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  • Guidelines

    Guidelines for managing the relationships between society owned journals, their society, and publishers

    The journals of ‘Learned Societies’ and ‘Professional Associations’ are an important part of the scientific literature. Regardless of the publication arrangements (ie, self-published by the society, published under contract with a professional publishing house, or some combination of both) and the number of journals affiliated with that society, the policies of and the relationships among the j…
  • Guidelines

    Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing

    Introduction The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) are scholarly o…
  • Guidelines

    Journals’ Best Practices for ensuring consent for publishing medical case reports: guidance from COPE

    Introduction The publication of case reports is a common practice in medical journals, and increasingly in basic science journals when an article illustrates a specific scientific point (e.g., a genetic phenotype). There is no doubt that case reports are valuable in the academic literature. However, they pose a specific ethical challenge for journals because, by their ve…
  • Guidelines

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

    This guidance has been drafted following a COPE Discussion Forum in 2013, and Discussion Document in 2014 on the subject, and it was initiated 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 of the cases. Background Sharing of information amon…
  • Guidelines

    Text recycling guidelines for editors

    A common issue encountered by editors is overlap of text with an author’s own previously published work, particularly with the increasing use of plagiarism detection software. This practice is known as ‘text recycling’ (also sometimes referred to as ‘self-plagiarism’). Opinions on the acceptability of text recycling vary greatly and it can be a challenge for editors to know how to deal with it…
  • Guidelines

    A short guide to ethical editing for new editors

    Background/structure Becoming an editor of a journal is an exciting but daunting task, especially if you are working alone without day to day contact with editorial colleagues. This short guide aims to summarise key issues and to provide links to relevant pages of the COPE website as well as those of other organisations. 1. Initial assessment of journal wh…
  • Guidelines

    Guidance for Editors: research, audit and service evaluations

    Regulations regarding what type of study requires ethical approval vary worldwide. In some countries all studies require ethical approval but in others not. This may lead to submission to journals of manuscripts relating to such studies that do not satisfy the journal’s normal requirement for independent ethical approval, and rejection of the manuscript because of misunderstanding of local regu…
  • Guidelines

    Cooperation between research institutions and journals on research integrity cases: guidance COPE

    Summary Institutions and journals both have important duties relating to research and publication misconduct. Institutions are responsible for the conduct of their researchers and for encouraging a healthy research environment. Journals are responsible for the conduct of their editors, for safeguarding the research record, and for ensuring the reliability of everything t…
  • Guidelines

    Retraction guidelines

    …Summary Editors should consider retracting a publication if: They have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of major error (eg, miscalculation or experimental error), or as a result of fabrication (eg, of data) or falsification (eg, image manipulation) It constitutes plagiarism The findings have previously been published el…
  • Guidelines

    Guidelines for the Board of Directors of Learned Society Journals

    The journals of Learned Societies are an important part of the scientific literature. Their management should be of the highest quality and ethically sound. First, the relationship of Editors of the journals of Learned Societies to those Societies is often complex. However, notwithstanding the economic and political realities of their journals, directors of Learned Societies should respe…
  • Guidelines

    How to handle authorship disputes: a guide for new researchers

    One of the main tasks of COPE’s education committee is to reduce unethical behaviour. This involves the rather bold step of defining when people have been behaving unethically, and then providing suggestions on how they can avoid doing so in the future. To this end we have written, and tested on a group of authors, a guide for young researchers on the area of authorship, which many people agree…
  • Guidelines

    Ethical guidelines for peer reviewers (English)

    Peer review in all its forms plays an important role in ensuring the integrity of the scholarly record. The process depends to a large extent on trust, and requires that everyone involved behaves responsibly and ethically. Peer reviewers play a central and critical part in the peer-review process, but too often come to the role without any guidance and unaware of their ethical obligations. COPE…
  • Case

    Deceased author and author delaying publication

    The journal accepted a manuscript for publication with two authors. One of the authors passed away 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 that passed away as normal because the production editor assigned to this manuscript did not know that one of the authors h…
  • Case

    Authorship of a commentary

    An associate editor invited a commentary to be written by one of the peer reviewers. When the commentary was submitted, the associate editor was a co-author. There could be the appearance of a conflict in the decision to accept the article on which the commentary was based if the associate editor is an author on the commentary. Question for the Forum
  • Case

    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

    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…
  • Forum discussion topics

    Bias in peer review

    …Forum discussion on bias in peer review A recent survey in which we asked COPE members to vote on the diversity, equity and inclusion topics they would like to discuss, bias in peer review was voted the topic of most interest, so we are devoting this COPE Forum discussion to it. While this important topic aligns most closely with
  • Seminars and webinars

    Trends and issues in publication ethics

    …Academic Divisions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences seminar, 2021 The Academic Divisions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASAD) organised a seminar in September 2021, with COPE invited to present on the trends and issues in publication ethics.  The integrity of peer-reviewed literature is important in retaining public confidence in scholarship. Trust is a key component of…
  • Discussion documents

    Artifical intelligence (AI) in decision making

    The COPE artificial intelligence (AI) in decision making discussion document introduces issues to be considered alongside the opportunities AI solutions offer in the publication process, with recommendations on best practices. The use of AI in the publication process is intended to increase the speed of decision making during the review process and reduce the burden on editors, reviewers…
  • Seminars and webinars

    J-STAGE Seminar 2021: Peer review

    Dr Trevor Lane, COPE Council member, was invited by the Japan Science and Technology Agency to speak at the First J-STAGE Seminar held online on 28 July 2021 for local editors, academic societies, researchers, and administrators. Titled “Fundamental Principles of Peer Review and Peer Review Ethics”, the presentation introduced COPE to the 200+ attendees and covered topics including peer review…