Policies and Guidelines
Scientific Inquiryand Review (SIR) is an open access peer-reviewed journal published on a quarterly basis. It provides a modern and multidisciplinary platform for free publications providing knowledge about the research updates in various fields of science.
- Ethical Policy
- Peer Review Policy
- Publication Charge Policy
- Publication Malpractice Statement
- Publishing Policy
- Accessibility Policy and Open Access Statement
- Authorship Policy
- Corrections and Retraction Policy
- Digital Archiving Policy
- Confidentiality Policy
- Conflict of Interests Policy
- Anti-plagiarism and Anti-predatory Procedures
Editors and Referees
Our editors and referees are required to declare any conflicts of interest related to the manuscript they are requested to evaluate. To ensure transparent double-blind peer-review, the identities of authors are not disclosed to referees, and vice versa. Manuscripts submission by the editor/associate editor or by any member of the editorial board is not allowed as per HEC policy guidelines for the research journals.
Authors are expected to adopt the general ethical standards in their research and writing, ensuring that:
- The submitted work or any of its essential content has not been previously published in a refereed journal and is not being considered for publication elsewhere. To ensure this, the editors screen out the submissions using the anti-plagiarism software, i.e. Turnitin.com.
- Published relevant material/work referred by the authors in their research must be properly cited as per Vancouver style formatting guidelines.
- Mentioning and acknowledging the sources of funding and significant help is the ethical obligation of the authors. It must be explicitly mentioned under the heading of ‘Compliance with the Ethical Standards’ at the end of the manuscript.
- Obtaining the consents from the parties with vested interests is the ethical responsibility of the authors.
If a published paper or its essential content is found to have been published before or if any other unethical conduct by the authors is verified, the journal will take one or more of the following actions:
- Publishing a notice
- Retracting the paper
- Preventing the corresponding author from publishing in UMT Journals
Reporting the impropriety to the corresponding author’s, co-authors, employer, head of department (HOD), funding body, and HEC.
For studies involving human or animal subjects, the authors must attach Biosafety and Bioethical approval from relevant statutory bodies. Moreover, the author(s) must include a statement declaring adherence to animal research reporting standards where applicable. The authors must ensure informed consent of human participants / subjects where applicable.
SIR publishes corrections only when significant errors arise from author error (Corrigenda) or editorial mistakes (Errata). If there is a serious complaint about a journal’s own procedures, the Editor-in-Chief will confer with the corresponding author and any relevant members of the editorial board in order to resolve the problem. The advisory board of SIR will be consulted if further guidance is required, and if the above procedures prove unacceptable, the matter will be referred for outside adjudication as per COPE guidelines.
All submitted manuscripts are reviewed through 'double-blind' peer review process that means the identities of the authors are kept confidential from the reviewers, and vice versa.
To make this possible, anonymized version of the manuscript are sent to referees. Submitted papers are first considered by the editor after submission. Papers that do not fall within the scope of the journal are 'desk-rejected'. In addition, papers that fail to meet a minimum threshold for quality and originality are also rejected without being sent out to the reviewers.
Papers passing through this initial editorial scrutiny are then typically sent out to minimum two referees (one national and one international). ". If one or more of these turn down the invitation to provide a review, other referees will subsequently be appointed. Normally, at least two authoritative reviews are needed before the respective editor can make a decision as to whether to accept, reject, or ask for a 'revise and resubmit' of the submitted paper.
Articles published in SIR are Open Access with no Article Processing Charges (APC). Authors do not pay APC and Article Publication Fee (APF) to cover the costs of peer-review, language editing, production of articles in PDF, and dissemination of published papers in various venues, in addition to other publishing functions.
All the expenses are borne by its publisher, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. There are no charges for rejected articles, no submission charges, and no surcharges based on the length of an article, figures or supplementary data. All the items (Manuscripts, Editorials, Teaching Modules, Corrections, Addendums, Retractions, Comments, etc.) are published free of charge.
SIR takes issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of ethical practices in publication very seriously. The rights of the authors are protected while investigating claims of plagiarism or any misuse of the published articles. In case an article is found to have plagiarized work or having third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, the journal reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article; taking up the matter with the concern bodies or taking appropriate legal action.
The author(s) are required to disclose conflict of interest, if any, and that they must ensure attribution / acknowledgement / permission of the prior work.
