Ethical guidelines

Chapter 1. General provisions

Article 1. Purpose

1. The purpose of this ethical guideline is to prevent any misconduct related to the research and to protect research integrity by setting forth the ethics-related matters regarding the findings that will be published in "Biodesign", the official journal of the Korean Society for Structural Biology (KSSB).


Article 2. Fundamental principles and subjects

1. Fundamental principles of research ethics include research integrity related to the research conducted and the publication of the research outcome.
2. This guideline applies to all activities, both directly and indirectly, related to the publication of the research in Biodesign.


Chapter 2. Publication Ethics

Article 3. Human and animal rights

1. For experiments on human subjects, authors must identify in the Methods section the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and indicate whether the experimental procedures were in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975 as revised in 2000. Authors must provide information on the informed consent obtained by human subjects, too.
2. For experiments on animals, authors must indicate in the Methods section whether the institutional and national guidelines for laboratory animals and NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals were conformed. In addition, the manuscript must include detailed description of chemical treatment, the dosage and execution of experimental procedures.


Article 4. Definition of terms

1. Research frauds refer to falsifications, plagiarisms, dual publications, improper inclusion or exclusion of authors, etc, as seen in the proposals, performances, result reports, presentations, etc. of the research. Their details are as follows:
1) Forgery: Refers to the act of forging non-existent data or findings.
2) Falsification: Refers to the act of distorting research contents or results by fabricating, transforming, deleting or adding the data willfully.
3) Plagiarism: Refers to the act of representing others' work as one's own. Included is the cases of self-plagiarism of using identical ideas or data in subsequent publications.
4) Dual publications: Refers to publishing identical research contents in different academic journals twice or more.
5) Improper inclusion or exclusion of authors: Refers to not qualifying, without reasonable reason, a person who has contributed to research contents or results in scientific or technical terms for authorship, or to qualifying a person who has not contributed to them in scientific or technical terms for authorship.
6) Act of proposing, forcing or threatening another person to commit fraudulent acts.
7) Other acts that seriously out of line with the scope normally acceptable in academic research.
2. "The informant" refers to a person who recognizes and reports any research fraud to the Society.
3. "The examinee" refers to a person who is under investigation for research fraud according to the report of an informant or the cognizance of the Society or a person who has been found during an investigation to have potentially participated in research frauds. A reference or witness during examination shall not be called an examinee.
4. "Examination" refers to a procedure to determine whether the Society needs to examine the suspicion of research fraud officially and to verify whether the suspicion of research fraud is true or not.
5. "Judgement" refers to a procedure of making decision based on evaluation of evidences and informing the decision to an informant and/or examinee.


Article 5. Ethical requirements for editors

1. Editor's responsibilities and obligations: Editors shall be responsible for deciding whether to publish a contributed manuscript, ensure the truthfulness and fairness of judgment, and respect authors' integrity and independence as a scholar.
2. Fairness of reviewer selection: Editors shall entrust the judgment of the manuscript to objective and fair reviewers with expertise in the field. Reviewers with conflicts of interest shall be excluded
3. Confidentiality: Contents and authorship of all submitted manuscripts will be kept from public access until the final decision is made. In addition, identity of the editors and reviewers will not be released during or after the evaluation of a given manuscript.


Article 6. Ethical requirements for authors

1. Author's responsibilities: Each author shall precisely provide and be responsible for only the results of the research he or she has actually carried out. The corresponding author shall represent all authors in answering for data accuracy, evaluating exact contribution of each author, certifying approval of all authors for the submitted draft and handling all correspondences and questions.
2. Management of data and findings: Data shall be collected and recorded in reliable, valid and appropriate ways, kept for a certain period of time to be available if necessary.
3. Sequence of authors: Authors shall be arranged in order according to the extent of their contribution to research under mutual consent.
4. Prohibition of dual publications: No author may attempt at the multiple publication of his or her study (including that planned to publish or under examination). When wanting to publish his or her study using another one already published in another academic journal, he or she shall offer the information on the previous publication to the editors of Biodesign and shall follow the editor's judgment of whether the act is double publication.
5. Prohibition of plagiarism: Plagiarism of any kind is strictly prohibited.
6. Author's revision of manuscript: Authors shall accommodate opinions of editors and reviewers as much as possible, and when dissenting from the opinions, he or she shall offer the grounds and reasons to editors and reviewers


Article 7. Ethical requirements for reviewers

1. Reviewer's responsibilities and obligations: Within a period specified by the editors, reviewers shall carefully evaluate the manuscripts which editors have entrusted and inform review results to the editors. If a reviewer considers him- or herself to be unqualified for evaluation, he or she shall so inform editors immediately.
2. Fairness of revision: Each reviewer shall evaluate every manuscript objectively and fairly in accordance with strict standards in terms of the quality, significance and interpretation of study. He or she may not exclude any manuscript from publication without specifying sufficient ground.
3. Ethics of reviewer:
1) Reviewers shall respect the integrity and independence of authors and not use any expression that can be deemed insulting.
2) Reviewers may not entrust reviewing to any third party including members of their institute or laboratory.
3) Reviewers may not keep and utilize any part of the manuscript for personal uses.
4. Confidentiality: The review process will remain a secret. The reviewer may not use or disclose the contents of the manuscript without consent of the authors prior to publication. The reviewer shall not release the names of the editor and reviewer to authors or to a third party.


