You are here

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.

Filter by topic

Showing 21–40 of 191 results
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Institutional review board approval needed?

    A graduate student submitted a paper to a journal and noted that in her country, unless the research is directly medical, institutional review board (IRB) approval is not required or completed. The journal has a policy of requiring IRB approval on any human subjects’ research. This study was looking at practitioners and their work with students having a particular diagnosis. The editor r…
  • Case
    On-going

    Fraud or sloppiness in a submitted manuscript

    In June 2014 we received a manuscript by four authors from a well known research institution. They described a randomized trial comparing a variation in a procedure with standard care. In total, 200 patients were randomized, 100 to each arm. As measured by an interview, patients undergoing the new procedure were statistically significantly more content than those in the control arm. This manusc…
  • Case
    On-going

    Ethical concerns about a study involving human subjects

    A manuscript was submitted to our journal describing a study of a new drug. The manuscript had only one author who gave their affiliation as a company that we can find no record of online. It describes a study in which they appear to have developed a new drug, carried out a toxicology study in mice and then, because no adverse effects were seen, tested it on one patient and five healthy volunte…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Findings of a published trial called into question by a subsequent audit of trial conduct

    In 2008, our journal published a phase 2 randomised controlled trial of a new medicine. In 2011, the regulatory authority in the country where the study was performed decided to undertake routine monitoring of completed studies and this trial was selected for random inspection. The author informed the journal of the inspection and provided a translation of the report (independently verified as…
  • Case
    On-going

    Ethical concerns and the validity of documentation supplied by the authors

    We became concerned that not all of the co-authors were aware of a research paper submitted to our journal due to the difficulty receiving responses from the email addresses that had been supplied and their nature, given that the authors all worked in a hospital/academic institution. Despite repeated requests and attempts we remained dissatisfied with the responses and did not feel certain that…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Inadequate assurance of human research ethics for a questionnaire

    A questionnaire was distributed to knowledge workers in an organisation to investigate the following hypotheses: — H1.There is a positive and significant relationship between ethics and organizational performance.— H2. There is a positive and significant relationship between ethics and intellectual capital.— H3. There is a positive and significant relationship between intelle…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Fraudulent data presented in a manuscript

    Author A submitted a trial comparing the safety and feasibility of two delivery techniques in patients. The trial, which was done at author A’s institution, was assessed by inhouse editors, who decided to send it out for peer review. During the peer review process, some reviewers pointed out that “this work seems premature, experimental and hard to believe”, and also expressed suspicion…
  • Case
    On-going

    Possible violation of the Helsinki Declaration on Scientific Research with Humans

    A manuscript underwent peer review and the resulting reviewer comments raised grave concerns about the ethical legitimacy of the study.The reviewer: questioned the authors’ impartiality, suggesting that there was an undeclared conflict of interest; raised serious concerns about the extent to which participants gave informed consent; strongly doubted that the…
  • Case
    On-going

    Unethical private practice

    This single author manuscript describes the treatment of 300 women with psychological problems. The women were randomised to either therapy or pharmacological intervention, and this study reports the relative effectiveness of these strategies. At submission, the manuscript did not contain any mention of ethics approval, consent or trial registration. When the author was queried on these…
  • Case
    On-going

    Authorship dispute

    A manuscript was published by journal X and submitted by author A (last author). Author B claims that fraud occurred in relation to authorship for the following reasons. (1) Author A did not take part in producing the data for the paper and has never been a co-author on any version of the manuscript.(2) A paper with very similar content ,which was part of the PhD thesis of author C…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Was this study unethical?

    We reviewed and published a randomised controlled trial in which children’s exposure to parental secondhand smoke (SHS) was either sustained (usual practice control) or parents were asked to avoid smoking around their children (intervention group). The study included more than 400 children averaging 9 years old. Parents provided written informed consent. The study was approved by the ethics com…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Request to withdraw as an author of an accepted but unpublished paper

    Last March we accepted a paper written by a post-doctoral fellow (PD) and an assistant professor (AP). The work was done by PD in AP's laboratory; PD has now moved on (to another country, in fact). Soon after the manuscript was sent to production, AP sent an email asking to delay production of the manuscript because AP was worried that there may be an ‘error’ in the manuscript that might requir…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Lack of ethical approval and not reporting experimental evidence

    In May 2011 a letter from the Vice-Rector for Personnel of a reputable university was sent to the editor mentioning that two articles published in the journal contained two statements not supported by documented evidence. The two statements related to: (1) approval of the local ethics committee and (2) representation of the experimental evidence. With regard to point (1), the authors sta…
  • Case
    Closed: author misconduct

    Possible overlapping publications/data

    As editor-in-chief of a journal (journal A), I was contacted by an individual (N) who indicated the following: authors of an article published in journal A were questioned as to the similarity of a figure and a table appearing in both journal A and in another journal (journal B). N noted that reanalysis of the data of the published work by the authors suggested errors and inconsistencies of the…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Seeking retrospective ethics approval

    I received a submission that had asked a series of questions of visitors to a website about a mental health issue. It was reviewed by a senior colleague and myself. While the science was fine we were both concerned that no mention had been made of any ethics approval. I raised this issue with the authors, especially given that deception was involved. The authors then appear to have sough…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Disagreement between authors and sponsor

    Our journal was contacted by a representative of a company following acceptance of a manuscript that was based on a clinical study sponsored by that company. Upon acceptance, the senior author had forwarded a copy of the manuscript to the company, who had identified some discrepancies between the data presented in the article and an initial report that had been presented to them while the study…
  • Case
    Closed: author misconduct

    Case of figure duplication and manipulation involving two journals

    The editors in chief of journal A and journal B, both owned by society C, received a letter from the last ‘senior’ author, also the corresponding author on one of the papers (author D), concerning separate papers published in both journals (paper E published in journal A and paper F published in journal B), informing them that one of the co-authors on both papers is under investigation for scie…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Lack of trial registration leads to new concerns about study conduct and ethical review/approval

    Following publication of an article, the editors noticed that the paper reported results of a clinical trial, but no details of trial registration were included in the article. (The journal does have careful checks on trial registration by staff at submission but this paper was not well written and it took careful reading to work out that it did in fact report on a clinical trial). We co…
  • Case
    Closed: author misconduct

    Duplicate publication and alleged image manipulation

    The editorial office of journal A was contacted anonymously by an individual who made allegations against two papers, both published by the same author. Paper 1 was alleged to be a duplicate publication, with the paper previously having been published in journal B. The editorial office of journal A, in accordance with the COPE flowcharts, contacted the author informing them of the allegations a…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Mislabelling/duplicate images

    We were contacted by a reader who told us that he had spotted a number of cases of image duplication and mislabelling of fluorescent tags that had occurred over the past 4 years. These involved two papers published in our journal, and two other papers published in two different journals. The two papers in our journal were both reviews, and the one that had the most occurrences involved a poster…

Pages