on the website of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors www.icmje.org. Certain provisions of the Journal’s ethical rules are based on the recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics meeting the SCOPUS requirements.
All the participants of the process of publication of research results (the authors, reviewers, editors, members of the Editorial Board, and the entire journal staff) as well as individual persons and organizations that may be interested in the information provided by the Journal are expected to follow its ethical principles.

General duties and responsibilities of Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Staff
The Editor-in-chief of the journal is the person responsible for its entire content.
He or she:
• strives to meet the needs of readers and authors;
• constantly improves the journal;
• ensures the quality of the material they publish;
• champions freedom of expression;
• maintains the integrity of the academic record;
• precludes business needs from compromising intellectual standards;
• always is willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies when needed.
Owners and Editor-in-chief of the journal have a common endeavor—publication of a reliable, readable journal produced with due respect for the stated aims of the journal and for costs. Owners and Editor-in-chief, however, have different functions. Owners have the right to appoint and dismiss Editor-in-chief and to make important business decisions in which editors should be involved to the fullest extent possible. Editor-in-chief has full authority for determining the editorial content of the journal. The concept of editorial freedom is resolutely defended by Editor-in-chief even to the extent of placing his/her positions at stake. To secure this freedom in practice, the Editor-in-chief has direct access to the highest level of ownership, not to a delegated manager.
Editor-in-chief of the journal has a contract that clearly states his/her rights and duties, the general terms of the appointment, and the mechanisms for resolving conflicts.
The journal has an independent editorial advisory board to help the Editor establish and maintain editorial policy.
Editorial Freedom. The relationship of Editor-in-chief and editorial staff to publishers and owners is based firmly on the principle of Editorial freedom (independence). That means that editorial staff has full authority over the editorial content of their journal and the timing of publication of that content. Journal owners should not interfere in the evaluation, selection, or editing of individual articles either directly or by creating an environment that strongly influences decisions. Journal owners should not require editorial staff to publish supplements as part of their contractual agreements. Editorial staff bases decisions on the validity of the work and its importance to the journal’s readers, not on the commercial success of the journal. Editor is free to express critical but responsible views about all aspects of medicine without fear of retribution, even if these views conflict with the commercial goals of the publisher.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff have to take all reasonable steps to ensure the quality of the material they publish, recognising that journals and sections within journals will have different aims and standards.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff decisions to accept or reject a paper for publication is based only on the paper’s importance, originality, and clarity, and the study’s relevance to the remit of the journal.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff publish guidance to authors and peer-reviewers on everything that is expected of them. This guidance is regularly updated.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff don’t reverse decisions to accept submissions unless serious problems are identified with the submission.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff ensure that peer reviewers’ identities are protected.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff ensure that material submitted to their journal remains confidential while under review.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff respond promptly to complaints and ensure there is a way for dissatisfied complainants to take complaints further.
Cogent criticisms of published work will be published unless Editor-in-chief and editorial staff have convincing reasons why they cannot be. Authors of criticised material should be given the opportunity to respond.
Studies that challenge previous work published in the journal are given an especially sympathetic hearing. Studies reporting negative results are not excluded.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff ensure that research material they publish conforms to internationally accepted ethical guidelines.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff seek assurances that all research has been approved by an appropriate body (e.g. research ethics committee, institutional review board). However, Editor-in-chief and editorial staff recognise that such approval does not guarantee that the research is ethical.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff protect the confidentiality of individual information (e.g. that obtained through the doctor–patient relationship).
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff have a duty to act if they suspect misconduct. This duty extends to both published and unpublished papers.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff don’t simply reject papers that raise concerns about possible misconduct. They are ethically obliged to pursue alleged cases.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff first seek a response from those accused. If they are not satisfied with the response, they should ask the relevant employers or some appropriate body (perhaps a regulatory body) to investigate.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff make all reasonable efforts to ensure that a proper investigation is conducted; if this does not happen, Editors should make all reasonable attempts to persist in obtaining a resolution to the problem. Whenever it is recognised that a significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distorted report has been published, it must be corrected promptly and with due prominence.
If, after an appropriate investigation, an item proves to be fraudulent, it should be retracted. The retraction should be clearly identifiable to readers and indexing systems.
Notwithstanding the economic and political realities of their journals, Editor-in-chief and editorial staff make decisions on which articles to publish based on quality and suitability for readers rather than for immediate financial gain.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff managing their own conflicts of interest as well as those of authors, reviewers and Editorial board members.

