Policy

Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal Policy

SQUMJ conforms to the Uniform Requirements of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (www.ICMJE.org).

COPYRIGHT
Copyright of all accepted manuscripts transfers from the authors to the SQUMJ in order that SQUMJ may disseminate the articles. If the article has multiple authors, each author must individually transfer his or her right to SQUMJ by signing the copyright transfer form found in the Guide for Authors.

Copyright covers all publication forms and media, now or hereafter known, and is effective as soon as a manuscript is accepted for publication in SQUMJ. The authors retain the following nonexclusive copyrights, to be exercised only after the manuscript has been published in online format on the SQUMJ website:
a) Reprint the manuscript in print collections of the author’s own writing. 
b) Present the manuscript orally in its entirety. 
c) Use the manuscript in theses and/or dissertations. 
d) Reproduce the manuscript for use in courses the author is teaching. (If the author is employed by an academic institution, that institution may also reproduce the manuscript for course teaching.) 
e) Distribute photocopies of the manuscript to colleagues, but only for non-commercial purposes. 
f) Reuse figures and tables created by the author in future manuscripts the author writes. 
g) Post a copy of the manuscript on the author’s personal website, departmental website, and/or the university’s intranet, provided a hyperlink to the manuscript on the SQUMJ website is included.

In all the above instances, the author shall give proper credit to the original publication in SQUMJ as follows: 
This research was originally published in SQUMJ. Author(s). Title. SQU Med J Year;vol:pp-pp. © by Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal

USER RIGHTS
Users have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles under the following conditions: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

AUTHORSHIP
Authorship of SQUMJ articles must be based on all of the following four criteria:
1) Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 
2) Drafting the article or revising it critically; 
3) Final approval of the version to be published; and
4) Agreement 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.

All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an acknowledgements section at the end of the article.

CONFIDENTIALITY
SQUMJ editors and publication staff keep all information about a submitted manuscript confidential and limited to those involved in the evaluation, review and publication process. Only the Editor-in-Chief, the Editor, the Managing and Assistant Editors and the two allocated Associate Editors are aware of the names of manuscript authors and their affiliations. SQUMJ ensures a double-blind review process. Only information on accepted articles is archived (as hard copy and on CD) for future reference. Electronic and paper files of withdrawn or rejected articles are destroyed.

PLAGIARISM
SQUMJ takes a tough stance on plagiarism. Every submitted manuscript is checked for all forms of plagiarism before and during the review process. If discovered at any stage, the article is immediately rejected. The letter to the corresponding author is copied to co-authors and to all its reviewers as well as the concerned SQUMJ Associate Editors. A fuller policy on plagiarism, including informing the author’s institution of the case and banning authors of plagiarised manuscripts from submission to SQUMJ for up to 5 years, is currently under discussion.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST 
SQUMJ is committed to ensuring the integrity of all its activities. Each author is required to disclose all relevant financial and other interests that might be construed as resulting in an actual, potential, or apparent conflict with their role as contributors to SQUMJ, regardless of amount or value. 

SQUMJ’s purpose is to inform peer reviewers and readers of the existence of financial relationships pertinent to the article in the interest of the full transparency of the peer review and publication processes. If the paper is accepted for publication in SQUMJ, all disclosures will appear in both the print and online edition of the article in the Conflict of Interest section at the end of the article.

Peer-reviewers are also requested to declare any conflict of interest. SQUMJ Editors and Associate Editors have to declare any conflict of interest before taking responsibility for a manuscript.

Types of conflict of interests may include one or more of the following: employment; consultancy within the past two years; ownership interests – including stock options – in a start-up company, the stock of which is not publicly traded; ownership interest - including stock options but excluding indirect investments through mutual funds and the like - in a publicly traded company; research funding; honoraria directly received from an entity; paid expert testimony within the past two years; any other financial relationship (e.g., receiving royalties); membership on another entity’s Board of Directors or its advisory committees (whether for profit or not for profit).

INFORMED CONSENT
Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. SQUMJ does not publish identifying information in written descriptions or images unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or guardian) has given written informed consent for publication. This requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript before publication. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning and editors should so note. Informed consent must be indicated in the manuscript.

HUMAN AND ANIMAL RIGHTS
When reporting experiments on human subjects, SQUMJ requires authors to indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008 (http://www.wma.net/e/ethicsunit/helsinki.htm).

If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, authors are required to explain the rationale for their approach, and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. When reporting experiments on animals, authors have to indicate whether the institutional and national guide for the care and use of laboratory animals was followed.

PEER REVIEW PROCESS

The Editorial Office of the Journal and the SQUMJ Subject Editors check each submitted manuscript for general quality, suitability and whether it conforms to the accepted format. All manuscripts are also checked for plagiarism; if discovered, immediate strong action is taken. If found prima facie acceptable, the manuscript will be sent out for double-blind international review. All reviewers treat the manuscript with the strictest confidentiality and must declare any conflict of interests. Substantial delays can be avoided if authors comply with these Guidelines. Comments and suggestions from the reviewers are conveyed to the authors via the online system. Revised manuscripts are subject to further review by the original reviewers and the responsible Subject Editors. The final decision as to acceptance or rejection lies with the Editor-in-Chief, with advice from the SQUMJ Editorial Board and Sultan Qaboos University's Academic Publications Board.

OPEN ACCESS

Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal is an Open Access Journal. This means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles under the following conditions: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). This is also in accordance with the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) definition of open access.

ARCHIVING

This journal utilizes the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration.