Editorial Policy

Editorial Policy

Overview

The Ethiopian Medical Journal (EMJ) is Ethiopia's oldest medical journal and the official organ of the Ethiopian Medical Association (EMA). Founded in 1962, the EMJ has played a pivotal role in advancing and disseminating medical knowledge not only in Ethiopia but across Africa. Published quarterly in both print and online open-access formats, the Journal features high-quality research spanning clinical medicine, biomedical sciences, public health, and traditional medicine. The EMJ is committed to upholding rigorous peer-review standards and publishes impactful research that informs healthcare policy and practice, improves clinical outcomes, and empowers healthcare professionals throughout the continent. We welcome contributions from diverse authors and encourage researchers, policymakers, and healthcare practitioners to explore the wealth of knowledge available in the EMJ and join us in advancing medical science for Ethiopia and beyond.

Core Values

The Ethiopian Medical Journal (EMJ) is committed to upholding the highest ethical standards and promoting excellence in medical research and knowledge dissemination. Our core values guide every aspect of our operations, from manuscript review and publication to the conduct of our editorial board and journal secretariat. We believe these values are essential for maintaining the integrity and credibility of the Journal and fostering a respectful and collaborative environment for all stakeholders.

Integrity: We are committed to the highest standards of academic and scientific integrity. We ensure fair and unbiased peer-review processes, accurate and transparent reporting of research findings, and adherence to ethical guidelines for research conduct.

Respect: We treat all authors, reviewers, editors, and readers with respect and courtesy. We value diversity of perspectives and acknowledge the contributions of individuals from all backgrounds and disciplines.

Excellence: We are committed to publishing high-quality research that makes a significant contribution to the advancement of medical knowledge and practice. We encourage excellence in research methodology, writing, and presentation.

Service: We are dedicated to serving the needs of the medical community in Ethiopia and Africa. We provide a platform for disseminating valuable research findings and promoting evidence-based healthcare practices.

Openness: We believe in the free flow of scientific information and are committed to making the Journal accessible to all through open-access publishing. We encourage the sharing of knowledge and research findings to improve health outcomes around the world. 

Peer-review policy

The scientific quality of articles published on EMJ is 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 with 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 in evaluating a manuscript. The purpose of peer review is to assist the authors in improving papers and the Editorial Board in making decisions on whether to accept or reject a manuscript. The Editor in chief manages the manuscript review process for papers submitted by any of the editorial board members or editors. Reviewers are requested to decline if they have a conflict of interest or if the work does not fall within their expertise.

 Peer-review process

The Ethiopian Medical Journal (EMJ) upholds rigorous standards for published research through a double-blind, expert review process. Independent scholars with relevant expertise in the submitted field assess every manuscript for originality, scientific soundness, methodological strength, and broader medical significance. These reviewers come from diverse national and international institutions, ensuring a fresh and unbiased perspective.

Double-Blind review

EMJ's double-blind system keeps both authors and reviewers anonymous, fostering honest and objective feedback. Each manuscript receives assessments from at least two reviewers, selected solely based on their expertise and with no affiliations to the authors. Their sole purpose is to assist authors in enhancing their work and guide the Editorial Board’s decision to accept or reject a manuscript.

Process

EMJ prioritizes a timely review process without compromising quality. Manuscripts undergo an initial evaluation by the Editorial Board, focusing on style, methodology, thematic fit, and ethical conduct. Reviewers are expected to provide feedback within four weeks, and authors have four weeks to address reviewer comments and revisions.

  1. Initial Evaluation: The Editorial Board assesses the manuscript's adherence to guidelines, relevance to EMJ's objectives, clarity, and originality.
  2. Decisions and Reviewers: Based on the initial evaluation, the Board may:

Accept the manuscript for external review.

Return it for revision.

Reject it.

Request a second blind review if decisions differ.

  1. External Review: 

One reviewer for brief communications, case reports, and teaching articles.

Two or more reviewers for original articles, chosen based on relevant expertise.

Reviewers have four options: accept, accept with major revisions, accept with /minor revisions, or reject. 

  1. Revision and Final Decision:

Authors address reviewer comments and submit the revised manuscripts within four weeks.

Manuscripts with minor revisions are accepted by the Editorial Board.

Major revisions necessitate further external review.

Responsibility of authors

Author guidelines

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. 

