Conflict of interest (reviewer)

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In the news: October 2018 Digest

Journal Management

This month’s topic is “journal management” and on first blush, it isn’t obvious how the concept of “ethics” applies to this topic. I thought of things like selection and implementation of a manuscript manager, paying bills, identifying reviewers, etc. But when I got past my concrete thinking it’s clear journals must be managed based on fundamental ethical principles. These include: Autonomy, Justice, beneficence, non-malfeasance.

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  • 12 February 2021

    Changed title to match revised All Flowcharts PDF

  • 11 February 2021

    Sabah title

About this resource

Written by COPE Council
Version 1 January 2016
How to cite this  
COPE Council. COPE Discussion Document: Handling competing interests. July 2016.

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Author of rejected paper publicly names and criticises peer reviewer


The first author of a paper rejected by our journal publicly identified one of the four peer reviewers for the paper by name. She did this during a media interview conducted after the paper was published by another journal. The first author implied in that interview and subsequently on Twitter that the paper was rejected because of that person's review and also claimed the reviewer did not reveal relevant COIs.


Author requests for certain experts not to be included in the editorial process


A prospective author contacted the editorial office of a medical journal to request that an intended submission was not reviewed or consulted on by experts involved in a number of published guidelines on the topic of the paper. The author named some of these experts, which included members of the journal’s editorial board (including editor A).


Parallels between unpublished manuscript and a published article from other authors


I am seeking advice on a confidential ‘letter of concern’ from an author (X) of a manuscript submitted before I was appointed editor of the journal but rejected by me on the advice of the associate editor.