Universa Medicina publishes peer-reviewed articles and is committed to ensuring ethics in publication and the quality of articles. Integrity in research publication has become a major issue of debate over the past years. To assure the highest standards for published articles, all parties involved in the publishing process (the author, the journal editor(s), the peer reviewer and the publisher) agree to meet the responsibility of standard publications ethics. The ethics statements for our journal are based on the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors.

Allegation of Research Misconduct

Research misconduct means fabrication, falsification, citation manipulation, or plagiarism in producing, performing, or reviewing research, writing an article by authors, or reporting research results. When authors are found to have been involved with research misconduct or other serious irregularities involving articles published in scientific journals, Editors have a responsibility to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the scientific record.

In cases of suspected misconduct, the Editors and Editorial Board will use the best practices of COPE to assist them in resolving the complaint and address the misconduct fairly. This will include an investigation of the allegation by the Editors. A submitted manuscript that is found to contain such misconduct will be rejected. In cases where a published paper is found to contain such misconduct, a retraction can be published and will be linked to the original article.

The first step involves determining the validity of the allegation and an assessment of whether the allegation is consistent with the definition of research misconduct. This initial step also involves determining whether the individuals alleging misconduct have relevant conflicts of interest.

If scientific misconduct or the presence of other substantial research irregularities is a possibility, the allegations are shared with the corresponding author, who, on behalf of all of the coauthors, is requested to provide a detailed response. After the response is received and evaluated, additional review and involvement of experts (such as statistical reviewers) may be obtained. For cases in which it is unlikely that misconduct has occurred, clarifications, additional analyses, or both, published as letters to the editor, and often including a correction notice and correction to the published article are sufficient.

Institutions are expected to conduct an appropriate and thorough investigation of allegations of scientific misconduct. Ultimately, authors, journals, and institutions have an important obligation to ensure the accuracy of the scientific record. By responding appropriately to concerns about scientific misconduct and taking necessary actions based on evaluation of these concerns, such as corrections, retractions with replacement, and retractions, Universa Medicina will continue to fulfil the responsibilities of ensuring the validity and integrity of the scientific record.

Complaints and Appeals

Universa Medicina will have a clear procedure for handling complaints against the journal, Editorial Staff, Editorial Board or Publisher. The complaints will be clarified to the respected person with respect to the case of complaint. The scope of complaints includes anything related to the journal business process, i.e. editorial process, found citation manipulation, unfair editor/reviewer, peer-review manipulation, etc. The complaint cases will be processed according to COPE guidelines.

Ethical Oversight

Suppose the research work involves chemicals, humans, animals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use. In that case, the author must identify these in the manuscript in order to obey the ethical conduct of research using animals and human subjects. The authors must provide legal and ethical clearance from the association or legal organization if required.

If the research involves confidential data and business/marketing practices, the authors should justify this matter whether the data or information will be hidden securely or not.

Duties of the Editors-in-Chief and Editors

The Editor-in-Chief and other editors have to take responsibility for everything they publish. They should have procedures and policies in place to ensure the quality of the material they publish and maintain the integrity of the published record. The Editor-in-chief will decide upon the publication or rejection of submitted manuscripts based only on their originality, significance and relevance to the domains of the journal and will respect the confidentiality of any information pertaining to the submitted manuscripts. The editors treat the submitted manuscript and all communication with authors and referees as confidential. The editors will take reasonable responsive measures when ethical complaints have been presented concerning a submitted manuscript or published paper. Editors are responsible for ensuring the peer review process is fair and should aim to minimize bias. The editors will ensure that the comments and recommendations of the reviewers are sent to the author(s) in due time and that the manuscripts are returned to the editors, who will take the final decision to publish them or not. Editors should not give any indication of a paper’s status with the journal to anyone other than the authors. In general, editors should not share submitted papers with editors of other journals unless with the author's agreement or in cases of alleged misconduct. The Editor-in-Chief is in a powerful position to make decisions on publications, which makes it very important that this process is as fair and unbiased as possible and is in accordance with the journal's vision. Editors should not be involved in decisions about papers in which they have a conflict of interest, for example, if they work or have worked in the same institution and collaborated with the authors or have a personal relationship with them.

Duties of authors

Universa Medicina does not require all authors of a research paper to sign the letter of submission. Submission to a Universa Medicina is taken by the journal to mean that all the listed authors have agreed to all of the contents, including the author list and author contributions statements. Authors are required to include a statement of responsibility in the manuscript that specifies the contribution of every author. Authors should ensure that their work is entirely original and that data sources are appropriately acknowledged. Plagiarism in all its forms, including self-plagiarism, is unacceptable. Authors are welcome to suggest suitable independent reviewers when they submit their manuscripts, but these suggestions may not be followed by the journal. Authors should ensure that the manuscript meets the terms of the Manuscript Submission Guideline.

