Research/Publication Ethics Policy

Publication Ethics and Malpractice Statement

Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal (PAFMJ) is committed to responsible, conscientious and progressive editorial processing of scientific material in order to not only maintain but to enhance the level of publication of scholarly articles. Being a bimonthly double-blind peer reviewed journal, the editorial board enforces a meticulous peer-review process and ensures diligent application of strict ethical policy and standards in the publication of all scholarly articles while adhering to the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and its code of conduct.

Ethical Guidelines for Authors

Authors submitting manuscripts to the Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal (PAFMJ) are required to uphold the highest ethical standards throughout their research and publication process. This includes ensuring the originality of their work, avoiding plagiarism, and providing accurate data. Authorship should reflect substantial contributions, and proper acknowledgment of sources, funding, and potential conflicts of interest is paramount. Ethical approval for research involving human subjects or animals must be obtained and documented. Authors are also expected to participate in the peer review process, respond to reviewer comments constructively, and promptly correct any errors in their published work. By adhering to these ethical guidelines, authors contribute to the credibility and integrity of scientific research in the field of medicine.

In summary, PAFMJ emphasizes the importance of ethical conduct, transparency, and accountability in research and publication. Authors are urged to uphold these principles to ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of their contributions to the medical knowledge base.

Plagiarism and Data Fabrication

Data presented to Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal must be original and not inappropriately selected, manipulated, enhanced, or fabricated as plagiarism and data fabrication are not acceptable in Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal.

Plagiarism is the practice of using someone else’s ideas, writings, images, data etc., without giving due credit to the original source. If a document is found to be plagiarized during any stage of editorial process, it is rejected forthwith and the authors of the manuscript are blacklisted. The name of author(s) committing plagiarism is also disseminated to editors of other medical journals, PM&DC and HEC.

Research Involving Human Subjects

A declaration must be made along the lines of the Declaration of Helsinki of 1975 ( revised in 2013, by all authors working on human subjects and human samples. Moreover, a certificate of approval must be taken from an institutional ethics committee. The certificate must allot an institutional research number to the study which should be included in the certificate along with title of research, names of all the authors and the date of approval. The ethical research certificate must be signed by all the members of the Institutional Review Board.

Consent Policy

A written informed consent for participation / publication must be obtained from all subjects keeping in view all ethical standards. Patients’ identity must always be kept hidden, personal information and details must be omitted from manuscripts, identifiers must be removed from the pictures etc.

Ethical Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Research

Authors conducting animal research must be aware of the impact of their experiments on animals and must be able to justify that the benefits of their experiments outweigh the harm caused to the animal. Moreover, they should be aware of the rational use of animals in their research and also of permitted and unpermitted procedures while handling the animals. Authors must be able to confirm that due care was taken as per the regulations of the Institutional Committee for the Care and Use of Animals (IACUC). Manuscripts containing original research on animal subjects must have been approved by an institutional ethical review committee. The project identification code, date of approval and name of the ethics committee or institutional review board must be cited in the Methods Section.

Clinical Trials Registration


Clinical trials registration is the process of bringing forward the specific details of a study which is carried out on human subjects in order to see the effects of health related intervention, on a public database. Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines which require and recommend registration of clinical trials in a public trials’ registry at or before the time of first patient enrollment as a condition of consideration for publication.

Authors must pre-register clinical trials with national or international clinical trials register and cite a reference to the registration in the Abstract and Methods section. Suitable databases include; This will be in addition to the approval from a local / regional ethics approval committee. Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal reserves the right to decline any paper without trial registration for further peer-review.

CONSORT Statement

‘CONSORT Statement’ stands for Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials. It helps in the validation as well as inclusion and analysis of a trial in meta-analyses and systematic reviews. Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal requires submission of a completed CONSORT 2010 checklist and flow diagram while reporting a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Templates for these can be found here or on the CONSORT website (

Citation Policies

Citation in medical writing is the process of correctly and adequately referring to the ideas, concepts, results etc., of other researchers. Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal employs the Vancouver style of referencing. Details can be found in the following link (

Ethical Guidelines for Reviewers

Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal employs the policy of double-blind peer review and ensures that all manuscripts undergo a clear, transparent and unbiased reviewing process by subject experts. This process is essential for the credibility of any published manuscript as well as the medical journal. For general guidance on completing a review report, see information for reviewers.
Reviewers play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and quality of scholarly publications. The Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal (PAFMJ) values the ethical contribution of reviewers and outlines the following guidelines to ensure a fair, constructive, and confidential peer review process.


