COPE – Committee on publication ethics

COPE offers advice to editors on different aspects of publication ethis, especially who research misconct should be handled.

COPE has a database of all the cases that has been discussed by the COPE members and forum. It is a good source to use when you are interested to see what kind of cases are discussed and perhaps when you need guidance on how to act in a case where you suspect misconduct. You might have questions like how has the data been analyzed since that can lead to questions on the reliability of the study. You can search the database or browse by category and year. They have a number of categories, such as authorship, falsifying research data, plagiarizing etc.

COPE was formed in 1997 by a small group of editors in medical journals and today COPE has over 7000 members within all academic areas. Membership is for editors or scientific journals who are interested in publication ethics. All COPE members should follow the Code of Conduct for Journal Editors.The document is 11 pages long and has a descriptions of recommendations and best practice for a editor, such as continually improve the journal and always be willing publish corrections and retractions. Among other things the code includes demands that the journal updates its author guidelines, offers possibility for authors to appeal editor’s decisions and make sure that the peer review process is just, unbiased and timely. The editors should also work for making sure that research is ethical, especially when it comes to research which deals with humans and animals.  There are even guidelines on how an editor should act when research misconduct such as plagiarizm, falsifying research data or an author is added or removed from the authorlist prior to publishing. COPE has a number of flowcharts for editors to follow when misconduct is suspected.

If you are an journal editor you could become a member of COPE. The membership cost varies some what depeding on how many issues your journal publishers a year, and if you just publish articles whithout having an organised journal the cost is decided from the number of articles you publish. There is also an organizational pricing model.

cope_flow_engPieta Eklund