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Why editors need to be concerned about publication ethics

Why editors need to be concerned about publication ethics

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Why editors need to be concerned about publication ethics

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  1. Whyeditors need to be concerned about publication ethics Elizabeth Wager, PhDChair, Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)www.publicationethics.org

  2. Many forms of misconduct are noticed by editors, reviewers and readers: during or after publication

  3. Ethical duties • Journals should have systems to: • prevent • detect • respond to misconduct

  4. Research ethics and publication ethics are linked Unethical research design Inappropriate analysis Data falsification Plagiarism Design Conduct Analysis Reporting Lack of patient consent Data fabrication Image manipulation Authorship abuse Redundant publication

  5. Research misconduct Fabrication Falsification Unethical research Publication misconduct Plagiarism Biased/selective reporting Authorship abuse Redundant publication Undeclared CoI Reviewer misconduct Abuse of position Misconduct: definitions Editors can't turn back the clock

  6. Some forms of misconduct only occur on publication • Plagiarism • Fabrication • Falsification • Authorship problems • Redundant publication

  7. How common is misconduct? • Systematic review (screened 3207 papers) • Meta-analysis (18 studies) • surveys of fabrication or falsification • NOT plagiarism • 2% admitted misconduct themselves (95% CI 0.9-4.5) • 14% aware of misconduct by others (95% CI 9.9-19.7) Fanelli PLoS One 2009;4(5):e5738

  8. How often is misconduct detected?

  9. Does peer review detect misconduct? • Obviously not in all cases • Prestigious journals are not immune (may actually be more vulnerable?) • Reviewers sometimes spot: • plagiarism (especially of own work) • redundant publication (from checking refs) • multiple submission (from seeing same paper) • ?fabricated data ..... probably very rarely

  10. Jan Hendrik Schön The dark secret of Hendrik Schön (Horizon)

  11. Schön's retracted papers • 8 in Science (published 2000-1) • 6 in Physics Review journals (4 from 2001) • 7 in Nature (published 1999-2001)

  12. Are editors alert to misconduct? • Survey of science editors (n=231) • Asked about 16 ethical issues including: • falsified or fabricated data, plagiarism, redundant publication, unethical research design or conduct, image manipulation • authorship problems, reviewer misconduct, undisclosed commercial interests Wager et al.J Med Ethics 2009;35:348-53

  13. For each issue, at their journals, editors asked about:

  14. Average ratings (0-3) 0 = never 1 = < 1/yr 0 = not a problem

  15. What is COPE? • The Committee On Publication Ethics • Founded 1997 • Forum for editors to discuss cases • Provides guidance for editors and publishers on all aspects of publication ethics and misconduct • http://publicationethics.org

  16. COPE provides • Flowcharts • Guidance eg retractions • Sample letters • Code of Conduct • Best Practice guidelines • Database of cases • Blog / discussion • www.publicationethics.org

  17. COPE flowchart

  18. The flowcharts cover: • Redundant (duplicate) publication • Plagiarism • Fabricated data • Changes in authorship • Ghost, guest or gift authorship • Conflicts of interest • General suspected ethical concerns • Reviewer misconduct

  19. COPE welcomes new members • Currently over 6500 members • Membership open to any academic, peer-reviewed journal • Members can display COPE logo … • Members expected to follow COPE Code of Conduct • ?Part of your brand strategy

  20. Being a COPE member shows: • You take ethical issues seriously • You will handle ethical issues correctly • You will follow COPE recommendations (e.g. flowcharts) • You will follow the COPE Code of Conduct (authors / readers can make a complaint if you do not!) • Would this enhance your journal’s brand?

  21. COPE contact details • Membership enquiries: cope_administrator@publicationethics.org COPE, PO Box 39, Harleston IP20 9WR, England  Website: www.publicationethics.org • Registered office: 22 Nelson Close, Harleston, Norfolk, IP20 9HL, UK Telephone: +44 (0)1379 854181

  22. What can editors do? • Detect researchandpublication misconduct • Prevent publicationmisconduct • Educate authors • Promote good practice • be aware of how journal policies may influence behaviour • Inform authorities, employers • Correct the literature

  23. What editors CANNOT do • Prevent research misconduct • Investigate research misconduct • Settle disputes (e.g. authorship) • Investigate most types of publication misconduct • although they may request investigations

  24. Editors should acknowledge misconduct “If editors do not recognize ethical problems, they cannot act on them – and, until recently, most did not” Richard Smith in Wells & Farthing (eds) Fraud & Misconduct in Biomedical Research, 4e, RSM Press, London, 2008

  25. Conclusions • Editors can / should: • Prevent, detect, publicise and correct misconduct • By informing, educating, screening, retracting, liaising with institutions

  26. “It is a vice to trust all, and equally a vice to trust none” Seneca 4 BC – 65 AD