Peer Review Policy
Articles published in Fountain Journals (FJ) must be peer-reviewed. Individual journals may employ one of the following peer-review models:
- Double-anonymous peer review, in which both authors and reviewers are unknown to each other;
- Single-anonymous peer review, in which reviewers are unknown to authors
- Open peer review, in which both authors and reviewers are acquainted with one another
The peer review model used in FJ is described on journal webpages and in guidelines for authors and reviewers. Typically, every manuscript requires at least two independent reviews. Reviewers must always disclose any real or perceived conflicts of interest. Journal editors decide how to modify specific submissions based on peer reviewer comments. Suppose a journal editor has a conflict of interest with a manuscript or its authors. In that case, the manuscript will be assigned to a different editorial team member, such as a deputy editor, an associate editor, or an editorial board member.
FJ endorses COPE's Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviews: https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines-new/cope-ethical-guidelines-peer-reviewers.
Research and Publication Ethics
The Fountain Journals (FJ) ensures that all works published in our journals are of the highest quality and subjected to the strictest ethical scrutiny. We expect editors, reviewers, and authors working on and contributing to FJ to be equally committed to upholding these high ethical standards. Our ethical standards and procedures outline general expectations for authors, editors, reviewers, publishers, and social partners. The Fountain Journals adhere strictly to the copyright laws and practices established in the Open Access Policy.
Publishers and editors are required to:
- Establish and uphold journal policies, such as those governing publishing ethics, handling conflicts of interest, and handling appeals, corrections, and retractions
- Develop clear guidelines for authors and peer reviewers.
- Provide authors with clear information regarding article processing charges, if applicable.
- Take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred.
- If the editor or publisher becomes aware of any claim of research misconduct, they will handle it appropriately.
- Never encourage or knowingly allow misconduct to occur.
- Provide accurate contact information for the publisher, editorial offices, and editorial board members on the publisher's website.
The publisher is required to:
- Manage conflicts of interest with integrity
- Protect intellectual property, information systems, and private journal data
- Avoid using organizational names that might mislead potential authors and editors about the ownership of the journal;
- Support editors during inquiries into claims of misconduct;
- Provide support to editors during investigations into allegations of misconduct; Manage conflicts of interest with integrity
Editors are required to:
- Determine and accept responsibility for all content published in the journal
- Value and ensure the integrity and accuracy of content published in the journal and publish corrections, clarifications, and retractions when necessary.
- Follow and uphold the journal's submission, peer review, and publisher policies.
- Have editorial boards or other governing bodies whose members are acknowledged experts in the field(s) discussed in the publication
- Assist authors and reviewers throughout the submission, review, and publication processes.
- Ensure their journal's peer review procedure is fair, timely, and impartial.
- Inform the publisher if there are any possible violations of intellectual property laws
- Maintain a neutral stance and do not have a vested interest in the acceptance and publication of a manuscript
- Address reported ethical breaches in a timely and neutral manner (see Procedures for Addressing Unethical Behaviour for more on this process)
- Meet the COPE definition of authorship, identify each contributing author's role(s), and ensure that all co-authors have approved the publication.
- List all authors who contributed to the manuscript.
- Certify in writing that neither the submitted article nor a version of it (in any language) has been published, is publicly available online, is being considered for publication elsewhere, or will be submitted elsewhere for publication consideration while the manuscript is under review by the journal. Articles that are extensions must be labeled as such when submitted. These will be evaluated on an individual basis.
- Attest that they wrote the manuscript entirely from scratch and that it contains only original and accurate information.
- Ensure that all research is conducted fairly and ethically. Articles presenting human subjects research must either name the ethics committee that approved the study or confirm that no approval is required.
- Respect patients' privacy rights when publishing articles involving human subjects. Unless necessary for scientific purposes, any identifying characteristics or information that could reveal a patient's identity, such as names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, x-rays, MRIs, charts, and pedigrees. For articles containing detailed information about a patient, the patient (parent, guardian, or estate) must provide written informed consent for publication. Authors should inform these patients if any potentially identifiable material or information is available after publication on the Internet and in print. Patient consent should be documented and archived with the authors, and confirmation that informed consent was obtained will be requested with manuscript submission.
- Register clinical trials in publicly accessible databases.
- List all sources of financial support and declare any potential conflicts of interest.
