You are here

COPE Digest: Publication Ethics in Practice. April 2014 (Vol. 2, Issue 4)

Letter from the Editor of COPE Digest

Publication and research ethics has been very topical over the past few weeks. Thus the news section is wide ranging. It includes guidance about  clinical research, management affecting ethics committee opinions, as well as the never ending issues of plagiarism, concerns about data fabrication and retractions. Risks faced by whistleblowers also has a mention and useful tips for ethical publishing are given.

If you would like to contribute items or have other suggestions, as always, please get in touch (contact us here).


COPE eLearning course

Falsification of data and images can be difficult to detect by peer review only. The eLearning module titled 'Falsification' provides tools to help you spot falsification in statistical data as well as digital image data. Test your knowledge and skill at finding image manipulation with the quiz. The module format is consistent with the other modules in the eLearning series.



In the news

Row over bullying survey

Management and Australian human research ethics decisions on survey on perceptions of bullying

Academia and publishing are destroying scientific innovation

Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner on how academia and publishing are destroying scientific innovation

The Research Clinic

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) and the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) release a web based interactive training video entitled The Research Clinic

Ethics, regulation and research

Debate about policies regulating clinical research in the US reported in JAMA


Risks faced by whistleblowers

COPE resources:
Responding to anonymous whistle blowers

What counts as authorship?

The case of Alan Katritzky who published one paper every 10 days over 61 years

Plagiarism of web resources

Zygmunt Bauman is accused of plagiarising from websites, including Wikipedia, in his latest book

COPE resources:
How should editors respond to plagiarism?

Retraction statement

Retraction by European Journal of Neurology as a formal investigation by the University of Queensland found that no primary data can be located and no evidence that the study was conducted

COPE resources:
Retraction guidelines

Crash course in publication ethics

'My crash course in publication ethics', from Charon Pierson, Editor, Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and COPE Council Member

Navigating ethical challenges in scholarly publishing

Wiley’s top 10 tips for navigating ethical challenges in scholarly publishing

Stem cell scientist investigation continues

Retraction of climate psychology paper

Frontiers in Psychology retracts “Recursive fury: conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation”, originally published on 18 March 2013. For the reasons, read more below

COPE resources:
Retraction guidelines

What's been happening at COPE

2014 COPE European Seminar

The 2014 COPE European Seminar was held on Friday 14 March 2014 at the Representation of the State of Hessen to the European Union, Brussels, Belgium, the first time the European seminar has been held outside the UK. The theme of the seminar was "European perspectives on publication ethics".

A report on the COPE European Seminar by Mijam Curno (COPE Council) can be downloaded here.

Stephanie Harriman (BioMed Central), posted a report on the seminar on the BioMed Central blog site, here.

All presentations from the meeting are available to download here. Videos of the presentations will be available shortly. 

Ginny Barbour, COPE chair, addressing delegates at the COPE European seminar

Simon Godecharle, University of Leuven, Belgium, discussed guidance on research and

publication ethics in Europe

Professor Ana Marusic, University of Split School of Medicine, Croatia, and Editor in Chief of

Journal of Global Health, outlined differences in publication ethics in Central and Eastern Europe


The Times Higher Education reported on former council member Irene Hames’s presentation on the COPE case taxonomy, at the Brussels meeting

Dr Irene Hames, Editorial and Publishing Consultant, York, UK and former

COPE Council member, explains the new COPE Case Taxonomy

Scholarship recipients

COPE awarded two travel grants to attend the COPE seminar. Dr Parasuraman, Chief Editor of Journal of Young Pharmacist, reported on his experience of attending the seminar. The report can be downloaded here.

COPE Council elections

We have two vacancies on Council and we are seeking nominations. These are voluntary positions. Full details can be found on the website. The closing date for applications is 21 April 2014.

New COPE discussion document

COPE has published a new discussion document on 'Sharing of information among editors-in-chief regarding possible misconduct'. This guidance has been drafted following a COPE Discussion Forum, in the wake of a number of high profile cases of research misconduct in which the sharing of information between the relevant editors-in-chief was crucial to the final settlement of the cases. We encourage journal editors and publishers to comment (whether or not they are COPE members), and also welcome comments from researchers/authors and academic institutions. Please email all comments to Natalie Ridgeway, COPE Operations Manager here.

COPE Australian seminar 2014

Registration is now open for the COPE Australian seminar, which will take place on Monday 23 June 2014, at Karstens Melbourne Conference Rooms, 123 Queen Street Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. For details and to register see here.

COPE North American seminar 2014

COPE is delighted to announce our 5th North American seminar, which will be held in collaboration with ISMTE (International Society of Managing & Technical Editors), on Wednesday 13 August 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The theme of the COPE seminar will be centred around 'new technologies and behaviours for identifying publication ethics issues'. For more details and to register, see here.

Case of the month

Every month we will be highlighting a publication ethics case that has been brought to COPE by one of its members. Cases will be highlighted for a number of reasons - they may be of broad interest, introduce an important new issue that members may not be aware of, or reflect a topic that COPE is increasingly being asked for advice about. We welcome comments and further discussion about the cases and will provide summaries in future issues.

Online posting of confidential draft by peer reviewer (case #13-15)

Shortly before publication, the authors of a systematic review contacted the editor telling him that a version of the paper as first submitted to the journal for peer review had appeared on the website of a campaign group based in the USA. Further investigation showed that one of the three peer reviewers who initially advised on the paper was also named as a member of the board of directors of the campaign group. Repeated attempts to contact the reviewer and campaign group have failed. What more can the editor do?

Click below to find out what the Forum advised.

Feedback can be provided here

COPE resources:
COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers