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Exploring publication ethics in the arts, humanities, and social sciences: Initial research findings

Key Research Findings

In early 2019, COPE, working in partnership with Routledge (Taylor & Francis group), conducted an international survey of academic journal editors in the arts, humanities, and social sciences (AHSS), exploring the publication ethics issues specific to these disciplines.

COPE aims to provide practical publication ethics guidance for editorial staff working in all disciplines. We wanted to better understand the publication ethics issues faced by AHSS journal editors and learn to what extent these differed from or overlapped with other disciplines.

COPE, with support from Routledge, commissioned a market research agency, Shift Learning, to devise and conduct a bespoke piece of research to assess AHSS journal editors’ current and future needs.

Research began in December 2018 and was conducted in two stages:
1. In December 2018 we held two initial, exploratory focus groups with AHSS editors to identify the current ethical issues editors face, future issues they anticipate and what sources of support they currently use or need.
2. This informed an online survey which ran during February 2019. The survey was promoted internally by COPE member publishers, through COPE’s mailing lists and across social media. Respondents were COPE members or non-members but had to be editors of AHSS journals. The survey included multiple choice and open answers. Survey findings are based on the 656 admissible survey returns.

The white paper of the findings will be published in July 2019. 

See the key findings from our research