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International academic publishers join Committee on Publication Ethics

The New England Journal of Medicine, Hindawi Publishing Corporation and Ubiquity Press are just three of the latest international academic publishers to enrol their journals as members of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

COPE, which was set up in 1997 to help editors deal with publication misconduct, has attracted 850 new members so far this year. It now provides advice and support for 7,645 editors, including those working for many of the world's major academic publishers.

Other new members include Libertas Academia (New Zealand), ediPUCRS (Brazil), the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) and the American Institute of Physics (USA).

"Hindawi is very pleased to be joining COPE, since we feel that the organisation has done an excellent job in setting editorial and ethical standards for scholarly publication" says Paul Peters, Chief Strategy Officer for the academic publisher, which has more than 300 open-access journals covering a wide range of academic disciplines.

"COPE provides a global forum for the airing of issues related to publication and I am pleased to participate in this effort" says Jeffrey M Drazen MD, Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and Distinguished Parker B Francis Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

"As a researcher-led press, we especially value our work with smaller academic societies and those in developing countries and we believe that the editorial advice and networking that COPE offers is of great importance" says Tom Pollard, Publisher with Ubiquity Press, which was established by researchers at University College London.

Dr Virginia Barbour, Chair of COPE, adds: "We are very pleased to welcome all our new members. These are particularly challenging times for journals and publishers and so it's very pleasing to see that academic journals and publishers are increasingly committed to upholding the highest standards of publication ethics."

COPE members come from a wide range of academic fields in 80 countries, including medicine, life sciences, economics, psychology, chemistry, engineering, maths, education, environmental sciences, arts, humanities, law, geography and astronomy.

The support that COPE provides for editors and publishers includes:

  • An eLearning programme, covering subjects such as fabrication, authorship and plagiarism.

  • A Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and Publishers

  • Guidelines on a wide range of ethical issues, such as retraction of articles, ethical editing and handling authorship disputes

  • Flowcharts in various languages on how to handle problems such as fabricated data, disputed authorship and undisclosed conflicts of interest

  • A discussion document on plagiarism. Further documents on subjects such as responding to whistleblowers and data sharing are planned

  • Regular international forums and seminars, including events in the UK, USA, Australia and Brazil

  • A quarterly ethical editing newsletter available free from COPE's website.


Contact: Annette Whibley
Committee on Publication Ethics

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