The Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health is currently the only scientific publication in Sri Lanka that deals exclusively with all aspects of child health. It is a free open access journal.
There are overriding policies on standards to be maintained and of anticipated ethical behaviour for all parties involved in the act of publishing, authoring, editing, reviewing and publishing of articles in the journal. The policies of the journal are modelled on the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Guidelines on Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.
All unsolicited articles submitted to the journal undergo an initial process of assessment by the Joint Editors. Once the contents are approved by the Joint Editors as being suitable for consideration by the journal, the articles are inserted into a Double-blind Peer Review Process where each article is reviewed by two General Reviewers. If the article is on a subject that is of a specialised nature, it is sent to a Specialist Reviewer as well, on a similar double-blind modality.
Editorials are written by the Joint Editors. Occasionally, the Joint Editors may invite a reputed authority on a given subject to write an Invited Editorial.
The Joint Editors do invite acclaimed experts in the field of paediatrics to contribute to the journal in the form of Leading, Review and Current Practice articles. All such solicited articles are assessed by both Joint Editors and appropriately revised, as and when necessary. They are not sent for peer-review.
Any articles written and submitted by the Joint Editors, Assistant Editor or a Member or Members of the Editorial Board will be reviewed independently without any participation of the author or authors concerned. In such circumstances, two or more independent external reviewers are recruited. The authors do not take part in any of the decision making processes and are always requested to leave the discussion site whenever such processes take place.
We aim to complete the peer review process and arrive at a publication decision within three months. However, this timeline depends on the exact date of the month in which the manuscript is submitted (the editorial Board Meetings are held on the third Friday of each month), the response of the peer reviewers, the promptness with which queries are addressed by the author/s and the necessity for revisions in the manuscript.
No fees are charged from the authors as submission fees, review process fees or publication fees. However, the author may be asked to bear the cost of printing of colour images and photographs. The charges will only be for the print version and will depend on the number of figures and the number of colours. The maximum charge will not exceed 50 US$.
The Joint Editors are responsible for the final decision on which of the articles submitted to the journal should be published. They are guided by the Editorial Board and the assessments made by the reviewers. The final decisions are also balanced by constraints such as legal requirements including potential libel issues, copyright infringements and plagiarism.
Editors would, at any time, evaluate manuscripts for their intellectual content without regard to country of origin, race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors.
Editors and any other editorial staff would not disclose any information about a submitted manuscript to anyone other than the corresponding author, reviewers, specialist reviewers, other editorial advisers, and the publisher. Even such disclosures would be made only when they are considered appropriate. The editors would always use their discretion to prevent access to the details of submitted manuscripts by any person or agency that is not mentioned in the aforesaid documentation.
Unpublished material disclosed in a submitted manuscript would not be used in an editor's own research project without the express written consent of the author.
The Joint Editors are expected to declare all existent and even potential conflicts of interest related to any manuscript, dating back to a maximum of three years prior to the date of submission of the manuscript.
The Joint Editors will take all necessary steps to safeguard all interests and safety of human and animal subjects of any manuscript submitted to the journal by way of policies that are laid down on these events in a definite specified way as depicted later on in these policy statements.
Peer review assists the editor in making editorial decisions and through the editorial communications with the author may also assist the author in improving the manuscript, whenever this is considered to be appropriate. The name/s of the reviewers will be disclosed to the authors ONLY with the consent of the reviewers for such a disclosure.
Selected referee who feels unqualified to review the manuscript or knows that review will be delayed should notify the editor and leave the review process.
Manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor. It is recommended that the reviewers should not retain the manuscripts either in a soft or hard copy format.
Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is considered to be inappropriate and unacceptable. Referees should express their views clearly with supporting arguments.
Reviewers should also identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also call to the editor's attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.
Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.
Authors of reports of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance. Underlying data should be represented accurately in the paper. A manuscript should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behaviour and are unacceptable.
Authors may be asked to provide the raw data in connection with a manuscript for editorial review, and should be prepared to provide public access to such data (consistent with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers and The International Association of Scientific, Technical, & Medical Publishers Statement on Data and Databases) if practicable, and should in any event be prepared to retain such data for a reasonable time after publication. Inability to provide raw data when requested would lead to rejection of the manuscript.
Authors should ensure that they have written and presented entirely original work, and if the authors have used the work and/or words of others, that this has been appropriately cited or quoted. All the manuscripts submitted to the journal are screened by one of the joint editors for instances of plagiarism using Crossref Similarity Check (powered by iThenticate).
