Ethical Considerations

Informed Consent

Researchers are expected to safeguard the rights of the study participants, and they must not be used as a means to an end. Researchers must strive to empower their study participants regarding their participation in the study. Therefore, written informed consent must be obtained from all the study participants until otherwise waiver has been granted by the Ethical Review Committee. Taking informed consent is a whole process involving :(1) delivery of information in a comprehensible form regarding study title, objectives, methodology, risks, and benefits, and confidentiality; (2) comprehension by the study participants, which requires delivery of information in plain language and understanding and, (3) lastly, allowing them to participate voluntarily in the study.

Written informed consent must be obtained from all the study participants or legal guardians/parents (in the case of minors). Authors must state in the manuscript how the informed consent was obtained from participants of different age groups, gender, vulnerable population (e.g., children, pregnant females, prisoners, unconscious patients).  Formal assent might also be taken in case of minors (9 -16 years) in addition to informed consent from the parents/legal guardians. The main components of informed consent include:

     >> Study information

     >> Purpose of the study

     >> Methodology

     >> Confidentiality

     >> Possible benefits / risks or discomforts

     >> Financial considerations

     >> Treatment alternatives

     >> Right to refuse to participate and withdraw from the study

     >> Contact details of the researcher

     >> Undertaking by the research participant

In the case of mentally incapacitated patients, informed consent might be taken from their immediate relatives or legal guardians. In community-based studies, researchers should ensure that individuals agree to participate in research without coercion or undue inducements from community leaders or representatives. Informed consent preferably is obtained in written form. However, if it cannot be obtained, the other forms (audio/video) of it are obtained and witnessed. The Journal reserves the right to ask the authors to submit copies of the informed consent if required.

In situations where it is impossible to take informed consent due to some physical and mental conditions, the reason for not obtaining informed consent must be stated in the manuscript, and approval must be taken from Ethical Review Committee. Please read the Declaration of Helsinki for further information.

Research Involving Animals

Studies involving animals (lab-reared or non-lab-reared, vertebrates or invertebrates) must adhere to nationally/globally accepted animal care and welfare standards. The studies involving animals must be approved by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or equivalent. The authors must mention such approvals in the methodology section, mentioning the approving body's name and certificate number with the date of its issuance. The Journal reserves the right to ask authors for additional information regarding experiments involving animals if required. It is desirable to briefly mention the procedures and institutional/national/international guidelines they followed regarding animal welfare.

The Journal will reject any manuscripts where there is enough reason to believe that the animals have been subjected to unnecessary or avoidable pain/distress. Animals should only be used for experimentation if it is essential and no alternatives are available. Please read the International Association of Veterinary Editors' Consensus Author Guidelines on Animal Ethics and Welfare for further information.

Publication Misconduct

This section is dedicated to issues related to publication ethics other than plagiarism which is discussed in detail in the next section. In reporting publication misconduct, the case will be dealt with according to Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines. The corresponding author will be contacted for an explanation given the available evidence. The article will be processed for correction or retraction according to the severity of the misconduct. In case of no or unsatisfactory response from the authors, the manuscript will be dropped from consideration if unpublished and retracted if published. Due notice of retraction will be given in print and on the website. The authors might be blacklisted for further submissions and considerations at the Journal. The authors' institutional Head might also be informed of the action in such a case. Plagiarism and other publication misconduct like fabrication (text or figures), falsification, a duplicate submission, redundant publication, selective and misleading reporting, selective and misleading referencing will be liable to strict action.