News & Opinion

A common issue encountered by editors is overlap of text with an author’s own previously published work, particularly with the increasing use of plagiarism detection software. This practice is known as ‘text recycling’ (also sometimes referred to as ‘self-plagiarism’). Opinions on the acceptability of text recycling vary greatly and it can be a challenge for editors to know how to deal with it once it has been identified.

In response to this uncertainty, the biology and medical editors at BioMed Central, in collaboration with COPE, have developed a set of guidelines to help editors handle cases of text recycling. These can be downloaded from here

COPE is very pleased to announce the appointment of two new COPE council members, Christopher Leonard and Muhammad Irfan. Following our recent call for nominations, two candidates were short-listed by council following an interview. In accordance with our regulations, where the number of short-listed candidates is equal to the number of vacancies (ie, the candidates are unopposed), the nominees are appointed if approved by a majority of the members of Council. Hence Christopher Leonard and Muhammad Irfan were appointed to COPE council following approval of COPE Council.

Christopher Leonard is the Editorial Director at the Doha-based academic publisher, Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals. Muhammad Irfan is currently working as Head, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Peshawar Medical College, Peshawar, Pakistan, and is the managing editor of the Journal of Postgraduate Medical Institute, Peshawar.

We very much look forward to working with them.

Register for COPE's 5th North American seminar, which will be held in collaboration with ISMTE (International Society of Managing & Technical Editors), on Wednesday 13 August 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. For more details and to register, see here

Download the agenda and materials for the COPE Forum meeting 8 July 2014 here (PDF, 506kb)

The latest issue of COPE Digest: Publication Ethics in Practice is now available on the COPE website. Click here to read.

COPE is delighted to announce its 3rd Australian Seminar, which will take place at the Karstens Melbourne Conference Rooms, 123 Queen Street, Melbourne, Australia, on Monday 23 June 2014. The theme of the seminar is “Publication ethics from student to professional”. For more information and to register, click here.

The latest issue of COPE Digest: Publication Ethics in Practice is now available on the COPE website. Click here to read.

The latest issue of COPE Digest: Publication Ethics in Practice is now available on the COPE website.  Click here to read.  

Due to vacancies on Council, we are seeking nominations for two new candidates. These are voluntary positions. Council is responsible for COPE’s policy and management. Council members are required to attend four meetings a year (two of which will usually be in person in London; the others may be attended by phone or other media). There is also a strategy meeting every 18/24 months which Council Members are expected to attend in person. Annual seminars are held in a number of locations worldwide and it is expected that Council Members will attend one of these. COPE has subcommittees, and Council Members will also be expected to be involved in other COPE related tasks, which are undertaken electronically. It is anticipated that the work of Council Members should amount to about 1–2 days per month, in addition to attendance at meetings.

In accordance with COPE’s constitution, the candidate, or the organisation they represent, must have been a member of COPE for at least 1 year.

Candidates for Council membership will be short-listed by council following an interview. Short-listed Ordinary Council Members shall be elected by the Full and Associate Members with voting rights or (if the candidates are unopposed) by the approval of the Council.

Further details, including a job description, can be found below.

Those who are interested should contact the COPE administrator. A candidate for Council membership should be nominated by two other current members of COPE, at least one of whom must not be employed by the same organisation as the nominee.

The closing date for applications is 28 April 2014.

COPE council member: role description

Purpose of role

  • To be responsible, together with other council members, for the policy and management of the Committee on Publication Ethics.
  • To be a trustee of COPE as a charity in accordance with UK legislation.

Key responsibilities

  • Act as a Trustee for COPE, as a UK charity.
  • Attend and take a full part in quarterly meetings of Council, either in person at the face-to-face meetings or by webinar/phone.
  • Attend and contribute to quarterly Forum meetings (these are by webinar).
  • Attend and take a full part in the strategy meeting of Council (usually every 18/24 months).
  • Take part in additional policy and advisory discussions (usually by email) and approve the annual budget.
  • Monitor expenditure and supervise the administration of COPE.
  • Make appointments to Council and other positions.
  • Take part in subcommittees and other tasks, as agreed by Council.
  • Represent COPE externally when required to do so by Council, including speaking at meetings/conferences about COPE and publication ethics if required.

Person specification

  • Experience of academic publishing (in particular, gained as the editor or publisher of a peer-reviewed publication).
  • Understanding of ethical issues in academic publishing (eg, having published on or with experience of such matters).
  • Experience of committee work or involvement with charitable organizations.
  • Expertise that will benefit COPE, such as writing, editing, publishing, training, law, accountancy, charity administration, public relations, human resources, fundraising, etc.
  • Sufficient time to commit to COPE activities, including attending meetings and contributing to the work of Council as required.
  • Good understanding and judgment of business matters.

COPE has published a new discussion document on 'Sharing of information among editors-in-chief regarding possible misconduct'. (Click here for the document). This guidance has been drafted following a COPE Discussion Forum, in the wake of a number of high profile cases of research misconduct in which the sharing of information between the relevant editors-inchief (EiCs) was crucial to the final settlement of the cases.

Discussion documents aim to stimulate discussion about an issue and are not formal COPE guidelines.  We encourage journal editors and publishers to comment (whether or not they are COPE members), and also welcome comments from researchers/authors and academic institutions. Please email all comments to Natalie Ridgeway, COPE Operations Manager here.