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.
Preprints. March 2018
Discussion document on Preprints [PDF, 602KB]
How should editors respond to plagiarism? April 2011
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 12 March 2013: Text recycling
The topic for discussion at this Forum was ‘Text recycling’. Self-plagiarism, also referred to as ‘text recycling’, is a topical issue and is currently generating much discussion among editors. Opinions are divided as to how much text overlap with an author’s own previous publications is acceptable, and editors often find it hard to judge when action is required. In an attempt to get some consensus and consistency on the issue, editors at BioMed Central produced some guidelines. These guidelines were posted on the COPE website and members were invited to comment, and the topic was discussed at the COPE Forum on 12 March 2013
COPE Forum 18 June 2012: Electronic Responses to Blogs and Journal Articles
The topic for discussion at this Forum was ‘Electronic Responses to Blogs and Journal Articles’. Specifically, what are the issues, in terms of publication ethics, surrounding blogs where journals are the target of concerted 'attacks' by the proponents of one particular viewpoint, and are there appropriate guidelines on managing such situations?