Afarand Scholarly Publishing Ins., as a pioneer of scholarly journalism in Iran and also the region, has tried to make a practical division between the policy-makers of health services/researches and the scientific decision-makers of scholarly materials. In ASP Ins. opinion this is an important issue which should not be neglected by the journal management systems, because it can lead to low quality outputs and deviate the way of medical science.
ASP Ins. has 3 major principles in scholarly publishing:
- The independence of Editorial Board members especially the Editor-in-Chief in making scientific decisions;
- Performing appropriate peer-review model for selecting scholarly materials; and
- The structural consistency of published materials that help the readers and researchers to recover and use them easily;
ASP Ins. has tried to resist against all parameters which conflict with these principles and also make all the participants of scholarly material production aware of the consequences of deviation from these principles.
The following are guidelines for protecting the responsibility and authority of editors-in-chief and owners:
- The conditions of the editors-in-chief's employment, including authority, responsibilities, term of appointment, and mechanisms for resolving conflict, should be explicitly stated and approved by both editor and owners before the editor is appointed.
- Editors-in-chief should have full authority over the editorial content of the journal, generally referred to as "editorial independence." Owners should not interfere in the evaluation, selection, or editing of individual articles, either directly or by creating an environment in which editorial decisions are strongly influenced.
- Editorial decisions should be based mainly on the validity of the work and its importance to readers, not the commercial success of the journal. Editors should be free to express critical but responsible views about all aspects of medicine without fear of retribution, even if these views might conflict with the commercial goals of the publisher. To maintain this position, editors should seek input from a broad array of advisors, such as reviewers, editorial staff, an editorial board, and readers.
- Editors-in-chief should establish procedures that guard against the influence of commercial and personal self-interest on editorial decisions.
- Owners have the right to hire and fire editors-in-chief, but they should dismiss them only for substantial reasons, such as a pattern of irresponsible editorial decisions, scientific misconduct, disagreement with the long-term editorial direction of the journal, or personal behavior (such as criminal acts), that are incompatible with a position of trust. Furthermore it is preferable that any evaluation on which hiring or firing is based should be performed by a panel of independent experts, rather than a small number of executives of the owning organization.
- Editors-in-chief should report to the highest governing body of the owning organization, not its administrative officers. Major decisions regarding the editor's employment should be made by this body with open discussion and time to hear from all interested parties. Some owners have found it useful to appoint an independent board to advise them on major decisions regarding their editor and journal.
- Editors should resist any actions that might compromise these principles in their journals, even if it places their own position at stake. If major transgressions do occur, editors should participate in drawing them to the attention of the international medical community.