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Case

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 181–191 of 191 results
  • Case

    Triplicate publication with possibly different data in each

    A paper describing an outbreak of infectious disease was submitted to three journals. The submission to one journal described the index case; the submission to another included investigation and follow up of other cases and contacts in the country where the outbreak had occurred. The third paper looked at the spread of the disease into other countries. A considerable amount of the epidem…
  • Case

    Patients with vitiligo treated with anti-fungal drugs by a general practitioner

    A letter was submitted for publication in which a general practitioner described how he treated patients with vitiligo “simultaneously with an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial medicament over a prolonged period.”He has done this because:“As is now known,a fungus resembles the human being genetically and there is a possibility that a fungus can hide in the melanocyte (analogically as is being do…
  • Case

    Unethical research

    We have received a study in which patients with healed duodenal ulcers were randomly allocated to treatment with either placebo or ranitidine. Patients were also categorised as to whether they were type A or type B personality; the hypotheses being tested was that patients who were type A might be more likely to relapse. Patients did not have their H pylori status determined. Subjects we…
  • 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

    Unethical research undertaken by a single handed GP

    We have received a paper from a GP testing the hypotheses that because 24,25 cholecalciferol has a similar structure to commercially available statins, it may act as an inhibitor of HMA co-reductase. He screened 350 patients in his practice and identified 77 who had a cholesterol concentration above 6.5 mmol per litre. Thirty-three of them agreed to return for a second test 2 weeks later. They…
  • Case

    Not getting consent from an ethics committee

    We had provisionally accepted a randomised controlled trial of an exclusion diet given to young children with a particular condition. The trial design was that one group started the exclusion diet a month before the second group. In other words, both were given the “treatment.” One part of the trial was that children who were thought to have an allergy to a particular food were rechallenged wit…
  • Case

    Informed consent

    A group of researchers are conducting a study of whether women aged 65 to 69 years will accept screening for breast cancer. They plan to invite these women for screening in the same way as they invite younger women for screening but will not know that they are part of a research study. The authors want advice on whether journals would be willing to publish their results, despite the fact that t…
  • Case

    A commentary on a piece of (unethical) research

    We have received a paper in which the authors have exposed a group of babies to physiologically unnatural circumstances. These circumstances do however arise quite regularly in some peoples’ lives. None of the babies had anything wrong with them, but some of them were siblings of babies who had died. Some of the babies showed physiological changes in the unnatural circumstances, which raised th…
  • Case

    False memory syndrome

    A doctor has submitted an account of how his daughter falsely accused him of having abused her as a child. His daughter is another British doctor. We would like to publish the account as part of a package of articles on false memory syndrome. The questions we are considering are: (1) Can it ever be right to publish something that describes the intimacies of a family conflict, to illustrate a s…
  • Case

    Living unrelated (commercial) organ transplant

    A paper submitted for publication describes a series of children with renal failure who had had kidneys transplanted from commercially acquired donors. The authors of the paper had not carried out the transplants. Indeed, they had been carried out in another country. The authors simply reported what happened to the patients after they returned. The paper, while not of high priority for publicat…
  • Case

    Should we have had author consent for a randomised controlled trial of a peer review?

    A medical journal conducted a randomised controlled trial of papers submitted to it without getting consent from the authors concerned. An author found out and objected. Should the journal have sought consent from its authors? … Maybe this is taking matters too far and it is simply barmy to seek author consent. Should notice of this trial been given in advance and the authors been given t…

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