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Siri Lunde Strømme

Council Title: 
Elected Council Member

Molde, Norway

Term of office on council:
2021-2024 First Term

Siri is the Scientific Editor at the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association.  Publication ethics is one of her main areas of responsibility, and she deals with ethical issues in the Journal on a daily basis.  Siri received her medical degree from the University of Oslo. She has worked at the Journal since 2008. Previously she was affiliated with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Competing interests statement: 

2022 competing interest statement for Siri Lunde Strømme (PDF, 105 KB)

Getting to know you

An interview with Siri Lunde Strømme

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

I have been active within the COPE community for several years, as a participant at webinars and meetings. In my current position, publication ethics is one of my main areas of responsibility. This involves keeping a keen eye on the fields of research and publication ethics, and organising workshops concerning these subjects.

What are the most common publishing ethics issues you and your colleagues have faced?

As a general medical journal which publishes case reports and case series, questions concerning confidentiality and patient consent come up on a regular basis. In addition, we often face authorship issues, as well as conflicts of interest among authors, reviewers and editors.

Are there any ethics issues which are unique or more common  in your field, or country?  Anything you have experienced that seems more of an issue in a particular demographic?

The peer review process for my journal can be quite challenging - an open access journal in a small country, publishing primarily in the original language, Norwegian, raises some particular ethical issues. We are limited to selecting reviewers who understand Norwegian, and the professional environment can be quite small, especially when it comes to subspecialties where "everyone" knows each other. Confidentiality issues are perhaps more pressing in a little country, as it is easier to identify patients, even though they are anonymised. Finally, submissions in Norwegian limit our opportunity to check for overlap with previous publications, since we cannot apply Cross Check or similar tools.

Are there any tools or services, or processes you think would help enhance awareness or engagement with good ethical conduct?

I believe simple tools such as flowcharts and standard checklists work to ensure good ethical conduct from researchers, editors, reviewers and publishers. One such example is Think. Check. Submit. The COPE flowcharts are useful and valued in our journal. With the emerging preprint industry, I think there is a need for more information, discussion and guidelines on this issue too.

What do you think are the most urgent ethical concerns we are currently facing?

One of the more pressing issues today, as I see it, is the rapid growth in the number of journals. Maintaining standards of publication ethics and scientific quality requires time, knowledge and resources. A concern is whether smaller, recently founded journals will be able to keep up with those standards. The Covid-19 pandemic and the need for rapid distribution of research has accelerated the publication of preprints within the medical field. This practice has advantages and disadvantages, and there is a strong need for further discussion, international standards and guidelines. I am also worried about the emerging predatory publishing industry. Poor quality papers and unreliable research threaten the scientific record, and ultimately public trust in science.

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 have a broad interest in publication ethics, and would very much like to contribute to COPE's educational activities, particularly with diversity issues, and projects related to patient privacy and consent. Over the years, I have come to increasingly appreciate the value of knowledge exchange in the international publication community and to recognize the importance of maintaining international standards in our daily editorial work. I appreciate the opportunity to join the COPE Council, and I enter this position with great motivation and humility.