Ethical Standards

Researches Involving Human Participants

Manuscripts of research outputs conducted on human participants should be carried out only by or strictly supervised by, suitably qualified and experienced investigators and in accordance with a protocol that clearly states the aim of the research, the reasons for proposing that it involves human subjects, the nature and degree of any known risks to the subjects, the sources from which it is proposed to recruit subjects, and the means proposed for ensuring that subjects’ consent will be adequately informed and voluntary. The protocol should be scientifically and ethically approved by one or more suitably constituted review bodies, independent of the investigators basically operating within the legal framework of each specific country or territory at which the study was conducted and operating with the internationally reputed ethical standards.


  • Any studies involving human participants should be approved by legally registered and accredited institutional review board (IRB) or equivalent research ethics review committee.
  • Compliance with the ethical practices and its approval by the responsible IRB should be declared at submission and the review board approval document should be submitted upon request by EMJ.
  • How the informed consent was sought should be explained clearly with required details.
  • Any clinical investigation must be conducted according to the principles expressed in ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects with the internationally reputed ethical standards specifically according to Declaration of Helsinki.
  • Clinical trials should provide trial registration details, the study protocol, and trial study report guideline according to the specific study design.

Dealing with unethical behavior

Anyone may inform the Editor-in-Chief at any time of suspected unethical behavior or any type of misconduct by giving the necessary credible information/evidence to start an investigation.

  • The Editor-in-Chief makes the decision regarding the initiation of an investigation.
  • During an investigation, any evidence should be treated as confidential and only made available to thosestrictly involved in the process.
  • The accused will always be given the chance to respond to any charges made against them.
  • If it is judged at the end of the investigation that misconduct has occurred, then it will be classified as either minoror serious.
  • Minor misconduct (with no influence on the integrity of the paper and the journal, for example, when it comes tomisunderstanding or wrong application of publishing standards) will be dealt directly with authors and reviewers without involving any other parties. Outcomes include:
    • Sending a warning letter to authors and/or reviewers.
    • Publishing correction of a paper, e.g. when sources properly quoted in the text are omitted from the reference
    • Publishing an erratum, e.g. if the error was made by editorial staff.
  • In the case of major misconduct, the Editor-in-Chief may adopt different measures:
    • Publication of a formal announcement or editorial describing the misconduct.
    • Informing officially the author's/reviewer's affiliating institution.
    • The formal, announced retraction of publications from the journal in accordance with the Retraction Policy.
    • A ban on submissions from an individual for a defined period.
    • Referring a case to a professional organization or legal authority for further investigation and action.
    • The above actions may be taken separately or jointly. If necessary, in the process of resolving the case relevantexpert organizations, bodies, or individuals may be consulted.
  • When dealing with unethical behavior, the Editorial Board will rely on the guidelines and recommendations provided by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Plagiarism prevention

The Ethiopian Medical Journal does not publish plagiarized papers. The Editorial Board has adopted the stance that plagiarism, where someone assumes another's ideas, words, or other creative expression as one's own, is a clear violation of scientific ethics. Plagiarism may also involve a violation of copyright law, punishable by legal action. Plagiarism includes the following:

  • Self-plagiarism, which is using one's own previous work in another context without citing that it was usedpreviously;
  • Verbatim (word for word), or almost verbatim copying, or purposely paraphrasing portions of anotherauthor's work without clearly indicating the source or marking the copied fragment (for example, usingquotation marks) in a way described under Responsibilities of authors;
  • Copying equations, figures or tables from someone else's paper without properly citing the source and/orwithout permission from the original author or the copyright holder.

Any manuscript which shows obvious signs of plagiarism will be automatically rejected. In case plagiarism is discovered in a paper that has already been published by the journal, it will be retracted in accordance with the procedure described under Retraction policy, including blacklisting the author(s). To prevent plagiarism, submitted manuscripts will go through rigorous plagiarism detection process using standard software. The results obtained are verified by the Editorial Board in accordance with the guidelines and recommendations of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).


EMJ is committed to ensuring the integrity of the peer review process, in accordance with COPE guidelines. Until publication, we strictly keep confidentiality of manuscripts or materials submitted. Reviewers are also required to treat all submitted manuscripts confidentially to make the review process strictly confidential. They should not share information about the manuscript under their review with any third parties. Any breach of confidentiality during the review process will follow COPE guidelines.

Conflict of interest

According to the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), existence of conflict of interest should be reported if there is a divergence between an individual’s private interests (competing interests) and his or her responsibilities to scientific and publishing activities such that a reasonable observer might wonder if the individual’s behavior or judgment was motivated by considerations of his or her competing interests. It is the responsibility of authors to disclose any financial/other interest that may have influenced the development of the manuscript. If the reviewers perceive any possible conflict of interest for manuscripts they are assigned to review, they should disclose it and they should decline the review of such manuscripts if needed. The same also applies to the editors.

Retraction policy

Legal limitations of the publisher, copyright holder or author(s), infringements of professional ethical codes, such as multiple submissions, bogus claims of authorship, plagiarism, fraudulent use of data or any major misconduct require retraction of an article according to Retraction guidelines | COPE: Committee on Publication Ethics. Occasionally, a retraction can be used to correct numerous serious errors, which cannot be covered by publishing corrections. A retraction may be published by the Editor-in-Chief, the author(s), or both parties consensually. The retraction takes the form of a separate item listed in the contents and labeled as "Retraction". The original article is retained unchanged, except for a watermark on the PDF indicating on each page that it is “retracted”.