News & Opinion

Opinion / Publication bias... again

Publication bias seems like a problem that just won't go away. PLoS Medicine published a paper (doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050217) late last year that indicated that this practice is alive and well in what is probably the most concerning area of all, clinical trials.

Opinion / You are banned from submitting to this journal

A few days ago, a newly qualified doctor asked informally if he could submit a 'slightly modified' version of a paper he'd just submitted to my journal to the BMJ. I told him about the evils of multiple submission and warned him that some journal Editors, if they discover the subterfuge, may well ban the author from submitting to their journal for a number of years. This, indeed, was the punishment that an Editor-in-Chief — not amused by a recent case of multiple submission to his journal — suggested at a recent COPE forum.

Opinion / Authorship trivia

We believe the paper with the most authors ever recorded (a massive 2512!) is Aleph et al. Precision electroweak measurements on the Z resonance. Physics Reports 2006, 427:257–454 (available at ) — unless somebody knows better...?

Opinion / How much do editors look for misconduct when they assess papers?

Lutz Bornmann and colleagues have tried to find out how much editors look for signs of research misconduct when assessing manuscripts. They reviewed 46 studies that reported editors’ and reviewers’ criteria for judging papers but found that none of the main criteria listed was related to detecting data falsification or fabrication. The paper is available at Scientometrics 2008, 77:415–32. doi: 10.1007/s11192-007-1950-2

Opinion / New version of the Declaration of Helsinki

Last month the World Association of Medical Editors announced the new version of the Declaration of Helsinki. This document, which was first drawn up in 1964, is essential reading for everyone doing research on human participants. The revision was the result of a huge amount of international consultation, and along with many other organisations, COPE provided input into this document.

Opinion / Editors and the pandemic of gift authorship

A while ago, I wrote a piece in the BMJ about gift authorship (doi: 10.1136/bmj.39500.620174.94). I wanted to share a real case with members and seek their opinion: a friend was asked to add the name of a senior surgeon on a submission to a surgical journal, even though the latter hadn’t contributed one jot to the research. I gave him some advice, which after careful consideration he discarded. Still in the early stages of his surgical career, he opted for self-preservation.

Opinion / More awareness of non-financial competing interests needed

A few weeks ago PLoS Medicine published an editorial on the thorny and confusing issue of non-financial competing interests.

Opinion / Not everything we do will be useful to you, but...

To some extent, I’m bound to advocate becoming a member of COPE, seeing as I'm on its Council, but without COPE I could never have transformed the editorial and publishing processes that have existed within the companies I have worked for. It’s partly about better understanding what should be done, but also about getting guidance on how to go about it. COPE did not proactively do the latter, but just being part of a network of editors enabled me to ask the right people the right questions.

News / All Elsevier journals become COPE members

Editors will benefit from new partnership

13 February 2008
London, UK.

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) is pleased to announce its partnership with Elsevier, publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. More than 2000 journals, the full collection of Health, Sciences and Science & Technology journals published by Elsevier, have been added to the list of COPE members.