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  • Case
    On-going

    Where should journals escalate serious concerns about an institution or institutional review board?

    A publisher received a submission to one of their journals that raised ethical concerns. The concerns were related to potential harm or undue risk for participants who may be vulnerable. The publisher reviewed the ethics approval statement, and the authors had met the journal’s policy requirements by prospectively obtaining ethics approval from their institution before beginning the rese…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Possible peer review manipulation

    A journal received a complaint by one of the co-authors of an article submitted by a research team, stating that one of the reviewers suggested by the corresponding author sent an email to corresponding author asking them to tell them what comments they should insert in their review. In response, the corresponding author asked the co-authors to propose comments to be sent to the reviewer. One o…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Is there a time limit for submitting a critique of a published article?

    A letter to the editor was submitted to a journal with a comment referring to a study published a year previously. The reader raised concerns about the study and interpretation of the results. The editors of the journal examined the peer review comments of the manuscript and found that the aspects in question were missed out. The journal sought expert advice from an independent reviewer who com…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Suspicious responses to authorship change requests

    A journal received a request for multiple changes to the authorship list after the manuscript was accepted. Originally, there were five co-authors. After acceptance, the journal received the following requests from author A, the corresponding author and co-first author: remove one of the co-authors (author D), add a new co-author (author E), reorder the list of authors, and change the designate…
  • Case
    On-going

    Change of corresponding author after manuscript published online

    On submission of a manuscript to a journal, one of the authors was indicated as the corresponding author. During the submission, review, and revision process, and also through copyediting and proofreading, the corresponding author responded to all emails, signed the publishing agreements, and was generally available. At this time, the authors of the manuscript did not mention a possible change…
  • Case
    On-going

    Authorship dispute involving a commercial institution

    A paper was published in a journal. After publication, an associate editor of the journal said that they and other colleagues should have been authors on the paper. They cited a patent they helped write that overlapped with the article as proof that they should be authors on the paper. The authors of the paper refuse to add the associate editor and colleagues as authors.   Unfortuna…
  • Case
    On-going

    Request to remove an author post-publication

    A paper was submitted to a journal by authors A and B. The paper was accepted and then published in the journal. Several months after final publication, author A contacted the journal asking for their name and their biography to be removed from the article. Author A stated that they wished to distance themselves from the research.   Author B also contacted the journal separately to…
  • Case
    On-going

    Deceased author and author delaying publication

    The journal accepted a manuscript for publication with two authors. One of the authors died before signing the copyright. This manuscript is now ready for galley proof approval from the surviving author. Proofs were sent to the surviving author and the author who died as normal because the production editor assigned to this manuscript did not know that one of the authors had died. After…
  • Case
    On-going

    Institutions paying authors to be named on papers

    Some academic institutions are paying authors for the name of the institution to be included in the manuscript so that the institution has an increased number of publications in a given year. The institution gives the author payment and the author terms it as ‘funding’ or ‘grant’, which is not the case. The author publishes the research article in a journal with two affiliations and explains in…
  • Case
    On-going

    Duplicate submission and request for withdrawal

    A paper was submitted to journal A and received a ‘revision’ decision. At some point following this decision, the authors emailed the journal to request withdrawal, citing inconsistencies in their data and subsequent conclusions. A search of the literature showed that the same paper (with the same authors) was published in journal B the day before the withdrawal request. Clearly, the authors wa…
  • Seminars and webinars

    Seminar 2021: Keynote address

    The keynote address opened the COPE Seminar 2021. Taking place over a week, the online seminar included a series of nine sessions, with speakers invited to share their experiences.
  • Case
    On-going

    Unresponsive authors delaying publication

    The journal received a submission which proceeded through peer review and was recommended for publication. The authors responded to the revision letter, providing a detailed itemised list of changes and revised their manuscript accordingly. The revised manuscript was subsequently accepted for publication.  The normal process for articles in this journal is that when papers are accepted a…
  • Case
    On-going

    Author alleges discrimination by institutional report

    In 2020, the corresponding author of an article published online three years previously notified the journal of an authorship conflict and explained that the institution was requesting retraction. Because authorship conflict does not typically warrant retraction, the publisher requested further details from the author and the author's institution about the conflict. The author provided two diff…
  • Case
    On-going

    Preprint plagiarism

    Author group A deposited a preprint onto a preprint server and simultaneously submitted the manuscript to journal A. Peer review in journal A took some considerable time, but the paper (paper A) was eventually published. During the long peer review of paper A, author group A noticed that another set of authors, author group B, had published paper B in journal B. While paper B was submitted seve…
  • Discussion documents

    Sharing of information among editors-in-chief regarding possible misconduct

    This paper aims to stimulate discussion about the sharing of information among editors-in-chief regarding possible misconduct in their journals. This guidance has been drafted following a COPE Discussion Forum, in the wake of a number of high profile cases of research misconduct in which the sharing of information between the relevant editors-in-chief (EiCs) was crucial to the final settlement…
  • Case
    On-going

    Simultaneous submission without aiming at duplicate publication

    An invite for a review was made by journal A. The first revision was done six months after submission, and the second revision two months later. Three weeks after submission of the second revision, the editor’s decision was minor revision. At this point, the corresponding author, author X, informed the editor of journal A that the authors were reluctant to respond to the comments of the second…
  • Translated resources

    El editor y los revisores solicitan que se cite su trabajo: caso

    La oficina editorial tuvo conocimiento de una carta de decisión en la que un editor solicitaba a un autor que citase un artículo publicado por el propio editor. Una investigación en mayor profundidad destapó un patrón de comportamiento preocupante: el editor solicitaba en las cartas (incluidos también los comentarios de los revisores) que se añadiesen citaciones de sus trabajos en más de 50 cas…
  • Forum discussion topics

    Predatory publishing: next steps and where do we go from here?

    December 2020 Since COPE drafted a discussion paper on the topic of predatory publishing in 2019, many more scholarly papers have been published on various aspects of this issue so there is no lack of research into the practice. However, while resear…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Sharing by a reviewer on social media

    A journal operated double blind peer-review, so the reviewers do not know the identity of the authors, and vice versa. However, the anonymity of the authors is not guaranteed, as the reviewers may discover the identity of the authors (because of the area of research, references, writing style, etc). But rarely can the authors identify the reviewers. The journal received a request from a…
  • Case
    On-going

    Institution wants to retract despite ongoing legal proceedings

    The case has been with two publishers for more than a year. Journal A at publisher A published article A by author A, affiliated to institution A and institution B (in another country), and author B affiliated to institution B. Journal B at publisher B then published article B, by the same authors and affiliations. The two articles are on closely related research. Shortly after publicati…

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