Other than theCode of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors(PDF, 298 kb) and Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers (PDF, 38 kb), COPE has written guidelines on the following:

Sharing of Information Among Editors-in-Chief Regarding Possible Misconduct

These guidelines have been issued following a COPE Discussion Forum (4 September 2013, and Discussion Document (February 2014, ) on the subject, and it was initiated in the wake of a number of high-profile cases of research misconduct in which the sharing of information between the relevant editors-in-chief (EiCs) was crucial to the final settlement of the cases.  Download PDF (136 KB) © 2015 COPE 

Text recycling guidelines for editors

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. During the development of these guidelines, a wide range of viewpoints were sought from Editors from a variety of fields, including discussion at a COPE forum (

The guidelines cover how to deal with text recycling both in a submitted manuscript and a published article and include situations where text recycling may be acceptable as well as those where it is unlikely to be. For example, it may be entirely appropriate to have overlap in a methods section of a research article (referring to a previously used method) with citation of the original article. However, undisclosed overlap, or overlap in the results, discussion, or conclusions is unlikely to be acceptable.

While individuals will naturally have different views on the acceptability of text recycling, the aim of these guidelines is to provide a summary of the key points for editors to consider when handling particular cases of text recycling. Download PDF (652 kb)

Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing 

COPE is just one of a number of organisations that is seeing a large rise in applications for membership from new journals. Although we very much want to encourage and support legitimate new journals, we are also mindful that many new journals are not currently sufficiently transparent about their business practices and authors in particular may be unable to judge the legitimacy of these journals. Together with OASPADOAJ, and WAME we have therefore compiled a minimum set of criteria that journals will be assessed against  when they apply for membership at one of our organisations.  The full criteria can be seen here and we welcome feedback. We encourage authors and anyone else who is unfamiliar with a journal to use these criteria in assessing a journal.   Download PDF (143 kb) © 2014 COPE 

COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers

Peer review in all its forms plays an important role in ensuring the integrity of the scholarly record. The process depends to a large extent on trust, and requires that everyone involved behaves responsibly and ethically. Peer reviewers play a central and critical part in the peer-review process, but too often come to the role without any guidance and unaware of their ethical obligations. COPE has produced some guidelines which set out the basic principles and standards to which all peer reviewers should adhere during the peer-review process in research publication. The aim has been to make them generic so that they can be applied across disciplines. Download PDF (445 kb) © 2013 COPE. These guidelines are available to use under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license A press release on the launch is also available (download PDF 90 kb).

Cooperation between research institutions and journals on research integrity cases: guidance from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)

Recognizing the important role that institutions have in investigating cases of suspected misconduct, but also the difficulties that sometimes arise when journals and institutions try to work together and share information on such cases, COPE has developed guidelines for cooperation between research institutions and journals on research integrity cases. Download PDF (180 kb) © 2012 COPE 

Guidelines for retracting articles

The COPE guidelines on retraction, issued 1 December 2009, can be downloaded here. Download PDF (120 kb). © 2009 COPE. 

A Short Guide to Ethical Editing for New Editors

By Margaret Rees

Becoming an editor of a journal is an exciting but daunting task especially if you are working alone without day to day contact with editorial colleagues. This short guide aims to summarize key issues and to provide links to relevant pages of the COPE website as well as those of other organisations. 

Download PDF (144 kb)

Guidelines for the Board of Directors of Learned Society Journals

Download PDF (38 kb)

Guidance for Editors: Research, Audit and Service Evaluations

Regulations regarding what type of study requires ethical approval vary worldwide.  This may lead to editors receiving submissions that do not meet the journal’s normal requirement for ethical approval. This guidance has therefore been produced by COPE as an aid to journal editorial teams who are required to review such manuscripts. Download PDF ( 59 kb)

Guidance for Editors: Research, Audit and Service Evaluations

Download PDF (1 mb)


How to handle authorship disputes:a guide for new researchers

By Tim Albert and Liz Wager

This document aims to help new researchers prevent and resolve authorship problems.
In particular it provides:

  • suggestions for good authorship practice that should reduce the incidence of such dilemmas,
  • advice on what to do when authorship problems do arise, and
  • a glossary of key concepts in authorship, with some reading lists and websites for those who wish to take this further.

Download PDF (64 kb)


These guidelines are available to use under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license

Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
Non-commercial — You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
No Derivative Works — You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder, COPE (contact us here)