News & Opinion

News / COPE officers change

Jeremy Theobald has stepped down as COPE Treasurer. We thank Jeremy for all his contributions to COPE over several years - in particular in developing this website as well as his work as Treasurer and in developing COPE's membership and financial stability. Until formal elections can be held (at the next AGM in March 2010), Richard O'Hagan has agreed to take over Jeremy's role and will be Acting Treasurer and Ginny Barbour will take over from Richard as Acting Secretary.

Opinion / Should all journals have one universal referencing style?

There are thousands of ways of citing source material.  This is confusing for students and tedious for authors and editors (I confess to having a submission sent back to me from a neurosurgery journal last week because I used the incorrect referencing style...yes, I know, I should have checked).  Even experienced authors may puzzle over the correct referencing of a blog, an e-book or a podcast.  In this week's Times Higher Education, Alec Gill asks if journals should have one standard referencing system. He concludes 'the reform of academic referencing is long overdue'. Is it?

Opinion / Concern about UK libel laws

A doctor is being sued for libel because of comments he wrote in a newspaper about the British Chiropractic Association (in particular their alleged promotion of the use of chiropractic for asthma).  Since the case may have far-reaching consequences for journals and publishers, you might like to look at the campaign website which calls for a reform to the British libel laws to ensure they are not used to suppress scientific debate.

http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/index.php/site/project/333/

Opinion / Archives of Internal Medicine on Editorial Policies and Publication Bias

An editorial on June 8 in the Archives of Internal Medicine discusses the problem of publication bias - that is "negative" papers, especially trials, being less likely to make it into the published record. There are a number of reasons for this, from authors not submitting such papers to journals being less likely to publish them. Everyone now agrees that the consequences for the validity of the scientific record are substantial, though the solution is not simple.

Opinion / New York Times story on retracted orthopaedic paper

A story in the New York Times (free, registration required) discusses the retraction of a paper published in 2008 in  the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - British Volume (Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 for grade III open segmental tibial fractures from combat injuries in Iraq. J Bone Joint Surg Br.

Opinion / Just how common is scientific misconduct?

There have been plenty of surveys on this, and now a systematic review and meta-analysis has pulled the best ones together (Fanelli D. How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data. PLoS ONE 4(5): e5738. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005738 Published: May 29, 2009).

News / Forum Agenda for 2 June 2009 Meeting

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

Opinion / Call for comments on UK Research Integrity Office's Code of Practice for Research: Promoting good practice

The UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) has made a call for comments on its “Code of Practice for Research: Promoting good practice and prevent misconduct”. UKRIO) is an independent body which offers advice and guidance to universities and other research organisations, and also to individual researchers, about the conduct of research.

Opinion / “Bibliographic negligence” aka "citation amnesia”

An editorial in The Scientist (free, but registration required to access) discusses this rather shady practice- ie of failing to cite relevant papers. The writer, Richard Gallagher, raises an interesting point that“the openness gifted us by the Internet is revealing the lax standards that have been in place all the time. “- one that could easily be made of many other dubious publication practices.

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