Research Misconduct & Ethical Issues

Our Publication Ethics and Malpractice statement is based largely on the guidelines and standards developed by Committee on Publication Ethics . The editors of the Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research enforce a rigorous peer-review process together with strict ethical policies and standards to ensure high-quality scientific works in the field.

Unfortunately, cases of plagiarism, data falsification/fabrication, image manipulation, duplicate submission/publication, redundant publication, inappropriate authorship credit, undeclared conflict of interest (CoI), ethical problems, and the like do arise. The editors of the Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research take such publishing ethics issues very seriously and are trained to proceed in such cases with a zero-tolerance policy.

From research proposal to publication, researchers should conduct their research in line with the best practices and codes of conduct of relevant professional bodies and/or national & international regulatory bodies. But in rare cases where the journal observes a possible ethical issue or misconduct, following guidelines will help manage the potential repercussions of a breach of the codes of conduct.

Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research strongly adheres to the recommendations and Guidelines of Committee on Publication Ethics in investigating and dealing with allegations of misconduct to ensure research integrity.

Authors wishing to publish their papers in the Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research must abide by the following:

  • Authors should accurately present their research findings and include an objective discussion of the significance of their findings.
  • Data and methods used in the research need to be presented in sufficient detail in the paper so that other researchers can replicate the work.
  • The authors should publicly deposit the raw data before the submission of their manuscript. Authors need to have at least the raw data readily available for presentation to the referees and the journal editors if requested. In addition, authors need to ensure appropriate measures are taken so that raw data is retained in full for a reasonable time after publication.
  • Simultaneous submission of manuscripts to more than one journal is not tolerated.
  • Republishing content that is not a novel is not tolerated (for example, an English translation of a paper already published in another language will not be accepted).
  • Suppose the authors found errors and inaccuracies after the publication of their paper. In that case, they need to be promptly communicated to the editors of thejournal so that appropriate actions can be taken.
  • Your manuscript should not contain any information that has already been published. If you include previously published figures or images, please obtain the necessary permission from the copyright holder to publish under the CC-BY license . For further information, see the Copyright and Licensing page.
  • Plagiarism, data fabrication, and image manipulation are not tolerated.
  • The reuse of text copied from another source must be between the quotes, and the source must be cited. These works must be explicitly cited if previous works have inspired a study's design or the manuscript's structure or language.
  • If plagiarism is detected during the peer review process, the manuscript may be rejected. If plagiarism is detected after publication, we may publish a correction or retract the paper.
  • Image files must not be manipulated or adjusted in any way that could lead to misinterpretation of the information provided by the original image.
  • Irregular manipulation includes: 1) introduction, enhancement, moving, or removing features from the original image; 2) grouping of images that should be presented separately (e.g., from different parts of the same gel or different gels); or 3) modifying the contrast, brightness or color balance to obscure, eliminate or enhance some information.
  • We may reject the manuscript if irregular image manipulation is identified and confirmed during the peer-review process. If irregular image manipulation is identified and confirmed after publication, we may correct or retract the paper.

Our in-house editors will investigate any allegations of publication misconduct and may contact the authors' institutions or funders if necessary. If evidence of misconduct is found, appropriate action will be taken to correct or retract the publication.

Ethical Issues
Some fundamental ethical issues have been defined and outlined below.

Data Fabrication/Data Falsification
Data fabrication concerns the making up of research findings, while data falsification means manipulating research data to give a false impression. It includes image manipulation, for example, micrographs, gels, radiological images, removing outliers or inconvenient results, changing, adding, or omitting data points, etc.

Image Manipulation
Though it is allowed to technically improve the image for readability. Proper technical manipulation refers to adjusting the contrast and brightness or color balance if it is applied to the complete digital image and not to a part of an image. But authors are bound to notify about the technical manipulation in the cover letter upon submission. Improper technical manipulation means obscuring, enhancing, deleting, and/or introducing new elements into an image. If the author's figures are questionable, the journal holds the right to request the original data from the author. Read more about digital images and misconduct , image manipulation , and quick examination of scientific images .

Duplicate Submission/Publication and Redundant Publication
Duplicate submission refers to submitting the same study to two or more journals for publishing. These submissions or publications can nearly be simultaneous or years later. While, redundant publication means that one study is split into several parts and submitted to two or more journals, or it may mean that findings of the study have previously been published elsewhere without proper cross-referencing, justification, or permission. Self-plagiarism is also considered a form of redundant publication. It is a widespread and often unintentional practice; therefore, transparency by the author on the use of past published work is necessary. Translations without proper permission or notification and resubmissions of previously published open access articles are considered duplicate submissions.

Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research has no tolerance for plagiarism. It occurs when someone presents the work of others that includes data, text, or theories as to their own, without proper acknowledgment. For more information, please refer to this Guide to Ethical Writing from avoiding plagiarism.

Authorship Issues
It refers to the problems of authorship without the author's knowledge and unacknowledged authorship. Please follow the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors guidelines to understand what constitutes proper authorship.

Undeclared Conflict of Interest
It is a situation when financial or other personal considerations from authors or reviewers have the potential to compromise or bias professional judgment and objectivity. Therefore authors and reviewers must declare all conflicts of interest related to the work under consideration, that is, financial or personal relationships, that can interfere with the interpretation of the work to avoid potential biasness.

Ethical Approvals
This includes issues of patient consent, animal experiments, or studies that lack ethical approval.