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Letter from the COPE Chair: October 2019

Dear Digest Readers,

The last week in September was a very busy one for COPE. We began our week of meetings in Leiden with the European Seminar and had 84 members in attendance. The theme on daily realities and future challenges was just that. We focused on a number of daily realities for our members.

Highlights included an excellent presentation on text recycling by Cary Moskovitz, David Hansen and Michael Pemberton who provided a very detailed overview of their 5 year multi-institutional and interdisciplinary project, funded by the US National Science Foundation, on text recycling which is now in its second year.

We had a session on retractions which included an update on COPE’s newly revised retraction guidelines from Council member Howard Browman, a presentation on the Scientometrics of retractions from Thed van Leeuwen, and a presentation from a publisher’s perspective on retraction by Catriona Fennell.

I did a presentation on predatory publishing. I want to thank everyone for their feedback on my session and have sent out my powerpoint to everyone who requested the slides.


Deborah Kahn presented an overview of the study we completed this past year on our members in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (done in partnership with Taylor & Francis).


An unusual treat for attendees was a presentation by Frank van Koffschooten, a journalist, who shared his 25 year experience as a journalist working on publication ethics violations which was an excellent perspective for those of us dealing with publication ethics from a very different purview. The afternoon was filled with engaged and interactive discussions of cases.

The rest of the week was spent in COPE meetings which started off with a very important strategic planning day for Council and Trustees. Our second strategic plan is now being drafted. For those who follow and participate in COPE activities, it will not surprise you to hear that part of our going forward commitment will be to continue to build upon interdisciplinarity and to work on University membership in the coming years. Our strategic plan will cover the timeframe from 2020-2023. You will hear more about this as we finalize our plan.

This month the focus of our case study in Digest is on data and reproducibility. Our Council colleague, Trevor Lane, presents a case of the falsification of data by co-authors without the knowledge of the lead author and what issues arose as this case developed and the article was rejected. Trevor discusses the case with reference to all of the relevant COPE materials, including “Sharing of Information Among Editors-in-Chief Regarding Possible Misconduct”. These guidelines were written by COPE in response to EIC concerns regarding balancing confidentiality with responsibility in dealing with cases and issues that have implications for other journals.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Digest.

Best wishes,

COPE Chair Deborah Poff




Read October 2019 Digest newsletter with a focus on Data and Reproducibility. We also share the new COPE Authorship Discussion Document and announce our November Forum discussion on "Artificial intelligence in decision making". We say goodbye and thank you to six of our Council members who have come to the end of their term. Plus the monthly update on news, collated by COPE Council members.