Editorial policy

  1. Scope
  2. Editorial process
  3. Peer Review
  4. Ethical principles of research and publication
  5. Vocabulary look-up aid available for use with Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®)
  6. Health Sciences Descriptors DeCS


The Spanish Journal of Prison Health (SJPH) is a publication that provides a voice for the Spanish Society for Prison Health (SSPH). It is published on a quarterly basis and the first issue was released in 1998. The journal accepts for publication any research work concerning basic, clinical or health care issues on any aspect of health and the sciences that is related to or is of interest to prison health from anywhere in the world.

The Spanish Journal of Prison Health (SJPH) consists of the following sections:

  1. Editorial.
  2. Original research articles (originals or brief originals according to length).
  3. Consensus Documents.
  4. Literature reviews.
  5. Special Articles, which cover studies of an ethical-philosophical nature and descriptions of methodology.
  6. Reviews of clinical cases
  7. Images of prison health
  8. Miscellanea
  9. Letters to the Editor

The Editorial Board considers that the SJPH falls within the area of Public Health for thematic description purposes for indexing in medical bibliography data bases, given that epidemiology, prevention and detection of diseases, and the influence of Prison Health on the community are core issues for this journal.
The scope of the journal is global and it accepts work on communicable diseases, mental health, primary health care, forensics, the ethics and deontology of medical practice in prison, management, and in general terms and as mentioned above, on any issue of health and the sciences that is related to or is of interest to prison health.
All the contents of the Journal in its digital format (www.resp.es) have been published in Spanish-English bilingual format since 2010.

Editorial process

The SJPH acknowledges receipt of submitted work, which is reviewed by the Editorial Board and then assessed by two experts that do not form part of the Journal, following the peer review method.

The submitted work shall firstly undergo an editorial review by two members of the Editorial Board of the Journal, who shall consider if the work complies with the Rules for Publication. If not, the work is returned to the authors for correction within a maximum period of 20 days. When the work is shown to comply with the formal requirements, it is sent for external review to decide if it is suitable or not for publication. Work that is reviewed and is considered for publication, subject to modification, should be returned by the authors within 30 days if minor corrections are requested, and in 60 days if the requested corrections are major ones. If any change in the form or background is required for acceptance, the author shall be notified. If appropriate, confirmation of the research data shall be requested, consequently the relevant statistical documents, identification of clinical cases, etc, should be safeguarded until publication.

If there is any disagreement in assessment, the editors reserve the right to make the final decision about the suitability or not of publication. The authors also reserve the right to contact the Clinical Research Ethics Committee that approved the study or the institution or institutions where it was undertaken, to request information about certain aspects of it. The SJPH reserves the right to make changes or insert modifications in the study, so as to achieve a better comprehension thereof, with the proviso that this shall not incur any change to the content. The authors shall be informed of these changes prior to publication of the work and should meet with their approval.

Peer Review

The review system employed by the SJPH is external, confidential and anonymous. All articles received are subject to external review, with the exception of the letters to the editor, editorials and reviews requested by the Editorial Board. The reviewers are selected from professionals of the Committee of Experts, or others that the Editorial Board considers to be most appropiate because of their experience, knowledge and professional profile. Two reviewers per article are employed, and when there is a difference of opinion, the editors can make a final decision or consult a third evaluator. There are also methodological reviewers amongst the members of the Editorial Board along with style reviewers provided by the publishing company.
The following factors have an influence on any decision made by the Editorial Board of the Journal to accept or reject an original:

  • Originality and reproducibility
  • Relevance and innovation.
  • Relevance that fulfils two utility requirements (applicability of results in solving specific problems) and significance (advancement of scientific knowledge).
  • Scientific trustworthiness and validity, in other words, contrasted methodological quality.
  • Presentation: good writing (clarity, brevity, precision), good organisation (logical coherence) and good presentation of material.

A certain order is also followed in the publication of articles. It should be remembered that the journal handles publishing priority criteria, which may be linked to readers’ interests, the number of presented articles awaiting publication and the amount of articles on the same subject.
After the evaluators' reports, the manuscripts are deposited at the editorial offices until it is published. The authors are notified of the evaluation reports, and may make any observations they consider appropriate. In any case, the final decision about publishing an article or not is in the hands of the editors with the support of the Editorial Board.

