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Ethics and Consent

Delve into our Ethics and Consent section, an embodiment of our ethical foundation. Here, you'll encounter concise policies covering Human and Animal Research, Citation Integrity, Defamation, Plagiarism, and Data Authenticity.

This is a part of editorial policies

As a publication dedicated to disseminating high-quality research and upholding the highest ethical standards in research involving human subjects, the welfare, and rights of human participants in research must be protected, and research must be conducted transparently, fair, and respectfully. We have established an editorial policy on human research ethics, outlining our commitment to informed consent, privacy protection, risk assessment, ethical review, and reporting standards. By following this policy, we aim to ensure that the research published in our publication is of the highest moral quality and to maintain the trust of our readers and the scientific community. This policy is critical to promoting ethical conduct in research involving human subjects and serving the public interest.

Research Involving Humans

  1. Informed Consent: Research involving human subjects must be conducted using informed consent principles. Participants must be fully informed of the nature and purpose of the research and must give their voluntary and informed consent to participate.
  2. Protecting Privacy: The privacy and confidentiality of participants must be protected by applicable laws and regulations. Personal information must not be disclosed or used for any purpose other than the research.
  3. Risk Assessment: Research involving human subjects must be subject to a comprehensive risk assessment to ensure that the risks to participants are minimized and that the benefits of the research justify any potential harm.
  4. Ethical Review: All research involving human subjects must undergo ethical review by an appropriate institutional review board or ethics committee. The editorial board of our publication will not consider any research that such a review board or committee has not approved.
  5. Reporting Standards: Research involving human subjects must be reported by established reporting standards, such as the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) or the Declaration of Helsinki, as appropriate.

Guidelines for Research Involving Human Participants

Here are some established guidelines for research involving human participants, along with their respective links:

Helsinki Declaration

Website: https://www.wma.net/what-we-do/medical-ethics/declaration-of-helsinki/

The Helsinki Declaration is a document published by the World Medical Association that provides ethical principles for research involving human subjects. It covers issues such as voluntary consent, fairness, and protection of participants' privacy.

Belmont Report

Website: https://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/regulations-and-policy/belmont-report/index.html

The Belmont Report is a publication by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. It outlines the basic ethical principles in research involving human subjects: respect for individual autonomy, beneficence, and justice.

Good Clinical Practice (GCP) Guidelines

Website: https://www.ich.org/page/guidelines

GCP guidelines are published by the International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH). They provide international standards for designing, conducting, and reporting clinical trials involving human subjects.

American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Code

Website: https://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index

The APA Ethical Code provides guidelines for ethical conduct in psychological research involving human participants. It covers issues such as informed consent, data confidentiality, and protection from harm or loss.

Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) Statement

Website: http://www.consort-statement.org/

The CONSORT statement provides guidelines for reporting the results of clinical trials. It includes issues such as study design, statistical analysis, and transparent reporting of results.

It's important to note that these guidelines represent some common frameworks used in research involving human participants. However, it is crucial always to follow the ethical guidelines and regulations applicable in your country and consult with relevant institutions or bodies that establish specific requirements.

Animal Research Policy

Our journal is committed to promoting high ethical standards and responsible conduct of research involving the use of animals. We recognize the critical role of animal research in advancing scientific knowledge and improving human and animal health. To ensure the ethical treatment of animals and the integrity of research findings, we have established the following editorial policy for animal experimentation studies.

Ethical Approval and Compliance

Authors must provide evidence of appropriate ethical approval obtained from an institutional animal care and use committee or a relevant regulatory body. The study should adhere to established ethical guidelines and regulations, such as the principles outlined in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/guide-for-the-care-and-use-of-laboratory-animals.pdf). Authors should clearly state the institutional or national guidelines followed and describe the measures taken to minimize animal suffering and distress.

Transparency and Reporting

Authors should provide detailed information about the methods, procedures, and protocols used in the study, including the number and species of animals used, housing conditions, experimental manipulations, and endpoints. The reporting should be transparent and comprehensive to facilitate reproducibility and ensure the scientific rigor of the research. Authors should also include a statement regarding efforts to minimize the number of animals used and employ alternative methods when possible.

Animal Welfare and Care

Authors must demonstrate that appropriate measures were taken to ensure animal welfare and humane treatment throughout the study. This includes providing suitable housing conditions, access to food and water, veterinary care, and minimizing pain and distress. Authors should describe anesthesia, analgesia, or euthanasia procedures and justify their choices. The well-being of the animals should always be prioritized.

Reduction, Refinement, and Replacement (3Rs)

Authors are encouraged to adhere to the principles of the 3Rs. This involves minimizing the number of animals used, refining experimental procedures to minimize pain and distress, and seeking alternative methods that can replace or reduce the need for animal experimentation. Authors should clearly describe their efforts to implement these principles and discuss the potential impact on improving animal welfare and scientific outcomes.

Compliance with Animal Welfare Regulations

Authors must comply with all applicable laws and regulations governing animal welfare in the jurisdiction where the study was conducted. Compliance should include obtaining necessary permits or licenses and following specific requirements for using protected or endangered species. Authors should provide details regarding the regulatory framework and the steps to ensure compliance.

