Kerala Journal of Ophthalmology

: 2020  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1--2

How and where we begin – Ethical publication

V Sudha 
 Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. V Sudha
Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala

How to cite this article:
Sudha V. How and where we begin – Ethical publication.Kerala J Ophthalmol 2020;32:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Sudha V. How and where we begin – Ethical publication. Kerala J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Aug 8 ];32:1-2
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Dear Friends,

I am extremely thankful to all the members of the Kerala Society of Ophthalmic Surgeons who have expressed their confidence in me for the post of the Editor-in-Chief of the Kerala Journal of Ophthalmology (KJO). I, along with my young and dynamic members of the new editorial team, promise to take forward the excellent work done under the chairmanship of the previous editor.

Every new beginning should start on the principles of honesty and integrity. In the past 2 years, I have learned a lot working as an associate editor of KJO. The concept of publication ethics is ever evolving, and we need to update ourselves continuously. Though many of us are doing that, there is still scope for improvement in this area. So, let me begin with this important topic.

The medical profession as a whole is bound to follow ethical standards in practice. There is a general awareness and consensus regarding the ethical principles and standards to be followed in the medical practice. However, ethical practices in publication are a little less known. The Singapore Statement on Research Integrity, drafted at the Second World Conference on Research Integrity, which took place in Singapore from July 21 to 24, 2010, is an important step toward promoting ethical conduct among scientists around the world.[1] The principals emphasized were:

Honesty in all aspects of researchAccountability in the conduct of researchProfessional courtesy and fairness in working with othersGood stewardship of research on behalf of others.

Research misconduct, as defined by the US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Research Integrity, means “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.”[2]

Misconduct includes not adhering to the scientific methodology, manipulating (especially digital images) or hiding data, misinterpreting results to show positive results, using inappropriate statistical methods to project results, bypassing mandatory clearances including ethical clearance, colluding with people or firms with vested interests and manipulating the research, and rigging an experiment to get the desired results.

An important and common, but often poorly understood, malpractice is plagiarism. It can ruin an author's credibility and basically means stealing.[2] If you use someone else's scientific findings or ideas in your work, you must cite that author when you send it for publishing. Using exactly, or almost exactly, the same language that the previous author used, either unconsciously or consciously, constitutes plagiarism.[2],[3] If the paper includes figures or tables that have appeared in another publication, be it a book, journal, magazine, newspaper, or website, written permission to use the material is needed from that other publication and it has to be cited too. Many of us do not know that we should not submit photographs or graphics that have been scanned from a book or a journal or borrowed from the Internet.

Another issue is authorship. The first author is the main architect or creator of the paper. All authors should come to an understanding on the order of authorship such as first author and corresponding author prior to submission of the paper. Obtaining informed consent from all the study participants is critical and should not be trivialized by the authors.[3] Gifting authorships should not be practiced, i.e. putting a person who has not contributed to the paper, as an author for whatever reason.

Not disclosing conflicts of interest; submitting the same paper to different journals without telling the editors; submitting a new manuscript containing the same hypotheses, data, discussion points, and/or conclusions as a previously published manuscript; citing one's own published work in subsequent papers that are out of context to the research being reported[3] are all termed as misconduct.

One conducted study should be reported in one article. Salami publication can be roughly defined as a publication of two or more articles derived from a single study.[4] From the publication ethics point of view, it cannot be easily detected, giving undeserved credit to authors.

In the end, let us all contribute to take forward this journal into greater heights of academic excellence on the solid foundations of well-conducted and ethical research. As more good work gets published, more the citations will increase, increasing our chances to go to the next level of indexing.

Moving forward with energy, enthusiasm, and hope…….


1Resnik DB, Shamoo AE. The Singapore Statement on Research Integrity. Account Res 2011;18:71-5.
2Benson PJ, Silver SC. What Editors Want: An Author's Guide to Scientific Journal Publishing. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press; 2013.
3Sengupta S, Honavar SG. Publication ethics. Indian J Ophthalmol 2017;65:429-32.
4Abraham P. Duplicate and salami publications. J Postgrad Med 2000;46:67-9.