Ethiopia’s oldest medical journal, The Ethiopian Medical Journal (EMJ) is the official organ of the Ethiopian Medical Association (EMA). The EMJ is devoted to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge pertaining to the broad field of medicine in Ethiopia and other developing countries. The journal first appeared in July 1962 and has been published quarterly (January, April, July, October) without interruption ever since. It has been published in both online (eISSN 2415-2420) (www.emjema.org) and hard copy (ISSN0014-1755) versions. The EMJ continues to play an important role in documenting and disseminating the progress of medical sciences, and in providing evidence for health policy and clinical practice in Ethiopia and Africa at large. Our online journal is open access. Hard copies of the issues of the journal are distributed to institutions and organizations (national and international) based on official subscription.
The scientific quality of articles published on EMJ are assessed through a rigorous double-blind peer review system. The integrity of the manuscript with respect to its originality, scientific soundness, methodological relevance and significance to the broad field of medicine is determined by the help of independent researchers in the specific area of the submitted manuscript. The peer-reviewers are recruited from different national and international institutions with relevant professional and research experience.
The Ethiopian Medical Journal uses a double-blind review system for all manuscripts. Each manuscript is reviewed by at least two reviewers. The reviewers are not aware of the list of authors submitting the manuscript sent for their review. The reviewers act independently, and they are not aware of each other’s identities. The reviewers are selected solely based on their relevant expertise for evaluating a manuscript. They must not be from the same institution as the author(s) of the manuscript, nor be their co-authors in the recent past. The purpose of peer review is to assist the authors in improving papers and the Editorial Board in making decision on whether to accept or reject a manuscript. The Editor in Chief manages manuscripts review process for papers submitted by any of the editorial board member or editors. Reviewers are requested to decline if they have a conflict of interest or if the work does not fall within their expertise.
Manuscript management and peer-review process
Manuscripts are sent for review only if they pass the initial evaluation (pre-review by the Editorial Board) regarding their style, methodological accuracy, thematic scope, and ethical scientific conduct. Special care is taken to complete the initial (pre-review) evaluation in 3-5 days. The Journal policy is to minimize time from submission to publication without reducing peer review quality. Currently the total period from the submission of a manuscript until its publication takes an average of six months. Peer reviewers are requested to respond within four weeks. During the review process, the Editor-in-Chief may require authors to provide additional information (including raw data) if they are necessary for the evaluation of the manuscript. These materials shall be kept confidential and must not be used for any other purposes. The entire review process takes place under the supervision of the Editor-in-Chief in an online environment, with the assistance of the Journal Secretariat. The online system also allows authors to track the manuscript review progress.
The detailed procedures for manuscript review include:
- Within one week of receipt of a manuscript, the Editorial Board will review it in reference to (i) conformity with the Journal's "guidelines to authors" (available online on the journal website and published with all issues starting from February 2016), (ii) relevance of the article to the objectives of the EMJ, (iii) clarity of presentation, and (iv) plagiarism by using appropriate software.
- The Editorial Board has three options: accept manuscripts for external review, return it to the author(s) for revision, or reject it. A manuscript not accepted by a board member is blindly reviewed by another board member. If not accepted by both, the manuscript is rejected by the Editorial Board. Decision will be made by the suggestion of a third Editorial Board member if the decisions of first two do not concur.
- Once accepted for external review, the Editorial Board identifies one reviewer for brief communication, case reports, and teaching articles or two or more reviewers with appropriate expertise for original articles. The reviewers will be asked to review and return manuscripts with their comments online within two weeks of their receipt. Reviewers have four options; accept, accept with major revision, accept with minor revision, or reject.
- A Manuscript accepted subject to revision as suggested by reviewers will be returned to the corresponding author. Author(s) will be given four weeks to respond to reviewers' comments, make necessary changes, and return the manuscript to the Editorial Board. A manuscript not returned in time will be considered withdrawn by the author(s).
- Manuscripts with minor revisions will be cleared by the Editorial Board and accepted for publication. Those with major revisions will be returned to external reviewers and follow the procedures as outlined for the initial review.
