The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) was established in 1997 by a small group of journal editors in the UK but now has over 10 000 members worldwide from all academic fields. Membership is open to editors of academic journals and others interested in publication ethics.
COPE provides advice to editors and publishers on all aspects of publication ethics and, in particular, how to handle cases of research and publication misconduct. It also provides a forum for its members to discuss individual cases. COPE does not investigate individual cases but encourages editors to ensure that cases are investigated by the appropriate authorities (usually a research institution or employer).
All COPE members are expected to follow the Code of Conduct for Journal Editors.
COPE has produced an eLearning course for new editors. Eleven modules in total, the course currently includes: An Introduction to Publication Ethics, Plagiarism, and Authorship among others. COPE also funds research, organises annual seminars globally and has created an audit tool for members to measure compliance with its Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors.
The COPE Strategic Plan for 2016-18 contains more information about COPE's vision, development and the purpose it serves to publication ethics.
What guidance is available on this website (for members and non-members)?
- COPE Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors
- Flowcharts on how to handle common ethical problems
- Other COPE guidelines (eg on retractions)
- Sample letters (to adapt for use)
- Database of all cases discussed at COPE Forum (including podcasts of the discussion (where available), the advice given and the outcome of cases)
Benefits of COPE membership
COPE members can:
- receive advice on individual cases via the Forum
- access the eLearning package
- use the ethical audit tool to see how well their journals match COPE’s guidelines
- use the COPE logo in their journal
- stand for election to COPE Council