Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) is a committed member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). FMCH subscribers fully to the COPE code of conduct and best practice for journal editors ensuring that our editors are accountable for everything published in our journal. Our readers will always be informed about how the research is funded and our relationships with authors, reviewers and editorial board members will be influenced by COPE recommendations.
All journal stakeholders and authors are required to observe high standards with respect to publication ethics as set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).
To access our specific policies, please click on the relevant topic link below
It is important that appropriate credit is awarded to the authors of a manuscript. In accordance with ICMJE guidelines to qualify as an author, a researcher should make substantive intellectual contributions to each of the following aspects:
- Concept and design of the study, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data.
- Critically drafting or revising of the manuscript for important intellectual content.
- Final approval of the version to be published. Each author should participate sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content. Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not justify authorship.
- 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 authors are required to complete a standard conflicts of interest/competing interests form. This form will be sent to all authors of accepted papers at the end of the peer review process. This should be returned together with your revised manuscript. Authors must declare any competing interests by completing our standard form. Conflict of interests/competing interests can be defined as factors which could influence the judgment of an author, reviewer or editors, and may be personal, commercial, political, academic, or financial in nature. Put simply, they are interests which, if revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived.
Writers of letters and editorials must also declare competing interests. Reviewers are also required to declare competing interests and in most cases these reviewers with competing interests will not be asked to proceed with the review.
Statements of competing interests are included in the online versions of research articles.
For additional guidance and information on the topic of conflict of interests and competing interests please refer to the ICMJE recommendations on author responsibility and COPE’s “Responsible research publication: international standards for authors” document.
A sample of our Authorship Form is available for download here.
From 2015 Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) requires all research articles to have a funding acknowledgement statement included in the manuscript. The statement should be placed under a heading entitled ‘Funding’ directly after your Acknowledgements and Declaration of Conflicting Interests, if applicable.
We require details of the funding agency to be supplied in full, followed by the grant number in square brackets. Multiple grant numbers should be separated by comma and space, see following example:
This work was supported by the Medical Research Council [grant number xxx, yyy, zzz].
Where the research was supported by multiple sources, the different agencies should be separated by semi-colon, with “and” before the final funder. Such as:
This work was supported by the Medical Research Council [grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]; the National Science Fund [grant number zzzz]; and the International Research Body [grant number xxxx].
Where the research is not funded by a specific project grant, but from other resources available to a university, college or other research institution, such as the block grant, the following statement should be used:
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
“Text Recycling” or “self-plagiarism” as it is sometimes called occurs when an author reuses passages of text from his/her own previously published work in a new submission. As Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) Family Medicine and Community Health is a member of CrossCheck’s plagiarism detection initiative, all instances of text recycling will be detected. When such instances are detected the COPE Guidelines on text recycling will be followed.
All manuscripts submitted to Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) should be original and not under consideration by another publication. Apart from this causing potential problems from an ethical and international copyright law perspective, the duplicate publication of original research is problematic in a medical context because it can result in inadvertent double-counting of data or inappropriate weighting of the results of a single study, which can distort the available evidence. In instances where substantial parts of the text in the submission may overlap, we ask our authors to be open and let us know of any concerns when they submit their manuscripts. Each issue will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis in accordance with ICMJE recommendations on overlapping publications.
In the event that Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) becomes aware of violations of publication ethics after the article has already been published, then the article may warrant retraction with or without the author’s explanation or approval. In any such event Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) will adhere to the COPE flowcharts when dealing with the suspected violations.
Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) is a member of CrossCheck’s plagiarism detection initiative and uses plagiarism detection software. If plagiarism is identified, the COPE guidelines on plagiarism will be followed.
Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) adheres to ICMJE’s Clinical Trials Registration Statement. All clinical trials published in the journal must be registered in a public trials registry at or before the onset of participant enrolment. Manuscripts should include the exact URL and unique identification number for the trial registration at the time of submission. This information will be published in the article and we ask that you include the URL and identification number on the title page of your manuscript.
For any clinical trials commencing prior to 2008, retrospective registration will be accepted. A list of recommended registries can be found on the ICMJE website. Results posted in the same clinical trials registry in which the primary registration resides will not be considered prior publication if they are presented in the form of a brief abstract (<500 words or less) or a table.
The prospective registration of systematic reviews is welcomed and we encourage all authors to register their systematic reviews in a suitable registry (such as PROSPERO). Please include the registration number in the last line of the manuscript abstract.
Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) requires all authors to follow the correct standards of reporting regarding biomedical research. Please refer to EQUATOR for guidelines for health research and MIBBI for guidelines and tools for bioscience reporting. Authors are strongly encouraged to use these guidelines as a checklist when writing their manuscripts.
Other available checklists include CONSORT for randomized controlled trials, PRISMA for systematic reviews, STROBE for observational studies, MOOSE for meta analyses of observational studies, STARD for diagnostic accuracy studies, RATS for qualitative studies, and CHEERS for economic evaluations.
Authors of systematic reviews must provide a link in the Methods section that shows all details of the search strategy. Refer to Cochrane Reviewers’ Handbook for examples of the presentation of search strategies.
Authors must use standardized gene nomenclature. The HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee details human gene symbols and names. Information on other species can be found at www.genenames.org/about/faq#otherspecies; the Human Genome Variation Society provides guidelines on mutation nomenclature.
Authors are expected to comply with current field-specific standards regarding the preparation and recording of data (www.biosharing.org/standards/), while also maintaining strict patient confidentiality. In addition, when using unpublished data, authors must make contact with the owners of the data before starting their own research.
All human or animal studies should be approved or exempted by the appropriate institutional human and/or animal subject review committee, or if no formal ethics committee is available, are in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration as revised in 2013. This approval or exemption should be stated in the Methods section of the article.
When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether institutional and national standards for the care and use of laboratory animals are followed. Further guidance on animal research ethics is available from the International Association of Veterinary Editors’ Consensus Author Guidelines on Animal Ethics and Welfare.
All authors must declare that, where relevant, patient consent has been obtained (or the consent of their parent or guardian in the case of children under 16) and that all reasonable steps have been taken to maintain patient confidentiality, including illustrations, which should be anonymized as far as possible.
Any allegations of potential research or publication misconduct will be investigated in adherence with the COPE guidelines on how to deal with cases of suspected misconduct.
Editors who make final decisions about manuscripts will excuse themselves from editorial decisions if they have conflicts of interest or relationships that pose potential conflicts related to articles under consideration. All other editorial staff members who participate in editorial decisions are obliged to provide editors with a current description of their financial interests or other conflicts (as they might relate to editorial judgements) and excuse themselves from any decisions in which a conflict of interest exists. Editorial staff will not use information gained through working with manuscripts for private gain. Editors will publish regular disclosure statements about potential conflicts of interests related to the commitments of journal staff. Guest editors will follow these same procedures.
Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) adheres to COPE guidelines regarding appeals to editorial decisions and complaints. All authors have the right to appeal rejection of their manuscript. Authors can appeal directly by contacting the editorial office who will provide details of the journal’s complaints procedure.
All complaints can be made directly to the editorial office. They will be happy to outline the complaint procedure in full.