News & Opinion

News / COPE's eLearning course now live

An eLearning course for editors, developed by COPE, is now live on the website.  Available to members only, the course aims to give editors a deeper understanding of publication ethics and provides practical guidance on how to detect, prevent and handle misconduct.  A press release with more information is available here. To access the course see here.

News / Election of COPE council members Autumn 2011

Voting for the 2 vacancies on COPE council is now open and will remain open until Friday 28 October 2011. All Full and Associate Members are entitled to vote. Please note: there is only one vote per journal title, even for  journals with multiple editors. The vote should be cast by the Member editor, who isusually the Editor-in-Chief, or otherwise by the nominated contact for the journal. See here for more details and to cast your vote.

News / iThenticate publish white paper on how globalization and technology are increasing misconduct in scholarly research

iThenticate have published a white paper titled: Pressure to Publish, How Globalization and Technology are increasing Misconduct in Scholarly Research, with contributions from the COPE Chair Liz Wager.  To read the paper see here.

News / Applicants now being sought for the COPE International Advisory Board

COPE is pleased to announce that applications are now being sought for the COPE international advisory board. This has been established to enable us to gain an understanding of the ethical issues and concerns facing individual countries and regions.  A local point of contact will be appointed to advise and assist COPE in its work to support editors and publishers of peer-reviewed journals in all aspects of publication ethics. For more information and details on how to apply see here.

News / Chinese version of COPE flowcharts now available!

The COPE flowcharts are now available in Chinese on the website.  14 of the full set of 17 flowcharts have been translated, the remaining 3 will be available shortly.  The Chinese version joins Italian and Spanish on the website.  Following soon are: Croatian, Turkish, Korean, Farsi (Persian), Japanese, Brazilian Portugese and Arabic.  We are always looking for new translations. If you are able translate the flowcharts into a language not yet represented, please contact us here.

News / Annual Scientific Congress of Iranian Society of Medical Editors in association with COPE

COPE is very pleased to announce that it will have its first international congress on publication ethics in Shiraz, Iran, 24–25 November 2011. The congress is in association with the Iranian Society of Medical Editors and is supported by Shiraz University of Medical Sciences. The meeting will be held in the five star Homa Hotel (

All individuals working in the field of scientific medical publications as well as those interested in ethical approaches to scientific publication are welcome. International editors as well as Iranian and regional editors will be present.

The seminar is free for COPE members. For more information and to register, please visit the congress website:

Opinion / UK working group on research transparency

The UK Minister for Science has announced the formation of a working group on research transparency which will examine how UK-funded research findings can be made more accessible, with a particular focus on 'academic publications'. A press release is available here.

Opinion / Problems with data availability

A study published in PLoS One by Alsheikh-Ali and colleagues highlights the diversity of data sharing policies in high impact journals and researchers' failure to adhere to policies when they do exist. Only 9% of the 500 papers included links to full online data sets and nearly 60% of the papers covered by a data availability policies failed to follow them properly.

Opinion / Ethics (and legal implications) of science communication

According to a report in Nature, scientists and officials in Italy face legal proceedings about how they communicated risk to the public regarding earthquakes following the major quake which killed more than 300 people in L'Aquila in 2009.

News / Announcement of COPE Council elections

Due to vacancies on Council, we are seeking nominations for two new candidates, as our constitution requires.

These are voluntary positions. Council is responsible for COPE’s policy and management. Council members are expected to attend four meetings a year (in London) as well as take part in subcommittees and other COPE related tasks. It may be possible to attend some meetings by phone. There are also occasional strategy meetings and annual seminars in the UK and North America which we hope Council Members will attend one of. Council members are also trustees of COPE as a charity.

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.

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.

We are particularly seeking applications from journal editors with expertise in areas other than biomedicine, specifically humanities, law and ethics. Publishers and non-native English speakers are also particularly welcome.

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

Those who are interested should send a short CV (no more than 4 pages) plus a covering letter stating what they can contribute to COPE Council. 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.

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 30 September 2011.

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.

Appointment and length of tenure

  • Council members will be appointed by COPE Council for three years, with the possibility of an additional three years.
  • A candidate for Council membership must be nominated by two other current COPE members. If the candidate is the nominated representative of a member, at least one of the nominees for Council membership must not be employed by the same organisation as the nominee.
  • The candidate, or the organisation they represent, must have been a member of COPE for at least one year.

Key responsibilities

  • Act as a Trustee for COPE, as a UK charity
  • Attend and take a full part in quarterly meetings of Council
  • Attend and contribute to quarterly Forum meetings (Council and Forum meetings are held on the same day)
  • Take part in additional policy discussions (usually by email) and approve annual budget
  • Monitor expenditure and supervise the administration of COPE
  • Make appointments to Council and other positions
  • Take part in sub-committees and other tasks as agreed  by Council
  • Represent COPE externally when required to do so by Council

Person specification

  • Good understanding and judgment of business matters
  • Experience of academic publishing (in particular, gained as the editor or publisher of a peer-reviewed publication)
  • Experience of committee work or involvement with charitable organizations
  • Understanding of ethical issues in academic publishing (eg, having published on such matters)
  • 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