Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

The South African Journal of Pre-hospital Emergency Care (SAJPEC) is the official journal of the Emergency Care Society of South Africa. It is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that aims to support and inform advances in the science and practice of pre-hospital emergency care with a focus on South Africa. SAJPEC publishes short reports, original research, reviews, case reports, concepts and correspondence relevant to South African pre-hospital emergency care (including inter-hospital transfer care).

 

Section Policies

Original Research

Full-length manuscripts of original research either qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. Must comply with all of the headings and structural requirements described under Manuscript Preparation. Maximum word count 5000 words, with no more than five tables, four figures and 30 references.

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Short Report

Abbreviated manuscripts reporting original research which is of limited scope, or interim reports of larger studies. Must comply with all of the headings and structural requirements described under Manuscript Preparation. Maximum word count 2000 words, with no more than two tables and/or figures and 15 references.

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Review

Systematic reviews (with or without meta-analysis) or narrative reviews are accepted. Must comply with the same headings and structural requirements described under Manuscript Preparation. For systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses please use the PRISMA guidelines and checklist:

(http://prisma-statement.org/documents/PRISMA%202009%20checklist.pdf)

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Case Report

Reports of interesting or unusual clinical cases in pre-hospital emergency care. Significance of the case, and a motivation for why it should be published, must be included in the cover letter. Give a detailed description of the case, followed by a discussion incorporating relevant comparative or other literature. Maximum word limit 2000 words, with 15 references. Please ensure compliance with ethical considerations (see below) related to patient and organizational anonymity and consent.

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Concept

Reports of novel concepts with operational, systems or strategic relevance in pre-hospital emergency care. Concepts must be reported by those responsible for them, either wholly or in part, or those owning the related intellectual property. Concepts must have at least a preliminary degree of real-world implementation, or demonstrable commitment to implementation. Maximum word limit 5000 words and 15 references.

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Peer Review Process

All manuscripts are screened by an editor for completeness and compliance with scope of the journal. Non-compliance at this stage may result in return to the corresponding author for additional material or inclusion of required material etc., or outright rejection if the manuscript is not within the journal’s scope. Manuscripts accepted at this point will be allocated to at least two peer-reviewers. The peer review process is blinded meaning that authors will not know the identities of peer reviewers and vice versa.


1. Eligible Submissions

All original research, review, case report and concept manuscripts will be subjected to peer-review as described below. Editorial or any other invited submissions will be reviewed by at least one editor.


2. Process

 Stage 1: Scope and Compliance Review

All manuscripts requiring peer-review will be screened by the editor-in-chief and an associate editor on two criteria: (i) compliance with the journal’s scope and (ii) completeness of the submission. Manuscripts falling outside of the journal’s scope will be rejected at this point. Manuscripts failing to meet requirements set out in the instructions for authors (i.e. manuscripts that are incomplete) will be immediately returned to the corresponding author with a request to correct the omissions and resubmit. At this stage the submission will not be active.

 

Stage 2: Peer-review

Manuscripts compliant with stage 1 will be considered active and will be sent by a responsible editor to at least two peer-reviewers for review. Review focused on specific aspects (e.g. method or statistics) may be sought over-and-above that obtained in the “standard” peer-review process. Peer-reviewers will be given a maximum time of four calendar weeks to complete and submit their reviews. Peer reviewers provide detailed critique of the manuscript and must also select one of three possible outcomes for the manuscript: (i) accept (with or without editorial revision), (ii) recommend authors revise and resubmit, (iii) reject. Reviews not submitted within this time may be ignored.

 

Stage 3: Decision

When all reviews have been submitted the responsible editor will make a decision based on the above. In the event of a split decision (e.g. two reviewers reaching different conclusions or three reviewers each reaching a different conclusion) the responsible editor, together with the editor-in-chief will make a final decision. All decisions will be reviewed by the editor-in-chief before communication to corresponding authors.

