16 October 2020
Across research publications, publishers are increasingly seeing large scale manipulation of the publication process. “Paper mills” - producing fraudulent papers at scale - is one such manipulation. COPE members, with guest speaker Elisabeth Bik, recently discussed the issues surrounding Systematic manipulation of the publishing process via “paper mills” and how to identify and tackle this type of fraudulent behaviour.
Paper mills produce and sell fraudulent manuscripts that seem to resemble genuine research. Articles are bought by people who need to publish research in order to get a job or promotion. This type of manipulation is often difficult to spot until multiple papers are compared, usually across different publishers, when the similarity of layout, figures, or images become obvious. Publishers need to be open and to collaborate to address this issue.
A group of COPE member publishers give advice on what to do individually and collectively in this Publisher’s perspective: potential “paper mills” and what to do about them.
“This fraudulent behaviour has been identified by COPE members, and we will continue to work with them to develop guidance to help all editors and publishers” Deborah Poff, COPE Chair
The problem is mostly in the biomedical field but it has been found in other disciplines.
COPE provides guidance on Systematic manipulation of the publication process and continues to work with publishers and editors, building on resources that help editors identify potential fraudulent behaviour.
Sarah Gillmore, Marketing & Communications Officer
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COPE is committed to educate and support editors, publishers and others involved in publication ethics, with the aim of moving the culture of publishing towards one where ethical practices become the norm. Our approach is firmly in the direction of influencing through education, guidance and support of our members alongside the fostering of professional debate in the wider community.
COPE’s 10 Core Practices which includes resources such as guidelines, flowcharts and real publication ethics cases, covers many ethical issues to help editors in their day to day work.
COPE was established in 1997 by a small group of journal editors and now has over 12,500 members worldwide from all academic fields.