The corresponding author is responsible for ensuring that this agreement has been reached, that all authors have agreed to be so listed and approved the manuscript submission to the journal, and for managing all communication between the journal and all co-authors, before and after publication. Any changes to the author list after submissions, such as a change in the order of the authors, or the deletion or addition of authors, need to be approved by every author. The corresponding author is solely responsible for communicating with the journal. The corresponding author also must identify at submission any material within the manuscript that has previously been published elsewhere by other authors (for example, figures) and provide written permission from those authors and/or publishers, as appropriate, for the re-use of such material. After acceptance, the proof is sent to the corresponding author, who circulates it to all coauthors and deals with the journal on their behalf; the journal will not necessarily correct errors after publication if they result from errors that were present on a proof that was not shown to coauthors before publication. The corresponding author is responsible for the accuracy of all content in the proof, particularly that the names of coauthors are present and correctly spelt and that addresses and affiliations are current.

Duties of peer reviewers

The reviewers will treat any submitted manuscripts as confidential documents. Reviews should be conducted objectively, and any observations should be supported by clear arguments for use by the authors in improving their manuscript. Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the manuscript or cannot provide a prompt review should, in due time, send a notification of withdrawal from the review process to the editors. Reviews will be expected to be professional, honest, courteous, prompt, and constructive. A reviewer should inform the editor about redundant publication and suspected plagiarism. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts with conflicts of interest connected to the papers. Reviewers are welcome to recommend a particular course of action, but they should bear in mind that the other reviewers of a particular paper may have different technical expertise and/or views, and the editors may have to decide based on conflicting advice. The reviewer should comment accurately and constructively upon the quality of the author's interpretation of the data, including acknowledgement of its limitations. The reviewer has to comment on any ethical concerns raised by the study or any possible evidence of low standards of scientific conduct. Confidential comments to the editor are welcome, but it is helpful if the main points are stated in the comments for transmission to the authors. The reviewers should provide the editor with the proper context and perspective to decide on the manuscript's acceptance (and/or revision).

Publisher’s confirmation

In cases of alleged or proven scientific misconduct, fraudulent publication or plagiarism, the publisher, in close collaboration with the Editors-in-Chief, will take all appropriate measures to clarify the situation and amend the article in question. This includes the prompt publication of an erratum or, in the most severe cases, the complete retraction of the affected work.

The Publisher and the Journal do not discriminate based on age, color, religion, creed, disability, marital status, veteran status, national origin, race, gender, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or sexual orientation in its publishing programs, services and activities.

Data sharing policy (data availability statement) and reproducibility

Univ Med accepts the ICMJE recommendations for data sharing policy (http://icmje.org/icmje-recommendations.pdf). All manuscripts reporting clinical trial results should submit a data sharing statement following the ICMJE guidelines. This statement should describe how readers can access the data supporting the conclusions of the study and clearly outline the reasons why unavailable data cannot be released. After acceptance, the corresponding author of the accepted research article should submit the datasets underlying the results of this paper to the editorial office. If the data is already public, its URL site or sources should be disclosed. If the data cannot be publicized, the authors should describe the reason by choosing one of the following examples:
• The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available in the [NAME] repository [PERSISTENT WEB LINK TO DATASETS].
• The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available due [REASON WHY DATA ARE NOT PUBLIC] but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
• Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study.
• All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article [and its supplementary information files].
• The data that support the findings of this study are available from [third party name] but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study, and so are not publicly available. Data are however available from the authors upon reasonable request and with permission of [third party name].

This statement will be required for published articles starting from Vol 42 no 3 (September-December) 2023.

Disclosure of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Programs

Requirements for reporting use of artificial intelligence–assisted technologies for manuscripts submitted to Univ Med (based on recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors)
At submission, the Univ Med should require authors to disclose whether they used artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted technologies (such as Large Language Models [LLMs], chatbots, or image creators) in the production of submitted work. Authors who use such technology should describe, in both the cover letter and the submitted work, how they used it. Chatbots (such as ChatGPT) should not be listed as authors because they cannot be responsible for the accuracy, integrity, and originality of the work, and these responsibilities are required for authorship. Therefore, humans are responsible for any submitted material that included the use of AI-assisted technologies. Authors should carefully review and edit the result because AI can generate authoritative-sounding output that can be incorrect, incomplete, or biased. Authors should not list AI and AI assisted technologies as an author or co-author, nor cite AI as an author. Authors should be able to assert that there is no plagiarism in their paper, including in text and images produced by the AI. Humans must ensure there is appropriate attribution of all quoted material, including full citations.
To disclose the use of generative AI and AI-assisted technologies in the writing process, authors must add a statement to the end of their manuscript under a new section called "Declaration of use of AI in the writing process," before the References list.

Statement: The author(s) used [NAME TOOL/SERVICE] during the preparation of this work to [REASON]. After utilizing the tool/service, the author(s) thoroughly reviewed and edited the content as necessary and assumed full responsibility for the publication's content.

This declaration will be required for published articles starting from Vol 43 no 1 (January-April) 2024.

Post-publication discussions and corrections

The correspondence provides access to the post-publication conversation. If readers have concerns about any of the stories published, they can write a letter to the editor. Errata, corrigenda, and retraction can be used to remedy any errors or faults detected in the article. Each author is responsible for providing early retractions or corrections of inaccuracies in published works. Editors are in charge of any author-requested revisions. After the update request has been accepted, the document will be amended and re-published on our website, along with the posting of a Correction.

Intellectual property

To satisfy the conditions of open access publishing and promote the greatest possible distribution, Universa Medicina requires authors to declare their paper open access under one of the Creative Commons Licenses. The website of Creative Commons describes how these licenses function.