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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 41–50 of 50 results
  • Case

    Allegations of scientific fraud and unethical conduct of experiments with attempts to silence the whistleblower

    …The allegations of fraud  A paper reported a radioisotope test for diagnosis of a speci?c,acute,neurological disease with 100% accuracy. Replication studies failed to con?rm the ?ndings and suggested that the test is positive in a…
  • Case

    Russian scientific misconduct

    A letter was sent to an editor, claiming that scientific misconduct had taken place in Russia. The editor did not want to ignore the issue, which was not related to submitted papers and could not be published as a letter. But s/he was unsure what action to take. … This would be best pursued as an investigative news story.…
  • Case

    Potentially unethical publication

    A new Editor was appointed to a society journal in a minority medical specialty. An officer of the society immediately handed him an anonymous letter from a reader of the journal complaining that an article recently published was unethical. The Editor is a personal friend both of the previous editor who accepted the paper, and the author of the paper. The paper is by a single author who gives n…
  • Case

    The disappearing authors

    Some time after a single authored research article was published a journal received a letter pointing out that the same article had been rejected by another journal because of unresolved authorship and acknowledgement issues. At that time the paper had 12 authors. The correspondent said that the single author had a patent application related to the topic of the paper. This was declared as a com…
  • Case

    An accusation of fraud in a rejected paper

    A paper was reviewed by two referees. The associate editor dealing with it recommended rejection as both reviews were critical of the methods, results, and reproducibility of the experiment. After the authors were informed, the editor-in-chief received an email from someone in the same laboratory, expressing relief that the manuscript had been rejected. The writer went on to say that s/he had m…
  • Case

    The cheating medical students

    An editorial was published on cheating at medical school. The medical school concerned had allowed a cheating student to graduate. The article attracted over 100 responses, many of them in support of the decision. But an anonymous email response from two students claimed that an exam paper had been seen in the dean’s office prior to an examination and that some 60 per cent of the students had s…
  • Case

    Who ensures the integrity of the editor?

    An editor came across a letter from the editor-in-chief of his journal to a reviewer that asserted he had recommended the acceptance of a manuscript. He had in fact recommended the opposite, both verbally and in writing. The paper in question was a guideline on the therapeutic choices for a relatively common medical condition. The authors had claimed their conclusions and therapeutic recommenda…
  • Case

    The discontented and abandoned contributor

    A paper was rejected after peer review. Some time later a researcher wrote to say that he had been involved at the beginning of the study, but had withdrawn his name because he felt the study was defective. He had heard that the study had been submitted for publication, and thought it better that the editors were made aware of his doubts before publication rather than afterwards. As the paper h…
  • Case

    The anonymous critic

    A letter containing details of a case report was submitted in February 1999. The authors were from Japan. After peer review and revision, the case report was accepted and a proof was sent to the authors. Two anonymous letters were then received, one on April 29 and another on 12 May, both from Japan. Both letters claimed that the author “has prized honour above everything else” and that he had…
  • Case

    Duplicate publication and now fraud?

    Two articles were published in two different journals. The articles had been submitted within days of each other, and were subsequently peer reviewed, revised, and published within a month of each other. The authors failed to reference the closely related article as submitted or in press, and the editors of the two journals were unaware of the other article. After publication the editor…

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