 

Stage 4: Resubmissions

Authors will have eight calendar weeks to resubmit manuscripts returned for revision. Authors will be required to revise their manuscript and respond to all peer-reviewer’s comments individually. On receipt of a revised manuscript, the responsible editor will send the manuscript to the original reviewers. Scope of the second round review will be limited to judgement of whether the authors have complied with the original reviewers requests and suggestions. Peer-reviewers will be given four calendar weeks to submit their comments and decisions. It is possible to send a manuscript back for a second round of revision if necessary, based on peer-reviewer feedback. The responsible editor and editor-in-chief will reach a decision based on the peer-reviewer’s decisions and comments.

 

SAJPEC will reject papers from authors who fail to submit a revised manuscript by the required deadline, and who neglect to request a revision time extension. Authors who fail to attend to all peer-reviewer’s requests for revision and/or who do not respond individually to peer-reviewers comments will be rejected. A flow diagram of the above process is given below:

 

3. Peer Reviewers: Selection, Guidelines and Conduct

Peer-reviewers are recruited on the basis of their own publication track record and academic or clinical expertise. Preferably peer-reviewers should have prior experience.

 

The following guidelines for peer-review are provided to all peer-reviewers:

 3.1.  Review Criteria

To be accepted for publication, research should be original and should make a distinct contribution to advancement of the field of pre-hospital emergency care generally, or in South Africa. Furthermore, research should be methodologically sound and provide robust evidence for the author’s conclusions.

 

3.2.  Writing the Review

When writing a review, the aim is to provide information for both editors and authors. Editors require this information in order understand the peer-reviewer’s decisions. Authors derive value in two main things from a review, depending on the outcome of their submission. Firstly, if the authors are requested to revise and resubmit their work, then they typically will appreciate a clear description of where the deficiencies lie that lead to this decision. They may also appreciate some suggested ways of improving a manuscript, however it is not a requirement to provide this. Secondly, if the author’s work is rejected, then they appreciate a detailed, substantiated explanation of the main factors motivating this decision. In fairness, reviewers must provide this in an objective, rational and unemotional way.

 

Try to be as objective as possible when writing the review and limit critique to substantive issues that either constitute grounds for your decision, or may assist the authors in improving the manuscript if you intend asking them to revise  and resubmit it. Avoid repeatedly correcting minor details related to presentation, formatting or referencing. If necessary, draw the author’s attention to the need for this kind of revision by making general statements which the authors are then obliged to address in detail.

 

4. Anonymity

 Peer-review is double-blind, meaning that authors are unaware of the identity of reviewers and vice versa. It is important for authors to anonymise their manuscripts as per the journal’s recommendations in this regard. Peer-reviewers should never reveal their identifies to authors (or vice versa) while the review process is ongoing.  Peer-reviewers must also be aware that all manuscripts reviewed by them are to be treated as strictly confidential and not discussed with other reviewers or colleagues. Authors should never attempt to make contact with or influence peer-reviewers during the review process.

 

 

5. Appeals

 Authors who feel that the outcome of their peer-review process has been unfair, or has not been appropriately managed, are welcome to appeal the decision made. An appeal must be appropriately substantiated and submitted directly in writing to the editor-in-chief whose decision on the matter will be final.

 

Publication Frequency

The journal is published online biannually. Articles may be published online before being released as part of an issue.

 

Open Access Policy

This journal is an Open Access publication meaning that all of its content is made free to users without a subscription or any other charges. There are no page fee charges for authors. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of these articles, or use them for any other lawful, non-commercial purpose, without asking permission from the publisher or the author(s).

