The Balkan Medical Journal (Balkan Med J) is a peer-reviewed open-access international journal that publishes interesting clinical and experimental research conducted in all fields of medicine, interesting case reports and clinical images, invited reviews, editorials, letters, comments and letters to the Editor including reports on publication and research ethics. The journal is the official scientific publication of the Trakya University Faculty of Medicine, Edirne, Turkey and is printed six times a year, in January, March, May, July, September and November. The language of the journal is English.
The journal is based on independent and unbiased double-blinded peer-reviewed principles. Only unpublished papers that are not under review for publication elsewhere can be submitted. Balkan Medical Journal does not accept multiple submission and duplicate submission even though the previous one was published in a different language. The authors are responsible for the scientific content of the material to be published. The Balkan Medical Journal reserves the right to request any research materials on which the paper is based.
The Balkan Medical Journal encourages and enables academicians, researchers, specialists and primary care physicians of Balkan countries to publish their valuable research in all branches of medicine. The primary aim of the journal is to publish original articles with high scientific and ethical quality and serve as a good example of medical publications in the Balkans as well as in the World.
The Editorial Board of the Balkan Medical Journal and the Publisher adheres to the principles of the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), the Council of Science Editors (CSE), the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), the World Medical Association (WMA), the US Office of Research Integrity (ORI), the European Association of Science Editors (EASE), and the International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (ISMTE).
The Balkan Medical Journal is indexed in Science Citation Index Expanded (Web of Science), Journal Citation Reports, PubMed/MEDLINE, PubMed Central, Scopus, EMBASE, DOAJ, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts, CINAHL, EBSCO, Global Health, Index Copernicus, and TÜBİTAK ULAKBİM TR Index. Printed copies of the journal are distributed to over 150 university libraries in 14 Balkan countries and all around the World. All articles are also available in PDF format on our website (www.balkanmedicaljournal.org) and PubMed Central and can be downloaded free of charge.
The Balkan Medical Journal’s mission is to distribute and expand medical data to the World as well as build a supportive and vibrant community of scholars to connect and explore ideas by publishing articles related to all fields of medicine. In addition to the educational material and links available on the journal’s webpage, the Balkan Medical Journal Editorial Board has also been organizing educational meetings in the subjects of medical research, writing and scientific ethics.
The Balkan Medical Journal believes that quality and ethical research and publication will lead to the progress of medical sciences and healthcare in Balkan countries as well as worldwide.
All manuscripts submitted for publication are strictly reviewed for their originality, methodology, importance, quality, ethical nature and suitability for the journal. The Balkan Medical Journal uses a well-constructed scheme for the evaluation process. The editor-in-chief has full authority over the editorial and scientific content of the Balkan Medical Journal and the timing of publication of the content.
The whole editorial and peer review process can be divided into 20 successive steps:
1. 1st technical review by the Editorial Secretary
2. 1st review by the Editor-in-Chief: [immediate reject, immediate revision or further evaluation]
3. 1st review by the Associate Editors
4. 1st similarity check
5. 1st evaluation at the weekly Editorial Board Meeting
6. 2nd review by the Editor-in-Chief: [immediate reject, immediate revision or further evaluation]
7. 2nd detailed technical review by the Editorial Secretary
8. 1st review by two or more external reviewers
9. 1st review by a Biostatistician
10. Revisions (if needed)
11. 2nd similarity recheck
12. 2nd evaluation by the Associate Editors
13. 2nd evaluation at the weekly Editorial Board Meeting
14. 3rd review by the Editor-in-Chief [reject or revision]
15. Assignment of DOI number
16. Copy editing
17. Galley proof preparation
18. Final review by the Editorial Secretary, Associate and Biostatics Editors and the Editor-in-Chief
19. 3rd similarity check
Technical reviews are typically processed in a few days after submission. The initial evaluation usually takes 1 to 3 weeks in 90% of the manuscripts. However, nearly 80% of manuscripts are rejected at this stage. For stage 7, it depends on authors’ attention to the instructions and the time they provide the absent documents. The publication process after submission may take 1 to 12 months. However, all accepted manuscripts are assigned with a DOI number following their acceptance and copy editing, and they are published Ahead of Print prior to their inclusion in their scheduled issue.
Very few manuscripts are rejected at the 2nd stage. About one-fifth of manuscripts are accepted for further evaluation at the 6th stage. The remaining manuscripts may be accepted at the 14th stage.
Overall, the acceptance rate of the Balkan Medical Journal is between 5% and 10%, and the average time from submission to decision is less than one month (25 days for rejected papers, and for accepted papers, 105 days for the first revision request by the external reviewers). The average time from submission to decision for accepted papers is 140 days because the editors and reviewers of the Balkan Medical Journal usually need to assist authors to improve their papers through several revisions to increase the quality of the articles published in the journal.