There is no appeal against decisions to reject and rejected works are not returned to the authors

Ethical principles of research and publication

The Spanish Journal of Prison Health (SJPH) was created in 1998 to provide a voice for the Spanish Society for Prison Health (SSPH) and as a necessary vehicle to express the concerns, initiatives and results of research by health professionals working in Spanish prisons. As is only to be expected, the SJPH was provided with a set of Rules for Publication that has gradually been perfected up to their most recent review and update in 2012. Clinical research on vulnerable groups such as prisoners must strictly comply with standards that ensure ethical correctness, while journals that disseminate the results of this research should for their part demand that their authors comply with them and ensure that this is so in every respect, given that it has been demonstrated that a third of authors of a scientific article have participated in some type of dubious ethical activity when involved in research work and publishing the results1,2, and up to 2% admit that they have forged, falsified or modified data2.

The SJPH adheres to the principles of the Helsinki Declaration (http://www.wma.net/e/policy/b3.htm) in its successive revisions and to the international ethical guidelines for biomedical research on human beings of the Council of International Organisations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) (http://www.cioms.ch/publications/layout_guide2002.pdf), particularly all questions concerning clinical research on vulnerable groups.

Although the essential aspects of the ethical principles that should govern research on these groups is already included in our Rules for Publication, the Board of Directors of the SSPH and the Editorial Board of the SJPH feel that further specification of these principles should be applied, as issues such as conflict of interests, authorship or ethics in the design of research studies on prisoners are not as fully included in them as they should be. The main justifications of these Rules are based on the obligation to publish truthful studies, given that authors set out to modify the opinion of readers about the issue they are reading, and the need for ethical correctness, as they publish research about a vulnerable group that history has demonstrated as being severely and frequently abused by reseach projects.

All the authors that sign a study published in the SJPH should have made a substantial contribution in the creation and design, gathering and analysis of the data and the drafting of the final text of the study. With the exception of multi-centre studies, it is difficult to accept that more than eight authors have made this type of contribution in one single study. The inclusion in the authors list of a "guest writer" (one who signs a study without contributing to its preparation) is not ethical, neither is the exclusion of the opposite figure of the "ghost writer" (one who collaborates in the preparation and does not appear in the list of authors).

The authors are the guarantors of the published study: the SJPH repudiates plagiarism and redundant publications.
The “Acknowledgements” section must make mention people or institutions that have encouraged or facilitated the preparation of the study. The authors should have their permission before including them in this section.

Conflict of interest:
This derives from the relationship betwen the message of conclusions of the research study and its publication, its authors or the institution that sponsors or promotes it. The most frequent conflict is the one caused by the financial assistance for preparation of the study that can lead to bias in the design or the conclusions of the study, forced inclusion of authors and other abuses. There is also a conflict of interest when an author participates in one of the editing processes of the study. Declaration of a conflict of interests is the responsibility of the authors and should always be made, either individually or collectively, given that it is a defence of the study and the integrity of the authors, as well as being a guarantee of authenticity for those who read it. When editors and members of the Editorial Board of the SJPH make a decision about the publication of a study, they may also have a conflict of interests and should declare it, as well as the external reviewers that have some type of relationship with the authors or follow the same line of research as the original that is being assessed. The declaration of a conflict of interests is the individual responsibility of each of these figures.

A declaration of a conflict of interests is not enough in itself for a study to be rejected, but it does oblige the Editorial Board of the Journal to take precautions when deciding about its publication.

Ethical design of the research work:
All the work published in the SJPH should be unedited and should not be simultaneously submitted to another journal for review. All the authors should describe their contribution to the work and should all give verifiable permission for it to be published. Any work sent to the SJPH for publication in which there has been any degree of intervention on the research subjects should include their written informed consent and should have been assessed and endorsed by a Clinical Research Ethics Committee. The research subjects should remain anonymous and the data obtained should be confidential, with no possibility of identification arising from the final text. All the study data should be kept by the authors since the Editorial Board or an external reviewer may ask to see it.
The Editorial Board of the SJPH reserves the right to take any later action if it is found that one of these standards has been violated.


  1. Martinson BC, Anderson MS, De Vries R. Scientists behaving badly. Nature. 2005; 435:737-8.
  2. Fanelli D. How many scientists fabricate and falsify research? A systematic review and meta-analysis of survey data. PLoS One. 2009; 4:e5738


The annex of these standard, signed by all the authors, should be included with the manuscript. After publication of an article, copyright belongs to the SJPH and no work can be partially or completely reproduced without the express authorisation of the Journal.