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September 2011


Applicants now being sought for the COPE International Advisory Board

COPE is pleased to announce that applications are now being sought for the COPE international advisory board. This has been established to enable us to gain an understanding of the ethical issues and concerns facing individual countries and regions.  A local point of contact will be appointed to advise and assist COPE in its work to support editors and publishers of peer-reviewed journals in all aspects of publication ethics.


Chinese version of COPE flowcharts now available!

The COPE flowcharts are now available in Chinese on the website.  14 of the full set of 17 flowcharts have been translated, the remaining 3 will be available shortly.  The Chinese version joins Italian and Spanish on the website.  Following soon are: Croatian, Turkish, Korean, Farsi (Persian), Japanese, Brazilian Portugese and Arabic.  We are always looking for new translations.


Annual Scientific Congress of Iranian Society of Medical Editors in association with COPE

COPE is very pleased to announce that it will have its first international congress on publication ethics in Shiraz, Iran, 24–25 November 2011. The congress is in association with the Iranian Society of Medical Editors and is supported by Shiraz University of Medical Sciences. The meeting will be held in the five star Homa Hotel (

Opinion / UK working group on research transparency

The UK Minister for Science has announced the formation of a working group on research transparency which will examine how UK-funded research findings can be made more accessible, with a particular focus on 'academic publications'. A press release is available here.

Opinion / Problems with data availability

A study published in PLoS One by Alsheikh-Ali and colleagues highlights the diversity of data sharing policies in high impact journals and researchers' failure to adhere to policies when they do exist. Only 9% of the 500 papers included links to full online data sets and nearly 60% of the papers covered by a data availability policies failed to follow them properly.

Opinion / Ethics (and legal implications) of science communication

According to a report in Nature, scientists and officials in Italy face legal proceedings about how they communicated risk to the public regarding earthquakes following the major quake which killed more than 300 people in L'Aquila in 2009.


Announcement of COPE Council elections

Due to vacancies on Council, we are seeking nominations for two new candidates, as our constitution requires.


Ethical Editing – Autumn 2011 issue

Download the Autumn issue of Ethical Editing, the newsletter from COPE.
This issue's theme is ''Evaluating current ethical practices''. We would very much welcome any feedback or comments you may have. Please contact us via the website.

Opinion / COPE-funded research on authorship published

Ana Marusic and colleagues have published a systematic review on the meaning, ethics and practices across scholarly disciplines showing  a high prevalence of authorship problems. It is available from PLos One. This study was funded by a COPE research grant and preliminary results were presented at this year's UK seminar.

Opinion / Debate about conflicts of interest

The BMJ recently published an editorial suggesting that authors with ties to industry should not be permitted to publish editorials. This has prompted an interesting debate (via the journal's rapid responses) about how journals should handle conflicts of interest.

Opinion / Editor apologizes for plagiarized paper

Retraction Watch reports an editorial comment in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology about a plagiarized article which the journal has retracted. The editor explains how his journal uses CrossCheck and why peer review can't be expected to detect plagiarism. This comment, in turn, has attracted comments from Retraction Watch readers which may also be of interest to editors. See here.