Ethical Considerations in the Conduct and Reporting of Research: Authorship and Contributorship
An “author” is someone who has made substantive intellectual contributions to a published study. An author must take responsibility for at least one component of the work, must be able to identify who is responsible for each other component, and should ideally be confident in their co-authors’ ability and integrity. The exact contributions of each person named as having participated in a submitted study, at least for original research, has to be identified and published.
Authorship credit should be based on:
1) substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;
2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content;
3) final approval of the version to be published.
When a large, multicenter group has conducted the work, the group has to identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship/contributorship defined above, and editorial staff will ask these individuals to complete journal-specific author and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding author should clearly indicate the preferred citation and identify all individual authors as well as the group name. Other members of the group should be listed in the Acknowledgments.
Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship.
All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify should be listed.
Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.
The group should jointly make decisions about contributors/authors before submitting the manuscript for publication. The corresponding author/guarantor should be prepared to explain the presence and order of these individuals.
All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an acknowledgments (Выражение признательности) section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who has helped with study design, data collection, data analysis, or manuscript preparation, provided purely technical help, writing assistance, or a department chairperson who provided only general support. Financial and material support should also be acknowledged.

Peer Review
Peer review is the critical assessment of manuscripts submitted to journal by experts who are not part of the editorial staff. Peer review helps editors decide which manuscripts are suitable for their journals and helps authors and editors to improve the quality of reporting. The journal submits most of published research articles for outside review by anonymous peer reviewers.
Manuscripts is reviewed with due respect for authors’ confidentiality. Reviewers also have rights to confidentiality, which must be respected by the editor. Confidentiality may have to be breached if dishonesty or fraud is alleged but otherwise must be honored.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff don’t disclose information about manuscripts (including their receipt, content, status in the reviewing process, criticism by reviewers, or ultimate fate) to anyone other than the authors and reviewers. This includes requests to use the materials for legal proceedings.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff make clear to their reviewers that manuscripts sent for review are privileged communications and are the private property of the authors. Therefore, reviewers and members of the editorial staff respect the authors’ rights by not publicly discussing the authors’ work or appropriating their ideas before the manuscript is published. Reviewers are not allowed to make copies of the manuscript for their files and prohibited from sharing it with others, except with the editor’s permission. Reviewers must return or destroy copies of manuscripts after submitting reviews. Editor-in-chief and editorial staff don’t keep copies of rejected manuscripts.
Reviewer comments don’t publish or otherwise publicized without permission of the reviewer, author, and editor.

