Editorial independence in medical journals

Our principles are based on the concept for an "ethics label" formulated in 2011 by the "Working group EMH" which was commissioned by the "Ärztekammer" (the "parliament" of the Swiss Medical Association) and was composed of representatives of  FMH, VEDAG, SMSR, OMTC, EMH and M&H. The final report of the working group was approved by the Ärztekammer on 21 October 2011.

The text has been updated taking into account the later published Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

Editorial independence and diversity of topics

The editorial boards responsible for the content of our journals consist of experts.

EMH Swiss Medical Publishers Ltd. guarantees the editorial independence of the journals. In order to maintain editorial independence, the principles formulated by the World Association of Medical Editors ("The Relationship Between Journal Editors-in-Chief and Owners") are observed.

Conflicts of interest

Our journals have defined processes for handling conflicts of interest; these are also documented in the author guidelines.

Conflicts of interest of authors are published with the articles.

Conflicts of interest of editors and reviewers are adequately taken into account in the editorial work.

Peer reviewing

The author guidelines of our scientific journals are based on the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

All submissions are judged by the editors. All scientific articles are also reviewed by external experts (single blind peer reviewing).


It is clearly visible which contents of our journals are peer reviewed and which are not. A corresponding note is included in both the printed and online versions of the articles. Peer reviewing in this context is only external reviewing, i.e. peer reviewing by persons outside the editorial board.

Our journals meet the requirements of the Swiss Institute for Continuing Medical Education (Schweizerisches Institut für ärztliche Weiter- und Fortbildung SIWF) for a peer-reviewed journal (see fact sheet of the SIWF [PDF]).

Confidentiality of submitted manuscripts

Submitted contributions are confidential before final publication; they are only accessible to the authors, the editorial staff and reviewers.

Other persons may only be informed about planned publications in the context of a topic preview, but may not be given access to the articles or parts thereof or even influence their content.

Clear separation of editorial and paid content

Our journals do not publish paid content in the editorial sections.

Paid content is clearly recognisable as paid content by its design. Text advertisements always appear with the reference "advertisement" or similar. PR contributions under the heading "Zu Gast" appear with the reference "PR contribution" in the page header and the company responsible for the content is named.

Publication ethics in our scientific journals

The editorial independence of our journals and strict publication ethics guidelines are a central element of our publishing activities. The scientific journals published by EMH adhere to the recommendations of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors («Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals») and the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).



Authorship credit should be based only on (1) substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work; (2) drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; (3) final approval of the version to be published; agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. All those designated as authors should meet all four criteria for authorship, and all who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors.


Acquisition of funding, the collection of data, or general supervision of the research group do not, by themselves, justify authorship, nor does the fact of being in sole charge of the clinic or organisational unit in which the article was prepared. Such contributions should be listed as acknowledgements.

Conflicts of interest

Outside financial support or other financial or personal relationships in connection with the submitted manuscript must be indicated in the conflict of interest section of the manuscript. The authors confirm the correctness of this information with their signature on a special author form.

Editors and reviewers are explicitly requested to report conflicts of interest that could influence their opinion of the manuscript in question, in which case they will be excluded from the reviewing process of this manuscript.

Plagiarism and scientific misconduct

EMH Swiss Medical Publishers Ltd. is a member of CrossCheck, a service offered by CrossRef and powered by iThenticate software. In our online editorial system, all newly submitted manuscripts are automatically compared with the CrossCheck database. Submissions with overlaps to already published articles are carefully checked for plagiarism by the editorial team.

Scientific misconduct includes but is not necessarily limited to data fabrication, data falsification, purposeful failure to disclose relationships and activities, and plagiarism. We take allegations of misconduct very seriously. Problems concerning scientific misconduct are dealed following the guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Obligation to register clinical trials

We require registration of clinical trials in a public trials registry at or before the time of first patient enrollment as a condition of consideration for publication. The ICMJE defines a clinical trial as any research project that prospectively assigns people or a group of people to an intervention, with or without concurrent comparison or control groups, to study the relationship between a health-related intervention and a health outcome.