Plagiarism is totally unacceptable to the journal and if proven, it will compel the editors to take any punitive action that may be indicated.
Plagiarism is deemed to include the following:-
An author should not in general publish manuscripts describing essentially the same research in more than one journal. Even submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently constitutes unethical publishing behaviour and is totally unacceptable.
Proper acknowledgment of the work of others must always be given. Authors should cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work.
According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship should be limited to those who have one or more of the following qualifications:-
All authors are required to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. In addition to being accountable for the parts of the work he or she has done, an author should be able to identify which co-authors are responsible for specific other parts of the work.
In addition, authors should have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their co-authors”.
Where there are others who have participated in certain aspects of the research project, they should be acknowledged.
The corresponding author should ensure that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the manuscript and have agreed to its submission for publication. It is his or her responsibility that all appropriate and no inappropriate co-authors are included on the manuscript. It is the responsibility of supervisors and senior authors to make students’ research work include student authors. This is made by involving them in all aspects of research, including manuscript preparation.
All original articles must be submitted with appropriate prior Ethical Clearance by a recognised Ethical Review Committee. The Reference Number of the Ethical Review Certificate or if this is not available, the date of the certificate granting Ethical Clearance for the research study must be provided, preferably in the Methods Section. The author/s may be requested to provide actual proof of Ethical Clearance at a later date as and when it may be deemed necessary by the editors. Ethical Clearance is a mandatory requirement for even consideration of the manuscript.
All Clinical Trials, Experimental Studies and Interventional Studies must have prior registration with a recognised Clinical Trials Registry and the Reference Number of registration must be provided in the manuscript in the Methods Section. Manuscripts involving such trials will not even be considered or even accepted for review without such registration.
The journal requires informed written consent to be obtained from the parents of the child and/or from the child, as appropriate, in all prospective original research.
The authors are advised to provide the parents or subjects, as appropriate, written information in the form of an Information Sheet on the study, with clear instructions on the rights of the parents or the subjects to refuse to participate with no risk whatsoever, of any kind of punitive action or punishments being meted out to them.
A standardised Consent Form which includes clear descriptions of the study should be used.
The journal may request the author/s to provide the Information Sheet and The Consent Form whenever it is deemed necessary.
Authors must take all steps to prevent any possible identification of any of the subjects of a research study. The data in a study should not facilitate any identification of the subjects. When pictures and images are to be used in a manuscript, specific written consent for publication by the parents and/or guardian, together with signed consent from the subject if he or she is over twelve (12) years of age, must be provided. Even if consent has been obtained, in cases where the face is included in the image, it is necessary to take such steps as are necessary to prevent overt recognition of the subject.
If the work involves chemicals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual or even potential hazards inherent in their use, the author must clearly identify these in the manuscript. This would apply to all subjects, of human or animal origin. This is in compliance with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000.
All authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or other substantive conflicts of interest that might be construed to influence the results or interpretation of their manuscript. These conflicts of interest should even be backdated to a period of a maximum of three years up to the date of commencement of the study. All sources of financial support for the project should be disclosed.
When an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his or her own published work, it is the author’s obligation to promptly notify the journal editor and cooperate with the editor to retract or correct the paper. The final decision regarding such matters will be the sole responsibility of the editors.
Whenever articles are retracted, for any cause, a clear notice regarding the retraction, giving the basic reason for the retraction is to be inserted across the archived electronic copy of the article. In the case of the print version, a notice of retraction giving all details will be printed in the next available issue. It is the policy of the journal to take any further punitive action that may be deemed necessary, especially for confirmed instances of malpractice, following the official retraction of the incriminated article.
Authors may appeal against an unfavourable decision made by the Editorial Board. The appeal must reach the Joint Editors within two weeks from the date of the communication from the journal conveying a decision which is perceived to be unfavourable by the author or authors. In the appeal, any mitigating circumstances should be clearly and completely described. It is in the interests of the author or the authors to provide all details relevant to the article and the study on which the article was written.
The appeal will be considered by the Editorial Board and they may request further information as and when necessary. A considered decision will be made taking into account all the relevant details. Once such a decision is made, it will stand as the final one and no further correspondence or a second appeal would be entertained.
The electronic version of the journal does not carry any advertisements. The print version may include advertisements from Pharmaceutical Companies, Corporate Sector and other interested advertisers. All advertisements from the Pharmaceutical Industry as well as other agencies are rigorously examined by the Joint Editors regarding content, scientific validity of any claims made and general fairness of the advertisements. The advertisements are allowed in the print version mainly to secure revenue for the publication process.