Responsibility of authors
Authors are required to submit manuscripts according to the author’s guidelines of EMJ. This is provided in the ‘Guidelines to Authors’ on the journal website and also appears in each issue of the Journal. Authors must guaranteethat their manuscripts are their original work, that they have not been published before, and are not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Parallel submission of the same paper to another journal constitutes misconductand eliminates the manuscript from further consideration. Work that has already been published elsewhere cannotbe reprinted in the Ethiopian Medical Journal. Additionally, if any related work has been submitted or published elsewhere, authors should notify the journal and submit a copy of it with their submission and describe its relation to the submitted work. Authors are exclusively responsible for the contents of their submissions and must make sure that the authors listedin the manuscript include all and only those authors who have significantly contributed to the submitted manuscript. If persons other than authors were involved in important aspects of the research project and the preparationof the manuscript, their contribution should be acknowledged in the Acknowledgments section.
It is the responsibility of the authors to specify the title and code label of the research project within which thework was created, as well as the full title of the funding institution. In case a submitted manuscript has been presented at a conference in the form of an oral presentation (under the same or similar title), detailed informationabout what was published in proceedings of the conference shall be provided to the Editor-in-Chief upon submission.Authors are required to properly cite sources that have significantly influenced their research and their manuscript.Parts of the manuscript, including text, equations, pictures, tables and graphs that are taken verbatim from otherworks must be clearly marked, e.g. by quotation marks accompanied by their location in the original document(page number), or, if more extensive, given in a separate paragraph.Full references of each quotation (in-text citation) must be listed in the separate reference section in a uniformmanner, according to the citation style used by the journal. References section should list only quoted/cited, andnot all sources used for the preparation of a manuscript.
When authors discover a significant error or inaccuracy in their own published work, it is their obligation to promptly notify the Editor-in-Chief and cooperate with him/her to retract or correct the paper. Authors should disclose in their manuscript any financial or another substantive conflict of interest that might have influenced the presented results or their interpretation. By submitting a manuscript, the authors agree to abide by the Editorial Policies of the Ethiopian Medical Journal.
Complaints and appeals
In case that the authors have serious and reasonable objections to the reviews and decision on their manuscripts, they can appeal to the Editor-in-Chief and the Editorial Board will assess whether the review is objective and whether it meets academic standards. If there is a doubt about the objectivity or quality of review and the decision, the Editor-in-Chief will assign additional reviewer(s). Additional reviewers may also be assigned when reviewers’ decisions (accept or reject) are contrary to each other or otherwise substantially incompatible. The final decision on the acceptance of the manuscript for publication rests solely with the Editor-in-Chief. The decision on appeal may take extra time due to the regular work of the journal.
Responsibilities of the Editorial Board
The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for deciding which articles submitted to the journal will be published. The decisions are made based exclusively on the manuscript's merit. They must be free from any racial, gender, sexual, religious, ethnic, or political bias. When making decisions the Editor-in-Chief is also guided by the editorial policy and legal provisions relating to defamation, copyright infringement, and plagiarism. Members of the Editorial Board including the Editor-in-Chief must hold no conflict of interest about the articles they consider for publication. Members who feel they might be perceived as being involved in such a conflict do not participate in the decision process for a manuscript. The information and ideas presented in submitted manuscripts shall be kept confidential. Editors and the editorial staff shall take all reasonable measures to ensure that the authors/reviewers remain anonymous during and after the evaluation process in accordance with the type of reviewing in use. The Editorial Board is obliged to assist reviewers with additional information on the manuscript, including the results of checking manuscript for plagiarism.
Responsibilities of reviewers
Reviewers are required to provide a qualified and timely assessment of the scholarly merits of the manuscript. The reviewer takes special care of the real contribution and originality of the manuscript. The review must be fully objective, and the judgment of the reviewers must be clear and substantiated by arguments. The reviewers assess a manuscript for compliance with the profile of the journal, the relevance of the investigated topic and applied methods, the scientific relevance of information presented in the manuscript, and the presentation style. The review has a standard format. It is submitted through the online journal management system where it is stored permanently. The reviewer must not be in a conflict of interest with the authors or funders of research. If such a conflict exists, the reviewer is obliged to promptly notify the Editor-in-Chief. The reviewer shall not accept reviewing papers beyond the field of his/her full competence. Reviewers should alert the Editor-in-Chief to any well-founded suspicions or the knowledge of possible violations of ethical standards by the authors including any duplicate submissions or publications during the review process. Reviewers should recognize relevant published works that have not been considered in the manuscript. They may recommend specific references for citation but shall not require citing papers published in the Ethiopian Medical Journal, or their own papers, unless it is justified. The reviewers are expected to improve the quality of the manuscript through their suggestions. If they recommend correction of the manuscript prior to publication, they are obliged to specify the way this can be achieved. Any manuscript received for review must be treated as confidential document.