Ethics approval of research

We require every article reporting results of prospective research using human subjects or samples, or results of animal research, to include a statement that the study obtained ethical approval, including the name of the ethics committee(s) or institutional review board(s) and the number/ID of the approval(s). Where ethical approval is not required, the manuscript should include a clear statement of this and the reason why.

When reporting research involving human data, authors should indicate in the methods section whether the procedures followed were assessed and approved by a legally qualified ethics review committee (institutional or national) or, if no formal ethics committee is available, were in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration as revised in 2013. 

If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the study. Approval by a responsible review committee does not preclude editors from forming their own judgement whether the conduct of the research was appropriate.

When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate in the methods section whether the institutional and national guides for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.

Protection of patients’ rights to privacy

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent.

Identifying information should not be published in written descriptions, photographs and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Patient consent should be archived by the authors and not submitted to the journal. The authors should provide the journal with a written statement that they have received and archived written patient consent. A standard informed consent form may be obtained from the publisher.

Authors should disclose to these patients that the material will be available via the Internet after publication. Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential.

Peer reviewing process

EMH ensures that all editorial processes comply with the highest standards and that they are carried out with care and transparency.

Scientific manuscripts are submitted for review to external experts (single blind peer reviewing). Editorial Boards may decline a paper on the basis of internal review. All reviewers' comments are reviewed by the editors. After submitting their own comments, reviewers are given access to the comments of other reviewers.

Authors who believe that their article has been rejected unfairly may submit an appeal via our online submission system or by sending an e-mail to the editorial office.

When an editor is author or co-author of a manuscript, she or he is excluded from publication decisions and has no insight into the reviewing process of the article in the manuscript management system.

Intellectual property

If figures or tables from other publications are included in an article, the authors must obtain permission from the rights holder in question to reprint them, covering both print and online publication.

Data sharing

Manuscripts that report the results of clinical trials must contain a data sharing statement.

Final proof

Corresponding authors receive a copy of the article edited and, if necessary, translated by the publisher for approval before final publication.

Post-publication discussions

We welcome debate post publication either through letters to the editor (technical comments) or the comment function at the bottom of every article.

If a correction of a published article is needed it is dealed following the ICMJE guidelines.

Complaints and appeals

Complaints that go beyond editorial decisions can be sent by e-mail to journaloffice[at]emh.ch. They will be treated confidentially and forwarded to the management.

Separation of editorial work and marketing

Journal publishing entails large-scale costs in terms of editing and production work. The higher the quality standards, the greater the ensuing expenses. Just as in daily and consumer press, specialized journals draw an indispensable portion of their financing from the sales of advertising space. Serious magazines, however, are not published for the sake of earning advertising revenue, but sell advertising for the sake of being published. This underlying principle steers all activities at Swiss Medical Publishers EMH. Our editing and marketing teams are strictly divided up, fully preventing the content of our magazines from becoming mired in business-related interests.


EMH guarantees the editorial independence of the journals on the basis of editorial statutes. They adhere to the principles proposed by the World Association of Medical Editors («The Relationship Between Journal Editors-in-Chief and Owners»).

An influence of economic interests on the content is excluded.

Advertising pages and PR articles are clearly marked and can be distinguished from editorial content by their design.


EMH ensures that the advertising opportunities offered comply with the provisions of the Swiss Federal Act on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices, the Regulation on the Advertising of Medicinal Products, the Pharma Code and the guidelines of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. An internal guideline prepared by the executive board complements the legal framework and provides additional guidelines for the selection of advertisers in EMH products. In case of doubt, a commission consisting of the sales team and editorial staff decides on the acceptance or rejection of advertisements.


Basic documents

Questions of publication ethics are regularly discussed in the publishing house and in the editorial boards. We base these discussions on the following basic documents, among others:

Verpassen Sie keinen Artikel!