You are here



Managing an editor’s undisclosed conflict of interest in a published article


An opinion piece on a polarising political and technological topic was published. A discussion ensued on social media, and shortly after, the publisher received a formal complaint stating that the editor-in-chief of the journal, who had managed the peer review process for the manuscript, had a conflict of interest and should not have made the final acceptance decision.


Academic freedom


A final year student, and two other researchers in law, all from the same university, undertook research into a recent court judgment on the rules in relation to civil servants making public comments. Based on this research, a manuscript was drafted to be submitted to a double anonymised peer reviewed journal. The manuscript is highly critical of the judgment’s reasoning and impact. All three are named authors on the manuscript, as all three actively engaged in the research and writing.


Where should journals escalate serious concerns about an institution or institutional review board?


A publisher received a submission to one of their journals that raised ethical concerns. The concerns were related to potential harm or undue risk for participants who may be vulnerable.

The publisher reviewed the ethics approval statement, and the authors had met the journal’s policy requirements by prospectively obtaining ethics approval from their institution before beginning the research. The authors provided the approval number and contact details on request.


Data integrity issues


Several years ago, a third party contacted the journal with concerns about data irregularities in two randomised controlled trials published about 10 years ago. Both of the papers were published before the journal had strict requirements on data upload to a public repository and availability.


Is there a time limit for submitting a critique of a published article?


A letter to the editor was submitted to a journal with a comment referring to a study published a year previously. The reader raised concerns about the study and interpretation of the results. The editors of the journal examined the peer review comments of the manuscript and found that the aspects in question were missed out.


Possible peer review manipulation


A journal received a complaint by one of the co-authors of an article submitted by a research team, stating that one of the reviewers suggested by the corresponding author sent an email to corresponding author asking them to tell them what comments they should insert in their review. In response, the corresponding author asked the co-authors to propose comments to be sent to the reviewer.


Removing a retracted article from a third party site


Journal A published a case report. Following publication, the publisher of journal A was contacted by a representative of the individual depicted in the article stating that, contrary to what the authors stated in the article, consent was not given for the publication. The article was retracted and removed to protect the identity of the individual and all indexing sites were updated. The original article was published under a CC-BY license with the authors as the copyright holders.