The Ethical Committee will reject any article submitted for publication which does not meet the ethical criteria that all research should adhere to. The international research ethics guidelines adhered to include the Helsinki Declaration, the guidelines produced by the World Health Organization and the Council of International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS, link).
All research must include the following:
1. If the research was conducted on human beings, it must be expressly stated that the procedures involved were carried out with respect for the ethical guidelines contained in the Helsinki Declaration (seventh edition, 2013, link); and, in the case of animals, with the guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (link).
2. Whether or not the study was approved by an ethical committee.
The evaluation of an ethical committee is not necessary when the study is derived from the evaluation of secondary public databases (national surveys, etc.), emergency health research (outbreaks, epidemics, etc.), etc. The Editorial Committee will make its decision on a case-by-case basis.
Research in humans
All research submitted for publication must comply with the ethical principles detailed in the Declaration of Helsinki (link). Although the statement was intended for medical research conducted with human beings (including research with biological material or identifiable information), the journal believes its content can be applied to any investigation of the same type, regardless of the health professional conducting it.
In summary, it is understood that:
1. The research was conducted in compliance with ethical standards that guaranteed respect for the participants and the protection of their health and individual rights (numeral 7).
2. The objective of the research never prevailed over the rights and interests of the participant (numeral 8).
3. The researcher complied with his duty to protect the life, health, dignity, integrity, right to self-determination, privacy, and confidentiality of the personal information of the participants. In addition, this responsibility fell on a doctor or other health professional and never on the participant (numeral 9).
4. The investigation was conducted in such a way that any possible damage to the environment was minimized as much as possible (numeral 11).
5. The researchers had the professional competence (academic, scientific, and ethical) to conduct the research. In addition, that [if this is the case] if the research was conducted with healthy patients or volunteers, a competent and qualified doctor or health professional (numeral 12) conducted the supervision.
6. If the research occurred in conjunction with usual health care, participation was justified to the extent that there was a potential preventive, diagnostic, or therapeutic benefit and if the investigator believed that participation would not adversely affect the health of the participants (numeral 14).
7. Participants received appropriate compensation and treatment when they suffered any harm during their participation in the research (numeral 15).
8. The importance of the research objective was greater than the risk and costs for the participants (numeral 16).
9. The risks were adequately evaluated, and measures were taken to satisfactorily reduce them (numeral 18).
10. Vulnerable groups and people were explicitly protected (numeral 19).
11.The research on vulnerable groups was justified in that the research responded to their needs or priorities (numeral 20).
12. The research was conformed to the generally accepted scientific principles and supported by a deep knowledge of the bibliography (numeral 21).
13. The study project and method are clearly described (numeral 22).
14. The research was approved by a relevant ethics committee before starting the study (numeral 23).
15. The person included in the research agreed to participate freely and voluntarily; acceptance was embodied in the informed consent (numerals 25 and 26).
This list is for reference; however, the researcher is requested to read the Declaration of Helsinki in its entirety (link).
Specific considerations regarding vulnerable population
The Revista Científica Odontológica adheres to the Helsinki Declaration (sections 19 and 20, link) regarding research on vulnerable groups and populations. Specifically, this group of people may be more likely to suffer abuse or additional harm and should therefore receive specific protection. Furthermore, it must be clear that the research carried out on them must be justified by the fact that it responds to their health needs or priorities and cannot be carried out in non-vulnerable populations.
The Revista Científica Odontológica will request that this information be expressly declared in the document, and non-publication may be considered if these standards were not met. All research on vulnerable groups (children, pregnant women, indigenous population, among others) must be approved by an ethics committee and specify in the submitted article the use of informed consent and informed assent when appropriate (children).
Ethics in publishing
In accordance with the recommendations of COPE, all research:
- Must have been conducted in an ethical and responsible manner.
- Must be presented in a clear, transparent manner, without fabrication, falsification or manipulation of data.
- Must include clear information concerning the methods employed, without ambiguities, in order to ensure that the findings can be confirmed by others (in the case of research studies).
- Must be original, free of plagiarism, and must not have been published previously in another medium.
- Must indicate that the authors assume collective responsibility for the entire content of their publication.
- Must reflect the authorship and contribution of each of the work’s coauthors during development of the research (honorary or ghost authorship, etc.).
- Must contain information detailing clearly all sources of financing and any conflicts of interest.
The modalities of misconduct in research are: redundant publication, plagiarism, manipulated peer review, reuse of data, use of data without permission, undeclared conflicts of interest, authorship problems, among others.