Simultaneous submission

Authors must guarantee that their manuscripts are their original work, that they have not been fully or partially published before, and are not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Parallel submission of the same paper to another journal constitutes misconduct and eliminates the manuscript from further consideration. Work that has already been published elsewhere cannot be 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.

Authorship

Authors are exclusively responsible for the contents of their submissions and must make sure that the authors listed in the manuscript include all and only those authors who have significantly contributed to the submitted manuscript according to the ICMJE criteria (https://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/defining-the-role-of-authors-and-contributors.html). If persons other than authors were involved in important aspects of the research project and the preparation of the manuscript, their contribution should be acknowledged in the Acknowledgments section.

Funding: It is the responsibility of the authors to specify the title and code label of the research project within which the work was created, as well as the full title of the funding institution.

Citation

Parts of the manuscript, including text, equations, pictures, tables, and graphs that are taken verbatim from other works 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 uniform manner, according to the citation style used by the journal.

Agreement

By submitting a manuscript, the authors agree to abide by the Editorial Policies of the Ethiopian Medical 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 the manuscript for plagiarism.

Responsibilities of reviewers

Reviewers are required to provide a qualified, unbiased, and timely assessment of the scholarly merits of the manuscript. The reviewer should take 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 the 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 documents.

Ethics in Research

Ethical approval

Research involving humans must be approved by an accredited IRB and conducted according to the Declaration of Helsinki and local regulations. 

Authors must provide the full name of the Ethics review committee which approved the study and also provide the approval letter number during initial submission. If requested by reviewers or editorial board during the review process, authors must also upload the ethical clearance letter.

Informed consent details and IRB approval documents are required for submission.

Animal experiments require approval and adherence to ARRIVE guidelines. 

Use of new clinical tools and procedures

The manuscript reporting the utilization of a novel procedure or tool in a clinical setting, be it as a technical advancement or case study, shall necessitate a rationale for its selection over established clinical practices, outlining its appropriateness for addressing the patient's specific needs. This justification is not obligatory for procedures already sanctioned for clinical use within the authors' institution. However, authors are obligated to secure ethics committee approval and acquire informed patient consent for any experimental application of a novel procedure or tool where a demonstrably clear clinical advantage, based on the patient's condition, was not evident prior to treatment.

Retrospective ethics approval

Is generally not allowed for research conducted without prior authorization from an ethics committee which can potentially lead to disqualifying such manuscripts from the peer-review process. The Editor-in-Chief retains the final discretion regarding review in such instances.

Consent of Participants

Informed consent is crucial for research involving humans. This applies to both adult participants and those under 18, for whom a parent or legal guardian must provide consent. If the study participants are children aged 12 years and above, assent from each participant should be obtained. 

Waiver of consent may be granted by the Ethics Review Committee for retrospective studies and this must be explicitly written in the ethics approval letter, as well as the Ethical Considerations section of the manuscript.

The manuscript must explicitly state that informed consent was obtained.

Special scrutiny for vulnerable groups:

Research involving vulnerable groups (unconscious patients, prisoners, etc.) or potentially involving coercion or incomplete information will carefully be evaluated by the editor and may undergo further review.

Consent for all data

Consent is required for collecting and using any personally identifiable data, including biomedical, clinical, and biometric information.

Consent for publication

The Ethiopian Medical Journal prioritizes protecting individual privacy in published research. Therefore, informed consent for publication is required for:

Details, images, or videos of individuals: Consent must be obtained from the individual (or their guardian for minors) and cover publication under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, making it freely available online.

Deceased individuals: Consent for publication must be obtained from the next of kin.

Clear Documentation

Always include a statement in the manuscript confirming informed consent for publication was obtained.

Consent requirements for images: Consent may not be needed for entirely unidentifiable images and manuscripts with no individual details reported.

Editor's Final Decision

The final judgment on whether consent for publication is needed lies with the Editor. 

Protecting Public Safety and Ethics

While manuscripts often contain valuable information, some may present potential risks to public health, safety, security, or the environment. For such cases, the Ethiopian Medical Journal upholds a strict approach to publication.