Peer Review and Ethical Considerations

During the peer review process, reviewers and editors will assess the ethical aspects of the animal research, including the justification for the study, adherence to ethical guidelines, and the potential impact on animal welfare. Reviewers may also evaluate whether the research question justifies the use of animals and if the study design and statistical analyses are appropriate.

Our journal upholds the highest standards of publication ethics. In cases where ethical concerns are raised regarding animal research published in our journal, we will investigate the matter following established procedures. If ethical misconduct is confirmed, appropriate actions will be taken, including retraction of the published article and notification of relevant institutions or authorities.

Citation Manipulation

Citation manipulation refers to practices involving inappropriate or dishonest use of citations within manuscripts, intending to artificially increase the quantity or quality of citations for a particular work. Citation manipulation undermines scholarly integrity and harms the reputation of science. Therefore, we have adopted the following ethical policy concerning citation manipulation:

Honest Use of Citations: Authors submitting manuscripts must use citations honestly and in line with ethical research principles. Citations should be used to support arguments, give credit to prior research, and accurately reference sources. 

Prohibition of False or Altered Citations: Authors are prohibited from deliberately altering citations or citing non-existent or irrelevant sources to inflate citation counts. Changing words in original quotes to alter meaning is also considered unethical. Manipulating citations to conceal conflicts of interest is an ethical violation.

Proportional Citation Usage: Authors are expected to use citations judiciously and proportionally. Excessive or irrelevant citation usage can harm the quality of the manuscript and influence reviewer assessments.

Avoidance of Self-Citation Abuse: Self-citation abuse refers to excessive self-citing to inflate citation counts and publication rankings artificially. Authors should refrain from this practice and only use relevant and appropriate self-citations.

Defamation or Libel

Defamation and libel are severe ethical breaches that can harm individuals' reputations, undermine the credibility of academic discourse, and tarnish the reputation of the publishing community. With this in mind, we have established the following ethics policy addressing defamation and libel:

Responsible Communication: Authors, reviewers, and editors must communicate responsibly and respectfully throughout the publication. Discussions, reviews, and comments should be conducted with professionalism and courtesy.

Avoidance of Defamatory Statements: Authors must refrain from making false or defamatory statements about individuals, institutions, or groups in their manuscripts. Content that is intended to harm reputations or spread misinformation is strictly prohibited.

Verification of Claims: Authors should ensure that any claims, statements, or allegations presented in their work are well-researched, supported by credible evidence, and accurately represented. Misrepresenting facts or making baseless allegations is unethical.

Balanced Critique: Constructive criticism and academic discourse are essential for advancing knowledge. However, critiques should be based on evidence and presented balanced and fairly, avoiding personal attacks or unfounded accusations.

Clear Attribution: When discussing the work of others, authors must accurately attribute ideas, findings, and contributions to the appropriate sources. Failure to do so can lead to accusations of plagiarism and potential legal issues.

Protection of Anonymity: Reviewers and authors should respect the anonymity of peer reviewers and refrain from making unfounded accusations about reviewer identities or motivations.

Plagiarism

Authors submitting manuscripts must ensure that their work is original and has not been published elsewhere in the same or substantially similar form. Plagiarizing one's work or the work of others is prohibited.

Proper Attribution: Authors must appropriately attribute all sources they use in their work, including ideas, text, images, and data. Direct quotations and paraphrased content must be identified and cited following established citation styles.

Citation of Previous Work: Authors should properly cite their previous work relevant to the current manuscript. Failure to do so can result in self-plagiarism.

Permission for Reused Content: Authors are responsible for obtaining necessary approvals for using content from third-party sources, including figures, tables, and text excerpts. Proper attribution and licenses are required to avoid potential copyright violations.

Avoiding Paraphrasing Plagiarism: Paraphrasing should be done with diligence. Merely changing a few words while retaining the original structure and meaning constitutes plagiarism. Authors must use their own words and provide proper citations.

Plagiarism Detection: Our editorial team employs plagiarism detection tools (Turnitin) to identify potential plagiarism. Manuscripts found to contain plagiarized content may be rejected or returned to authors for revision (> 15%, with no individual similarity more than 1%). 

Author Responsibility: Authors are solely responsible for the content they submit for publication. By submitting a manuscript, the authors certify that the work is original and has not been plagiarized.

Consequences of Plagiarism: Manuscripts found to contain plagiarism will not be accepted for publication. If plagiarism is discovered after publication, the article may be retracted, and appropriate actions will be taken to inform the academic community.

Educational Approach: We believe in educating authors about proper citation practices and plagiarism avoidance. In cases of unintentional plagiarism, authors may be allowed to correct the issue through revision.

Ethical Reporting: We encourage reviewers and readers to report suspected cases of plagiarism. All reports will be looked into thoroughly and taken care of appropriately.

Fabricated Data

Authors are required to submit only authentic and accurately collected data. Fabricating, falsifying, or manipulating data in any way is strictly prohibited. Authors should ensure that their research is conducted in a manner that allows other researchers to replicate their experiments or analyses. Transparency and reproducibility are crucial components of ethical research. Authors must provide complete and accurate descriptions of their data collection methods, experimental procedures, and analytical techniques. Any modifications made to the data or results must be clearly documented and justified.

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