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Guidance

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

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Showing 121–140 of 597 results
  • Case
    On-going

    Plagiarism in a book title

    2012
    We received a complaint of plagiarism by Dr A concerning a book that has just been published. This case is ongoing since January 2012. Authors B and C published a new, very extended edition (+1000 pages), on a topic that previously was covered in part in an English book by author B (published in 2006). Part of this book was based on a German book published back in 1993 by Dr A and author…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Plagiarism of a PhD thesis

    2012
    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
    Case Closed

    How to correct a published paper

    2012
    A paper was published in July 2012. The author was told by their institution that one of the figures had to be replaced, in the interests of national security. Failure to do this would result in imprisonment. The editor checked with one of his reviewers who said that replacing the figure will not affect the results or conclusions of the paper. So, can we replace the published version dir…
  • Case
    On-going

    Publication of data without permission

    2012
    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
    Case Closed

    A case of duplicate publication

    2012
    Ten years ago, the author published a paper on the same subject in his country’s specialty journal. The first report was short and the product of the author’s graduate work. The publication was in their country’s language.  (Recently, the journal has been translating the abstracts of their previous publications into English, but the body of the text is still in their language.)  Subsequently, t…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Department notification regarding sensitive topic

    2012
    An essay was submitted to a specialty medical journal. In the essay, the author described an ethical dilemma—involving patient care—encountered while in medical school. The manuscript received favourable reviews, although the reviewers expressed concern about the author’s career if the essay was published. The editor called the author to discuss the ramifications of publication, and then the au…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Complaint regarding letters to the editor

    2012
    Our journal routinely sends letters commenting on published articles to the authors of those articles. This gives the authors an opportunity to respond to any criticisms. The letters and the responses are then considered together and we make a decision on which ones to publish. If a letter is not selected for publication, our usual practice is to send the author's response to the person…
  • Case
    On-going

    Extensive publication errors. Should we 're-publish'?

    2012
    In March 2012, our journal published a posthumous excerpt of a book by a prestigious scholar, who had died before completing the book. We chose to publish because the unfinished book represented the scholar's life work, and would not find another publication venue. The excerpt included a number of large figures, which we also published. At our publisher, we had a new production team, and…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Anonymity versus author transparency

    2012
    An editor invited an author to submit a paper to his journal. Colleagues of the author suggested “unsubmission” because it could be damaging to the author’s career. The editor contacted the publisher and requested that the paper be withdrawn. The editor then contacted the author asking if he would consider publishing the paper anonymously (ie, with no identifying names). The editor did not cons…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Compromised peer review (unpublished)

    2012
    A manuscript was flagged to editor X as having received reviewers’ reports indicating very high interest. At that point the manuscript had been through one round of review, revision and re-review, and all three reviewers were advising that the manuscript be accepted without further revision. On checking the credentials of the three reviewers, editor X was unable to find the publication r…
  • Case
    On-going

    Possible violation of the Helsinki Declaration on Scientific Research with Humans

    2012
    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

    Duplication of data

    2012
    It was brought to our attention that there is considerable overlap and duplication of data in two papers that a group of authors submitted and that were subsequently published in two different journals.The control groups are identical in the two papers although it is claimed that they were matched controls.The data in several columns in the tables are identical; one figure has been…
  • Case
    On-going

    Unethical private practice

    2012
    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

    2012
    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
    On-going

    Compromised peer review system in published papers

    2012
    On noticing a high volume of submissions from corresponding author A, editor X flagged up concerns with the preferred reviewers being suggested and their comments. Author A had in most cases suggested the same preferred reviewers for each submission, preferred reviewer accounts had non-attributable email addresses, comments were being returned very quickly (within 24 hours) and were often brief…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Meta-analysis: submission of unreliable findings

    2012
    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

    More than a breach of confidentiality?

    2012
    A journal received two manuscripts on the same topic in short succession.Manuscript A was rejected after peer review; manuscript B, submitted a few months later, was accepted after peer review. When manuscript B was published, author X contacted the journal to express concern about similarities between both papers and the fact that the first had been rejected and the second accepted. The…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Alleged misuse of confidential information

    2012
    In early 2012, author A submitted a paper reporting on the gene mutated in a rare syndrome seen in a specific population. The paper was citing an earlier (2006) report by author B that had mapped the disease locus to a narrow chromosomal location but had stopped short of actually identifying the gene (which would have been laborious by the technology available at the time). Author A’s su…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Was this study unethical?

    2012
    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

    Review of a book written by an editor of a journal

    2012
    Two scholars and professional colleagues, A and B, serve as co-editors of a peer-reviewed international journal. Editor A, who recently had a book published, has requested that editor B solicit a review of the book from a scholar in the field. Editor A would like this review to be published in the journal that they edit together. Editor B is concerned that this situation would put him in a situ…

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