Balancing Benefits and Risks: Manuscripts with potential "dual-use" implications will only be published if the scientific value and societal benefits outweigh any harm that could be caused by misuse. This applies to threats to:

Public health and safety

Agricultural crops and plant life

Animal welfare

The environment

 Expert Assessment and Risk Mitigation

The Journal reserves the right to seek expert advice and additional peer review on manuscripts suspected of presenting dual-use risks. This ensures a thorough assessment of potential harm and allows for informed publication decisions.

Prioritizing Responsible Publication

The Journal prioritizes responsible publication and may choose to

Decline publication: If the potential harm outweighs any benefit, the manuscript will not be published.

Issue corrections: For published content with dual-use concerns, clarifications or corrections may be necessary.

Retract or remove content: In extreme cases, content posing significant risks may be retracted or removed entirely.

Dealing with Unethical Behavior:

Anyone can report suspected misconduct to the Editor-in-Chief. Investigations are confidential and the accused has a right to respond. Misconduct is classified as minor or serious, with varied consequences:

- Minor: warning letters, corrections, errata.

- Serious: retraction, institutional notification, author bans, legal action.

   COPE guidelines are followed for resolving ethical issues.

Plagiarism Prevention

 Plagiarism, including self-plagiarism, is strictly prohibited and leads to rejection or retraction.

Manuscripts undergo plagiarism detection using software and COPE guidelines.

 

 

 Confidentiality:

The peer-review process is confidential for both authors and reviewers.

Reviewers and editors must not share confidential information.

COPE guidelines are followed for any confidentiality breaches.

Competing Interests

The Ethiopian Medical Journal requires authors, reviewers, and editors to be upfront about any potential conflicts of interest related to the research. This ensures transparency and reader trust in published findings.

Declarations

All submitted manuscripts must have a dedicated "competing interests" section.

List all financial (e.g., funding, patents) and non-financial (e.g., personal ties, ideological conflicts) interests that could influence your work or its interpretation.

If no conflicts exist, state "The author(s) declare no competing interests."

Be prepared to provide further details to the editor if requested.

Editors and Reviewers

Editors and reviewers also disclose any potential conflicts and may be excluded from the review process if needed.

What Constitutes a Competing Interest

Anything that could bias the research or its presentation, perceived or real.

Financial connections to organizations impacted by the publication.

Personal relationships with stakeholders involved in the research.

Examples:

Financial competing interests: Research funding, stock ownership, patent royalties.

Non-financial competing interests: Personal rivalries, political affiliations, religious beliefs.

If unsure about declaring a conflict, contact the journal for guidance.

 

 

Industry Involvement:

Authors from commercial organizations (e.g., pharmaceutical companies) sponsoring research must declare this and follow ethical publication guidelines. 

Availability of data and material

Publishing in EMJ implies your commitment to sharing the essential materials. This includes:

Raw data: Any data supporting the conclusions of your paper should be freely accessible to other researchers for non-commercial use, upholding participant confidentiality.

Data deposition: Where established data-sharing practices exist, EMJ requires deposit in relevant repositories.

Accessibility and format: We encourage making data available in public repositories when appropriate, or directly in the manuscript or supplementary files, preferably in machine-readable formats like spreadsheets.

Simultaneous Submission

The Ethiopian Medical Journal specifically prohibits simultaneous submission in its guidelines. Violating this policy may result in:

Rejection of the manuscript.

Being blacklisted from submitting to the journal in the future.

This does not include pre-prints

Artificial Intelligence policy

LLMs like Chat GPT do not qualify for authorship in our publications. Authorship responsibility requires accountability, which AI models cannot fulfill. 

AI-Generated Images:

Publishing AI-generated images is not allowed due to legal and ethical concerns.

This policy may be updated as the field evolves.

Pre-print policy

Disclose preprint versions (if any): Share details like DOI and licensing when submitting your manuscript or during the review process.

Update preprint: Once the paper is published, add a reference and link to the journal version in your preprint record.

 

Special Issues policy

Follow the same editorial policies as regular submissions, including declaring competing interests. The works must fit the Collection's or Special Issue's specific theme and scope. Manuscripts meeting standard criteria will undergo the journal's regular peer-review process (see specific journal's website for details).

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”.

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 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 

Copyright

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.

 Self-archiving policy

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.

 Advertisement Policy

 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 of 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 the Ethiopian Medical Journal or Ethiopian Medical Association, damaging the health, having misleading information or fraud, or promoting any type of violence against an 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.

Disclaimer

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.