The Reviewers are expected to maintain confidentiality, ensuring that information from submitted manuscripts remains private. They should promptly disclose any potential conflicts of interest and decline reviews if impartiality is compromised.


Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself or herself from the review process.

The assigned reviewer is expected to reply promptly whenever a manuscript is sent for review. In case the reviewer feels unqualified to review the manuscript or is unsalable to give a prompt review for any reason, should notify the editor and excuse himself or herself from the review process.

Conflict of Interest

We ask reviewers to inform the journal editor if they hold a conflict of interests that may prejudice the review report, either in a positive or negative way. The Editorial Team will check as far as possible before invitation; however, we appreciate the cooperation of reviewers in this matter. Reviewers who are invited to assess a manuscript they previously reviewed for another journal should not consider this as a conflict of interest.

Objectivity and Constructive Feedback

Reviewers are encouraged to conduct objective evaluations, providing constructive feedback on the scientific content. The reviewers should acknowledge their limitations and ensure a fair and unbiased assessment.

Timeliness and Communication

Timely completion of reviews is emphasized, and communication should be confidential and direct with the editorial office.

Ethical Considerations

Addressing ethical concerns, including research misconduct and authorship issues, is part of reviewers' responsibilities.

Continuous Professional Development

Reviewers are encouraged to stay informed about the latest developments in their field and peer review practices. 

Reviewer Recognition

PAFMJ values the contributions of reviewers and may acknowledge their efforts, ensuring due credit for their voluntary service.

Compliance with Journal Policies

Reviewers should be familiar with PAFMJ's editorial and ethical policies and abide by them during the review process. If reviewers become aware of any violations of journal policies, they should promptly inform the editorial team.

Ethical Guidelines for Editors

The Ethical Guidelines for Editors at PAFMJ outline the principles guiding editorial conduct to ensure integrity and fairness in scholarly publishing.

Editorial Decision-Making:

Editors must make decisions based on the merit of the manuscript, without influence from commercial interests, personal relationships, or other biases.

Conflicts of Interest

Full disclosure of any conflicts of interest is required, with appropriate delegation of duties if necessary.

Equal Treatment

Manuscripts should be evaluated based on their content, regardless of authors' identity, gender, ethnicity, or other personal characteristics.

Anonymous Peer Review

The peer review process should be conducted anonymously to ensure unbiased evaluation.


Editors and reviewers must treat manuscripts as confidential documents. Information about submitted manuscripts should not be disclosed to anyone outside the review process. Editors should ensure the privacy of individuals involved in the research and data presented in manuscripts.

Integrity and Ethical Conduct

Editors are responsible for upholding research integrity, promptly addressing ethical concerns, and facilitating corrections or retractions when necessary. Clear and transparent communication with authors, reviewers, and readers is essential, including the dissemination of editorial policies. Ensuring proper attribution, adherence to copyright laws, and handling plagiarism diligently are underscored.

Editorial Team Development

Editors should provide opportunities for continuous professional development for themselves and the editorial team.  Editors must ensure fair authorship practices, avoiding any favoritism or discrimination.

Conflicts of Interest

All individuals involved in the research process, including authors, reviewers, and editors, are obligated to disclose any potential conflicts of interest that might compromise the objectivity or integrity of the research. It is imperative to adhere to PAFMJ's conflict of interest policy. Authors are specifically required to submit the ICMJE Conflict of Interest Form as an integral part of the submission process. This practice ensures a transparent and accountable approach to handling conflicts of interest, aligning with established standards in scholarly publishing and contributing to the overall integrity of the research.

Editorial Independence

At PAFMJ, editorial independence is a foundational principle that safeguards the autonomy and impartiality of the editorial decision-making process. The editorial team operates independently from external influences, ensuring unbiased and objective evaluation of submitted manuscripts. The journal's commitment to editorial independence is paramount, empowering editors to make decisions based on the merit of the scientific content, adherence to ethical standards, and alignment with the journal's scope. This unwavering dedication to editorial autonomy fosters a scholarly environment where research is evaluated solely on its scientific merit, contributing to the journal's credibility and the integrity of published work.

Corrections, Retractions, and Expressions of Concern

Corrections, retractions, and expressions of concern are managed in accordance with PAFMJ's established policy.

The Use of Generative AI and AI-Assisted Technologies

PAFMJ recognizes the evolving landscape of research methodologies, including the incorporation of generative AI and AI-assisted technologies. Authors are encouraged to leverage these tools responsibly in their research endeavors. However, adherence to ethical standards and transparency is paramount.  The authors must follow the PAFMJ’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Disclosure Policy.