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Case

COPE Members bring specific (anonymised) publication ethics issues to the COPE Forum for discussion and advice. The advice from the COPE Forum meetings is specific to the particular case under consideration and may not necessarily be applicable to similar cases either past or future. The advice is given by the Forum participants (COPE Council and COPE Members from across all regions and disciplines).

COPE Members may submit a case for consideration.

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Showing 1–20 of 630 results
  • Case
    On-going

    Manuscript submitted based on retracted paper

    A paper was published in a journal. After publication, the author contacted the journal to ask for withdrawal of the paper because of some mistakes. After careful and considered review of the content of this paper by a duly constituted expert committee, the paper was found to be incomplete due to the dependent variable used in the analysis and the literature review used. The paper was re…
  • Case

    Can two DOIs be assigned to the same manuscript?

    A preprint server owned by a commercial publishing company posted a paper and assigned a DOI to the preprint. The manuscript was then submitted to peer reviewed journal X, owned by a different publisher. Assuming acceptance at the journal, can the article be published under a different DOI belonging to journal X? At journal X, Crossref registration is automatic. However, can two differen…
  • Case
    On-going

    Unresponsive authors delaying publication

    The journal received a submission which proceeded through peer review and was recommended for publication. The authors responded to the revision letter, providing a detailed itemised list of changes and revised their manuscript accordingly. The revised manuscript was subsequently accepted for publication.  The normal process for articles in this journal is that when papers are accepted a…
  • Case
    On-going

    Ethics approval and consent

    A complainant raised six articles to the attention of the editor-in-chief, with concerns about ethical approval and possible conflicts of interest regarding the way that approval was granted. The studies all involved minority populations.  Ethics approval had been granted by the institutions for all of the manuscripts involved, along with written informed consent and corresponding ethics…
  • Case
    On-going

    Author alleges discrimination by institutional report

    In 2020, the corresponding author of an article published online three years previously notified the journal of an authorship conflict and explained that the institution was requesting retraction. Because authorship conflict does not typically warrant retraction, the publisher requested further details from the author and the author's institution about the conflict. The author provided two diff…
  • Case
    On-going

    Author anonymity at the final proofreading stages

    A newly relaunched open access, peer reviewed journal operates a double blind peer-review system. At all stages of the review, until the decision to accept has been taken, neither the author nor the reviewer can identify the other. The journal always uses at least two reviewers, who are also unaware of the identity of each other. After the author has been told that the article is accepte…
  • Case
    On-going

    Preprint plagiarism

    Author group A deposited a preprint onto a preprint server and simultaneously submitted the manuscript to journal A. Peer review in journal A took some considerable time, but the paper (paper A) was eventually published. During the long peer review of paper A, author group A noticed that another set of authors, author group B, had published paper B in journal B. While paper B was submitted seve…
  • Case
    On-going

    Paper published without permission or acknowledgement from institution

    An author affiliated with a research institution R published two papers as a single author, one of them in a journal of publisher A.  After publication, publisher A was contacted by the research integrity officer of institution R with a letter of concern. The letter stated that the research institution has conducted a formal investigation and concluded that the author failed to acknowled…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Reviewer's identity revealed

    The journal operates a double blind peer review system. Because the journal is small, it does not use a platform for reviews, so reviewers are sent a Word document containing the manuscript and an evaluation form to complete, in which they can leave their comments. However, some reviewers choose to comment directly on the Word document. Most of these comments are anonymised by appearing as user…
  • Case
    On-going

    Author requesting removal of verbatim text from published paper

    Author A contacted author B. Author B had published a paper several years ago that contained verbatim text of author A’s previously published work. The verbatim work was cited but presented to the readers as paraphrased from the original. Similarity checking software showed that the paraphrased text was too close to the original text; in fact, it was quoted verbatim. Author A is demandin…
  • Case
    On-going

    Simultaneous submission without aiming at duplicate publication

    An invite for a review was made by journal A. The first revision was done six months after submission, and the second revision two months later. Three weeks after submission of the second revision, the editor’s decision was minor revision. At this point, the corresponding author, author X, informed the editor of journal A that the authors were reluctant to respond to the comments of the second…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Unable to contact authors

    A manuscript was submitted to a journal and after the review and revision process, the submitted manuscript was accepted for publication. During the manuscript revision process, the corresponding author was in contact with the journal: answered all of the emails, performed revisions of the manuscript, prepared answers to the comments of the reviewers, etc. When the manuscript was accepte…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Authors requesting withdrawal of articles from similarity check database in order to re-publish

    An author's institution requires that authors publish a set amount of times per year in journals that are indexed by Scopus in order to retain their tenure. The author submits to an open access journal and their paper is published after processing charges are paid. After publication the journal is dropped from the Scopus index. The author asks for the paper to be withdrawn by the journal so tha…
  • Case
    On-going

    How to respond to a reader's repeated concerns

    A meta-analysis was published in a journal ahead of print, and then subsequently in print. Several months later, the journal was contacted by a faculty member at a university not connected with the study. The reader outlined three general concerns with the meta-analysis. The concerns were discussed by the editorial team, including the statistical editor, and it was decided that the overall resu…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    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
    Case Closed

    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
    Case Closed

    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
    Case Closed

    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…

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