Publication bias arising from an editor’s activities

Case number:

Case text (Anonymised)

The committee’s attention has been drawn to alleged publication bias in Journal X.  It is alleged that an editor on X had invited a young trainee in radiology to author some 14 commentaries over the past 5 years.  His most recent commentary draws attention to one important study from France but otherwise covers the same territory as his previous commentaries without mention of relevant contrary viewpoints. Five of the 12 articles cited are by the commentator and/or the editor in question. Why has commentary on a particular field been monopolised over five years by a graduate student with little breadth of experience in the subject? Why have respected authorities been overlooked? Why has a particular viewpoint been allowed to dominate Journal X when contrary and broader views exist? Most importantly, has favouritism for a particular commentator and/or viewpoint been allowed to influence other articles in this field of research submitted to Journal X? How should the editor in chief respond to these allegations?


_ This is a complaint about an editor and is not in COPE’s remit. It is the responsibility of the editor in chief to respond, and if necessary, to take the matter up with the journal’s ombudsman. _ As COPE was contacted, the chairman will write to the accuser, say the matter was discussed, and that the editor in chief will refer the matter to the ombudsman as necessary.

Follow up: 

The complaint was deemed unfounded by the ombudsman.