Complaints and appeals


1. Scope of this document

This document details how we will deal with complaints and concerns raised with the journal, and how authors can appeal an Editor’s decision.

2. Complaints

2.1 What kinds of complaint will we consider?

Complaints may relate to a failure of process (e.g. lengthy delays) or a severe misjudgement (e.g. an improperly applied retraction notice). They may also relate to author or reviewer misconduct. Complaints may be made by anyone, including authors, reviewers and readers.
All complaints must be within the scope of the MedEdPublish Editorial Office’s remit – i.e. related to the content, policies or processes of the journal. We will not consider complaints where the complainant simply disagrees with a decision taken by the Editorial team (see appeals process below).

2.2 How to make a complaint

Complaints should be emailed to [email protected]. Please provide as much detail as possible and include supporting information where appropriate (for example, copies of email correspondence).
If your complaint relates to a specific article, please include the title and DOI if it is already published and the manuscript ID number if it is unpublished.

2.3 How we handle complaints

We aim to formally acknowledge all complaints within five working days. Please note that the editorial office is not staffed at weekends. Where possible we will provide a full response within four weeks. Where this is not possible we will provide regular interim communications, at least every four weeks.

Complaints will be dealt with by the editorial staff wherever possible, with reference to our policies and guidelines, but will be escalated to the Editor where necessary. The Editor has the right to then consult with any third party over the issue, and make a final decision. That final decision shall be binding, and the matter shall be deemed closed.

Where a serious complaint is made about an Editor, it will be independently investigated by two members of the Editorial Board. The purpose of the investigation is to establish that correct procedures have been followed, that decisions have been reached based on academic criteria and that personal prejudice or bias has not influenced the outcome.

2.4 Complaints or concerns about author or reviewer misconduct

If you wish to complain or raise a concern about suspected author or reviewer misconduct, please refer to our editorial policy for more detail about our processes for dealing with allegations and the kind of evidence we might require. The process for raising these complaints and concerns is the same as above.

Concerns may include, but are not limited to:
  • Suspicion of an ethical problem with a manuscript (including undeclared conflicts of interest, false ethical declarations, use of identifiable images without consent or use of copyright images without permission)
  • Suspicion of unethical image manipulation in a published article
  • Suspected manipulation of the publication process (including practices such as duplicate publication, self-plagiarism, salami-slicing or excessive self-citation)
We take allegations of misconduct very seriously and will investigate following COPE guidelines:

2.5 Complaints about advertising

If you are unhappy about an advertisement you have seen in MedEdPublish we recommend contacting the advertiser directly. If there is no response you can contact your national regulator, such as the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority.
You are also welcome to contact us as detailed above. Generally, this will result in one of four outcomes:
  1. We may confirm that the advertising complies with our guidance and does not require any changes.
  2. We may ask the advertiser to revise the advertisement.
  3. We may refuse to display advertising for the product in future.
  4. We may escalate the complaint to the advertiser or the relevant advertising standards authority.

2.6 If your complaint is not satisfactorily resolved:

If you do not feel your complaint has been addressed, you may wish to refer it further.

Complaints against editors may be referred to AMEE as the publishers of the journal: [email protected] Please note, however that we operate a strict policy of editorial independence and complaints about editorial matters (rejections, retractions, appeals etc.) will be referred back to the Editor, whose decisions on such matters is final.

The Committee on Publication Ethics
COPE publishes a code of practice for editors of scientific, technical, and medical journals: It will consider complaints against editors but only once a journal's own complaints procedures have been exhausted.

3. Appeals

We will consider appeals against the Editor’s decision only under highly specific circumstances and usually only where a clear breach of policy can be demonstrated.

3.1 Rejected manuscripts

The most common reasons for rejecting manuscripts are:
  • The article content is not within the scope of the journal;
  • The article is not written in clear and intelligible English;
  • Authors have not completed the relevant declarations relating to ethics and funding;
  • The article does not conform to our ‘Guidelines for Authors’ in terms of content, style and/or formatting.
Articles will not usually pass initial editorial screening until the first three of these have been addressed. In the last two instances, articles are usually reopened to authors to allow changes to be made within a 6-week window. Failure to meet this deadline will result in automatic rejection of the manuscript. Where an article has been accepted by the editors and the article processing charge (APC) has been paid, but authors subsequently fail to make required changes within the 6-week period, the article will be rejected and the APC will be non-refundable. 
If the article has been accepted but serious legal or ethical issues come to light after payment of the APC, e.g. relating to research ethics, copyright, or conflicts of interest which render the article unpublishable, and which we could not reasonably have foreseen, the article will be rejected and the APC will not be refunded.
We will not consider appeals against the Editor’s decision under any of these circumstances.
It is the authors’ responsibility to provide the correct contact details, to monitor correspondence from our office, to respond promptly using the correct email address, and to comply with our requirements. Where a manuscript has been rejected because authors have failed to meet the revision deadline, resubmission is possible but standard fees will be payable.

3.1.1 Rejection of revised articles

Revised articles will not usually be rejected provided they conform to our guidelines for revised versions. We will not consider appeals against the Editor’s decision to reject a revised article if it does not meet our requirements.
Authors whose manuscript has been rejected on other grounds may follow the appeals process (3.3) if they wish to make an appeal, but note that Editors are unlikely to reverse their original decision unless significant new information is supplied or it can be demonstrated that our processes were at fault.

3.2 Retracted articles

Editors do not take the decision to retract articles lightly and will usually have conducted an extensive investigation before doing so. We will only consider appeals against retractions if substantial evidence can be provided to demonstrate that the decision was unjust.

3.3 Appeals process

Any appeals against the Editor’s decision must be made by email to [email protected] within two weeks of the decision. You will need to provide a detailed explanation of why you disagree with the decision and include supporting information. You should also include the article title and DOI if you are appealing a decision to retract a published article and the manuscript ID number you are appealing a decision to reject an unpublished manuscript.

We will acknowledge receipt of your appeal within five working days and it will be passed to the Editors for consideration. Wherever possible, the appeal will be considered by an Associate Editor who was not involved in the original decision. The handling Editor will make a recommendation to reject the appeal, request further information or uphold the appeal. We aim to resolve all appeals within four weeks. The Editor’s decision on these matters is final and we will not consider further appeals on the same grounds.