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Letter from the COPE co-Chairs: January 2019

Journals vary greatly in almost all aspects of functioning; different disciplines, editorial roles, budgets and the size of journals will all influence how ethical issues are handled. As we begin this new year, we encourage COPE members to use the updated COPE Journal Audit Tool to more systematically review your guidelines and processes around publication ethics issues. Revised to align with COPE’s Core Practices and the recently revised Principles of Transparency, its goal is to help editors and publishers of all types of journals consider whether their journal adheres to best practices in scholarly publishing. Arranged as a checklist, it is easy to identify areas of journal policies and procedures that might benefit from revision. Using this checklist on a regular basis as an established process helps ensure journals have robust, well described, and publicly documented publication ethics procedures. The Journal Audit Tool is not a survey and requires no response to COPE, but feedback to COPE to improve or enhance the Journal Audit Tool is always welcome.

One of COPE’s strategic goals has been to ensure COPE resources for journals in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences are as relevant to the editors and publishers of those journals as they are to the scientific disciplines. To meet this objective, we have been working closely with a research agency to help us understand what members of these communities need from COPE. In December we conducted two online focus groups to hear about some of the issues faced by editors of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences journals. This feedback is helping us build a more wide-ranging web based survey for these groups and, in February, we will detail ways in which you can contribute to the survey.

COPE has an exciting events calendar planned for 2019! Registration for the North American Seminar will be held in Philadelphia, PA, USA on Friday 3 May 2019. Following on from the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences research mentioned above, it will focus on publication ethics issues facing these disciplines “Challenges and solutions: issues of inclusivity and diversity in the humanities and social sciences”. We are finalising the speakers and session topics and will announce them very soon.

COPE will have a prominent role at the WCRI (World Congress on Research Integrity in Hong Kong, China (2-5 June 2019), with four COPE-led symposia and plenary sessions:

  • Plenary session on predatory publishing
  • Symposium on Transparency 2025
  • A debate on preprints
  • Focus track on responsible authorship

Later in the year, we’re delighted to be joining COPE representatives in the Netherlands who will be hosting COPE’s European Seminar in the city of Leiden on 23 September 2019. We’ll give you more details about the Seminar as the programme is developed.

We hope you will be able to join us through the year at one of these events, our quarterly Forum webinars where members’ cases are submitted for discussion and advice and our ongoing webinar series focusing on hot topics. We will keep you updated as we shape these events.

Happy New Year!

COPE co-chairs Geri Pearson and Chris Graf 






Read January 2019 COPE Digest newsletter and use the COPE Audit Tool, read a case discussion on citation manipulation, get dates in the diary for COPE events in 2019, and keep abreast of news & events in #PublicationEthics