SIR follows the ethical guidelines for publication outlined by the COPE as well as the Higher Education Commission (HEC)of Pakistan. The authors, reviewers, and editors are expected to adhere strictly to the publication ethics set forth as under:
StatementWe are committed to continuously enhance the accessibility of our published database to maximize the readability without any interruption. We process all our articles through the Open Journal System (OJS) that automatically generates the files in ‘html’ and converts those that are not in the desired format, making our files easily accessible on the web to all kinds of users.
Open Access Statement
This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author.
All articles are available on the internet to all users immediately upon publication. Non-commercial and commercial use and distribution in any medium is permitted, provided the author and the journal are properly credited.
a. Authorship Credit
Authorship credits may only be given to those who have made a substantial contribution in constructing the article.
The corresponding author of the article holds the responsibility to give credits to the co-authors that are significantly involved in the work. Also, the corresponding author should make sure that all the co-authors have approved to the final submission and ready-to-publish version of the article.
Others who have participated in certain substantive aspects of the research should be acknowledged for their contribution in an "Acknowledgement" section.
b. Changes in Authorship
The authors are fully responsible to provide the names of the authors upon submitting the article to the journal. Once the article is accepted for publication, any addition, deletion or rearrangement of the authors’ names will not be entertained unless approved by the journal’s editor. To request such a change, the corresponding author must provide the journal’s editor with: (a) the reason for the change in author list and (b) written confirmation (e-mail, letter) from all authors that they agree with the addition, removal or rearrangement, along with the confirmation from the author being added or removed. Only in exceptional circumstances and with considerable reason/s will the editor may consider the addition, deletion or rearrangement of authors after the manuscript has been accepted. While the editor considers the request, the processing of the manuscript for publication will be put on hold. If the manuscript has already been published in an online issue, any requests may not be entertained by the editor.
c. Order of Authors
It the responsibility of the authors to have a mutual agreement on the order of the authors before submitting the article to the journal. Any such disagreements must be ruled out before the submission.
d. Guest Authorship
The “guest” author makes no significant contributions to the study, hence, do not qualify for authorship. The UMT journals do not allow the appearance of guest authorship on the articles.
e. Anonymous Authorship
Because authorship should be transparent and requires public accountability, it is not appropriate to use pseudonyms or to publish scientific reports anonymously. In extremely rare cases, when the author can make a credible claim that attaching his or her name to the document could cause serious hardship (e.g., threat to personal safety or loss of employment), a journal editor may decide to publish anonymous content.
In the Acknowledgments section, authors may wish to include the names and contributions of those whose involvement in a study did not qualify them for authorship (because of the journal policy) but has contributed to the article in some way.
"Ghost" and/or "Guest" author phenomenon has been common in the traditional listing of research papers. This has been raising inappropriate authorship practice in which some individuals who did not have an actual input in the experiment. For this, the journal highly recommends that only authors who have made a significant scientific contribution to the research in the manuscript shall be listed individually in the submitted manuscript (including students and lab technicians).
h. Duplicate Submission
Articles that are found to have been published elsewhere, or are under consideration for publishing elsewhere, will be considered as a "duplicated" material. In case the author(s) have used their own previously published work (or work that is currently under review), they are asked to cite the previous work and indicate how their submitted manuscript offers novel contributions and adds value differently (from the previous work).
i. Citation Manipulation
Submitted manuscripts that are found to include citations in order to increase the number of citations to a given author’s work, or to articles published in a particular journal, will be considered as a "citation manipulation"-containing material.
Authors who discover errors in articles they have published should have the corresponding author contact the journal’s editorial office with a detailed description of the correction that is needed. Corrigenda (corrections of author’s errors) and errata (corrections of publisher’s errors) will be published at no charge to the authors. Requests for corrections that affect the interpretation or conclusions of a published article will be reviewed by the editors.
An article may be retracted when the integrity of the published work is substantially undermined owing to errors in the conduct, analysis and/or reporting of the study. Violation of publication or research ethics may also result in a study’s retraction. The original article is marked as retracted but a PDF version remains available to readers, and the retraction statement is bi-directionally linked to the original published paper. Retraction statements will typically include a statement of assent or dissent from the authors.
In exceptional circumstances, the editorial office reserves the right to remove an article from the journal’s online platforms. Such action may be taken when (i) the editorial office has been advised that content is defamatory, infringes a third party’s intellectual property right, right to privacy, or other legal right, or is otherwise unlawful; (ii) a court or government order has been issued, or is likely to be issued, requiring removal of such content; (iii) content, if acted upon, would pose an immediate and serious risk to health. Removal may be temporary or permanent. Bibliographic metadata (e.g. title and authors) will be retained, and will be accompanied by a statement explaining why the content has been removed.
