Editorial Process

Editorial Process

  1. Immediately after submission of a manuscript, a Deputy Editor-in-Chief performs an initial quality check to identify potential issues, registers the date of submission and serial number, names, and affiliations of authors. The manuscript undergoes screening for plagiarism. Deputy Editor-in-Chief assigns 1-3 peer reviewers, depending on the topic of the article. Original articles are sent for statistical review.
  2. After revision, the resubmitted manuscript is sent for re-review. In case of positive reviews, the revised version the manuscript is accepted for publication and placed in the issue in the order of submission.
  3. Priority articles are those that report relevant and interesting data for the scientific community, for example, on COVID. Besides, it can be articles on the topic of dissertations, government assignments or grants. In these cases, published articles are required for research accounts.
  4. The Editorial Board of the Journal treats objectively the articles received from the members of the Editorial Board or Editorial Council. These articles undergo a full cycle of registration and review. In these cases, we usually select reviewers from other institutions.
  5. In its work, the editorial staff of the Journal is guided by the criteria of authorship of ICJME:
    • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
    • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
    • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
    • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
  6. The author must determine which of the co-authors is responsible for the other parts of the work. All authors should be sure that the contribution of their co-author is integrated into the overall work. (link to the Instruction for authors https://en.aig-journal.ru/pages/rules.html ) In case of difficulty, an editor helps authors in determining authorship according to the criteria.
  7. If the editor feels that a manuscript has the potential to be published, but requires changes, authors are invited to revise. Sometimes manuscripts undergo 2-3 revision cycles. The decision to reject an article is made collectively.
  8. If an article is rejected, authors are provided with detailed reasons for rejection in a letter signed by the Deputy Editor-in-Chief on behalf of the Editorial Board of the Journal
  9. Conflict of Interest. The Editorial Board of the Journal adheres to the ICMJE guidelines. Prior to publication of a manuscript, all authors are required to declare all competing interests in relation to their work. Reviewers must refuse to review a manuscript based on a conflict of interest that might compromise the objectivity or perceived value of the review. For example, if they have the same professional or academic affiliation as the author or have joint research and publications. In most instances when such conflicts exist, editors request that reviewers decline to comment on the manuscript. However, if a reviewer is a colleague of the author but believes that they can provide an objective review, the editor may allow the practice. Disclosure intends to enable others to make an informed decision about the existence and impact of potential conflicts of interest or bias, including the necessity for recusal or disqualification under extraordinary circumstances.
  10. Advertising Policy. We publish ad modules and custom articles. Contributed articles, like editorial ones, go through all registration stages, reviewing to final acceptance for publication. A possible advantage can be considered the choice of the issue in which the article is planned to be placed if this does not contradict the editorial process.
  11. A publisher's agreement signed by all the authors should be sent with the manuscript submission https://en.aig-journal.ru/pages/offer.html
  12. Funding of the Journal. Financial issues are handled by the Bionika-Media Publishing House. According to the agreement between the Journal and the Publishing House's founders, funding is coming from subscriptions to the Journal, publishing advertising materials, and sponsorship. According to the agreement, no financial interests of the Publisher can influence the decision of the Editorial Board and the Editor-in-Chief regarding the publication of any article.
  13. The Journal is published in print and electronic forms and distributed by subscription. Besides, readers can purchase individual articles or issues of the Journal online. Issues of the Journal become free to access two or more years after publication. Also, all articles in English are available in the public domain immediately after publication.

The Editorial Board of the Journal follows recommendations from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (http://www.icmje.org), the European Association of Science Editors (https://ease.org.uk/), the Committee on Publication Ethics (http://publicationethics.org), and Association of Science Editors and Publishers (https://rasep.ru/)

The Editorial Board of the Journal defines research misconduct as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results:

a) Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them;
b) Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record;
c) Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit;
d) Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

Universities and research institutions have the responsibility of investigating research misconduct..

