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Guidance

Search through our collection of resources which make up all guidance issued by COPE.

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Showing 61–80 of 597 results
  • Case
    On-going

    Multiple redundant submissions from the same author

    2016
    An author submitted a redundant publication to one of our journals. After reviewing the report from the anti-plagiarism software, we followed the COPE flowchart up to and including contacting the author's institution. We have not received a response from the author or the author's institution. Shortly afterwards, the same author submitted a (different) redundant publication to one of our other…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Reviewer concerns about transparency of peer review process

    2016
    Our journal uses an internally transparent process where throughout the editor or peer review process, authors, editors and reviewers are all aware of the identities of who is involved. Reviewers are also told—when initially solicited to do a peer review—that they will be named on the final article manuscript as a reviewer. Prior to publication, the pre-print version of a text is sent to review…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Publication of a manuscript on an external website after acceptance but prior to journal publication

    2016
    Our journal recently approved a commentary article for publication, after the manuscript had been substantially revised during the editorial process. In the course of preparing the text for the article proof, the copy editor discovered that the authors had published the revised manuscript on an external public website, just prior to receiving notification from our system of our formal acceptanc…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Disclosure and transparency issue

    2016
    A paper was submitted to a medical journal, reporting the beneficial effects of a treatment with an expensive biological preparation. The author list included one employee of the company that produces and sells the preparation. Specific employees of the company were also thanked for medical input, epidemiological advice, programming support and copy editing; several authors declared having rece…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Requesting authorship after publication

    2015
    Our journal was contacted by an individual, Dr H, who had recently seen a published article and was surprised that he was not listed as an author because it utilised samples from a database that he established. (The article was published online in November 2014 and in print in February 2015.) He stated that the cohort has spawned many projects, but he was not involved in the “specialist area” i…
  • Case
    On-going

    Profusion of copied text passages

    2015
    Recently, our journal has introduced systematic analysis of all submitted manuscripts for plagiarised text, using anti-plagiarism software. We had noticed increased incidences of recycling of existing text which is why we introduced the systematic check. It turns out that a large proportion of the submitted manuscripts (an estimated 30–50%) yield positive results, with copy values of somewhere…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Attempt to supress legitimate scientific results

    2015
    The journal is operated by institute A, and the editor is an employee of institute A. A manuscript was submitted late in 2014 by authors from institute B, a similar type of organisation in the same country. The manuscript was reviewed by two referees who both recommended publication following minor revision. One of the reviewers noted that the abstract contained a vague statement related to the…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Duplicate publication and removal of article

    2015
    The editor of journal A was alerted to the fact that an article published in journal A had been previously published in journal B and constituted a duplicate publication. The editor contacted the authors who explained that they had tried to withdraw the article from journal B but their request was ignored and the article was published against their wishes. The authors contacted journal B…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Suspected image manipulation involving four journals

    2015
    Editorial office staff at journal A noticed possible image manipulation in two figures of a new paper submitted by author X. These suspected manipulations involved images of gels which appeared to contain multiple duplicated bands. This prompted editorial staff to look at the submission history of author X to journal A in more detail. It was found that author X had previously submitted t…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Author impersonating corresponding author without knowledge of coauthors

    2015
    We received an article which was accepted and published after an uneventful peer review process. The article was apparently written by seven authors from two universities. As part of our routine processes, all co-authors were alerted to a submission via the email addresses provided by the submitting author. Some time after the article had been published, we received an email from the cor…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Inability to contact an author to obtain permission to publish

    2015
    Author A was an overseas PhD student who successfully completed the PhD, and then returned home to a country with considerable political and civil unrest. It had been intended to submit a paper before author A left but time ran out. Subsequently, authors B, C, D and E, who were all involved in the work in one form or another (experimental design, performing preliminary experiments, data interpr…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Handling self-admissions of fraud

    2015
    In November 2014, the first author of a decade old paper in our journal and a 15-year-old paper from another journal informed us that he faked the data in two figure panels in the paper in our journal and one figure panel in the paper in the other journal. The main gist of the manipulation was loading unequal amounts or delayed loading of gel lanes. Self-admission of data falsification i…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Revoked parental consent

    2015
    Our journal publishes case reports describing the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of unusual cases. Parents must provide written informed consent prior to manuscript submission. No cases are presented with unique identifiers and each is anonymised as much as possible. A manuscript was submitted with written consent that was accepted for publication and assigned to an issue. Just befo…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Author disagreement regarding article corrections

    2015
    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

    Ethics committee approval

    2015
    We routinely ask for ethics committee approval from every research manuscript submitted to our journal. Sometimes, studies from different countries may not have ethics committee approval and authors may claim that their study does not need approval. In such situations, we consult COPE’s “Guidance for Editors: Research, Audit and Service Evaluations” document and evaluate the study at the editor…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Authorship dispute

    2015
    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
    Case Closed

    Reviewer requests to be added as an author after publication

    2015
    A paper was submitted to our journal. The associate editor assigned to the paper immediately assigned a reviewer who he knew was well qualified to give a good review, as they had worked with the authors before. The editor did think it odd that the reviewer was not an author on this particular paper, given the close collaboration. However, when invited, the reviewer (R1), did not flag up any con…
  • Case
    On-going

    Plagiarized figure

    2015
    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

    The ethics of self-experimentation

    2015
    The author was the subject of his study. He depleted himself of a vital nutrient until he had overt clinical and biochemical signs of the deficiency. He monitored various biochemical parameters as he became more deficient and submitted two manuscripts presenting his results: one detailing the biochemical changes and one detailing the differences in results obtained from different commercially a…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Author disagreement blocks submission

    2015
    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…

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