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COPE Digest: Publication Ethics in Practice. December 2015 (Vol. 3, Issue 12)

Letter from the Chair

Welcome to the last COPE newsletter of 2015. We will be doing a longer look back in January, but I’d like to pick out some topics to highlight.
We have continued to do many in-person meetings, as always, in London, Brussels, Melbourne, Baltimore, Delhi, and more smaller meetings, but a specific focus for us was one on ‘An introduction to publication ethics’ in London, and that will be coupled with an updated guide for new editors, coming shortly.
We have expanded the range of materials available, with new and revised flowcharts, including on the thorny issue of responding to anonymous comments, new eLearning and new guidance documents, some in association with other organisations.
We have in fact specifically worked to endorse, and in some cases collaborate with, the efforts of other organisations in this area, such as GPP3, TOP guidelines on reproducibility and the Think, Check, Submit campaign.
There’s no doubt that as publication ethics is becoming more complex it requires multiple approaches. COPE is just one of a number of organisations working in this area and we look forward to working more in 2016 with other groups across all areas of academic publishing and integrity.
We wish everyone a happy and peaceful holiday season, wherever you are, and look forward to another interesting year in 2016.

Case of the month

Every month we highlight a publication ethics case that has been brought to the COPE Forum, Ask COPE session or a query posted to COPE council by one of our members.

Inability to contact an author to obtain permission to publish (case #15-11)

An overseas PhD student successfully completed their PhD, and then returned home to a country with considerable political and civil unrest. Subsequently, authors B, C, D and E, who were all involved in the work, wrote the paper. However, authors B, C, D and E could not track down the author. Can the paper still be published? Read the full case details, along with the discussion and advice here:

In the news

China pursues fraudsters in science publishing

China's main basic research agency (CAST), cracking down on scientists who used fake peer reviews demanding that many return research funding. China’s National health and Family Planning Commission releases new regulations regarding scientific misconduct and authorship

National University of Ireland Maynooth strips student of PhD following investigation

During investigation the student admitted to the falsification and misrepresentation of some research data included in her PhD thesis and in journal publications

Hijacking journal web site domains

Leading to imitation journal web sites

Freedom of information: why it's important for UK universities to stay subject to it

Importance of UK universities to stay subject to public scrutiny

Disclosure of financial conflicts of interests in interventions to improve child psychosocial health: a cross sectional study

The authors conclude that “Consumers of research on psychosocial interventions published in peer-reviewed journals cannot currently assume that CoI disclosures are adequate and complete. More efforts are needed to achieve transparency”

Concerns over proposed revision of HHS human research ethics regulations

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is suggesting changes regarding the regulation of the use of biospecimens for research, the supervision of multicentre studies and the need for ethics oversight for trials not involving invasive interventions

Erratum because of underlined text

An article in Evaluation & the Health Professions has underlines under certain texts. These underlines were placed in error and have no significance to the text according to the erratum. So who trains the typesetters?

Gunshot wound without entrance hole: where is the trick? A case report and review of the ‘literaturer’

Case report in World Journal of Emergency Medicine with bizarre conclusions and no spell checkers. ‘Literaturer?’ So again who trains the typesetters?

Why combining science and showmanship risks the future of research

Portions of science seem to be collapsing into the entertainment industry, raising serious questions about accuracy, funding and credibility

Avoiding predatory journals

From Queensborough Community College

Secret dossier on research fraud suggests government concern over science

Senior figures in UK science have warned that despite decades of awareness of the cultural problems driving misconduct in science, little progress has been made

New European Union policy on research integrity

Research integrity: what it means, why it is important and how we might protect it

COPE in the news

COPE is often asked to comment on issues in the news.

COPE Chair, Virginia Barbour, wrote an article for Taylor and Francis

What's been happening at COPE

COPE workshop at ISMTE meeting 4–5 April, 2016, Singapore

International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (ISMTE)  is expanding their international presence to Asia. This spring, they are holding an Asian Conference in Singapore—Best Practices in Scholarly Publishing. Topics will include emerging standards as best practices; managing technology; platforms and vendor transitions; new ideas in scholarly publishing; best practices in peer review; ethics workshop. COPE will be running the ethics workshop.
Space is limited so click here for more details and to register

Think, Check, Submit

COPE has endorsed the Think,Check,Submit initiative. Think.Check.Submit. is a campaign to help researchers identify trusted journals for their research. It is a simple checklist researchers can use to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher. COPE has joined the steering committee of this campaign.

COPE logo

Did you know that you can now download a unique COPE logo for your journal or website? This function is now available for all journal members and associate members.

On the COPE website, you can download a COPE logo with your membership number included and the date you joined COPE (example shown). This will demonstrate that you are a genuine member of COPE, and will send a signal to authors and reviewers that your journal upholds the highest ethical standards, that you intend to follow COPE’s Code of Conduct and that you will take appropriate action in cases of possible misconduct.

If you want to add some wording to your logo, we usually suggest the following: "This journal is a member of, and subscribes to the principles of, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)"

You can download the logo at optimised resolutions for print or the web.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Log onto the COPE website as a member (you need to be the "manager" of your journal group)
  • Go to your journal page.
  • On the right hand navigation bar, click “COPE logo download”.
  • Download low and high resolutions of your personalised COPE logo