According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) scientific misconduct includes, but is not necessarily limited to, data fabrication; data falsification including deceptive manipulation of images; purposeful failure to disclose relationships and activities; and plagiarism. When scientific misconduct is alleged, or concerns are otherwise raised about the conduct or integrity of work described in submitted or published papers, the Caribbean Medical Journal initiates appropriate procedures as detailed by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
As the case requires, the Editors may choose to publish an expression of concern pending the outcomes of those procedures. If the procedures involve an investigation at the authors’ institution, the Editors will seek to discover the outcome of that investigation, notify readers of the outcome if appropriate, and if the investigation proves scientific misconduct, publish a retraction of the article. If misconduct remains unproven, the Editors may still publish an expression of concern (together with the exchange of letters to the editor) to highlight matters of debate to readers.
Expressions of concern and retractions will be prominently labeled, appear on an electronic page that is included in an electronic issue to ensure proper indexing, and include in their heading the title of the original article. Online, the retraction and original article should be linked in both directions and the retracted article should be clearly labelled as retracted in all its forms (Abstract, full text, PDF). Ideally, the authors of the retraction should be the same as those of the article, but if they are unwilling or unable the editor may under certain circumstances accept retractions by other responsible persons, or the editor may be the sole author of the retraction or expression of concern. The text of the retraction should explain why the article is being retracted and include a complete citation reference to that article. Retracted articles should remain in the public domain and be clearly labelled as retracted.
In the case of a fraudulent paper, the publishers of Caribbean Medical Journal (Trinidad and Tobago Medical Association) will ask the author’s institution to assure them of the validity of other work published in Caribbean Medical Journal, or they may retract it. If this is not done, an announcement expressing concern that the validity of previously published work is uncertain may be published. The integrity of research may also be compromised by inappropriate methodology that could lead to retraction.
These editorial policies are also based on the recommendations by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).