Chapter 3. Process and Regulations

Article 8. Responsible body of the investigation

1. In case of recognition of misconduct or reported by informant(s), the Institute in which the examinee conducted research fraud is responsible for the verification, and the president of the Institute must take appropriate action.
2. In case the Society recognizes misconduct or reported by informant(s), the issue must be transferred to the Institute for the internal investigation to proceed.
3. The Institute may request the Society to pursue investigation if the Institute is ineligible for the investigation due to following reasons:
1) Verification of misconduct is inadmissible due the misconduct occurred from a project that more than 2 Institutes participated.
2) Expertise and research activities in the Institute are insufficient for internal investigation.


Article 9. Time limit of the investigation

1. An accusation of research misconduct which is deemed to have occurred more than 5 years before the reporting date will not be investigated.
2. The examinee is subjected to further investigation if the result from research fraud is found to be referenced in any subsequent research activity, report or publication within 5 years, regardless the referenced research work was found to be a fraud more than 5 years before the reporting date.


Article 10. Principles of investigation

1. The Research Ethics Committee and the Institute are responsible to verify an allegation of research misconduct. However, if the examinee(s) is found to deliberately derogate evidence or reject the submission of documents that the committee requested, the examinee(s) is solely responsible to defend himself or herself.
2. The Research Ethics committee shall inform the examinee(s) and the informant(s) the detailed investigation procedures, and give them the opportunity to comment, object and defend against alleged ethical misconduct.
3. The president of Institute is required to keep fairness and independence of the investigation


Article 11. Investigation process

1. The Research Ethics Committee will conduct a research misconduct investigation in three stages. The first is meant to check the veracity of the accusation through a preliminary investigation. This is then followed by a full investigation, and then a verdict will be given.


Article 12. Preliminary investigation

1. A preliminary investigation determines whether an full investigation of research misconduct is warranted. It will commence within 30 days of receipt of the information indicating research misconduct by the Research Ethics Committee.
2. A summary verdict can be made without the commencement of an actual investigation if the examinee(s) admits to the research misconduct during the preliminary investigation, or it is decided that critical evidence of research misconduct is deliberately derogated by the examinee(s).
3. If a summary of verdict is made without the full investigation, full description of the process shall be notified to the informant(s) within 10 days after the decision, unless the informant is anonymous. 4. An informant(s) can appeal to the committee within 30 days after being informed that an interviewee has been denied of his/her misconduct.


Article 13. Full investigation

1. A full investigation refers to the process to determine whether there has been any research misconduct, and shall only be commenced by the Research Ethics Committee.
2. The Research Ethics Committee must offer opportunities for informant(s) and interviewee(s) to represent themselves and/or provide evidence.
3. The representations made by informant(s) and interviewee(s) and the Research Ethics Committee's findings must be included in the investigation report.


Article 14. Verdict

1. A verdict confirms the outcome of an investigation and will be provided for informant(s) and interviewee(s) in writing.
2. A verdict should be given within 6 months of the close of the preliminary investigation. The Chair of the Research Ethics Committee or the Institution can request more time from the president of KSSB and thereby extend the investigation period as required.
3. Informant(s) and examinee(s) can appeal against the verdict within 30 days of receiving information regarding it. The Research Ethics Committee will re-investigated where it is rational and valid to do so.


Article 15. Organization of committee

1. The Research Ethics Committee must consist of more than 5 members of editorial board.
2. The Research Ethic Committee must consist of at least 50% experts in the research field under examination, and more than 20% members other than journal editors shall be appointed.
3. The Institute must provide the list of committee members to the informant(s), and justified objection by the informant(s) must be accepted.


Article 16. Rights of committee

1. The Research Ethics Committee has the right to request informant(s), examinee(s), witness(es) and advisor(s) to attend the investigation, and the examinee(s) must agree upon it.
2. The Research Ethics Committee has the right to request examinee(s) to submit documents required for investigation. Under approval of Institute's president, the committee may request limited access of the examinee to laboratory, confistication and storage of research-related materials in order to prevent the loss of critical evidence.
3. When recommended to take disciplinary measures by the Research Ethics Committee, Institute's president shall take appropriate sanction to the members involved in misconduct,


Article 17. Confidentiality and record of investigation

1. Responsible body of the investigation must archive all recorded materials, including audio and video recordings, for at least 5 years, and the Society must archive the report for at least 10 years.
2. Final report and the list of participants shall be disclosed.
3. List of witness(es), advisor(s) and participant(s) in the investigation may not be disclosed if considered to be disadvantageous to them.


Article 18. Report of investigation

1. The Chair of the Research Ethics Committee must inform the president of KSSB of the details of any full investigation and the verdict.
2. The following must be included in the report of the full investigation and its verdict.
1) A detailed contents list.
2) The place (journal, symposium etc.) where the alleged research misconduct occurred.
3) A full list of those involved in the conduct of the investigation and their roles.
4) The alleged research misconduct committed and how this directly relates to the examinee(s).
5) A full list of all the relevant evidence and witnesses.
6) Full details of both preliminary and full investigation outcomes and any appeals to decisions made.
7) The Research Ethics Committee's Verdict and recommendations for disciplinary action.


Article 19. Subsequent actions to the report

1. If the rationality and feasibility of the report is deemed to be questionable, the Society may request further investigation to the Institute.
2. If the research fraud turns out to be true, it shall be announced to the Society and the exact measures to be taken, which may include some or all of the actions listed below:
1) Notifying the researcher under investigation and his or her institute of the Society's official conclusion and demanding appropriate disciplinary measures;
2) Announcing the official conclusion of the investigation in the first subsequent issue of Biodesign.
3) Announcing withdrawal, cancellation, etc. of the article deemed to contain ethical violations or research frauds.
4) Suspension or disqualification of Society membership for an appropriate duration.
5) Prohibition of the article contribution to Biodesign for a specified period;
6) Report to funding institutions or legal authorities if necessary;
7) Other measures judged to be necessary by the Society.


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