Misconduct/questionable behaviour

Case

Author alleges discrimination by institutional report

21-03

In 2020, the corresponding author of an article published online three years previously notified the journal of an authorship conflict and explained that the institution was requesting retraction. Because authorship conflict does not typically warrant retraction, the publisher requested further details from the author and the author's institution about the conflict.

About this resource

About this resource

News

In the news: June 2020

Each month COPE Council members gather and share publication ethics news. This month the news includes articles on diversity, open access, COVID-19, and more.

News

In the news: April 2020

Diversity & Inclusion

In a study of gender bias in 145 journals in various areas of research, including 1.7 million authors and 740,00 referees, these authors show that in biomedicine and health journals women authors were treated generally favourably by editors and reviewers. This is in contrast to social science and humanity journals. The authors advocate for gender diversity among reviewers and editors to mitigate the perception and reality of bias.     

Case

Institution wants to retract despite ongoing legal proceedings

20-02

The case has been with two publishers for more than a year. Journal A at publisher A published article A by author A, affiliated to institution A and institution B (in another country), and author B affiliated to institution B. Journal B at publisher B then published article B, by the same authors and affiliations. The two articles are on closely related research.

Case

Institution refuses to investigate scientific issues

20-01

A publisher was alerted to possible issues with band duplication in an article (more than 10 years old) by a reader. The corresponding author was contacted to resolve the issue. The author was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation for the bands, and because of the age of the article, the original data were no longer available. The institution was asked to investigate; a summary of the case was provided and the similarities in the bands using an open source tool were highlighted. 

Case

Sharing by a reviewer on social media

20-04

A journal operated double blind peer-review, so the reviewers do not know the identity of the authors, and vice versa. However, the anonymity of the authors is not guaranteed, as the reviewers may discover the identity of the authors (because of the area of research, references, writing style, etc). But rarely can the authors identify the reviewers.

The journal received a request from a reviewer to share a post on twitter, which may disclose the reviewer’s identity to the authors.

Case

Author displays bullying behaviour towards handling editor

20-08

A handling editor rejected a paper without review, after consulting with a senior editor. The corresponding author sent an appeal about 2 weeks later where he requested that the paper be given a second chance and be sent for peer review. He added that, in case of a new decision to reject without review, the editor should provide a detailed response to a number of questions and comments raised in the appeal letter.

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