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Duplicate publication in a non-English language journal


Two authors submitted a case report which was interesting but not written in the style of the journal. The editor therefore invited the authors to rewrite the case report, and resubmit it. They did so within a week. The case report was sent out for peer review, accepted and published.


Incorrect allegations from the head of an institute?


After a number of appeals and revisions, and having satisfied ourselves about the results being “too good to be true”, we eventually accepted a paper. In September 2007, we received a letter from the head of the institute (and also a member of the university ethics committee) expressing concern about the paper.


Allegation of fraud and insider trading


A manuscript was submitted to our journal describing a clinical trial funded by a commercial sponsor with almost all authors being either employees or having financial ties to the company. Although generally favourable, during the extensive peer review process several reviewers raised concerns about the data being “too good to be true”. The editors sought additional statistical advice from two further statisticians, who felt there was no evidence of fraud.


Retraction of article from 1994


Professor A and professor B has been in a dispute over a certain type of treatment for over 15 years. Professor A has accused professor B of killing a patient while he was (in professor A’s view) doing research on the patient without consent.


Possible plagiarism case


One of the referees of our journal has brought to our attention a potential case of plagiarism.

The referee feels that the a manuscript submitted to our journal plagiarises an article published in another journal. The authors are from an institute in a far-eastern country.

We would be grateful if COPE could provide an opinion on this issue, as well as advice on what would be the best course of action.


Potential case of plagiarism


One of the referees of our journal has brought to our attention a potential case of plagiarism.

The referee feels that the a manuscript submitted to our journal, representing a retrospective study of a cohort of patients with a particular condition, plagiarises an article published in another journal in 2003. The authors are from an institute in a middle-eastern country.

The submitted paper contains numerous full paragraphs identical to those in the previous paper. 


Ethical dilemma involving religious beliefs


The editor and co-editors of a book have a query concerning an ethical dilemma involving possible authors for a book chapter.


Author approval for response to mini-reviews


We publish mini-reviews of important articles from the medical literature. In order to give the authors of reviewed articles a chance to respond to the review, we have now started to contact the corresponding author once a review of their article has been published on our website. If an author responds, we wish to publish their comments underneath the review.


A breach of confidentiality?


We ask our contributors to send us short mini-reviews of interesting articles they have come across in their regular reading. Most of our members also act as peer-reviewers and come across interesting articles as part of the peer-review process, before they are published .


Multiple failure to declare a relevant conflict of interest


During peer review of a manuscript submitted to journal Y, one of the referees indicated a belief that at least one of the authors had not declared a relevant conflict of interest (CoI). The article indicated that the authors had no relevant CoIs. The referee provided a URL to a press release that supported the allegation. It appears that one of the authors is the discoverer of a series of compounds that are the subject of the article. The compounds have been licensed to a company.