Sanctions. Individuals found to have engaged in scientific misconduct, as defined by the relevant national norm, have had a variety of sanctions imposed by the institution that employed them, the relevant national body, and professional societies. These sanctions range from letters of censure from an academic superior to a prohibition from receiving federal funds and loss of a professional medical license.

The scientific community, sponsors and other “interested parties” are informed of findings of misconduct.

Reporting Suspect Manuscripts

Suspect manuscripts might be identified through any of the following means:

  • Screening for image manipulation
  • Recognizing the text or data from a prior (yet unpublished) submission
  • Allegations by other sources, including co-authors, other colleagues
  • Data appear too neat
  • Parties involved in peer review recognize their own work submitted by another
  • Parties involved in peer review recognize the text or data from routine literature
  • Google searching of portions of text
  • Screening for plagiarism using detection software

A number of parties can identify a manuscript whose content or authorship may reflect misconduct (herein termed a suspect manuscript). These parties include:

  • Editors
  • Reviewers
  • Authors
  • Co-authors
  • Disaffected colleagues
  • Third-party observers
  • Editorial office staff
  • Federal agency

Addressing allegations of misconduct is a sensitive matter, and should be done with great care, as it can affect an author’s career. In correspondence concerning allegations of misconduct, it is important that language be non-accusatory, yet clear. It may be helpful to set deadlines for responses. Sample correspondence is available on the CSE website.1 In general, when a manuscript under consideration by the Journal is identified as suspect, the following steps are taken:

  • Suspend peer review (notify participants in objective language that review has been suspended).
  • Review the allegations internally to determine if there is reason to pursue the allegation further.

If he or she suspects an article contains material that may result in a finding of misconduct, the editor may choose to notify some or all of the following parties:

  • The submitting author
  • All authors
  • The institution that employs the author(s)
  • The sponsor of or funding body supporting the study.

Following the accusation, an accused author may be required by his or her institution to send notice to a journal to withdraw a manuscript after an allegation is made. The notice to the journal typically does not indicate that the manuscript is the subject of a misconduct investigation. As a condition of settlement, or as a sanction imposed after a finding of misconduct, the ORI requires an accused author to send notification to a journal requesting appropriate corrective action with respect to a suspect manuscript. Other, unaccused authors may provide such notice if an accused author hesitates to do so.

If the author’s response is not satisfactory, many editors notify the employing institution, because the institution typically will have access to the source material, the means to conduct an investigation, the ability to compel an author’s participation in the investigation, and the ability to impose sanctions.

Rockefeller University Press has defined two types of digital image-related misconduct: inappropriate manipulation and fraudulent manipulation. The Editorial Board of our Journal supports this definition. Inappropriate manipulation refers to adjustment of image data that violates the established guidelines but does not affect the interpretation of the data. Examples include adjustments of brightness/contrast to a gel image that completely eliminate the background (so the reader cannot tell how much of a gel is shown) or that obscure background smears or faint background bands. Another example is the splicing of images from different microscope fields into a single image that appears to be a single field. Fraudulent manipulation refers to adjustment of image data that does affect the interpretation of the data.

The Editorial Board of our Journal, analogously to Rockefeller University Press has established 4 basic guidelines:

  • No specific feature within an image may be enhanced, obscured, moved, removed, or introduced.
  • Adjustments of brightness, contrast, or color balance are acceptable if they are applied to the whole image and as long as they do not obscure, eliminate, or misrepresent any information present in the original.
  • The grouping of images from different parts of the same gel, or from different gels, fields, or exposures must be made explicit by the arrangement of the figure (e.g., dividing lines) and in the text of the figure legend.
  • If the original data cannot be produced by an author when asked to provide it, acceptance of the manuscript may be revoked.

Examining image files. A simple “forensic” analysis of the images in a figure file can be accomplished by using the basic “Brightness/Contrast” slide bars in Photoshop to reveal inconsistencies in the pattern of background pixilation that are clues to manipulation or inappropriate adjustments to brightness and contrast.

