The journal Liječnički vjesnik and its publisher, the Croatian Medical Association, adhere to the Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and the Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE; https://publications.org/). The journal Reumatizam and the Croatian Society for Rheumatology also follow the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME; http://www.icmje.org/) and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME; https://wame.org/).
Fairness and editorial independence
Editors should judge the submitted manuscripts solely on the basis of their academic merit (importance, originality, validity of the study, clarity), and on the relevance of a manuscript to the remit of the journal, without bias on the basis of the author’s race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, citizenship, religious or political beliefs, or institutional affiliation. The decision to edit and publish is not determined by government policy or the policy of any other agency outside the journal. The editor-in-chief has full authority over the entire editorial content of the journal and the timing of publication of that content.
Editors and editorial staff shall not share any information about a received manuscript with anyone except with the corresponding author, reviewers, potential reviewers, and other editorial advisers and the publisher.
Conflict of interest statement
The publisher and editorial board members shall not use unpublished information from the submitted manuscript in their own research without the author’s explicit written permission. Privileged information or ideas obtained by editors in working with a manuscript shall be kept confidential and shall not be used for private gain. Editors should recuse themselves from considering manuscripts in which they have a conflict of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or any other relationship/connection with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected with the paper, and should ask another member of the editorial board to handle such a manuscript.
Editors guarantee that all submitted manuscripts considered for publishing are peer-reviewed by a minimum of two reviewers, experts in the scientific topic addressed in the manuscript. The editor-in-chief is responsible for decisions about which of the submitted manuscripts is to be published, based on the validity of the work, its importance to researchers and readers, the reviewers’ comments, including legal requirements currently in force regarding libel, copyright infringement and plagiarism. The editor-in-chief may consult with other journal editors or reviewers in making publication decisions.
Involvement and cooperation in investigation
Editors (in conjunction with the publisher and/or the society) should take appropriate measures if ethical concern arises about a submitted manuscript or a published article. Every reported act of unethical publishing behaviour shall be looked into, even if it is discovered years after publication. Editors follow the COPE flowcharts when dealing with cases of suspected misconduct. If the investigation proves such ethical concern to be founded, the journal will publish a correction, a retraction, an expression of concern, or other notification as may be relevant.
Contribution to editorial decisions
Peer review helps editors in making editorial decisions and, through editorial communications with authors, may assist authors in improving their manuscripts. Peer review is an essential part of formal scholarly communication and lies at the heart of scientific endeavour. Every scientist who wishes to contribute to the scientific process has an obligation to do a fair share of reviewing.
Any reviewer who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript submitted for review, or knows that a prompt review will be impossible, should notify the editor at the earliest opportunity, and decline the invitation to review, so that alternative reviewers can be contacted.
Any manuscript received for review is a confidential document and must be treated as such; it must not be shown to or discussed with others, without the explicit permission of the editor-in-chief (who will only grant permission in exceptional and specific circumstances). This applies also to invited reviewers who decline the invitation to review.
Standards of objectivity
Reviews should be conducted objectively, and observations formulated clearly with supporting arguments so that authors can use them for improving the manuscript. Personal criticism of authors is inappropriate.
Acknowledgement of sources
Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement which is an observation, derivation or argument that has been reported and published should be accompanied by relevant citation. A reviewer should also call to the editor-in-chief’s attention any potential similarity or overlap between the manuscript submitted for review and any other paper (published or unpublished), of which he/she has personal knowledge.
Disclosure of conflicts of interest
Any invited reviewer who has a conflict of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or any other relationship or connection with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected with the manuscript and the work described therein should immediately declare such interest by notifying the editors, and decline the invitation to review, so that alternative reviewers can be contacted.
Reviewers may not use the unpublished material contained in the submitted manuscript in their own work without written permission from the author. Privileged information or ideas obtained through a peer review shall be kept confidential and shall not be used for the reviewer’s private gain.
This applies also to invited reviewers who have declined the invitation to review.
Reviewers are encouraged to register with Publons, an Internet portal and a free service, to track, verify and showcase peer reviews and editorial contributions in academic journals (https://publons.com).
Authors of original research should present an accurate account of the work performed and the results, followed by an objective discussion of the significance of the work. The manuscript should contain sufficient detail and references to permit others to replicate the work. Reviewed articles should be accurate, objective and comprehensive, while editorial ‘opinion’ and review articles should be clearly identified as such. Fraudulent or knowingly inaccurate statements constitute unethical behaviour and are unacceptable.
Data access and retention
Authors may be asked to provide the raw data of their study together with the manuscript for editorial review, and should be prepared to make the data publicly available if practicable. In any event, authors should ensure the accessibility of such data to other competent professionals for at least ten years after publication (preferably via an institutional or subject-based data repository or other data centre), provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected, and that legal rights concerning proprietary data do not preclude their release.
