When aspects of publication ethics are particularly fast-moving or controversial COPE cannot always provide detailed guidance. The COPE discussion documents aim to stimulate discussion rather than tell editors what to do. We hope that, by raising the issues, we can contribute to the debate within the scholarly publishing community and work towards agreement or definition of difficult problems.
COPE Discussion Documents
If you have any comments, please email the Executive Officer, Natalie Ridgeway.
Addressing ethics complaints from complainants who submit multiple issues. March 2015
Responding to anonymous whistleblowers, January 2013
Forum Discussion documents
In a new undertaking for the COPE Forum, a specific topic will be discussed at the start of each quarterly COPE Forum meeting. As well as those at the virtual meetings, people unable to take part in the meetings can comment via the COPE website in advance.
COPE Forum 4 December 2013: How should a journal deal with persistent complainers?
The topic for discussion at this Forum was ‘How should a journal deal with persistent complainers?’ Every so often a journal may get not one, but a series of complaints from the same source. These complaints may be directed at an author, an editor, or the journal in general. If these complaints turn out to be well founded, obviously there is a serious problem with the publication. However, we are aware of cases where a complainant continuously comes up with cases that turn out to be baseless. How should editors act when the complaints do not stop, get personal, and start humming around the community?