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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 121–133 of 133 results
  • Case

    A paper which discloses confidential material

    In March 2000 author A submitted a research letter to journal X, on behalf of a national screening programme. He also submitted a commissioned editorial to journal Y, relating to the same subject. At the same time, author A sent copies of both articles to B, a recognised authority on the subject. He made it clear that they were confidential and in press and asked for some information on a test…
  • Case

    Reviewer submitting for publication material that had been removed from a paper he had reviewed

    The paper was sent to two reviewers and published after modification. Between acceptance and publication, some modelling that had been included in the original paper was removed. Some time after publication one of the people who had reviewed the study submitted a letter for publication that included this model. The original authors were rather surprised by this and they sent us a letter pointin…
  • Case

    Authorship dispute

    An article was published with three authors’ names. Not all of the authors’ signatures had been included on the original submission letter. A complaint was lodged by Y, who said that X had submitted the paper without either his or Z’s consent or knowledge, and that there were several specific errors and omissions. Y then submitted a statement for publication in the journal dissociating himself…
  • Case

    The single author, randomised controlled trial

    After a randomised controlled trial from a single author had been published, a letter was received in which the correspondent suggested that the original trial might be fraudulent. Firstly, the writer claimed that it was highly unlikely that just one author could perform a prospective, randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial, especially in a small district hospital. The correspondent…
  • 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

    Rights of reviewers

    A clinical professor of medicine was asked to act as a reviewer for a submitted paper.The paper had not been presented publicly or in abstract form. The reviewer returned an extensive list of suggested alterations, but rated the paper highly. The other two reviewers also rated the paper highly, but suggested only minor modifications. The editor invited the authors to undertake a minor revision…
  • Case

    Submission without knowledge of the corresponding author

    A case report was received and the corresponding author was duly notified. The corresponding (and senior author) immediately faxed back, asking who had submitted the case report as he had not been consulted and had not seen the manuscript.The submission letter contained the names of all four authors; three of the signatures had been made using the same pen and probably the same hand.The signatu…
  • Case

    Overseas editor dismissed from university for fraud

    An international specialist medical journal has editors in the UK and abroad who function independently. An issue of a scientific journal in 1998 reported that the overseas editor had been dismissed from a university professorship because of scientific fraud. This had been documented in three published research papers.The report highlighted a particular paper, in which 27 references cited indic…
  • Case

    Redundant publication

    A paper was submitted to journal A which was published as a rapid communication. It was subsequently discovered that the major US journal in this specialty had published other findings from the same set of patients, and that the paper had been considered by them at the same time. The messages of the two papers are closely related but different, but either one could have been amalgamated into th…
  • Case

    Attempted dual publication

    A study by Japanese authors was submitted to specialist journal A. The manuscript was sent to three reviewers, including expert X. After two weeks, expert X contacted the editorial office to say that an identical manuscript had been sent by the competing specialist journal B to expert Y in the same unit as expert X. Expert X and expert Y had compared and discussed both manuscripts. Expert X sai…
  • Case

    Grounds for retraction?

    The co-author of a paper has contacted us about a paper he published 5 years ago together with a researcher who has now been convicted of serious professional misconduct by the GMC for research misconduct. The co-author is worried that the paper he co-authored may also be fraudulent. The research was in two parts. The first was analysed by a doctor not convicted of research miscon…
  • Case

    Failing to get consent from an ethics committee

    This case was described to me by an author who is about to submit a paper. He has discovered that a member of his team has produced a lot of fraudulent data for other studies, and has forged consent from ethics committees. This researcher has been reported to the GMC and his case is pending. The problem with the paper about to be submitted to us is that the fraudulent researcher falsely claime…
  • Case

    Blatant example of duplicate publication?

    A paper was submitted to one journal on 7 March, revised on 20 May, submitted to another journal on 21 March, revised on 29 May, accepted on 2 July and published in December 1997. The content of both papers is identical but each has different reference styles so were clearly intended for two different journals. The submission letter to the first journal clearly states that the material has not…