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Top cases 2020

Most read cases and case discussions

Top five cases

Three of the top five most read cases on the COPE website in 2020 were related to authorship issues:

  • request to change the order of authors;
  • a post-publication request for a reviewer to be added as an author after publication;
  • changing an author's name after publication. Recently, the publishing and academic communities have been working to develop new guidance to ensure that authors who are transgender, non-binary, and/or gender diverse can easily update their names on articles. COPE will be issuing guidance on this in due course.

Two cases in the top five most read cases are consistently highly used:

Most read case discussions

The most read case discussions published in 2020, where we share the advice given by fellow COPE members on a case, and add to the discussion with further indepth analysis of the issues and similar cases:

  • Withdrawal of a paper at proof stage with additional COPE case examples, including unethical withdrawal after acceptance to maximise the impact factor; increased number of casual submissions; and dual submission and editor's failure to take action
  • Self-plagiarism and suspected salami publishing, a popular topic for discussion, including six similar cases covering salami slicing, copied text passages, and prior publication.
  • Editing of peer review comments with discussion of reviewers who write comments they don't want the author to see, and transparency of the peer review process.

Other case discussions in 2020: