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Kim Eggleton

Council Title: 
Elected Council Member

Bristol, UK

Term of office on council:
2021-2024 First Term

Kim is Research Integrity & Inclusion Manager at IOP Publishing, with responsibility for the company's ethical policies and procedures. Kim also leads on IOPP’s strategy and actions on inclusion and diversity. Kim completed her undergraduate degree in publishing in 2003 then joined Emerald Group Publishing working on A&I products. With experience working for both commercial and not-for-profit publishers, Kim has managed journals and books in humanities and social sciences as well as STM. In 2016 Kim joined IOP Publishing managing one of the in-house peer review teams, beginning her current role in 2019. Kim also has an MSc in International Publishing Management, and an MBA.

Competing interests statement: 

2021 competing interest statement for Kim Eggleton (PDF, 109 KB)

Getting to know you

An interview with Kim Eggleton

What work have you been involved in that has led you to your position on COPE Council?

Since starting my publishing career in 2004 I’ve almost always been dealing with one or more ethical cases and am grateful have been given the opportunity to develop research integrity as a specialism - something I’m conscious not many people have the opportunity to do. I’ve been a staunch supporter of COPE for years and use the COPE resources every day. To have the opportunity to contribute to such an influential organisation is a genuine privilege.

What are the most common publishing ethics issues you and your colleagues face, and what do you think are the most urgent ethical concerns which need addressing?

The cases we see most often are plagiarism and authorship disputes, and quite often the two are intertwined. Integrity education has really improved over the years, but I am concerned that a high proportion of misconduct is calculated rather than borne out of ignorance. Unfortunately, it’s a consequence of the “publish or perish” mentality of priorities and reward systems currently in place. For example, I am deeply concerned about falsification of identities of co-authors or reviewers. This seems to be on the rise, despite attempts to prevent it. I think the answer lies in working with technology providers and institutions to find and manage a solution together.

Anecdotally I’m seeing an increase in authors requesting withdrawal (retraction) shortly after publication, often with vague explanation. My suspicion is they’ve submitted to multiple publications and had a “more attractive” journal offer them acceptance. I make it clear that we need a very good reason to retract, and retracting an article doesn’t mean you’re free to publish it elsewhere. This often comes as a shock!

Equally tricky to resolve are cases of translated plagiarism – articles taken from non-English language repositories or journals translated into English. There aren’t any effective tools out there that can detect this type of misconduct. A similar tool that could save so much wasted effort is one which checks against all other submission systems for parallel submissions.

On a personal level, type of misconduct aside, some recent cases have definitely built up my resilience. There’s a lot at stake for researchers when misconduct is being discussed, and I’ve been on the receiving end of some pretty horrible communications, which is an aspect of this type of work that we don’t talk about much.

Are there any areas or aspects of your work, or academic publishing in general, that you feel are missing guidelines or standards that you think would be useful?

I think books and conference proceedings have been sorely neglected, although I’m pleased that COPE are considering broadening their advice to cover these types of products. I think there’s potentially a whole new sector of advice that could be created for conference organisers, to help them ensure their events and subsequent proceedings are of a good ethical standard.

Putting my diversity and inclusivity hat on, I’m keen to see some guidance for editors in how to help make their products more inclusive, for example, making unbiased reviewer selections. I believe this will increasingly be scrutinised, as it should be. It would be healthy for journals to declare the demographics of their editorial boards, submitting authors and invited reviewers (in the interests of everyone having equal access of opportunity).

What are you hoping to get your teeth into at COPE?  Are there any projects in particular you would like to get involved in, or any initiatives you have in mind?

I’m really keen to help craft some advice for conference proceedings journals, as they operate so differently and some of the existing COPE advice doesn’t apply, or there are gaps in coverage. I’m keen to work with other members to find some technological solutions to common problems, for example parallel submission and false email addresses. Lastly I’m a big Twitter fan, and always interested in helping out with social media on behalf of COPE, if needed!