Conflicts of Interest
Conflict of interest exists when an author (or the author’s institution), reviewer, or editor has financial or personal relationships that inappropriately influence (bias) his or her actions (such relationships are also known as dual commitments, competing interests, or competing loyalties). The potential for conflict of interest can exist regardless of whether an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her scientific judgment. Financial relationships (such as employment, consultancies, stock ownership, honoraria, and paid expert testimony) are the most easily identifiable conflicts of interest and the most likely to undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and of science itself. However, conflicts can occur for other reasons, such as personal relationships, academic competition, and intellectual passion.
All participants in the peer-review and publication process must disclose all relationships that could be viewed as potential conflicts of interest. Such relationships is also have to be disclosed with editorials and review articles. Editor-in-chief and editorial staff may use information disclosed in conflict-of-interest and financial-interest statements as a basis for editorial decisions. Editor-in-chief and editorial staff publish this information if they believe it is important in judging the manuscript.
Potential Conflicts of Interest Related to Individual Authors’ Commitments.
When authors submit a manuscript, whether an article or a letter, they are responsible for disclosing all financial and personal relationships that might bias their work. To prevent ambiguity, authors must state explicitly whether potential conflicts do or do not exist. Authors should do so in the manuscript on a conflict-of-interest notification page, providing additional detail, if necessary, in a cover letter that accompanies the manuscript.
Authors should identify individuals who provide writing or other assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance.
Investigators must disclose potential conflicts to study participants and should state in the manuscript whether they have done so.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff also decide whether to publish information disclosed by authors about potential conflicts. If doubt exists, it is best to err on the side of publication.
Potential Conflicts of Interest Related to Project Support
If individual study receive funding from commercial firms, private foundations, and government then authors must describe the role of the study sponsor, if any, in study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing the report; and the decision to submit the report for publication. If the supporting source had no such involvement, the authors should so state.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff may request that authors of a study funded by an agency with a proprietary or financial interest in the outcome sign a statement, such as “I had full access to all of the data in this study and I take complete responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.” Editor-in-chief and editorial staff encourage reviewing copies of the protocol and/or contracts associated with project-specific studies before accepting such studies for publication. Editor-in-chief and editorial staff may request a statistical analysis of all data by an independent biostatistician. Editors may choose not to consider an article if a sponsor has asserted control over the authors’ right to publish.
Potential Conflicts of Interest Related to Commitments of Editor-in-chief, Editorial Staff, or Reviewers
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff avoid selecting external peer reviewers with obvious potential conflicts of interest–for example, those who work in the same department or institution as any of the authors. Authors may provide Editor-in-chief and editorial staff with the names of persons they feel should not be asked to review a manuscript because of potential, usually professional, conflicts of interest. When possible, authors should be asked to explain or justify their concerns; that information is important to editors in deciding whether to honor such requests.
Reviewers must disclose to Editor-in-chief and editorial staff any conflicts of interest that could bias their opinions of the manuscript, and they should recuse themselves from reviewing specific manuscripts if the potential for bias exists. Reviewers must not use knowledge of the work, before its publication, to further their own interests.
Editor-in-chief making final decisions about manuscripts must have no personal, professional, or financial involvement in any of the issues they might judge. Other members of the editorial staff, if they participate in editorial decisions, must provide Editor-in-chief with a current description of their financial interests (as they might relate to editorial judgments) and recuse themselves from any decisions in which a conflict of interest exists. Editorial staff must not use information gained through working with manuscripts for private gain.

Privacy and Confidentiality Patients and Study Participants
Patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent. Identifying information, including names, initials, or hospital numbers, must 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. Patient consent should be written and archived with the authors who have to provide the journal with a written statement that attests that they have received and archived written patient consent.
Nonessential identifying details should be omitted. Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance, and editors should so note, that such alterations do not distort scientific meaning.
The requirement for informed consent is included in the journal’s Instructions for Authors. When informed consent has been obtained, it should be indicated in the published article.

Protection of Human Subjects and Animals in Research
When reporting experiments on human subjects, authors must indicate whether the procedures followed were 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 2008. 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. When reporting experiments on animals, authors have to indicate whether the institutional and national guide for the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.

Obligation to Publish Negative Studies
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff seriously consider for publication any carefully done study of an important question, relevant to their readers, whether the results for the primary or any additional outcome are statistically significant. Failure to submit or publish findings because of lack of statistical significance is an important cause of publication bias.

Corrections, Retractions and “Expressions of Concern”
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff assume initially that authors are reporting work based on honest observations. Nevertheless, two types of difficulty may arise. Errors may be noted in published articles that require the publication of a correction or erratum on part of the work. The corrections appear on a numbered page, be listed in the Table of Contents, include the complete original citation, and link to the original article and vice versa if online. It is conceivable that an error could be so serious as to vitiate the entire body of the work, but this is unlikely and should be addressed by editors and authors on an individual basis. Such an error should not be confused with inadequacies exposed by the emergence of new scientific information in the normal course of research. The latter requires no corrections or withdrawals.
If substantial doubt arises about the honesty or integrity of work, either submitted or published, it is the editorial staff’s responsibility to ensure that the question is appropriately pursued, usually by the authors’ sponsoring institution. Ordinarily, it is not the responsibility of the editor to conduct a full investigation or to make a determination—that responsibility lies with the institution where the work was done or with the funding agency. The editor should be promptly informed of the final decision, and if a fraudulent paper has been published, the journal must print a retraction. If this method of investigation does not result in a satisfactory conclusion, the editor may choose to conduct his or her own investigation. As an alternative to retraction, the editor may choose to publish an expression of concern about aspects of the conduct or integrity of the work.
The retraction or expression of concern, so labeled, appear on a numbered page in a prominent section of the print journal as well as in the online version, be listed in the Table of Contents page, and include in its heading the title of the original article. The first author of the retraction should be the same as that of the article, although under certain circumstances the editor may accept retractions by other responsible persons. The text of the retraction should explain why the article is being retracted and include a complete citation reference to that article.
The validity of previous work by the author of a fraudulent paper cannot be assumed. Editor-in-chief and editorial staff may ask the author’s institution to assure them of the validity of earlier work published in their journals or to retract it. If this is not done, Editor-in-chief and Editorial Board may choose to publish an announcement expressing concern that the validity of previously published work is uncertain.

