Core practices

COPE's role is to assist editors of scholarly journals and publishers/owners - as well as other parties, such as institutions and funders, albeit less directly - in their endeavour to preserve and promote the integrity of the scholarly record through policies and practices that reflect the current best principles of transparency and integrity. COPE’s new recommendations are intended to reflect these aims, in a practical way. COPE have therefore reviewed the Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Editors and Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers and have consolidated them into one, much shorter, document entitled “Core Practices”. [Available to download as an A4 poster.] Connected to each of these core practices will be hyperlinks to the detailed documents and resources COPE already publish, which are arrived at through extensive consultation, and which we will be building into a comprehensive, yet responsive library. The full range of COPE resources can be found here. .The Core Practices are applicable to all involved in publishing the scholarly literature: editors and their journals, publishers (and institutions).

COPE's Core Practices should be considered alongside specific national and international codes of conduct for research and is not intended to replace them.

Background to why the Code of Conduct for Journal Editors has been replaced with the Core Practices.

 

Journals and Publishers should have robust and well-described, publicly documented practices in all the following areas for their journals:

1. Allegations of misconduct

Journals should have a clearly described process for handling allegations, however they are brought to the journal's or publisher’s attention. Journals must take seriously allegations of misconduct pre-publication and post-publication. Policies should include how to handle allegations from whistleblowers.

2. Authorship and contributorship

Clear policies (that allow for transparency around who contributed to the work and in what capacity) should be in place for requirements for authorship and contributorship as well as processes for managing potential disputes

3. Complaints and appeals

Journals should have a clearly described process for handling complaints against the journal, its staff, editorial board or publisher

4. 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

5. Data and reproducibility

Journals should include policies on data availability and encourage the use of reporting guidelines and registration of clinical trials and other study designs according to standard practice in their discipline

6. Ethical oversight

Ethical oversight should include, but is not limited to, policies on consent to publication, publication on vulnerable populations, ethical conduct of research using animals, ethical conduct of research using human subjects, handling confidential data and of business/marketing practices

7. Intellectual property

All policies on intellectual property, including copyright and publishing licenses, should be clearly described. In addition, any costs associated with publishing should be obvious to authors and readers. Policies should be clear on what counts as prepublication that will preclude consideration. What constitutes plagiarism and redundant/overlapping publication should be specified

8. Journal management

A well-described and implemented infrastructure is essential, including the business model, policies, processes and software for efficient running of an editorially independent journal, as well as the efficient management and training of editorial boards and editorial and publishing staff

9. Peer review processes

All peer review processes must be transparently described and well managed. Journals should provide training for editors and reviewers and have policies on diverse aspects of peer review, especially with respect to adoption of appropriate models of review and processes for handling conflicts of interest, appeals and disputes that may arise in peer review

10. Post-publication discussions and corrections

Journals must allow debate post publication either on their site, through letters to the editor, or on an external moderated site, such as PubPeer. They must have mechanisms for correcting, revising or retracting articles after publication