Applying for membership
- Completing the application form
- When can I expect a decision on my application?
- What shall I do if any of my journal details have changed since I made the application?
- The application form asks for the details of 8 editorial board members. What if we don’t have 8?
- What if our journal does not publish in English?
- Membership subscription fees
After applications are accepted
- What happens when my application for membership is accepted?
- Can I cancel my membership?
- Can COPE remove my membership?
- Why has my application for COPE membership been declined?
- When can I reapply for membership?
- Can I appeal a decision?
Applying for membership
Please ensure you have read and understood the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing before applying. COPE uses the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing to evaluate potential members, and we expect all applicants to follow the spirit of the principles in all aspects of their publishing operation.
Please allow sufficient time to complete your application in full. We strongly recommend you review the application form first to enable you to gather all the information you need to complete your application before you start the process. All requested information is required for our assessment process.
Note: for subscription only journals, please ensure you provide temporary access to their current issue and archives so checks can be made. A decision on your application cannot be made if subcommittee members do not have access to the content.
There are two different application forms for:
Every application is reviewed by a dedicated Membership Administrator as well as 1 or 2 members of COPE Council (the ‘Membership subcommittee’). Applications are assessed manually and it takes time to ensure that we do this carefully and thoroughly. Our normal process time is approximately 6 months, depending on the volume of applications. We are not able to provide status updates for applications less than 6 months old.
All applications are reviewed in strict date order of submission. We will not ‘fast track’ applications.
If any journal details change while your application is being processed, such as editorial staff, please contact the Membership Administrator ([email protected]). Please provide the name of the journal, the date submitted, and details of the data that need to be amended. Your position in the process will not be affected if you provide updated details, you will retain your original position and submission date.
We will seek a response from at least 50% of the editorial board members your journal does have.
COPE has limited capacity to review non-English journal websites, however, we will use translation software (where possible) to assist in the assessment process. PDFs of articles are not captured by translation software, and policy statements or contact information should ideally be duplicated in English.
There are different levels of membership subscription fees. Membership subscription fees are annual and based on the calendar year, January 1 - December 31 (or are pro-rata if you join mid-way through a year). Renewal notices are sent each January.
COPE considers requests for full reduction of membership subscription fees (free membership) from journals that meet one of the following criteria:
- Journals based in Research4Life/HINARI countries.
- Journals in low and lower-middle-income countries (as defined by the World Bank) with both zero paid members of staff (ie, run on totally voluntary efforts) and with zero income/ funding from any source (including from a publisher).
COPE will also consider requests for reduced membership subscription fees. Journals that qualify for reduced membership fees will be asked to pay 50% of the normal membership fee. Requests for reductions will be considered from journals that meet one of the following criteria:
- Journals in low and lower-middle-income countries (as defined by the World Bank) with paid staff or a dedicated income source.
- Journals (or groups of journals) with fewer than one full-time equivalent paid member of staff per journal (ie, run mainly on voluntary efforts) and with zero income/funding from any source (including from a publisher).
After applications are accepted
When your application is accepted, you will receive an email confirming this. You will receive a New Member Handbook with details of the benefits for COPE members. If membership fees are applicable, an invoice will be sent to you.
Once your membership fees are paid (if applicable), your journal details will be uploaded to our website and the editor-in-chief (or nominated representative) will be contacted to set up their journal manager status for the account. The journal manager will be able to add to or edit the journal details for display on the COPE website, as well as grant access to COPE resources, such as the eLearning course, to other members of the editorial team, by adding them to the journal group as a user.
You can also display the COPE Member logo. Log in to the COPE website and download your individual logo with your membership number and year of joining COPE. There are versions available for print and online use. Full details are included in the New Member Handbook.
Yes, if you want to cancel your membership you can do this at any time. If you have paid annual membership fees, these will not be refunded. You must also remove any reference to being a member of COPE from your website.
Yes, COPE is able to remove membership at any time. We have a published sanctions policy and process for the circumstances in which this could happen.
COPE uses the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing to evaluate potential members and we expect all applicants to follow the spirit of the principles in all aspects of their publishing operation. We may find that some elements of the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, as expressed on your journal’s website, are not clear or do not adhere to best practice. We also use more subtle forms of assessment based on the Membership subcommittee's experience (for example, where editorial staff may work on multiple journals we consider competing interests and their possible impact on quality assurance and ethics), and on various sources of publicly available information. Unsuccessful applicants will receive recommendations specific to their journal.
If you are not a member of COPE, it is not permitted to use our logo or in any other way imply membership prior to that membership being granted. Journals already using the COPE logo or otherwise inferring membership will be asked to remove those elements before an application can proceed.
If your application for COPE membership has been declined, you are welcome to re-apply for membership 12 months after you received the decision. We do not consider re-applications any earlier than this.
Unfortunately COPE is unable to consider appeals of membership decisions. You are welcome to reapply after 12 months, when we expect you will have incorporated the suggested changes to your journal policies and processes.