Any complaint of misconduct in publication will be evaluated following the indications of the COPE and ICMJE guidelines. However, the actions taken in the most frequent modalities are described:
Plagiarism. Every document that is sent for publication is evaluated using anti-plagiarism software. If a case of suspected plagiarism is identified, the procedure indicated in the COPE guidelines will be followed.
Redundant publication. The publication of research that has been previously published is not allowed. If a case of redundant publication is identified, proceed as indicated in the COPE guidelines.
Authorship issues. The journal does not decide the authorship. When a problem of this type is identified, explanations will be requested from the authors asking them to send a decision on the matter. Any article that presents authorship problems will not be published until the conflict is resolved, even if the evaluation is favorable.
The corresponding author must ensure that the submission includes all authors, in the order of their preference. Any request for change, addition or withdrawal of authors must be duly justified. The journal will resolve these requests based on COPE flowcharts.
Where any failure in terms of publishing ethics is detected, the Editorial Committee will conduct an evaluation of the case, in accordance with COPE recommendations (link). The decision may include retraction of the article. Also, the Editorial Committee reserves the right to communicate the facts to the relevant authorities and the editors of other journals.
Retractions and corrections
Retraction is a valid editorial correction mechanism that serves to alert readers about publications that contain faulty or erroneous information (content or data) that generates their results or conclusions unreliable.
There are many situations of publishing misconduct in which a post can be retracted. For example, when there is a redundant publication, plagiarism, manipulated peer review, reuse of data or use of data without permission, copyright infringement, unethical research, or non-disclosure of conflicts of interest that may have influenced the interpretation of results or recommendations, among others.
Depending on the lack, the journal will consider the specific recommendations described in the COPE and ICMJE guidelines; however, the general steps that will be followed when there is a complaint are detailed:
1. Once the complaint is received (which can be reported by a reader of the journal, a reviewer, or a member of the journal), the editor-in-chief will thank you for the alert and communicate that the investigation process will begin. He informs the Editorial Team that the investigation will begin.
2. Depending on the case, the editor-in-chief himself or a designated editor will assess the complaint and perform an analysis according to the type of misconduct (for example, redundant publication requires document review). COPE-specific flowcharts will be followed, as well as similar cases (*).
3. If the complaint is supported, the designated editor will write to the author requesting a response to the identified observations. The editorial policies of the journal will be included in the request according to the subject in question (for example redundant publication, plagiarism, etc.). Depending on the complexity of the case, more than one round of consultations between editors or authors may be necessary.
4. Once the investigation is complete, the editor will inform the Editorial Team of the conclusions and will suggest the decision.
5. The Editorial Team will decide (whether to retract the article), will inform all the authors about the decision, and apply it.
6. The Editorial Team will inform the institution to which the authors belong about the case when the retraction was made.
Not all information errors present in a publication irreversibly affect its validity. In some cases, the main findings are still dependable, and the correction may be enough to resolve the bug or concern.
Once a suspected case with erroneous information has been received, the editorial team of the journal will conduct an evaluation following the same guidelines that are followed in observed cases with the possibility of being retracted. It details:
1. Once the complaint is received (which can be reported by a reader of the journal, a reviewer, or a member of the journal), the editor-in-chief will thank you for the alert and communicate that the investigation process will begin. Inform the Editorial Team that the investigation will begin.
2. As the case may be, the editor-in-chief himself or a designated editor will assess the complaint and perform an analysis to see if the error affects the main findings and can be resolved with a correction; or in any case, retraction needs to be considered. COPE-specific flowcharts will be followed, as well as similar cases (*).
3. If it corresponds to a correction, the designated editor will write to the author requesting a response to the identified observations. The editorial policies of the journal will be included in the request according to the subject in question (for example redundant publication, plagiarism, etc.). Depending on the complexity of the case, more than one round of consultations between editors or authors may be necessary.
4.Once the investigation is complete, the editor will inform the Editorial Team of the conclusions and will suggest the decision.
5. The Editorial Team will decide if the correction is sufficient and will inform the authors of the changes that will be made.
6. Depending on the seriousness of the case, the editorial team will inform the institution to which the authors belong.
(*) Flow charts – COPE
Below are the COPE diagrams to evaluate the most frequent ethical problems in publication:
Redundant post in a published article (link).
Redundant publication in an article submitted for publication (link).
Plagiarism in a published article (link).
Plagiarism in an article submitted for publication (link).
Suspected manipulation of peer review in an article under evaluation (link).
Suspected manipulation of the peer review in a published article (link).
Suspicion of fabricated data in a published article (link).Suspect fabricated data in an article before publication (link).
Authorship problems (ghost, guest, gift) (link).Suspected ethical problem in an article submitted for publication (link).
Undisclosed conflict of interest in an article submitted for publication (link)
Undisclosed conflict of interest in a published article (link)