Obtaining original data. Authors’ reputations for impeccable research integrity among their scientific peers are vital for success in their careers. Authors will thus be concerned when the integrity of image data in a manuscript being peer reviewed or accepted for publication is questioned. It is important for an editor to reassure authors at this initial stage of investigation that only the presentation of the data is being questioned and not its scientific quality, which has been vetted by peer reviewers and academic editors. The letter requesting original data can even point out that often the inconsistencies revealed by image “forensics” are simply caused by the transfer of images from one computer application to another (e.g., from Microsoft Office PowerPoint® to Adobe Photoshop®) and that it is possible that no manual adjustments have been made by the authors. In addition, an editor could point out that it is in the authors’ interest to resolve the inconsistencies before the images are published online, because they may be questioned by a reader. Authors should also be assured that the inquiries at this stage are strictly confidential.

Handling misconduct. If a clear case of inappropriate manipulation is detected, the author should be requested to submit the figure in question with an accurate representation of the original image data. This approach applies only to adjustments for which there are clear solutions to remedy the problems; for example, lines need to be added to a gel image to indicate that lanes have been spliced out. In such cases, it is not necessary to request the original image data from the author. If the comparison reveals that fraudulent manipulation has occurred, the first step is to revoke acceptance of the paper. The Journal does not report digital image–related misconduct if the principal investigator takes responsibility for the action and indicates that measures have been taken to avoid image manipulation in the future.

The primary methods used for correcting the literature are errata and retractions, whereas expressions of concern are used to raise awareness to a possible problem in an article.

  • Errata. Published changes or emendations to an earlier article, frequently referred to as corrections or corrigenda, are considered by NLM to be errata, regardless of the nature or origin of the error.
    Errata identify a correction to a small, isolated portion of an otherwise reliable article. The NLM and other indexing organization do not differentiate between errors that originate in the research process, such as errors in the methodology or analysis, and those that occurred in the publication process, such as typographical mistakes or printing errors. Editors should check with their indexing serves for instructions when they have errata related to author names and titles so that online searching issues can be properly addressed.
  • Retractions. Retractions identify an article that was previously published and is now retracted through a formal issuance from the author, editor, publisher, or other authorized agent. Retractions refer to an article in its entirety that is the result of a pervasive error, nonreproducible research, scientific misconduct, or duplicate publication. A “retraction in part” or a “partial retraction” is more significant than an erratum. A “retraction in part” is the result of an incorrect section or a particular portion of an article that is incorrect, leaving the majority of the information and the article’s stated conclusions uncompromised by the removal of that portion of the content. If the notification in the journal is labeled as a retraction or withdrawal, NLM will index it as a retraction.
  • Expressions of Concern. This indexing term was introduced by the ICMJE and incorporated into the NLM-system in 2004.- The expression of concern is a publication notice that is generally made by an editor to draw attention to possible problems, but it does not go so far as to retract or correct an article. An editor who has a significant concern about the reliability of an article but not enough information to warrant a retraction until an institutional investigation is complete will sometimes use an expression of concern.
  • Media. When a case of scientific misconduct has achieved a certain level of notoriety, members of the media may contact an editor and seek information about the case. Editors respond to such inquiries with a statement that they do not discuss such cases. If the inquiry concerns a published paper, editors often will indicate that they are investigating the matter and are awaiting the results of the investigation. Regardless of how an editor chooses to respond, it is a good idea to request that the reporter forwards their questions in writing to allow time to carefully prepare a response.
  • Legal counsel. An editor may receive a letter from a legal counsel seeking to redress a perceived wrong inflicted on his or her client, such as a demand that a paper be retracted or a request that an author’s name be added to the paper. Further, legal counsel may allege that the journal did not follow its own guidelines regarding review or publication. However, it is the judgment of the editor that prevails. A lawyer may demand that the journal conduct an investigation of perceived misconduct by a scientist who had published in the journal. Legal counsellors may seek disclosure of information, such as the identities of the peer reviewers, for a case they are working on. The editor resist providing such information and submits the case for further consideration to the lawyer of the Founder or Publisher.
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