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Code of Publication Ethics of Journal of Third Military Medical University (Tentative Edition)

General Rules

In order to strengthen the construction of academic integrity of Journal of Third Military Medical University, to standardize the writing, editing and publishing processes, to resist academic misconducts, we, in combination with our actual situation, formulated the ethical codes for authors, peer reviewers, editors and publishers of our journal according to the copyright law, publication ethics at home and abroad and other relevant principles.

1. In this code, publication ethics refers to the ethic codes and conducts which the various subjects should follow in the process of the scholarly publishing.

2. Academic misconducts refers to the behaviors violating to academic codes and ethics, and generally includes fabrication, falsification and plagiarism. ①Fabrication: Making up research data and results, and recording or reporting them in any formal academic exercise. ②Falsification: Manipulating research materials, images, data, equipment, or processes. Falsification includes changing or omitting data or results in such a way that the research is not accurately represented. ③Plagiarism: Deliberately uses another’s work or makes certain changes in the form or content without permission, credit, or acknowledgment. Plagiarism takes different forms, from literal copying to paraphrasing some else’s work and can include: data, words and phrases, and ideas and concepts. The manifestations are plagiarism, forgery, tampering, improper authorship, multiple submissions, duplicate publication, salami slicing publication, and violation of relevant research ethical issues.

3. The manuscript with a duplication ratio of more than 30% will be rejected by our journal directly. For those with the ratio less than 30%, we will also consider: ① Whether the duplications are the main results and views of points. If they are, the manuscript will be rejected. ② If the duplications were deleted and then replaced by literature references, we need to see whether the rest of the manuscript is strong enough to be a paper. If not, the manuscript will be determined to have no value of publishing.

4. Conflict of interest refers to the occurrence of the conflicts in the different individuals or groups in scientific exercises, or in their secondary interests (such as economic interests, friendship, affection, etc.) and responsible main interests (such as ensuring the objectivity of the research results).


Publication ethics for authors

1. The author should be responsible for the soundness and reliability of the paper, and has the duty to cooperate with the editorial department when the original pictures and data, project mandate and project name, and other proof materials are required to provide.
2. Authors need to submit a letter of introduction at submission, which is not only to prove the soundness and reliability of the manuscript (data and authors’ information), but also to indicate that there are no misconducts, such as simultaneous submission, not concerning confidentiality issues, or authorship dispute. At the same time, a Certificate of Authorization for Exclusive Copyrights of the Article should be submitted with the signatures of all the authors.
3. The author should abide by the principle of “five forbearance” as follows: no paper writing by third party; no submission by third party; no revision by third party; no recommendation of fake peer reviews; and no guest, gift or ghost authorship (see Items 4 to 7). The last one is rigorously forbidden.
4. The authorship of research publications should accurately reflect individuals’ contributions to the work and its reporting. Four basic criteria must collectively be met to be credited as an author: ①Substantial contribution to the study conception and design, data acquisition, analysis, and interpretation. ②Drafting or revising the article for intellectual content. ③Approval of the final version. ④ Take joint responsibility for the soundness and integrity of all aspects of the paper in order to guarantee all requests be detected and solved. Those who do not meet all four criteria (such as those who provide purely technical, or financial and material contributions to the work) should not be rewarded with authorship, but be listed in an acknowledgement section.
5. The order of authorship should be a joint decision of the coauthors based on their contributions, and be agreed by all authors. Any change to the author list and institution list should be approved by the responsible author (first author and corresponding author), and a formal proposal approved by all authors is needed to the editorial department to elucidate the reasons.
6. In general condition, only one corresponding author is allowed. For multi-center trials or multidisciplinary researches, the list of clinicians and researchers is typically published with more corresponding authors, who should be academic responsible to different institutions or research groups.

7. The authors who contributing equally to the work should be identified at the time of submission. The number of first co-authors are generally not more than two. In case of multi-center trials or multidisciplinary researches, there are indeed more than two first co-authors, then the list may be as appropriate for situation. Those added in the list should come from different institutions or research groups.
8. The authors should specify their names and institutions at submission. The institution should be related to the content of the research. If not relevant, the author should explain his/her own contribution to the work, or should provide a certificate by the institution to prove that the author did engage in the study.
9. If the institution where the author works is not coordinate with the institution where he/she made scheming, designed research protocols, did research work and provided research facilities (e.g., graduating students leaving the training institute, visiting students, visiting scholars, collaborative research, etc.), the institute which providing research facility and where the work is completed should be listed first
10. For reporting clinical trials, the authors should follow the relevant guidelines (such as the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) for the reporting of randomized controlled trials, Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with Nonrandomized Designs (TREND) for the reporting standards of non-randomized evaluations of behavioral and public health interventions, Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) for the conduct and dissemination of observational studies, the Standards of Reporting Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (STARD), etc.).
11. Clinical trials should follow “do good” and “do no harm” principles in bioethics. No matter the research is involving human subjects in clinical trials or some animal experiments, the authors need to provide the documents concerning ethical assessment for the research, and the informed consent of patient.
12. In cases of clinical trial studies (randomized controlled studies, cohort studies, case-control studies, case reports, studies conducted on human subjects or samples taken from the human body, even psychological and social studies involving questionnaires), the authors, in principle, should register the study in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry, and label the registration number in the paper.
13. Authors should take various precautions to protect the privacy of research subjects, and should not include personally identifiable information such as the patient’s name or hospital ID number. For medical research using identifiable human material or data, the patient consent must be obtained in advance, and anonymizing a photograph is required by using eye bars or blurring the face of the individual concerned.
14. Authors should declare whether there is a conflict of interest at submission. In case of a conflict of interest, all economic interests that may have an impact on the results of their research (whether there is a commercial interest relationship with the pharmaceutical company; whether the pharmaceutical company gives any funds for experimental design and implementation, data processing, article writing, sponsor).
15. If the author disagrees with the results of the peer reviews, the author may submit written allegation and make detailed interpretation and explanations for the reviewers’ suggestions/decisions to the editorial department.


