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  • Case
    On-going

    Author displays bullying behaviour towards handling editor

    A handling editor rejected a paper without review, after consulting with a senior editor. The corresponding author sent an appeal about 2 weeks later where he requested that the paper be given a second chance and be sent for peer review. He added that, in case of a new decision to reject without review, the editor should provide a detailed response to a number of questions and comments raised i…
  • Case
    On-going

    Author admits failure to credit other authors

    An author submitted a manuscript and stated that he was the sole author. The manuscript received a favourable peer review and eventually was accepted. Some time after the article was published, a co-author told the author to contact the journal to correct the author list. The author of record (AOR) did this and supplied co-author names to the journal.   The editor worked with the author…
  • Case
    On-going

    Ethics approval for survey design

    A manuscript was submitted to disseminate a cross correlational survey research study. The manuscript states that the data were collected through surveys for the two calendar months prior to initial manuscript submission, which occurred in the middle of the third month. The initial submission indicated the research followed the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki, but no other human subje…
  • Case
    On-going

    Is approval needed for a social media survey?

    An author has contacted the journal enquiring about the need for institutional review board approval for a survey. The survey is not derived from a specific institution but rather out of the personal interest of the author(s) who are targeting a point of wide scientific interest. The authors have a broad reach in social media.  The topic is of significant interest to the field, and there…
  • Case
    On-going

    Sharing by a reviewer on social media

    A journal operated double blind peer-review, so the reviewers do not know the identity of the authors, and vice versa. However, the anonymity of the authors is not guaranteed, as the reviewers may discover the identity of the authors (because of the area of research, references, writing style, etc). But rarely can the authors identify the reviewers. The journal received a request from a…
  • Case
    On-going

    Allegations related to multiple papers and journals

    A publisher is responding to allegations about a particular group of authors. The complainants have accused this group of authors of wide scale research fabrication and misconduct, relating to a large number of their papers across many different journals (published by a variety of publishers). The publisher and the journals that are investigating and responding to these claims have refer…
  • Case
    On-going

    Institution wants to retract despite ongoing legal proceedings

    The case has been with two publishers for more than a year. Journal A at publisher A published article A by author A, affiliated to institution A and institution B (in another country), and author B affiliated to institution B. Journal B at publisher B then published article B, by the same authors and affiliations. The two articles are on closely related research. Shortly after publicati…
  • Case
    On-going

    Institution refuses to investigate scientific issues

    A publisher was alerted to possible issues with band duplication in an article (more than 10 years old) by a reader. The corresponding author was contacted to resolve the issue. The author was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation for the bands, and because of the age of the article, the original data were no longer available. The institution was asked to investigate; a summary of the ca…
  • Case
    On-going

    Appropriate scope of review for retractions

    An institutional review recommended retraction of certain works by a highly prolific and influential author who has since died. The institutional review focused on a relatively small portion of this author’s work. The institution recommended retraction based on deeming the articles unsafe and identifying several concerns, including that the articles' conclusions were implausible. As a pu…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Authorship dispute during the review process

    During the review process for a manuscript submitted to our journal, one of the reviewers alerted us that the manuscript appeared to be the work of a collaborator (Dr X) who was not listed as an author on the paper. It became clear that the manuscript’s corresponding author (Dr Y, affiliation A) was a postdoctoral researcher supervised by Dr X (previously at affiliation A, recently moved to aff…
  • Case
    On-going

    Reproducibility of methodology

    A whistle blower contacted journal A regarding two published articles. The articles focus on the effect of energy healing on an in-vitro model of disease. The whistle blower raised concerns about the appropriateness and reproducibility of the energy healing methodology used. The authors were contacted to provide an explanation of the methodology as there was a lack of clarity in…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Removal of an author

    A paper was submitted to a journal with authors A, B, C, D and E. The paper was peer reviewed. Before acceptance, the corresponding author asked for a new author, author F, to be added, and an existing author, author C, to be removed. The editorial office asked all of the authors (authors A, B, C, D, E and F) to complete a change of authorship request form and for the corresponding autho…
  • Case

    Publishing complications and patient safety

    Journal A is dedicated to communication about practical treatments related directly to patient and personal experiences. These ongoing discussions have been part of this specific medical profession for the past 50 years and journal A is a platform for these discussions. Regarding new treatments and new developments, permission from the local medical ethical commission is mandatory as wel…
  • Case
    On-going

    Authorship issue related to misleading action of one author

    Our journal received a manuscript which was a report of an evaluation and enhancement of an online clinical decision support system (CDS) for a specific population at risk of a disease. The online CDS had been developed by a national agency with a mission to support health promotion and disease prevention activities. Evaluation of the CDS was supported through contracts and sub-contracts. The f…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Withdrawal of paper at proof stage

    An original paper was submitted to our journal. After peer review, the authors were requested to revise the paper, and the revision was submitted back to the journal. Our manuscript editor accepted the paper.  The paper was scheduled for publication 3 months later after copyediting was completed. We informed the corresponding author about acceptance of the paper and sent them the typeset…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    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 Who…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Dual submission and editor’s failure to take action

    An article was submitted to our journal (journal A) in March. According to the journal’s working policy, the article was initially reviewed inhouse and comments were sent to the author. The authors replied to the comments but did not agree to the suggestion to convert the article to a short report. A rather impolite letter was sent by the author criticising the policies of the journal. We sent…
  • Case

    Correcting the affiliation of an author after publication

    A manuscript was published in our journal in 2015, and at the time of publishing (as now), the author was a faculty member of a university. The author's affiliation was not declared in the article, just the author's qualifications. Now the author wishes us to correct the paper and list her affiliation in the article. Question(s) for the COPE Forum Wh…
  • Case
    On-going

    Duplicate submission and authorship dispute

    A case report was submitted to our journal (journal X) in February and accepted for publication in September that same year. In late September, the first author on the manuscript contacted us to inform us that this exact case report had just been published in another journal (journal Y) by some of his colleagues, including some of the authors of our manuscript. In the initial submission to our…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Suspected plagiarism

    A single author submitted a paper to our journal. A similarity check revealed 48% similarity with another published paper. The published paper was by different authors—5 in total. The similarities between the papers were in the introduction, methods and discussion sections. The submitting author did not reference the published article. We queried the corresponding author but have not rec…

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