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Conflicts of interest / Competing interests

There must be clear definitions of conflicts of interest and processes for handling conflicts of interest of authors, reviewers, editors, journals and publishers, whether identified before or after publication

Our core practices

Core practices are the policies and practices journals and publishers need, to reach the highest standards in publication ethics. We include cases with advice, guidance for day-to-day practice, education modules and events on topical issues, to support journals and publishers fulfil their policies.

Letter from the COPE Chair: July 2021

Here we are, just past the halfway point of the year and the pandemic persists. We have seen great progress holding off COVID-19 in some regions of the world while others slide back as new strains appear. The UK is gearing up to remove COVID-19 based restrictions this month in an attempt to return to normal. But what is the new normal? Flexible work arrangements are becoming the norm and some companies have simply shifted away from centralised offices. And yet, COPE’s work continues.


Post-publication conflicts of interest

Undisclosed conflict of interest in a published article: updated flowchart

The COPE flowcharts are consistently rated by members as being among the most useful and frequently consulted COPE resources. Available in different languages, they offer practical guidance to handle a variety of ethical issues encountered in scholarly publishing either before or after publication.

About this resource

Cite this as

COPE Council. COPE Guidelines: editorial board participation — English.
©2021 Committee on Publication ethics (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Version history

Version 1: July 2021.

Full page history

  • 16 September 2021

    Added DOI to page.

  • 27 July 2021

    Version 1 published.

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In the news: March Digest

Open Science

The United States Office of Science & Technology Policy recently posted a notice of request for information titled “Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications, Data and Code Resulting from Federally Funded Research.” Comments from stakeholders on approaches for broader access to federally funded research are due by March 16.

About this resource

Full page history

  • 26 February 2020

    Update to the pdf re: subject areas included in the broad categories, and a category name. Changes as follows:
    Page 26: the Humanities category should include the subject Media, Communication and Cultural Studies (currently under Information Sciences on page 27)
    On page 27: As above, the only subject in the category Information Sciences should now be Library and Information Sciences
    On page 31: the category called Libraries and Information Technology should be Information Sciences (the n 22 is correct).
    FI, the numbers are correct, just the category subjects/ and name need amending.


Deceased author


After a manuscript was accepted, an author passed away before they could complete the conflict of interest statement and copyright transfer documents. The publishing company requires that all authors complete these documents prior to publishing.

The other authors do not want to remove the deceased author from the manuscript.

Question(s) for the COPE Forum