Publication ethics for peer reviewers

1. The peer reviews shall insist on the principles of fairness, justice, confidentialness and promptness to make a responsible review for the manuscripts. And they should not have prejudice or discrimination against the author’s research institutions, regional disparity, seniority, ethnicity and others, and what’ more, should not disclose the author’s research content.

2. In order to ensure the impartiality of the review, the expert reviewer should declare the conflict of interest to the editorial department in time when there is a conflict of interest between the reviewer and the author (such as kinship, teacher-student relationship, alumni relationship, colleague relationship and competition relation). It is the editorial department in charge of deciding whether to avoid or not.

3. When the reviewer finds that the author’s research is similar to himself, he should not suppress or belittle the article in his/her own convenience.

4. Reviewers should review the manuscript in time according to the agreement, if not the reviewing cannot be completed in time, he/she should promptly inform the editorial department and return the manuscript, and may recommend other reviewers. Without the consent of the editorial department, peer reviewers are not allowed to let their own students, colleagues and other do the review on behalf of his/herself.

5. When reviewers encounter in the manuscript having been reviewed, he/she is accountable to the editorial department for the circumstance, and makes reviewing according to the acceptation standards of the journal.

Publication ethics for editors

1. Editors should handle each manuscript fairly, impartially and in a timely manner, and make a decision of accepting or rejecting the manuscript based on its importance, originality, scientificness, readability, and authenticity of the research in combination with its relevance to the journal.

2. Editors should abide by the principle of confidentiality, not only about the reviewers’ identities, but also on the research content.

3. Editors shall not be driven by the interests to interfere the decision by peer reviewers, and strive to ensure the independence of peer reviews to ensure a fair and appropriate peer review process.

4. For the peer reviewer recommended by the author, the editor should verify the reviewer’s information, and then decide whether or not to employ the recommended reviewer based on his/her research area and sufficient expertise and whether there exists a conflict of interest. If the author requests to avoid an expert reviewing the manuscript, and the editor should respect the request if it is reasonable.

5. In the selection of peer reviews, editors should try to avoid those from same institute as the author, shall not select those in the author list.

6. If editors and authors have a conflict of interest (personal relationship, such as kinship, teacher-student, alumni, colleague, or competition relation), the editors should avoid dealing with the manuscript.

7. Editors should treat authors’ allegation with caution, and organize for group discussions or re-reviewing by other reviewers.

8. Negative results obtained from rigorous scientific research should be published in order to help prevent others from wasting time and sources on similar projects.

9. Editors are accountable and should take responsibility to avoid academic misconducts, such as multiple submissions and duplicate publications, and should make a double check for duplication and plagiarism at the initial submission and the forthcoming paper.

10. The editor is obliged to remind authors of copyright and intellectual property issues that may arise after the alteration of author list and institution list.

11. The editor should provide the author with suggestions for revision or reasons for rejection as much elaborate as possible.

12. Editors must respect the author’s view and style of writing, and should get the author’s permission for any essential changes concerning academic point of view and other key points in the paper.

Publication ethics for publishers

1. This journal follows the principle of initial reporting, and only reports original articles. But the journal accepts conditional re-publication: ①Re-published in another language for the reader in different regions; ② The author must obtain the first journal and re-published journals authorized; ③at least 1 week at the interval of re-published time and original time; ④ Re-published papers should be marked with the journal title, volume, page number, title, and the original URL and other information in the first publication.

2. For the manuscript has been accepted, if there exists any forms of academic misconducts, the publishers have the right to reject, and notify the institute and relevant periodicals.

3. For the published papers, if there are academic misconducts, this paper will be retracted, and a retraction will be issued.

4. Publishers should declare detailed guidelines (such as guidelines for authorship, guidelines for writing, etc.) and update them in a timely manner.

5. Publisher should have appropriate policies in place for handling editorial conflicts of interests, concerning editors, authors, reviewers and editorial board members.


This Code shall come into force on the date of promulgation.



Journal of the Third Military Medical University