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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 41–60 of 153 results
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Author disagreement regarding article corrections

    We received an original article which was accepted and published. The article was written by multiple authors from several centres, and the corresponding author undertook the task of standardising the content, making several corrections to the original text. The author proofs were sent to the corresponding author, who reviewed them. However, once published, one of the co-authors indicate…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Authorship dispute

    In April 2014, our journal received a case report from author A with co-authors B, C, D and E. After undergoing a first round of revisions pertaining only to the paper’s format, author A excluded co-authors C, D, and E from the revised version and retained co-author B, without notifying the journal of this change. After this change, the manuscript underwent the complete evaluation process, comp…
  • Case
    On-going

    Plagiarized figure

    We received a review paper and it was accepted and published on our website. We then noticed that one of the figures had been copied from a paper published in another journal. Before publication, we asked the authors if the figures were original or if they needed references, and the authors responded that they were original. After confirmation of the similarity of one figure to a publish…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Author disagreement blocks submission

    A paper was submitted to a medical journal reporting original research on human subjects. Two corresponding authors, author A (first in authors’ list) and author B (last in the list) were listed. The paper was sent to external referees but while it was under review, the editor received an email from author A stating that s/he had not read the paper, was not aware of the submission and did not a…
  • Case
    On-going

    Authors’ contributions and involvement by medical communications company

    The editorial office was contacted by someone who indicated that s/he has been working with a medical communications company on several manuscripts and has become concerned about the minimal extent of the authors’ contributions to manuscripts handled by the company. The work requested by the company goes beyond language editing, and involves developing parts of manuscripts into narrative on the…
  • Case
    On-going

    A case with no independent institution to investigate

    We were contacted by a lawyer acting on behalf of the last author (author A) of two research articles published in our journals. Both articles are co-authored by one other author (author B), who was the corresponding author. Author A claims not to have been aware of the submission and also raises concerns that the timelines and dates of the before and after photos reported in the articles are i…
  • Case
    On-going

    Coauthor fails to respond to request to confirm coauthorship

    Prior to publication, our journal requires coauthors to respond to an email to confirm their authorship status and the author list. A coauthor did not respond to these emails, and when we contacted the corresponding author for help, s/he told us that his/her attempts to reach the coauthor have failed, and that s/he believed the coauthor was attempting to hold the paper hostage. According…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Misattributed authorship and unauthorized use of data

    The director of a research laboratory contacted our journal regarding an article published earlier this year. The director claimed that the documents and data used in the article were collected at his research laboratory and used by author A without his knowledge and permission. At the time, author A was a visiting scholar at the director's laboratory. The director also claimed that auth…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Omitted author

    A case series of 89 patients with a relatively rare condition was accepted for publication by the journal following due process through the peer-review system. The paper was published online within days of being accepted. A few days later the editor of the journal received an email from a professor (Professor X) from the same country from which the paper was submitted to say that one of the cas…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Authorship dispute

    A manuscript was published in journal X, submitted by several co-authors, including one of the editors in chief of journal X, Dr A (the article was handled by another editor in chief at the journal). Another researcher, Dr B, has claimed that this article should be withdrawn because it contains unauthorized data from him (Dr B). A few years previously, Drs A and B worked and published jo…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    New claim to authorship of published paper

    In October 2011, our journal received a submission from author A with co-authors B, C and D. After review and revision it was published in mid-2012. In April 2013 we received a complaint from author X, saying that the work published in this paper was his work, and that although author A had been his research supervisor at the time the work was done, authors B, C and D had either little or no in…
  • 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

    Change in author’s name after publication

    An original work was published in our journal in September 2010. The article had five authors. Now, in February 2013, the third author is requesting an alteration in his/her name. The original name published was SFHS. The request is to change the name to SFH, both on the journal's website and Medline. No valid reason could be provided by the author for this change in name. The last name…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Paper submitted for publication without consent or knowledge of co-authors

    An article was submitted by corresponding author (CA) on 19 December 2011. After several revisions the article was accepted for publication on 23 March 2012. The article was published online 8 May 2012.At the time of submission, CA was a PhD student at a research centre (X).On 21 November 2012, co-author A (also head of the research group) contacted the publisher and editor-in-chief…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Plagiarism of a PhD thesis

    We received a complaint from an author claiming that her PhD thesis had been plagiarized in a journal article. After many discussions, the editorial office decided that the authors should resolve this issue among themselves, as it was an author dispute.After further correspondence, the editorial office is now also saying that because the thesis is not published anywhere, there is no need…
  • Case
    On-going

    Publication of data without permission

    A director of an institute in France has expressed concern about a paper published in our journal. One of the authors (not the corresponding author) of the paper, person A, visited his laboratory in France for 5 months in 2009 to carry out some work. The director says that some methods used and results obtained in his laboratory have now been included in the paper without his knowledge or permi…
  • 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

    Meta-analysis: submission of unreliable findings

    A meta-analysis was conducted of about 1000 patients included in a number of small trials of a drug for emergency management administered by route X compared with route Y. The report concluded that administration by route X improves short term survival. Chronology  The paper was submitted to our journal in September 2011 and after peer review was return…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Accusation of non-attribution of authorship

    In 2008, our journal published a specific series, and an author offered to write short introductions to a series of summaries of the management of various medical problems. One of the articles used a summary written by the complainant, who was fully acknowledged in the table accompanying the article written by his colleagues, but not included as an author. Two years after publication, he compla…
  • 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…

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