Evaluation of Iranian Medical Journals from the Perspective of Publication Ethics

Arch Iran Med. 2020 Oct 1;23(10):697-703. doi: 10.34172/aim.2020.88.


Background: Scientific journals will gain real credit when they meet publication ethics standards. This study seeks to evaluate the current status of medical journals' adherence to some ethical standards.

Methods: The 412 scientific journals approved by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education were included in this study. The process of downloading articles and data extraction for seven general and specific indicators related to publication ethics was conducted by trained researchers. Different methods were implemented by the team of colleagues to prevent possible errors in data extraction. After data integration, data analysis was performed using SPSS version 23.

Results: Overall, 408 journals and 3948 articles met the inclusion criteria. The distribution of journals according to the highest journal index was 5.4%, 13.7%, 8.3%, 8.1% and 64.5% for ISI, ESCI, PubMed, Scopus and Other indexes, respectively. In 27.7% of the articles, the review process took over 6 months. According to the results, 6.6% and 31.7% of the articles belonged to the journals' editors and owner universities, respectively. Journal self-citation was seen in 19.2% of articles and in fewer than half of the articles (45.5%), the status of conflict of interest was declared. In 36.9% of the articles, the code of ethics or university ethics committee approval, and in 36.5% of clinical trial articles, the clinical trial registration code was reported.

Conclusion: Modifying processes or introducing new rules for indicators of publication ethics by trustee organizations can improve the current status. These seven indicators can also be used to rank journals.

Keywords: Ethics; Indicators; Medical journals; Publications.