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.
Who 'owns' peer reviews? September 2017
Discussion document on who "owns" peer reviews? [PDF, 164KB]
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 24 July 2017: Preprints: what are the issues?
Preprints and working papers have been posted and shared for many years. They report research results that have not undergone peer review, although in many cases the authors also submit to a journal (before, after or at the same time as making a preprint available). In the past 5 years, the number of preprint servers and preprints has expanded and new disciplines, notably biology and life sciences, have seen rapid growth in the number of preprints. To date there have been few public discussions around the ethics of making unverified research available in this way and there are a number of issues that arise.
COPE Forum 9 September 2015: Who “owns” peer review?
Two trends have recently come together within scholarly publication; open review, and the desire to give credit to reviewers. At the convergence are organizations like Publons and Academic Karma who wish to openly acknowledge the work of peer-reviewers by recording, not only the amount, but also, in some circumstances, the content of individuals’ peer-review activity. Academics may view services like this as a way to regain control over their reviews and so may be keen to sign-up and provide their data. Journals, on the other hand, often conduct confidential review processes and wish to restrict the sharing of comments exchanged during peer-review.
Emergence of these services therefore prompts a number of concerns and questions as to how best ensure author, editor, reviewer and journal interests are protected.