News & Opinion

News / COPE North American Seminar and Forum 2012

COPE is pleased to announce its 4th North American Seminar and Forum. The COPE Forum will take place on the afternoon of 18 October (2–5 pm) followed by a whole day Seminar on 19 October.
The theme of this year’s Seminar is “Correcting the literature”. More details can be found here.

News / COPE Forum agenda and materials: 18 June 2012 meeting

The next COPE Forum meeting is being held on Monday 18 June 2012, 3-5pm, in the Council Chamber, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), 5-11 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8SH. All COPE members are welcome to attend, whether or not they are presenting a case. Download the agenda and materials here (PDF, 180kb)

News / Ethical Editing – Summer 2012 issue

Download the Summer issue of Ethical Editing, the newsletter from COPE. This issue's theme is '' Correcting the literature''.

We would very much welcome any feedback or comments you may have. Please contact us via the website.

News / COPE Research Grant - deadline 1 June 2012

The closing date for applications for COPE's research grant is 1 June 2012.  Any COPE member can apply for a grant (up to £5000) for a research project into publication ethics. See for more details and an application form.

Opinion / What constitutes 'self-plagiarism'?

Last month, Nature News blog reported on an emminent chemist who was investigated for 'self-plagiarism' or duplicate publication.  Apparently a number of paragraphs were almost identical in a number of papers he published.  The most recent paper, published in Journal of the American Chemical Association, has since been retracted with the statement: "This article was removed by the publisher due to possible copyright concerns. The Journal’s Editor is following established procedure to determine whether a violation of ACS Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research has occurred."  

Read the Nature news item and comments from readers here.  What are your views on self-plagiarism?  Let us know in the comments below.

UPDATE: here is the latest on this from Retraction Watch.

Opinion / Nature discusses proposed libel reforms in the UK

An article in Nature discusses the proposed libel reform law that was included in last week's Queen's Speech.  This legislation directly addresses the concerns of researchers and scientific groups. You can read the full article here.

News / COPE receives top award from Council of Science Editors

COPE has been awarded CSE's highest honour for its significant contribution to improving scientific communication by promoting high editorial standards.

The Meritorious Achievement award will be presented to Dr Virginia Barbour, Chair of the COPE council, in a ceremony scheduled for the CSE Annual Meeting, which will be held this year in Seattle, Washington, USA on 20-21 May 2012.

"We are delighted to receive this prestigious award from CSE and to join the distinguished list of individuals and organisations that have been honoured for their meritorious achievement" says Dr Barbour. "Working with like-minded organisations is a fundamental part of COPE's work and this award underlines the increasingly important role we are playing in the international scientific publishing community.

"The importance of ethics, specifically publication ethics, has never been more critical in global research and publishing. COPE's expansion in membership and activity is a reflection of how seriously editors worldwide take their role in ensuring standards of publication ethics are upheld."

The full press release can be seen here.

News / Appointment of new COPE Ombudsman

COPE is very pleased to announce the appointment of the new COPE Ombudsman, Suzanne Morris. Suzanne Morris is the Postgraduate Coordinator at the Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland, Australia. Suzanne also holds the role of Research Integrity Officer at the University of Queensland. Suzanne is passionate about research integrity and developing skills in research higher degree students and early career researchers to help them negotiate the path to achieving successful research careers. Suzanne is also a well known speaker on the subject of negotiating for authorship and author order.

The COPE Ombudsman is a voluntary position. 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; or if two or more members cannot agree on how to handle a complaint involving both their publications.

News / Election of COPE council members May 2012

Voting for the 5 vacancies on COPE council is now open and will remain open until Wednesday 23 May 2012. 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 is usually the Editor-in-Chief, or otherwise by the nominated contact for the journal. See here for more details and to cast your vote.

Opinion / Nature Editorial on Publishing Risky Research

There has been much discussion recently on how journals handle risky or "dual use" research - ie research that has the potential to be used for harm. A Nature Editorial ( now discusses where things stand with regard to a pair of papers submitted to Science and Nature of papers reporting mammalian transmissibility of avian flu as a result of artificial genetic manipulation. One paper is now published in Nature (