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Applications for COPE Ombudsman

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) is looking to appoint a new Ombudsman to ensure that COPE carries out its stated mission in a fair, expedient, and transparent manner, and that its Council and Trustees are acting in the best interests of the organisation and its members. Applicants should not be a member of COPE.

COPE is a membership organisation and UK registered charity whose stated mission is “to educate and advance knowledge in methods of safeguarding the integrity of the scholarly record for the benefit of the public”. Its members are largely journal editors and publishers who commit to following the appropriate Code of Conduct, and COPE’s main activities involve advising, supporting, and educating these members.

COPE also mediates between COPE members and parties who feel that a member has breached one or more of the elements of the COPE Code of Conduct. Its role in this regard is not to perform an investigation and issue a judgement, but to act as a neutral third party in arbitration.

The COPE Ombudsman is an independent (unpaid) individual. (S)he conducts enquiries into the activities of COPE as required by COPE council or, if appropriate, by external individuals. (S)he may request further documentation and background information from outside individuals and from COPE, as necessary, issuing his/her written findings and conclusions directly to the outside individuals and COPE Officers. COPE’s Officers will arrange for any actions suggested by the Ombudsman to be implemented in a timely manner, and inform the Ombudsman of progress. More information on the role of the Ombudsman can be found on the COPE website (

The Ombudsman will write an annual report (in the years in which a complaint has been received), which will be published unedited on COPE’s website. Earlier reports may be viewed here:


  • The position is unpaid, but COPE will reimburse any necessary expenses, such as travel to Council meeting to observe proceedings.
  • The Ombudsman’s term runs for a period of 2 years.
  • The Ombudsman should ideally have both insight into publication ethics and the work of COPE, and an understanding or experience of conducting investigations or arbitration.
  • The Ombudsman will declare any conflicts of interest to COPE on an annual basis, and if he/she is unable to handle a specific case owing to such a conflict, COPE will seek to engage one of the former holders of the post.
  • The Ombudsman will not be a member of COPE.


  • An informed view on academic publishing.
  • An ethical framework with which to judge medical/academic publishing in general and editorial activities in particular.


  • Good communication skills, both written and oral.
  • An understanding of how to handle confidential and/or sensitive information.
  • Experience of decision making processes in a committee-led organisation.
  • Negotiation and diplomatic skills.

Applicants should not be a member of COPE. If you do wish to apply for the position, please send a short CV (no more than 4 pages) plus a covering letter stating your reasons for applying and what you can contribute to the role. Applications should be sent to the COPE Administrator. If you wish to discuss the role further, please contact the COPE Administrator in the first instance.