Ethical Issues

Please see the ethical issues provided below

Epidemiology and Health System Journal (Epidemiol. health system j., EHSJ, eISSN: 2980-7891, https://ehsj.skums.ac.ir) expects the highest ethical standards from its authors, reviewers, and editors when conducting research, submitting papers, and throughout the peer-review process.

EHSJ adheres to the policies of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommendations. Thus the EHSJ expects all authors, reviewers, and editors to consider COPEICMJE, and Equator Network’s reporting guidelines in scientific writing.

Human and Animal Ethics

Authors who report experimental studies on human subjects must include an ethical approval statement on the Title Page indicating the following things: (a) taking informed consent from all patients enrolled in the study and (b) conforming the study protocol to the ethical guidelines of the 1975 Declaration of Helsinki as reflected in a priori approval by the institution's human research committee. To protect the safety of individuals participating in the study, an institutional review board (IRB) or ethics review committee must approve any study with human participants. All criteria highlighted in the "Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals" in animal experimentation studies should be addressed.

Patient Consent

Participants’ rights must be strictly observed in scientific publications. Before publication, there needs to be a patient’s consent for any manuscript containing personal content on an identifiable living individual. Thus all participants must sign a consent form after being informed of the study’s protocol. Before signing the consent form, all procedures and associated potential harms must be clearly explained to all participants, and they must enter the study voluntarily.

If consent cannot be procured for any reason, the potentially identifying information must be satisfactorily anonymized. Anonymization must be done so that neither the individual involved nor others can identify the individual.

In case the patient is dead, the authors must proceed to obtain permission from his/her relatives. However, if it is not possible, the journal will balance the possibility of identification, the worthwhileness of the case, and the possibility of an unlawful action throughout the making of a decision to publish the manuscript.

Images—such as ultrasound images, x-rays, laparoscopic images, pathology slides, or images of undistinctive body parts—can appear in the publication without the participant’s consent if they are anonymized by deleting all identifying signs and without accompanying them by text that may identify the participant.

Competing Interest Statement

In medical publications, a conflict of interest happens when an author has financial or other relationships influencing the author’s decisions, work, or manuscript. It may occur in various forms, such as financial ties, academic commitments, personal relationships, political or religious beliefs, and institutional affiliations. In managing the conflict of interest, the EHSJ abides by the policy statement of the WAME. All authors should declare their conflicts of interest, if any, during the manuscript submission. Additionally, reviewers and editors are requested to announce their conflicts of interest when they agree to take a manuscript for reviewing and handling, respectively. Reviewers and Editors with any conflicts of interest will be excepted from the manuscript process. All authors must declare all competing interests on their title page. Further information can be found at the following links:


https://publicationethics.org/competinginterests and the World Association of Medical



Withdrawal, Corrections, and Retractions Policies

Withdrawal Policy for Authors

As a COPE follower, the EHSJ conforms to "Core Practices”.


By withdrawal, the manuscript is removed from the review process and returned to the author’s dashboard. Generally, it is not advisable to withdraw an article because the action wastes time and energy of the publisher.

Withdrawal Steps

  • Pre-Review: The period between submission of a manuscript and sending it for review;
  • Peer-Review: Finalization of submission of a manuscript and inclusion of it in the review process;
  • Final Decision: The period between the acceptance of an article and sending it for publication if it finally fulfills the standards of the journal;
  • Pre-Publication: The publication of a manuscript as an “ahead of print (In Press)” article without volume/issue/page number, and
  • Post-Publication: The publication of a manuscript in a volume/issue with page numbers.


  • Pre-Review: Withdrawing a manuscript without giving any reasons;
  • Peer-Review, Final Decision, and Pre-Publication: Withdrawal is possible if the authors provide compelling reasons, and
  • Post-Publication: Withdrawal is allowed under no circumstances.

After an article is withdrawn, the publisher will remove its content (HTML and PDF) and replace it with an HTML page reading that the article has been withdrawn per the Publisher’s policies.


The EHSJ publishes a correction if a mistake can endanger the results of a study or entails incorrect information about a study’s metadata (such as authors’ names, affiliations, and article’s title) but does not adversely affect the findings’ validity. A note related to the correction will appear on the original article's page.

Redundant Publication

Duplicate or redundant submission occurs when the same manuscript (or the same data) is submitted to more than one journal. In this case, the journal complies with the COPE guidelines.

Note: ICMJE recommends that translations be accepted for publication but, based on the journal’s policy, as an online supplementary file, yet reference must be made to the article published in the original language. Editors may publish a correction instead of retracting the translated work as duplicates.


As per COPE's Retraction Guidelines, the journal will consider the retraction of an article provided that: 

  • The results are evidently unreliable due to blatant errors (e.g., miscalculation or experimental error, image manipulation, and data fabrication);
  • Plagiarism;
  • Previous publication of the findings without permission for reproduction, referring to previous sources, or explanation (e.g., redundant publication);
  • Copyright-related or other legal infringements;
  • Reporting unethical study;
  • Being published only based on a biased or compromised peer review; and
  • Lack of the author(s)’s disclosure of conflict of interest.