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 a 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 the 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 the Declaration of Helsinki.
- Clinical trials should provide trial registration details, the study protocol, and trial study report guidelines according to the specific study design.
Research reporting experiments on animal
Articles reporting experiments on animals particularly those involving live vertebrates and/or higher invertebrates required to state the approval of the experiment by an accredited licensing body in the method section of the manuscript. The author should also guarantee that the experiment was done according to the recommended guideline for experiments on animals and specifically EMJ requires researchers to follow ARRIVE guidelines conducting trials on animals.
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 those strictly 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 minor or serious.
- Minor misconduct (with no influence on the integrity of the paper and the journal, for example, when it comes to misunderstanding or wrong application of publishing standards) will be dealt with 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 formally announced retraction of publications from the journal in accordance with the Retraction Policy.
- A ban on submissions from an individual for a defined period.
- Refer 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 relevant expert 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).
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 another 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 another author's work without clearly indicating the source or marking the copied fragment (for example, using quotation 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/or without 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 the Retraction policy, including blacklisting the author(s). To prevent plagiarism, submitted manuscripts will go through a 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 the 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), the existence of a 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.
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”.
Open access policy
The Ethiopian Medical Journal is published under an Open Access license. All its contents are available free of charge according to Creative Commons license CC BY 4.0 public copyright licenses. Users can read, download, copy, distribute, print, and search the full text of articles, as well as establish HTML links to them, without having to seek the consent of the author or publisher. The right to use content without consent does not release the users from the obligation to give the credit to the journal and its content in a manner described under Copyright & Licensing
Article processing charge
The Ethiopian Medical Journal does not charge authors or any third party for publication in its regular quarterly Issues. Both manuscript submission and processing services, and article publishing services are free of charge. There are no hidden costs whatsoever.
Copyright & Licensing
Authors retain the copyright of the published papers and grant to the publisher the non-exclusive right to publish the article, to be cited as its original publisher in case of reuse, and to distribute it in all forms and media. Users are required to provide a full bibliographic description of the original publication (authors, article title, journal title, volume, issue, pages), as well as its DOI code. In electronic publishing, users are also required to link the content with the original article published in the Ethiopian Medical Journal. Authors can enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of their work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgment of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted to deposit the publisher's version (PDF) of their work in an institutional repository, subject-based repository, and author's personal website (including social networking sites, such as departmental websites at any time after publication. Full bibliographic information (authors, article title, journal title, volume, issue, pages) about the original publication must be provided and links must be made to the article's DOI and the license.
Ethiopian Medical Journal follows international standards for advertisements to be released on its website and/or print copies. In this regard, advertisements are independent of editorial decisions and the journal or Ethiopian medical association does not endorse the contents of the advertisement. The editorial content shall not be compromised by the advertisement content.
Any content of the advertisement severing the integrity and value of Ethiopian Medical Journal or Ethiopian medical association, damaging the health, having misleading information or fraud, promoting any type of violence against individual or community will not be entertained. Furthermore, the advertisement content should comply with the local legal or control authorities' regulations and policies. The advertisement will not be posted on any of the journal platforms without the decision of the Editor-in-Chief of the journal and it shall be removed based on the request from the Editor-in-Chief.
The views expressed in the published works do not express the views of the Editors and the Editorial Staff of the Ethiopian Medical Journal. The authors take legal and moral responsibility for the ideas expressed in the articles. The Publisher (The Ethiopian Medical Association) shall have no liability in the event of issuance of any claims for damages. The Publisher will not be held legally responsible should there be any claims for compensation.