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The work of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) PowerPoint Presentation
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The work of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics)

The work of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics)

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The work of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics)

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  1. The work of COPE(Committee on Publication Ethics) Mike Farthing, editor, GUT Richard Horton, editor, Lancet Richard Smith, editor, BMJ Alex Williamson, publishing director, BMJ Publishing Group

  2. What I want to talk about • What is COPE? • Why did it start? • What are its aims? • How has it done? • Where now?

  3. What is COPE? • The Committee on Publication Ethics founded in 1977 • A bunch of pals, who are editors and who help each other out with ethical problems • An informal editors’ support group

  4. Why did COPE start? • A growing appreciation of problems around scientific integrity • A series of high profile scandals • The loneliness of editors • The feeling that we needed to put our house in order • We couldn’t wait for the establishment

  5. What are the aims of COPE? • To advise on cases brought by editors • Publish an annual report • Publish guidance on the ethics of publishing • Promote research into publication ethics • Offer teaching an training

  6. How has COPE done? • Aim 1: Advise editors on cases

  7. COPE cases, 1997-2000 Evidence of Not applicable Year Probably no No of cases misconduct misconduct 1997 18 12 0 6 1998 34 30 2 2 1999 28 20 4 4 2000 23 18 5 0 Total 103 80 11 12

  8. Problems dealt with by COPE • Number of cases 103 • Redundant publication 29 • Authorship 18 • Falsification 15 • No informed consent 11 • Unethical Research 11

  9. Problems dealt with by COPE • Number of cases 103 • No ethics committee approval 10 • Fabrification 8 • Editorial misconduct 7 • Plagiarism 4 • Undeclared conflict of interest 3

  10. Problems dealt with by COPE • Number of cases 103 • Breach of confidentiality 3 • Clinical misconduct 2 • Attacks on whistleblowers 2 • Reviewer misconduct 1 • Deception 1

  11. Problems dealt with by COPE • Number of cases 103 • Failure to publish 1 • Ethical questions 11

  12. Case example: probable fraud on a massive scale • Statistician would be happy to go to court to say that the data in a study submitted to a journal are fabricated • Review of published work of the author suggests that around 30 papers published in international journals contain fabricated data • Complaint made to national body

  13. Case example: an unbelievable surgical series • The surgeon has sutured the superficial temporal artery of 1200 patients with migraine. All are cured. • No ethics committee approval. No clear diagnostic criteria. No controls. No evidence of consent. • Complaint made to the head of the hospital. No action taken.

  14. How has COPE done? • Aim 2: Publish an annual report • Two published, next one December 2000 • Available: publicationethics.org.uk

  15. How has COPE done? • Aim 3: Produce a code of publication ethics • Produced • Circulated to around 100 editors • Revised • Accepted by 98 journals • Available www.publicaitonethics.org.uk

  16. How has COPE done? • Aim 4: promote research into publication ethics • Small progress • Research is planned • Is this research? Perhaps just about.

  17. How has COPE done? • Aim 5: Offer teaching and training in publication ethics • Two seminars • Many lectures

  18. Where now for COPE? • Formalise: constitution drafted • Shame the British establishment into responding to research misconduct • Expand • Continue core activities • More research and education