 

Editorial Team

Editor-in-Chief

Christopher Stein (PhD)

Senior Lecturer: Department of Emergency Medical Care

University of Johannesburg

 

Associate Editors

Simpiwe Sobuwa (MSc Med Emergency Medicine)

Lecturer & Head: Department of Emergency Medical Care & Rescue

Durban University of Technology

 

Kevin Govender (PhD)

Lecturer: Department of Emergency Medical Care & Rescue

Durban University of Technology

 

Methods Consultant

Michael McCaul (MSc Clin Epi)

Researcher

Centre for Evidence-based Health Care

Stellenbosch University

 

International Advisory Panel

Prof. Bill Lord (PhD)

Discipline Leader, Paramedic Science

School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine

University of the Sunshine Coast

Australia

 

Shane Knox (PhD)

Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer – Education Manager

Health Service Executive – National Ambulance Service

County Longford

Ireland

 

Prof. Andy Newton (PhD)

Consultant Paramedic and Clinical Operations Director

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

The Horseshoe

Banstead

Surrey

United Kingdom

 

Self-Archiving Policy

Authors may archive their published article in an Open Access Institutional repository.  Only the original high quality PDF file that was supplied by SAJPEC may be used. 

However, the following notice should accompany such a posting on the website: “This is an electronic version of an article published in SAJPEC, Volume XXX, number XXX, pages XXX–XXX”, DOI. 

Authors should also supply a hyperlink to the original paper or indicate where the original paper (http://www.journals.ac.za/index.php/sajpec) may be found. 

 

Code of Conduct

Publication ethics and malpractice statement

1. Publication and authorship:
  • Authors must list all references used in/for the articleAuthors must acknowledge financial support received and from which organization or other source.
  • Authors acknowledge that the articles are their own original work and that no other author’s work has been used without referencing or in a manner which constitutes plagiarism.
  • Authors acknowledge that their data is real and verifiable and that no fraudulent data are used.
  • Authors may not submit an article that has been published in another journal; nor may they submit to other journals when published in SAJPEC. Articles must be published exclusively in SAJPEC.
2. Author's responsibilities:
  • Authors are obliged to participate in the review process and refusal to do so may result in articles not being published or retracted.
  • Only people who contributed significantly to the research and/or article can be listed as ‘author’. People who contributed in a lesser role must be acknowledged as ‘contributor’.
  • Authors must provide retractions or corrections of any mistakes found by the reviewers.

 3. Peer review / responsibility of reviewers:

  • Judgments will be objective.
  • Reviewers should have no conflict of interest with respect to the research, the authors and/or the funders of the research.
  • Reviewers should point out relevant published work which is not yet cited.
  • Reviewers will treat reviewed articles as confidential.

 4. Editorial responsibilities:

  • The editor-in-chief has complete authority to reject or accept articles.
  • Editors should have no conflict of interest with respect to articles they reject or accept.
  • The editor/s will only accept a paper when reasonably certain that all conditions have been met by the author/s.
  • The editor will promote the publication of corrections or retractions when errors are found in published work.
  • The editor will preserve the anonymity of the reviewers.

 5. Publishing ethics issues:

  • The editorial board will monitor and safeguard the publishing ethics of the journal.
  • The guidelines for retracting articles are as follows:
  • Articles that are seriously flawed and unreliable will be retracted. Redundant articles (published in other journals prior to SAJHE) will be retracted. Change of authorship or minor errors will not lead to retraction but to the publishing of a correction notice.
  • Notices of retraction will clearly state the reason and the retracted article will be clearly marked in all electronic versions of the journal, and a retraction notice will be published in the print copy of the journal.
  • The journal will not compromise intellectual or ethical standards in favour of the business needs of the journal.
  • The editorial board will maintain the integrity of the academic record of the journal.
  • The editorial board will always be willing to publish corrections, clarifications, retractions and apologies when needed.
  • No plagiarism and no fraudulent data will be tolerated in the journal.

 

 

Author Fees

There are no page fee charges for authors.

 

Digital Preservation

Stellenbosch University Library Services makes use of a locally implemented installation of the LOCKSS distributed digital preservation service to backup and preserve SUNJournals.  The LOCKSS installation is http://lockss.sun.ac.za.