In early 2019 COPE, with the support of Routledge (part of the Taylor & Francis Group), commissioned primary research with Shift Learning to better understand the publication ethics landscape for editors working on journals within the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The research used a two-stage methodology: first exploring the issues qualitatively via two online focus groups with a diverse group of arts, humanities, and social sciences journal editors, before creating and disseminating an online survey. This is COPE's first survey to identify publication ethics issues specifically for Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (AHSS) journals.
Completed by more than 650 journal editors (not solely COPE members), the study showed the following key findings:
- 64% of respondents encountered issues addressing language and writing quality barriers while seeking to remain inclusive.
- 58% reported detecting plagiarism as the most serious issue they dealt with, followed by fraudulent submissions (44%) and data or image fabrication (31%).
- Recognising and dealing with bias in peer reviewer comments was an issue encountered by 55% of journal editors.
- Journal editors felt least confident in dealing with data and/or image fabrication issues (24%), fraudulent submissions (23%), and intellectual property and copyright issues (21%).
The report takes you through the study methodology, its findings on issues identified by the 650 editors who responded, and their awareness of COPE and our resources.
In the appendices, we break down responses for each of the eight broad subject categories: Arts; Business, Economics and Finance; Education; Humanities; Law; Library and Information Science; Multi and Interdisciplinary; and Social Sciences to show which issues they each rated as most serious, frequent, and prevalent - and those they felt least confident addressing.
The study also compares the responses of our AHSS respondents to those of STM journals in a study by Wager et al in 2009.
There is the opportunity to build on these research findings by sharing your feedback.
About this resource
Author Developed by COPE Council with support from Routledge (part of the Taylor & Francis Group) and Shift Learning
Version 1 August 2019
How to cite this
Exploring publication ethics in the arts, humanities, and social sciences: A COPE study 2019 https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.4.1
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