Originality and plagiarism
Authors should ensure that they have written and submitted only entirely original work, and if they have used the work and/or words of others, that this has been appropriately cited. Publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the work reported in the manuscript should also be cited. Plagiarism takes many forms, from “passing off” another’s paper as the author’s own, to copying or paraphrasing substantial parts of another’s paper (without attribution), to claiming results from research conducted by others. Plagiarism in all its forms constitutes unethical publishing behaviour and is unacceptable.
Multiple, duplicate, redundant or concurrent submission/publication
Papers describing essentially the same research should not be published in more than one journal or primary publication. Hence, authors should not submit for consideration a manuscript that has already been published in another journal. Submission of a manuscript concurrently to more than one journal constitutes unethical publishing behaviour and is unacceptable.
The publication of some kinds of articles (such as clinical guidelines, translations) in more than one journal is sometimes justifiable, provided that certain conditions are met. The authors and editors of the journals concerned must agree to the secondary publication, which must reflect the same data and interpretation of the primary document. Reference to the primary document must be made in the secondary publication.
Authorship of the manuscript
Only persons who meet the criteria for authorship should be listed as authors in the manuscript, as they must be able to take public responsibility for the content: they have made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or to the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; they have drafted the work or revised it critically for important intellectual content; they have given final approval of the version to be published; and they agree to 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 persons who have made substantial contributions to the work reported in the manuscript (such as technical help, writing and editing assistance, general support), but who do not meet the criteria for authorship must not be listed as authors, but should be acknowledged in the “Acknowledgements” section after their written permission has been obtained. The corresponding author should ensure that all appropriate co-authors (according to the above definition) and no inappropriate co-authors are included in the authors’ list, and verify that all co-authors have seen and approved the final version of the manuscript and have agreed to its submission for publication.
Disclosure and conflicts of interest
The authors should, at the earliest stage possible (generally by submitting a disclosure form at the time of submission and including a statement in the manuscript), disclose any conflicts of interest that might be construed to influence the results or their interpretation in the manuscript. Examples of potential conflicts of interest that should be disclosed include financial ones, such as honoraria, educational grants or other funding, participation as keynote speakers, membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest, and paid expert opinions or patent-licensing arrangements, as well as non-financial ones, such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge of or belief in the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript. All sources of financial support for the work should be disclosed (including the grant number or other reference number, if any)
Acknowledgement of sources
Authors should ensure that they have properly acknowledged the work of others, and should also cite publications that have been influential in determining the nature of the reported work. Information obtained privately (from conversation, correspondence or discussions with third parties) must not be used or reported without explicit, written permission from such sources. Authors should not use information obtained in the course of providing confidential services, such as court documents or grant applications, unless they have obtained the explicit written permission of the author(s) of the work involved in these services.
Hazards and human or animal subjects
If the work involves chemicals, procedures or equipment that have any unusual hazards inherent in their use, the authors must clearly identify these in the manuscript. If the work involves the use of animals or human participants, the authors should ensure that all procedures were performed in compliance with relevant legislation and institutional guidelines, and that the appropriate institutional committee(s) has/have approved them; the manuscript should contain a statement to this effect. Authors should also include a statement in the manuscript that informed consent was obtained for experiments involving human participants. The privacy rights of human participants must always be observed.
Authors are obliged to participate in the peer review process and cooperate fully by responding promptly to editors’ requests for raw data, clarifications, proof of ethics approval, patient consents and copyright permissions. In the case of a first decision of “revisions necessary”, authors should respond to the reviewers’ comments systematically, point by point, and in a timely manner, revising and re-submitting the manuscript to the journal by the deadline given.
Fundamental errors in published works
When authors discover significant errors or inaccuracies in their own published work, it is their obligation to promptly notify the journal’s editors or publisher, and cooperate with them either to correct the paper in the form of an erratum or to retract the paper. If the editor or publisher learns from a third party that a published work contains a significant error or inaccuracy, then it is the authors’ obligation to promptly correct or retract the paper, or provide evidence to the journal editors of the correctness of the paper. For guidelines on retracting or correcting articles, please see: https://lijecnicki-vjesnik.hlz.hr.
Handling of unethical publishing behaviour
In cases of alleged or proven scientific misconduct, fraudulent publication or plagiarism, the publisher, in close collaboration with the editors, will take all appropriate measures to clarify the situation and to amend the article in question. This includes the prompt publication of an erratum, clarification or, in the most severe case, the retraction of the affected article. The publisher, together with the editors, shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, and under no circumstances encourage such misconduct or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place.
Access to journal content
The publisher is committed to enable the permanent availability and preservation of scholarly research and ensures accessibility by partnering with organizations and maintaining its own digital archive. For details, please see: https://lijecnicki-vjesnik.hlz.hr.