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November 2009


COPE’s retraction guidelines

COPE’s retraction guidelines have now been published and are available to download (see Guidelines,

Opinion / New version of “Good publication practice for communicating company sponsored medical research"

The BMJ has just published a new version of “Good publication practice for communicating company sponsored medical research: the GPP2 guidelines

These guidelines are an update of the first version of the Good publication practice guidelines, published in 2003. The updated guidelines were produced after consultation with academics, journal editors, publishers, medical writers and companies. They include a checklist.

New elements in the guidelines are:

Opinion / Sense about Systematic Reviews

Sense about Science, “an independent charitable trust promoting good science and evidence in public debates” has just published a short briefing paper on Systematic Reviews. The UK charity has the aim of “promoting respect for evidence and by urging scientists to engage actively with a wide range of groups, particularly when debates are controversial or difficult.”


Forum agenda for 2 December 2009 meeting

Download the agenda and materials for the 2 December 2009 COPE Forum (Download PDF, 144kb).

Opinion / Duplicate publication guidelines from BMC

BioMed Central has developed useful guidelines for authors about exactly what is meant by duplicate (or redundant) publication. They cover not only  overlaps with  other journal articles but  issues such as preprint servers (and they mention the COPE  flowchart!).  You can find them at

Opinion / NEJM paper on selective reporting of trials of off-label use of gabapentin

This paper, published on Nov 12th, looked at 12 trials where both published reports and internal company documents on off label use of gabapentin (Neurontin) could be examined. The authors found that for "8 of the 12 reported trials, the primary outcome defined in the published report differed from that described in the protocol.", and go on to describe the types of differences found, including that "Of the 21 primary outcomes described in the protocols of the published trials, 6 were not reported at all and 4 were reported as secondary outcomes.

Opinion / Shake-up for UK research ethics approval?

The UK's National Research Ethics Service (NRES), which coordinates ethical review of research, is likely to be reorganized. Depending on the outcome, this could have implications for editors who publish research done in the UK and need to understand that it has undergone proper ethical scrutiny. Details will probably appear on (but there is no information there yet).