About the Journal

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).

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. Errata and Corrigenda

Errata are errors appearing in a published article that can be attributed to the publisher. Queries are highlighted during proofing and authors are requested to respond to these in order to avoid errors appearing in the final article. If any such errors are noticed after publication, these should be brought to the attention of an editor who will consider the matter and make a decision on whether it is necessary to publish an erratum.

Corrigenda are changes to articles that authors wish to make after publication. These may take the form of additions (new material) or amendments (changes to existing material). Authors should contact an editor in relation to possible corrigenda – the editor will make a final decision about publishing corrigenda. If the reason for corrigenda is additions, then these additions may be subject to peer-review before a final decision about publication is made.

5. Research Misconduct

Research misconduct (sometimes also referred to as scientific misconduct) occurs when a researcher or researchers conduct research in a way that constitutes a deliberate and deceptive departure from accepted scientific, scholarly and professional practice. Research misconduct is usually defined as one or more of fabrication of research data or results, falsification of research data or results or plagiarism. It also includes deliberate deviations from established ethical authorship practices and deliberate undisclosed conflicts of interest. Honest mistakes and differences of opinion in the interpretation of otherwise valid and complete data are not considered to be research misconduct.

Allegations of research misconduct may be made by reviewers before an article is published or by readers after publication. SAJPEC does not conduct any definitive investigations into alleged scientific misconduct but will, if prima facie evidence of research misconduct is found to exist, request an author’s affiliated institution to investigate. Such prima facie evidence must be supplied by reviewers or readers alleging research misconduct and will, if considered to be valid, be passed on by an editor to the relevant institution for the purposes of an investigation if applicable. What happens after an allegation of research misconduct depends on responses of the authors to a request for an explanation, whether an investigation takes place and what the outcome of such an investigation is.

Published articles:

  • If authors respond but their response is inadequate to explain the alleged research misconduct, or if they do not respond, SAJPEC will request the authors’ affiliated institution to investigate the allegations.
  • If the investigation concludes that the authors are guilty of research misconduct, SAJPEC will publish a retraction of the article.
  • If the affiliated institution declines to investigate the alleged research misconduct, SAJPEC will publish an expression of concern.

Manuscripts Under Peer-review:

  • If authors respond but their response is inadequate to explain the alleged research misconduct, or if they do not respond, SAJPEC will request the authors’ affiliated institution to investigate the allegations.
  • If the investigation concludes that the authors are guilty of research misconduct, SAJPEC will reject the manuscript.
  • If the affiliated institution declines to investigate the alleged research misconduct, an editor will evaluate the strength of evidence for research misconduct presented and, together with opinions of the peer-reviewers (which may include the appointment of additional peer-reviewers), a final decision will be made regarding whether or not to reject the manuscript.

A published article may also be retracted for the following reasons:

  • The article is a duplicate publication (i.e. the same article has been published in or is under consideration by another journal).
  • There is evidence of unethical conduct on the part of the researcher or researchers (i.e. conduct that does fall under research misconduct as defined above but is unethical. For example, conducting research without ethical approval).
  • There is evidence that description of the use of artificial intelligence tools as described below in section 3 has knowingly been omitted from the article.
  • There is evidence of a breach of normal peer-review procedure prior to acceptance and publication.
  • There has been a copyright infringement or material in the article has been used without permission when this was required.
  • Any author has knowingly not declared a conflict of interests judged to be material in relation to the conclusions of the research.

 6. Artificial Intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools (such as ChatGPT) in any part of the research process must be clearly described in the manuscript. This includes, but is not limited to use in reviewing literature, extracting processing or analysing data or compiling or composing any part of the results or manuscript itself. In line with the position statement of the Committee on Publication Ethics, SAJPEC does not accept that any AI can meet the requirements for authorship. Knowingly omitting the description of AI tool use as described above in a manuscript will lead to rejection of the manuscript.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. Conflicts of Interest

A conflict of interests refers to a situation where the judgement of an editor, author or reviewer may be influenced by a factor or factors other than those that should legitimately contribute to a decision. The factor may be of a financial, personal, political or academic nature.

Authors must declare any possible conflicts of interest in the relevant manuscript section. This will be evaluated by the assigned editor. If a conflict of interests is considered significant (i.e. that it may materially influence judgement as described above) this will be taken up with the author(s) by the editor and a decision made on how to resolve the conflict (which, if it is unresolvable, may be to withdraw the manuscript).

Reviewers are also required to declare possible conflicts of interest at the time of manuscript assignment. Such conflicts may be in the form of relationships (personal, professional or academic) between authors and reviewers. Even though the review process is blinded, any suspicion of a conflict must be reported by a reviewer to the responsible editor.

Editors must declare any possible conflicts of interest in relation to the manuscripts they are assigned. As far as possible, editors must ensure that reviewer allocation do not create a conflict of interests (for example, by a reviewer being from the same academic department as an author). If a potential conflict of interests is declared, the editor-in-chief must re-assign the manuscript concerned in order to resolve the conflict.

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).

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.

Author Fees

There are no page fee charges for authors.

Digital Preservation

South Afican Journal of Pre-hospital Emergency Care. This journal is in the process of migrating from the Stellenbosch University preservation platform to the PKP PN (Preservation Network) platform.


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Emergency Care Society of South Africa