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Removal of an author


A paper was submitted to a journal with authors A, B, C, D and E. The paper was peer reviewed. Before acceptance, the corresponding author asked for a new author, author F, to be added, and an existing author, author C, to be removed.

The editorial office asked all of the authors (authors A, B, C, D, E and F) to complete a change of authorship request form and for the corresponding authors to justify the reason for change of authorship.


Appropriate scope of review for retractions


An institutional review recommended retraction of certain works by a highly prolific and influential author who has since died. The institutional review focused on a relatively small portion of this author’s work. The institution recommended retraction based on deeming the articles unsafe and identifying several concerns, including that the articles' conclusions were implausible.


Authorship dispute during the review process


During the review process for a manuscript submitted to our journal, one of the reviewers alerted us that the manuscript appeared to be the work of a collaborator (Dr X) who was not listed as an author on the paper. It became clear that the manuscript’s corresponding author (Dr Y, affiliation A) was a postdoctoral researcher supervised by Dr X (previously at affiliation A, recently moved to affiliation B).


Reproducibility of methodology


A whistle blower contacted journal A regarding two published articles. The articles focus on the effect of energy healing on an in-vitro model of disease. The whistle blower raised concerns about the appropriateness and reproducibility of the energy healing methodology used.


Deceased author


After a manuscript was accepted, an author passed away before they could complete the conflict of interest statement and copyright transfer documents. The publishing company requires that all authors complete these documents prior to publishing.

The other authors do not want to remove the deceased author from the manuscript.

Question(s) for the COPE Forum


Authorship issue related to misleading action of one author


Our journal received a manuscript which was a report of an evaluation and enhancement of an online clinical decision support system (CDS) for a specific population at risk of a disease. The online CDS had been developed by a national agency with a mission to support health promotion and disease prevention activities. Evaluation of the CDS was supported through contracts and sub-contracts.


Withdrawal of paper at proof stage


An original paper was submitted to our journal. After peer review, the authors were requested to revise the paper, and the revision was submitted back to the journal. Our manuscript editor accepted the paper. 

The paper was scheduled for publication 3 months later after copyediting was completed. We informed the corresponding author about acceptance of the paper and sent them the typeset article for proof reading.


Publishing complications and patient safety


Journal A is dedicated to communication about practical treatments related directly to patient and personal experiences. These ongoing discussions have been part of this specific medical profession for the past 50 years and journal A is a platform for these discussions.


Dual submission and editor’s failure to take action


An article was submitted to our journal (journal A) in March. According to the journal’s working policy, the article was initially reviewed inhouse and comments were sent to the author. The authors replied to the comments but did not agree to the suggestion to convert the article to a short report. A rather impolite letter was sent by the author criticising the policies of the journal.


Correcting the affiliation of an author after publication


A manuscript was published in our journal in 2015, and at the time of publishing (as now), the author was a faculty member of a university. The author's affiliation was not declared in the article, just the author's qualifications. Now the author wishes us to correct the paper and list her affiliation in the article.

Question(s) for the COPE Forum