When submitting research involving human subjects, human material or human data, authors should ensure that it has been performed in accordance with high ethical standards, and has been approved by an appropriate Ethics Review Committee. Manuscripts of such research should include a statement on ‘Ethics approval’ under ‘Author Declarations’ detailing the name of the Ethics Review Committee that approved the study and where appropriate, the reference number.
If the study was granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, it should be mentioned in the manuscript along with the name of the Ethics Review Committee. Failure to do so will lead to such manuscripts not being considered for peer review. Irrespective of the approval by an Ethics Review Committee, the manuscript may be rejected if the Editorial Board considers that the research has not been carried out based on ethical principles. In exceptional circumstances, the Editors may contact the Ethics Review Committee for clarifications.
Consent to participate
Informed consent to participate in the study should be obtained from all participants (or from parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 18 or from legal guardian in the case of mentally or physically incapacitated persons) in all research involving human subjects. A statement to this effect should appear in the manuscript on ‘Ethics approval’ under ‘Author Declarations’.
Research involving animals
When research involving animals is submitted, authors should ensure that it has been performed in accordance with institutional, national or international guidelines. A statement detailing compliance with relevant ethical standards and ethics approval (including the name of the Ethics Review Committee and the reference number) should be stated in the manuscript on ‘Ethics approval’ under ‘Author Declarations’.
If the study has been granted an exemption from requiring ethics approval, it should be mentioned in the manuscript along with the name of the Ethics Review Committee. The Editorial Board may reject a manuscript on account of animal welfare issues or conducting research inconsistent with commonly accepted norms of animal research.
Consent for publication
If the manuscript includes details or images relating to individual participants, written informed consent for publication of such images should be obtained from the participants (or from parent or legal guardian in the case of children under 18 or from legal guardian in the case of mentally or physically incapacitated persons). A statement to this effect should appear in the manuscript on ‘Ethics approval’ under ‘Author Declarations’. If the participant has died, consent for publication should be sought from his/her next of kin.
If requested, the documentation on written informed consent should be made available to the Editor and will be treated confidentially. Where images are entirely unidentifiable and no details on individuals are reported in the manuscript, consent for publication of images is not required.
Registration of trials and systematic reviews
All clinical trials that are reported in submitted manuscripts are required to be registered in the Sri Lanka Clinical Trials Registry or any other internationally or regionally accepted clinical trials registry. The trial registration number and the date of registration should be included at the end of the manuscript abstract.
Standards of reporting
When preparing the manuscript, authors are strongly recommended to refer to the minimum reporting guidelines for health research, in order to ensue complete and transparent reporting of biomedical research. Given below are some of the checklists used for reporting different study designs:
- Randomized controlled trials (CONSORT) and protocols (SPIRIT)
- Systematic reviews and meta-analyses* (PRISMA) and protocols (PRISMA-P)
- Observational studies (STROBE)
- Case reports (CARE)
- Qualitative research (COREQ)
- Diagnostic/prognostic studies (STARD and TRIPOD)
- Economic evaluations (CHEERS)
- Pre-clinical animal studies (ARRIVE)
Each author enlisted in the manuscript should declare both financial and non-financial competing interests in relation to the work given in the manuscript. The manuscript should include a statement on ‘Competing interests’ under ‘Author Declarations’. If none of the authors has any competing interests, the statement should read as “The author(s) declare(s) that they have (he/she has) no competing interests”.
Individual contribution of each author should be stated in the manuscript on ‘Author contributions’ under ‘Author Declarations’ to give appropriate credit to each.
According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines, one is qualified as an ‘author’ if he/she has:
- made substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;
- been involved in drafting the manuscript or revising it critically for important intellectual content;
- given final approval of the version to be published. Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content; and
- agreed 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.
Please note that funding of the research or acquisition of funds, collection of data or general supervision of the research alone, does not justify for authorship.
Any contributor who does not meet the criteria for authorship but deserves an acknowledgement can be listed in the manuscript on ‘Acknowledgement’ under ‘Author Declarations’.
Any manuscript submitted to the SLDA should be original. Manuscripts submitted for publication in SLDA should not be submitted for publication elsewhere. Also, the entire manuscript or substantial part of it should not have been published before in any journal or in other citable form, or not under review by another journal at the time of submission.
If there is any duplication, the authors should declare this information when the manuscript is submitted. If requested, work cited as ‘in press’ or ‘unpublished’ should be made available if the Editors consider these as relevant to the evaluation of the submitted manuscript.
Published abstracts/ posters
Oral and poster presentations published as proceedings of academic meetings do not preclude consideration for peer review of a full manuscript, provided that the full manuscript represents a formal advance to the citable abstract or poster.
Replication of text from their own previous publications is considered as text recycling. If such duplication is necessary or unavoidable, this should be transparently reported in accordance with copyright requirements of previous publications. In addition, at the time of manuscript submission, the authors should declare this to the Editor.
The SLDA follows a double-blind peer review process. For more information, visit: About SLDA.
If the Editor is in the author list of the manuscript or has any other competing interest regarding the particular manuscript, another member of the Editorial Board will be assigned to assume responsibility to follow the peer review process.
Authors may request exclusion of individuals as peer reviewers, but they should explain the reasons for exclusion in their cover letter on submission of the manuscript.
All manuscripts submitted to the SLDA will be treated confidential by the Editorial Board and reviewers. Following the initial review, if the Editorial Board is of the opinion that a better review could be undertaken by an expert in the relevant field locally or internationally, it will be forwarded to such a person to be reviewed independently or jointly with the first reviewer.
Allegations of potential misconduct are treated seriously. In cases of suspected misconduct in research or publication, it may be necessary to contact and share manuscripts and other details with third parties, for example, Ethics Review Committee(s) and head(s) of the institution(s) to which author(s) are affiliated. In the case of research misconduct being proven retrospectively (i.e. post-publication), articles may be retracted.
If manipulation is suspected on data or images submitted, the author may be asked to submit the original data sets or the original image for comparison. If the author(s) fail to disprove any such manipulation, Editorial Board may decide to reject the manuscript.
The SLDA treats plagiarism seriously and uses plagiarism detection software to detect it. If it is detected, COPE guidelines on plagiarism will be followed: (http://publicationethics.org/files/u2/02A_Plagiarism_Submitted.pdf)