News & Opinion

According to Retraction Watch, the co-editor-in-chief of Antioxidants & Redox Signaling has been dismissed from his position after being found guilty of data fabrication and falsification, and having several papers retracted.  This is also reported in the journal in an editorial .

A research group from Croatia has produced a useful paper on their experiences of using various kinds of text-matching software to detect plagiarism. They found 11% of papers submitted to the Croatian Medical Journal from 2009-10 included plagiarised material. Their paper is published in Science and Engineering Ethics.

Cameron et al observe that most scientists publishing in English-language journals are not native English speakers and discuss the implications for training about plagiarism in an article in Academic Medicine


COPE and the BMJ have organized a high-level meeting on research misconduct with speakers from several countries. The topic is also covered by an editorial in the BMJ. The editorial is available to BMJ subscribers here, and on the COPE website here.

The BMJ has published a review of different countries' approaches to handling research misconduct (available here).

According to the BBC (see here), Nature is being sued for libel after making allegations that an editor published his own work in his journal and circumvented normal peer review processes.

The slides and audio of the three presentations at the recent North American seminar are now available for downloading here. Listen to Lisa Bero discuss ghost and guest authorship, Dave Kochalko talk about ORCID, and Robert Guralnik discuss authorship issues in mathematics.

COPE is seeking applications for the position of COPE Ombudsman.
This is a voluntary position but COPE will cover travel expenses. The Ombudsman adjudicates:

  • complaints brought against COPE by its members;
  • appeals against COPE rulings or advice relating to complaints against COPE members for not following the COPE codes of conduct for editors and publishers;
  • if two or more members cannot agree on how to handle a complaint involving both their publications.

Although it is impossible to predict future workload, we are happy to note that COPE has only required the Ombudsman to consider 2 cases over the last 6 years (although one case was very protracted). (Earlier reports from the retiring Ombudsman may be viewed here.

The Ombudsman is expected to attend COPE council meetings (four meetings a year in London) but is not a voting member of Council. It may be possible to attend some meetings by phone.

Those who are interested should send a short CV (no more than 4 pages) plus a covering letter stating why they think they would be suitable for the position. We hope to appoint somebody with both insight into publication ethics and the work of COPE, and an understanding or experience of conducting investigations or arbitration.

Further information can be obtained from the COPE Administrator, Linda Gough, to whom applications and nominations can be emailed.

The closing date for applications is Friday 27 January 2012.

COPE member editors from developing countries are invited to apply for one of two scholarships to attend COPE’s European seminar and annual general meeting, to be held in London on March 16th, 2012. 

This will cover two nights’ hotel accommodation in London and round-trip (economy class) airfare. Interested editors should send a short CV (no more than 4 pages) and letter of application explaining why they would benefit from attending this meeting to the COPE Administrator here . The deadline for applications is Friday 13 January 2012.

Download the Winter issue of Ethical Editing, the newsletter from COPE.
This issue's theme is ''Ethics around the globe''. We would very much welcome any feedback or comments you may have. Please contact us via the website.