Retraction of a paper is possible. The editors make the final decision in this regard. If none of the authors agree with publishing a retraction, the editor/s could ask for the retraction from the investigating institution, or the editor may request a retraction as representative of the journal. In any case, the editor must inform the author(s) or institution affiliated with the author(s) of a retraction publication.

Note: After a retraction publication, the HTML version of the article will be deleted from the journal’s site. Besides this, the article’s PDF file remains unchanged, but a retracted watermark appears on all pages of the PDF, and a link is made to the original article.


EHSJ is supported by the iThenticate software, a plagiarism detector that examines the originality of the manuscript’s content submitted before publishing. If plagiarism is detected, flowcharts and workflows in COPE will be followed.

Some examples of plagiarism are as follows:

  • Copied text;
  • A used piece of content from another reference in a slightly changed language;
  • Copied images, materials, ideas, or data from other sources; and
  • Copied text from your own previously published documents.

Plagiarism Policies

  • If plagiarism is detected throughout peer review, the manuscript may be rejected.

If plagiarism is detected after the publication of the manuscript, a correction may be asked for, or the manuscript will be retracted as per COPE guidelines.

The ethical issues addressed in all journals published by SKUMS are also read per COPE’s Core Practices as follows:

  1. Allegations of misconduct (taking allegations of misconduct pre-publication and post-publication seriously);
  2. Authorship and contributorship (following clear policies for requirements for authorship and contributorship as well as processes for managing potential disputes);
  3. Complaints and appeals (having a clearly described process for handling complaints against the journal, its staff, editorial board, or publisher);
  4. Conflicts of interest / Competing interests (having clear definitions of conflicts of interest and processes for handling conflicts of interest of authors, reviewers, and editors, whether identified before or after publication);
  5. Data and reproducibility (including policies on data availability and encouraging the use of reporting guidelines and registration of clinical trials and other study designs according to standard practice in their discipline);
  6. Ethical oversight (including, but not limited to, policies on consent to publication, publication on vulnerable populations, ethical conduct of research using animals and human subjects, and handling confidential data and ethical business/marketing practices);
  7. Intellectual property (describing clearly all policies on intellectual property, including copyright and publishing licenses, the obviousness of any costs associated with publishing to authors and readers, clarity of policies on what counts as prepublication that will preclude consideration, as well as specifying what constitutes plagiarism and redundant/overlapping publication);
  8. Journal management (the necessity of a well-described and implemented infrastructure, including the business model, policies, processes, and software for the efficient running of an editorially independent journal, as well as the efficient management and training of editorial boards and editorial and publishing staff);
  9. Peer review processes (describing and managing transparently all peer review processes and providing training for editors and reviewers, and having policies on diverse aspects of peer review, especially concerning the adoption of appropriate models of review and processes for handling conflicts of interest, appeals, and disputes that may arise in peer review);
  10. Post-publication discussions and corrections (allowing debate post-publication either on sites, through letters to the editor, or on an external moderated site, such as PubPeer, and having mechanisms for correcting, revising, or retracting articles after publication).

Open Access and Copyright

EHSJ is among the Platinum Open Access Journals disseminated based on the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which authorizes anyone to copy, remix, redistribute, adapt, and transmit the published articles in any medium or format under its terms and conditions provided that the sources are appropriately cited. At submitting an article, authors must declare their agreement to adhere to the open-access Creative Commons License, based on which they reserve ownership of their articles' copyright. The license is aimed to ensure that the article will be accessible and can be indexed in as many scientific archives as possible. The PDF files and abstracts of all articles published in the journal are accessible free of charge to everyone immediately after publication.

Ethical Approval

This section should give sufficient details so that readers can reproduce the procedure. The manufacturing details of the instruments used (e.g., company’s name, city, country) and their catalog number, if applicable, should also be provided. Procedures described in previous publications should be referred to, and only modifications should be explained. Potential risks that may be faced throughout the experiments should be stated. Any risks related to procedures, chemicals, or instruments should be clarified. If it is necessary to use live animals or humans, the author must clearly state that all experiments were conducted as per respective regulations and institutional instructions and also mention the institutional committee(s) that approved the study protocol. It is definitely essential that the author(s) mention the ethics code/approval, whether national or international, in this section. It should also be stated that human subjects provided informed consent for experimentation with them.

The institutional ethics code and code of the Iranian Registry Clinical Trial (IRCT) or International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) should be written in the “Ethical approval” section, if applicable.

Ethical Policies

EHSJ expects the highest ethical standards from its authors, reviewers, and editors when conducting research, submitting papers, and throughout the peer-review process.

EHSJ adheres to the policies of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)World Association of Medical Editors (WAME)and International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommendations. Thus the EHSJ expects all authors, reviewers, and editors to consider COPE, ICMJE, and Equator Network reporting guidelines in scientific writing.


Reza Imani   

Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases, Department of Infectious Diseases, Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran. 

 Email: eimani@skums.ac.ir



Soleiman Kheiri  

Professor of Biostatistics, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Health, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran. 

 Email: kheiri@skums.ac.ir

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