- Ensure that permissions for all third-party images, graphics, and supplementary materials have been obtained before publication
- Participate in the peer review process
- Immediately notify the journal editor of any errors, inaccuracies, or misrepresentations discovered within the manuscript after submission
- Provide retractions or corrections of mistakes
- Adhere to Journal Instructions for authors
Peer Reviewers must:
- Disclose any potential or immediate conflict of interest in the review of a submission and recuse themselves, if appropriate;
- Maintain confidentiality during the peer review process, even in an open peer review process;
- Review manuscripts objectively, impartially, unbiasedly, and timely;
- Advise the editor if there are any concerns about the originality of the submission or other ethically problematic issues in the manuscript; and
- Adhere to the rules of the journal.
Procedures for Dealing with Unethical Behavior
- Unethical behavior can be identified and reported to journal editors and/or the publisher (FJ) at any time.
- Unethical practices may include, but are not limited to, violations of any of the above-mentioned Ethical Expectations (e.g., plagiarism, falsification or fabrication, authorship falsification, redundant publication, undeclared conflict of interest, etc.).
- For an investigation to be conducted, the person reporting the ethical breach must provide sufficient evidence. Until a conclusion is reached, all allegations are treated equally and seriously.
- The journal's editor will investigate in consultation with FJ. In the case of allegations against a journal editor, the investigation will be conducted in consultation with FJ by a different member of the journal's editorial board, such as a deputy editor. The investigation into allegations against FJ will be conducted by the journal's editor in consultation with other members of the journal's editorial board.
- To avoid defamation, evidence gathering will be done so that allegations are only shared with those who need to know.
- The investigation will be completed within a reasonable time after the allegation is made (s).
- The accused party will be notified and allowed to respond to the allegation as part of the investigation (s).
- If the allegation(s) are valid as part of the investigation, the severity of the breach will be determined.
- Cases beyond the editor's and FJ's investigative capabilities (e.g., data fabrication or theft) will be referred to the author's institution with a request for an investigation.
Minor Ethical Violations
The journal's editor and FJ will handle minor infractions.
Major Ethical Violations
In cases of serious misconduct, the accused's employer may be required to be notified. In consultation with FJ, the editorial board, and/or the society governing body, the editor will decide whether this is warranted.
When an ethical violation is confirmed, one or more of the following actions will be taken.
- Informing the author or reviewer of the misconduct breach in cases where there appears to be a misunderstanding of ethical standards;
- Sending a strongly worded letter to the author or reviewer outlining the breach and warning against future behavior
- Publishing an erratum notice outlining the ethical breach
- Sending a formal letter to the author's or reviewer's employer or funding agency;
- Undertaking a formal retraction or withdrawal of the work in question from the journal, as well as informing indexing services and readers of the misconduct;
- Imposing a formal embargo on submissions from an individual for a fixed period; and
- Reporting the misconduct to a regulatory association for review and action.
Additional Ethical Guidelines
Plagiarism and Duplication
All articles must be unique. No version of an article (in any language) should be published or made publicly available online, and it should not be considered for publication elsewhere, nor will it be submitted for publication elsewhere while the journal is reviewing the manuscript. Articles representing expansions must be identified as such at the time of submission. They will be considered on an individual basis.
Authors must also certify that they wrote the entire manuscript and that it contains only original and accurate information. Before peer review. Fountain Journals employs the plagiarism detection software Similarity Check on a random sample of articles. Plagiarism-infected manuscripts will be rejected outright.
Conflict of Interest
All authors must disclose any commercial associations or other arrangements (e.g., financial compensation received, patient-licensing arrangements, the potential for profit, consultancy, stock ownership, etc.) that may pose a conflict of interest in connection with the article.
Editors and reviewers must recuse themselves from evaluating papers in which they may have a conflict of interest.
Authors have the right to appeal decisions. All appeals will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by journal editors. The journal editors will recuse themselves depending on the nature of the appeal, and the appeal will be reviewed by a different member of the journal's editorial team.
Authors must notify the journal's editor and FJ of any factual errors they discover or are informed of in a published article. When corrections are required, they are made quickly and are accompanied by errata notice that describes the correction.
The editors consider retractions when there is evidence of untrustworthy data or findings, plagiarism, duplicate publication, or unethical research. If an article is under investigation, we may consider an expression of concern notice. If it is determined that a retraction is required, a retraction notice will be added, along with an explanation of the retraction and the original article metadata. The original text will still be available.
In exceptional circumstances, the original article may be removed for legal reasons. In such cases, the metadata will be kept, while the original text will be replaced with the retraction note and a note explaining why the article was removed for legal reasons.