Overlapping Publications / Duplicate Submission
The journal will not consider manuscripts that are simultaneously being considered by other journals.
The journal do not receive papers on work that has already been reported in large part in a published article or is contained in another paper that has been submitted or accepted for publication elsewhere, in print or in electronic media.
When submitting a paper, the author must always make a complete statement to the editor about all submissions and previous reports (including meeting presentations and posting of results in registries) that might be regarded as redundant or duplicate publication. The author must alert the editor if the manuscript includes subjects about which the authors have published a previous report or have submitted a related report to another publication. Any such report must be referred to and referenced in the new paper. Copies of such material should be included with the submitted manuscript to help the Editor-in-chief and editorial staff decide how to handle the matter.
If redundant or duplicate publication is attempted or occurs without such notification, authors should expect editorial action to be taken. At the least, prompt rejection of the submitted manuscript should be expected. If the Editor-in-chief and editorial staff were not aware of the violations and the article has already been published, then a notice of redundant or duplicate publication will probably be published with or without the author’s explanation or approval.
Preliminary reporting to public media, governmental agencies, or manufacturers of scientific information described in a paper or a letter to the editor that has been accepted but not yet published may be warranted when the paper or letter describes major therapeutic advances or public health hazards, such as serious adverse effects of drugs, vaccines, other biological products, medicinal devices, or reportable diseases. This reporting should not jeopardize publication, but should be discussed with and agreed upon by the editor in advance.
Acceptable Secondary Publication
Certain types of articles, such as guidelines produced by governmental agencies and professional organizations, may need to reach the widest possible audience. In such instances, the journal publishes material that is also being published in other journals, with the agreement of the authors and the editors of those journals. Secondary publication for various other reasons, in the same or another language, especially in other countries, is justifiable and can be beneficial provided that the following conditions are met:
1. The authors have received approval from the editors of both journals.
2. The paper for secondary publication is intended for a different group of readers; an abbreviated version could be sufficient.
3. The secondary version faithfully reflects the data and interpretations of the primary version.
4. The footnote on the title page of the secondary version informs readers, peers, and documenting agencies that the paper has been published in whole or in part and states the primary reference.
Permission for such secondary publication should be free of charge.
5. The title of the secondary publication should indicate that it is a secondary publication (complete republication, abridged republication, complete translation, or abridged translation) of a primary publication.
Competing Manuscripts Based on the Same Study
Publication of manuscripts to air the disputes of co-investigators may waste journal space and confuse readers. On the other hand, if editors knowingly publish a manuscript written by only some of a collaborating team, they could be denying the rest of the team their legitimate co-authorship rights and journal readers access to legitimate differences of opinion about the interpretation of a study.
Two kinds of competing submissions are considered: submissions by coworkers who disagree on the analysis and interpretation of their study, and submissions by coworkers who disagree on what the facts are and which data should be reported.
Setting aside the unresolved question of ownership of the data, the following general observations may help editors and others address such problems.
Differences in Analysis or Interpretation
If the dispute centers on the analysis or interpretation of data, the authors should submit a manuscript that clearly presents both versions. The difference of opinion should be explained in a cover letter. The normal process of peer and editorial review may help the authors to resolve their disagreement regarding analysis or interpretation.
If the dispute cannot be resolved and the study merits publication, both versions will be published with editor’s statement outlining the disagreement and the journal’s involvement in attempts to resolve it.
Differences in Reported Methods or Results
If the dispute centers on differing opinions of what was actually done or observed during the study, the Editor-in-chief and editorial staff refuse publication until the disagreement is resolved. If there are allegations of dishonesty or fraud, editors should inform the appropriate authorities; authors should be notified of an editor’s intention to report a suspicion of research misconduct.

