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Allegations of misconduct

Journals should have a clearly described process for handling allegations, however they are brought to the journal's or publisher’s attention. Journals must take seriously allegations of misconduct pre-publication and post-publication. Policies should include how to handle allegations from whistleblowers.

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: May 2021

Publication ethics news May 2021

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

About this resource

Cite this as: COPE Council. COPE Discussion Document: Sharing of information among editors-in-chief regarding possible misconduct. February  2014. 

Version 1: February 2014

© 2020 Committee on Publication Ethics (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

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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.


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.


In the news: February 2021

Publication ethics news February 2021

Each month, COPE Council members find and share publication ethics news. This month the news includes articles on diversity and inclusion, peer review, paper mills, and more.

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Top cases 2020

Most read cases and case discussions

Top five cases

Three of the top five most read cases on the COPE website in 2020 were related to authorship issues:

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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 reviewer.