The journal is fully committed to store the published material on digital archives to ensure that the articles will always be available to readers, even in the event of a publication being lost or discontinued. The best way to ensure that journal articles will always be accessible to readers, is to deposit all published articles into a long-term digital preservation service or archive.
All UMT journals are digitally archived on PN Preservation Networks (CLOCKS) on regular basis. The journal has further ensured that the metadata of all of its open access journals is compatible to all the well-known repository services and their digital crawlers may regularly collect it for record and
preservation. Besides, the journal also assigns Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) to all its issues and the contents to facilitate reaching their permanent links on the internet.
Moreover, the journal management system automatically self-archives the data on UMT servers regularly.
The editors and the publication handling/managing staff keeps all information about a submitted manuscript confidential and shares it only with those involved in the evaluation, review, and publication processes as per the journal’s publication policy. The journal is operating through an automated journal management system to ensure transparent double-blind peer review process as well as confidentiality of the information. The Editors should consider adding a confidentiality notice to all correspondence, including reviewer forms, to serve as a reminder to authors, editors, and reviewers.
A Declaration of Conflicting Interests policy refers to a formal policy a journal may have to require a conflict of interest statement or conflict of interest disclosure from a submitting or publishing author.
The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) states in its Guidelines on Good Publication Practice (2003) that: “Conflicts of interest arise when authors, reviewers, or editors have interests that are not fully apparent and that may influence their judgments on what is published. They have been described as those which, when revealed later, would make a reasonable reader feel misled or deceived.”
Many scholars, researchers and professionals may have potential conflicts of interest that could have an effect on, or could be seen to have an effect on their research. As a result, the journal requires a formal declaration of conflicting interests enabling a statement to be carried within the paginated published article.
A potential conflict of interest may arise from relationships, allegiances or hostilities to particular groups, organizations or interests, which may influence one’s judgments or actions excessively. The issue is particularly sensitive when such interests are private and/or may result in personal gain.
All manuscripts submitted to the journal are evaluated fairly and are not necessarily rejected when any competing interests are declared.
Examples of conflicts of interest might include the following, although it is not an exhaustive list:
- Having received fees for consulting.
- Having received research funding.
- Having been employed by a related company.
- Holding stocks or shares in a company which might be affected by the publication of your paper.
- Having received funds reimbursing you for attending a related symposia, or talk.
If there are other interests which the reasonable reader might feel has affected your research you may also wish to declare them. (Please note that it is not expected that details of financial arrangements be disclosed when a competing interest is declared.)
Conflict of interests
Upon identification of any conflict of interest, the editors may require more information from the author that may include the following:
- Acknowledgement of financial support/sponsorship in their contribution.
- Any commercial or financial involvements that might present an appearance of a conflict of interest related to the contribution are disclosed in a covering letter accompanying the contribution and all such potential conflicts of interest will be discussed with the editor as to whether disclosure of this information with the published contribution is to be made in the journal.
- If they have signed an agreement with any sponsor of the research reported in the contribution that prevents you from publishing both positive and negative results or that forbids you from publishing this research without a prior approval of the sponsor.
- If they have checked the manuscript submission guidelines to ensure whether the journal requires a Declaration of Conflicting Interests and have complied with the requirements specified where such a policy exists.
Authors are required to fill and sign the Copyright and Author Consent Form upon submitting the manuscript.
Editor obligations regarding conflicting interests
The same obligations equally apply to the editors or guest editors writing an editorial for the journal. When you are submitting or publishing your article in a journal which requires you to make a Declaration of Conflicting Interests, please include such a declaration at the end of your manuscript after any Acknowledgements and prior to the Funding Acknowledgement, Notes (if relevant) and References, under the heading 'Declaration of Conflicting Interest'. If no conflict exists, please state that 'The Author(s) declare(s) that there is no conflict of interest'.
*Please note, a Conflict of Interest Statement will not appear in journals that do not require a declaration of conflicting interests. Where a declaration is required the disclosure information must be specific and include any financial relationship that all authors of the article has with any sponsoring organization and the for-profit interests the organization represents, and with any for-profit product discussed or implied in the text of the article.
We collect personal information to communicate with you, to collect feedback about services, to inform you about latest news and events related to the journal. We collect personal information such as name, email addresses, academic qualifications, professional affiliations, address, contact number, city, state and country of residence and information that user voluntarily provide through various forms given on the website. For browsing, viewing and downloading articles on this website user is not required to provide any personal information.