Supplements, Theme Issues, and Special Series
Supplements are collections of papers that deal with related issues or topics, are published as a separate issue of the journal or as part of a regular issue, and are usually funded by sources other than the journal’s publisher. Because funding sources can bias the content of supplements through the choice of topics and viewpoints, journal adopts the following principles.
1. The Editor-in-chief and editorial staff is given and take full responsibility for the policies, practices, and content of supplements, including complete control of the decision to select authors, peer reviewers, and content for the supplement. Editing by the funding organization is not permitted.
2. The Editor-in-chief and editorial staff retain the authority to send supplement manuscripts for external peer review and to reject manuscripts submitted for the supplement.
3. The Editor-in-chief and editorial staff approve the appointment of any external editor of the supplement and take responsibility for the work of the external editor.
4. The source of the idea for the supplement, sources of funding for the research, publication, and products of the funding source that are considered in the supplement will be clearly stated and prominently located in the supplement, preferably on each page. Whenever possible, supplements should be funded by more than one sponsor.
5. Advertising in supplements should follow the same policies as those of the rest of the journal.
6. Editor-in-chief and editorial staff enable readers to distinguish readily between ordinary editorial pages and supplement pages.
7. Journal editors and supplement editors don’t accept personal favors or remuneration from sponsors of supplements.
8. Secondary publication in supplements (republication of papers published elsewhere) will be clearly identified by the citation of the original paper. Supplements should avoid redundant or duplicate publication. Supplements should not republish research results, but republication of guidelines or other material in the public interest might be appropriate.
9. The principles of authorship and disclosure of potential conflicts of interest discussed elsewhere in this document are applied to supplements.
These same principles apply to theme issues or special series that have external funding and/or guest editors.

Advertising
Advertising not be allowed to influence editorial decisions. Editor-in-chief has full and final authority for approving advertisements and enforcing advertising policy.
When possible, Editor-in-chief and editorial staff make use of the judgments of independent bodies for reviewing advertising. Readers should be able to distinguish readily between advertising and editorial material. The juxtaposition of editorial and advertising material on the same products or subjects is avoided. Interspersing advertising pages within articles interrupts the flow of editorial content and should is discouraged. Advertising is not sold on the condition that it will appear in the same issue as a particular article.
Editor-in-chief and editorial staff consider all criticisms of advertisements for publication.
Advertising space of the journal is not exceed 10%. The editors are responsible to refuse advertisement placing if false information in it is revealed or publish information for readers in case if it is further established that in the earlier published advertisement material the advertiser presented incomplete or not reliable information.

Electronic Publishing
Because electronic publishing (which includes the Internet) is the same as publishing in print, in the interests of clarity and consistency the recommendations of this document is applied to electronically published manuscripts.
Under no circumstances the journal remove an article from its Web site or archive. If a correction or retraction becomes necessary, the explanation will be labeled appropriately and communicated as soon as possible on a citable page in a subsequent issue of the journal.

Complaints and appeals
If ethics violations in the work of the editors are revealed authors, readers, reviewers have the right to address to the Hepato-pancreato-biliary Association of Commonwealth of Independent States. Address: 117997, Russia, Moscow, B. Serpukhovskaya str., 27, professor Vladimir A. Vishnevsky. Complaints and appeals are handled by the ethics committee in 1 month period. The results of complaints viewing are sent to the applicant in the written form.
The Ethics Committee studies only handles claims concerning violation by authors, reviewers, editors of the journal of ethical norms. Complaints and appeals concerning the manuscript rejection because of low scientific level are not handled by the Committee as the editorial staff is exclusively competent to solve those problems