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Intellectual property

All policies on intellectual property, including copyright and publishing licenses, should be clearly described. In addition, any costs associated with publishing should be obvious to authors and readers. Policies should be clear on what counts as prepublication that will preclude consideration. What constitutes plagiarism and redundant/overlapping publication should be specified

Our core practices

Core practices are the policies and practices journals and publishers need, to reach the highest standards in publication ethics. We include cases with advice, guidance for day-to-day practice, education modules and events on topical issues, to support journals and publishers fulfil their policies.

In the news: June 2021

Each month, COPE Council members find and share publication ethics news. This month the news includes articles on intellectual property, preprints, peer review, and more. 

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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.


Author requesting removal of verbatim text from published paper


Author A contacted author B. Author B had published a paper several years ago that contained verbatim text of author A’s previously published work. The verbatim work was cited but presented to the readers as paraphrased from the original. Similarity checking software showed that the paraphrased text was too close to the original text; in fact, it was quoted verbatim.


Guest article: Self-plagiarism in philosophy

A quip heard in the hallways of some philosophy departments goes like this: when someone publishes a new book, a colleague says, “Congratulations! So, what are you calling it this time around?” With every witticism, there is some level of truth; my professional discipline of philosophy has been somewhat sluggish in addressing the problem of self-plagiarism.


Case Discussion: Possible plagiarism

Case Summary

Case 19-03

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  • 26 February 2020

    Update to the pdf re: subject areas included in the broad categories, and a category name. Changes as follows:
    Page 26: the Humanities category should include the subject Media, Communication and Cultural Studies (currently under Information Sciences on page 27)
    On page 27: As above, the only subject in the category Information Sciences should now be Library and Information Sciences
    On page 31: the category called Libraries and Information Technology should be Information Sciences (the n 22 is correct).
    FI, the numbers are correct, just the category subjects/ and name need amending.