The journal’s website users may opt for not sharing personal information i.e. quit using the Website. Some services compulsorily require submitting personal information. For example: author name is required when submitting a manuscript. The journal never shares personal information of sit users collected on this website and retains personal information as long as it is relevant to our purpose or until you request to remove your information from your database. If any user wants to remove his/her personal information, he/she may contact at “Contact Us” page. The UMT journals may require no personal information which might include your gender, zip code, date of birth, education, occupation, financial information and interests. The journal uses your information to improve quality of products and services, to keep our users up-to-date. We may combine personal information with other information, when required.
It is the journal’s editorial policy to welcome the original work that is not under consideration for any other publication at the same time. All authors are obliged to be aware of the importance of presenting content that is based on their own research and expressed in their own words. Plagiarism is considered to be bad practice and unethical. As per the part of journal’s Copyrights Policy, originality guidelines are designed to assist authors in understanding acceptable and unacceptable practice. Our approach is specifically aimed at promoting and protecting authors' work.
The following types of plagiarism should be avoided:
Verbatim copying - Verbatim copying of more than 10% or 15% (or a significant passage or section of text) of another person's work without acknowledgement, references or the use of quotation marks.
Paraphrasing - Improper paraphrasing of other person's work is where more than one sentence within a paragraph or section of text has been changed or sentences have been rearranged without appropriate attribution. Significant improper paraphrasing (more than 10% of work) without appropriate attribution is treated as seriously as verbatim copying.
Re-using parts of a work without attribution - Re-use of elements of other person's work, for example, a figure, a table or a paragraph without acknowledgement, references or the use of quotation marks. It is incumbent on the author to obtain the necessary permission to reuse elements of another person's work from the copyright holder.
Self-plagiarism – It is required that all authors sign a copyright form that clearly states that their submitted work has not been published previously. If elements of a work have been previously published in another publication, including any UMT publication, the author is required to acknowledge the earlier work and indicate how the subsequent work differs and builds upon the research and conclusions contained in the previous work. Verbatim copying of author's own work and paraphrasing is not acceptable and we recommend that research should only be reused to support new conclusions.
We recommend that authors cite all previous stages of publication and presentation of their ideas that have culminated in the final work, including conference papers, workshop presentations and listserv communications. This will ensure that a complete record of all communication relating to the work is documented.
Republication of original work – Only original and innovative work is published in the journal with a small number of exceptions only. These exceptions include conference papers, archival papers that are republished in special issues and at the discretion of the editor. The original work is fully and correctly attributed and permission from the appropriate copyright holder obtained. Besides, it is the author’s obligation to mention any facts in this regard in the compliance with ethical standard statement at the end of the manuscript.
Attribution - References to other publications must be in Vancouver style. All references should be carefully checked for completeness, accuracy, and consistency. You should include all author names and initials and give any journal title in full.
Handling allegations of plagiarism – The journal seeks to uphold academic integrity and to protect authors' rights and to ensure this, the editors take all cases of plagiarism very seriously. The editors are also aware of the potential impact of an allegation of plagiarism can ruin a researcher's career. Therefore, they have procedures in place to deal with alleged cases of plagiarism. In order to take an unbiased approach, they investigate each case thoroughly, seeking clarification from all affected parties.
This journal is an academic publication and uses software such as Turnitin.com to get help when an alleged case of plagiarism is brought to the attention. If the editors are approached by a third party with
an allegation of plagiarism, they would always seek a response from the author(s)/contributors or copyright holder(s) before deciding on a course of action. Their decisions will be unbiased and objective as well not influenced by other parties.
The journal is not obliged to discuss individual cases of alleged plagiarism with third parties. We reserve the right not to proceed further with a case if the complainant presents a false name or affiliation or acts in an inappropriate or threatening manner towards the journal editors and staff.
If submitted manuscript or its significant part has been previously published, it is not generally acceptable for publication in the journal. However, for abstracts and posters presented at conferences, the authors are responsible to inform the editor and acknowledge the first source of publication. Articles that have been presented at a conference but not published by the conference organizers may also be considered. The author should confirm that they have not granted the conference organizers a license to the work; if the author retains all the rights in the work, the journal editor may consider the article for publication based on the fact that articles presented at a conference are unlikely to be the same or substantially the same version as that being accepted by the journal.
In all cases, the author should disclose any prior publication or distribution to the editor and ensure appropriate attribution to the prior distribution and/or publication of the material.