The Balkan Medical Journal is committed to the highest standards of research and publication ethics, and does not allow any form of plagiarism. All submitted manuscripts are screened with plagiarism software at least two times during the evaluation process to detect instances of overlapping and similar text. High similarity scores even more than 10% may lead rejection of a manuscript even after acceptance. The editors will act in accordance with the relevant international rules of publication and research ethics (COPE guidelines, ICMJE Recommendations, CSE White Paper on Publication Ethics, WAME resources, WMA policies and ORI) if any ethical misconduct is suspected.
In accordance with the journal's policy, an approval of research protocols by an ethics committee in accordance with international agreements “WMA Declaration of Helsinki - Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects (last updated: October 2013, Fortaleza, Brazil)” , "Guide for the care and use of laboratory animals (8th edition, 2011)" and/or “International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals (2012)” is required for all research studies. If the submitted manuscript does not include ethics committee approval, it will be reviewed according to COPE's guideline (Guidance for Editors: Research, Audit and Service Evaluations). If the study should have ethical approval, authors will be asked to provide ethical approval in order to proceed the review process. If they cannot provide ethical approval, their manuscript will be rejected and also their institutions and when needed, the related bodies in their country will be informed that such studies must have ethics committee approval. If they provide approval, review of the manuscript will continue.
If the study does not need ethics committee approval after the editorial board’s review, the authors will be asked to provide an ethics committee approval or a document given by a related independent committee that indicates the study does not need ethics committee approval according to the research integrity rules in their country. If the authors provide either an approval or a document showing that ethics approval is not needed, the review process can be continued. If the authors cannot provide either documents, the manuscript may be rejected.
For articles concerning experimental research on humans, a statement should be included that shows informed consent of patients and volunteers was obtained following a detailed explanation of the procedures that they may undergo. The journal may request a copy of the Ethics Committee Approval received from the relevant authority. Informed consent must also be obtained for case reports. More details on the ethical principles of the journal may be found at the "Ethical Guidelines" and the "Instructions to Reviewers" pages.
The Balkan Medical Journal’s editorial review process is in accordance with the Good Editorial Practice set by international editorial organizations (ICMJE, EASE, WAME, COPE, CSE,…). WAME indicates that “conflict of interest exists when an author, reviewer, or editor in the publication process (submission of manuscripts, peer review, editorial decisions, and communication between authors, reviewers and editors) has a competing interest that could unduly influence his or her responsibilities (academic honesty, unbiased conduct and reporting of research, and integrity of decisions or judgments) in the publication process”.
The Balkan Medical Journal requires that each author, reviewer, and editor must disclose to the editor-in-chief any conflict of interest related to family, personal, financial, political or religious issues as well as any competing interest outlined above at the WAME’s definition. Whether or not a conflict of interest and financial support exist, they must be declared at the ICMJE Conflict of Interest form as well as at the end of the manuscripts. If a reviewer, an associate editor, or a section editor has a conflict of interest and/or believes that it is not appropriate to be a reviewer, or an editor for a given manuscript, the reviewer or the editor should resign from the assignment. The Editorial Board members of the Balkan Medical Journal, who handle submissions and recommend decisions to the Editor in chief (EIC, Managing Editor and Section Editors) may also submit their own manuscripts to the journal as all of them are active researchers and scientists. However, they cannot take place at any stage on the editorial decision of their manuscripts in order to minimize any possible bias. They will be treated like any other author, and if any, final acceptance of such manuscripts can only be made by the positive recommendation of at least two external reviewers, who are not the members of decision-making Editorial Board.
Authors should not contact any of the section editors during the review process. All necessary information regarding the process of a manuscript can be obtained from the editorial office. However, the names of the handling editor and the reviewers are not given to the author(s). Due to the Balkan Medical Journal’s double-blinded review principles, the names of authors and reviewers are not known to the other.
Please refer to the “conflict of interest statement and copyright form” section below for the conflict of interest declaration for authors. For a conflict of interest statement for reviewers, please refer to the “Instructions to Reviewers” page.
Subscriptions/Permissions and Reprints/Advertisements
Free full-text articles can be accessed from the following link: www.balkanmedicaljournal.org; with no charge. Applications for subscriptions, permissions, reprints and advertisements should be made to the following addresses.
Editor in Chief: Zafer Kocak
Address: Balkan Medical Journal, Trakya University Faculty of Medicine, 22030
Phone: +90 284 235 76 41/1074
Fax: +90 284 236 10 74
Galenos Publishing House
Address: Molla Gürani Mah. Kaçamak Sk. No: 21/1 34093, İstanbul, Turkey
Phone: +90 (212) 621 99 25
Fax: +90 (212) 621 99 27
Web page: www.galenos.com.tr
All opinions and reports within the articles that are published in the Balkan Medical Journal are the personal opinions of the authors. The Editors, the publisher and the owner of the Balkan Medical Journal do not accept any responsibility for these articles.
The print journal is printed on acid-free paper.