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Guidance

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

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Showing 81–100 of 597 results
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Institution alleges that paper includes fabricated data

    2015
    In 2014 we received a communication from the Research Integrity Officer of an academic institution informing us that a paper, published in our journal in 2013, included falsified or fabricated data. We were informed that, following an investigation, they had determined that scientific misconduct had occurred. Within a few days we received a communication from one of the authors of the pa…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Possible omission of information essential for conclusions in a research paper

    2014
    In 2013, our journal published a paper describing an observational study comparing two drugs (A and B) for the management of a chronic disease over a period of 10 years. The conclusion in the paper was that mortality was higher in group A (97 deaths) compared with the other group B (52 deaths) (hazard ratio 1.76, 1.22 to 2.53; P=0.003). This analysis was done after adjustment for a large number…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Possible self-plagiarism and/or prior publication

    2014
    In October 2014 it came to our attention via one of the reviewers of a manuscript submitted to our journal that an identical article (100% identical) had been previously published on the website of the author. The submitting author had not made us aware in their submission documentation that the article had been publicly available on their website at the point of submission. Two different but r…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Institutional review board approval required?

    2014
    We have a query regarding institutional review board (IRB) approval for a paper in production. The paper reports on a 2 year follow-up and cost-effectiveness evaluation for a treatment programme. A previously published paper reports on the original evaluation of the treatment programme. The authors have not obtained IRB approval for either body of research. The initial research wa…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Institutional review board approval needed?

    2014
    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

    Authors’ contributions and involvement by medical communications company

    2014
    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
    Case Closed

    Possible breach of reviewer confidentiality

    2014
    Soon after rejecting a paper—after it underwent peer review but before discussion at the manuscript meeting—the author wrote to tell me that he was asked questions “about the manuscript” at a presentation at a national meeting. The author stated: “A member of the audience addressed questions to me from a copy of the manuscript, and not from the talk I gave. I had to ask him to say nothing furth…
  • Case
    On-going

    Fraud or sloppiness in a submitted manuscript

    2014
    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

    A case with no independent institution to investigate

    2014
    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
    Case Closed

    Image manipulation as a general practice

    2014
    As managing editor, I view all manuscripts before they are assigned to an editor. Within a 4 week period, I have detected five manuscripts where photographs of either gels or plant materials were used twice or three times in the same manuscript. These manuscripts were immediately rejected. However, we are not convinced that these are cases of deliberate misleading of the scientific commu…
  • Case
    On-going

    Coauthor fails to respond to request to confirm coauthorship

    2014
    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

    Potential fabrication of data in primary studies included in a meta-analysis accepted for publication

    2014
    Journal A has accepted a meta-analysis for publication. As is standard practice for many articles accepted in this journal, a key expert (Professor X) in the relevant field was invited to submit a commentary on the paper. Professor X expressed concerns to the journal that “we believe that some of the papers included in the review could be either fabricated or at best are heavily plagiarised”. T…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Online posting of confidential draft by peer reviewer

    2013
    Shortly before publication, I received an email from the authors of a systematic review telling me that a version of the paper as first submitted to the journal for peer review had appeared on the website of a campaign group based in the USA. It was clear that the version of the document posted on the website was the same as the version supplied to the journal's peer reviewers. Further investig…
  • Case
    On-going

    Identifying patient information published in a figure

    2013
    A reader emailed a society, which forwarded the message to the journal office, noting that he can read the name of a patient in a figure in a published letter to the editor. The letter was published online 3 months earlier and had just appeared in print; it was the print version the reader saw. The reader asked if the patient's name could be removed. The journal’s author instructions alr…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Claim of plagiarism in published article

    2013
    Author A of a 2008 review article in our journal claims her article was used as the "framework" for a 2013 review article on the same subject in an open access journal by a former student of hers, author B. There was no verbatim overlap but the format (comparison of two common conditions) was indeed similar (differential diagnosis, management, pharmacotherapy, and implications for practice).
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Misattributed authorship and unauthorized use of data

    2013
    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
    On-going

    Two reviewer reports contain a significant amount of verbatim textual overlap

    2013
    Two of four reviewer reports received by the editor-in-chief of a journal contained a significant amount of verbatim textual overlap. Although of the same native (not English) language, the two reviewers are affiliated to institutions in different countries. The reports were submitted to the journal within 5 days of each other. Both reviewers suggested rejection of the submission. Separa…
  • Case
    On-going

    Ethical concerns about a study involving human subjects

    2013
    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

    A case of plagiarism?

    2013
    A paper was published in our journal. A reader contacted us and informed us that the whole of the introduction of the paper was copied directly from another publication. The editor-in-chief suggested retracting the paper immediately. However, the author insists on publishing a correction. They do not want to publish a retraction as this will affect their future career development.Question…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Omitted author

    2013
    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…

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