Sarah Robbie and Anna Walton, from our Electronic Editorial Systems team, attended the 2014 COPE European Seminar in Brussels in March. This was the first time the European Seminar had been held outside London and was the biggest European Seminar to date, well attended by publishers, editors, and other industry partners.
A variety of thought-provoking presentations were held throughout the day with Simon Godecharle, Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law, University of Leuven, kicking off proceedings with his presentation on ‟Guidance on research and publication ethics in Europe.” This was an interesting talk on the disparity of guidelines on research misconduct within Europe; there is no single definition of research misconduct and Simon Godecharle raised the point that this can hamper collaboration as there can be differences in the outcome of an academic misconduct case for different authors on the same paper.
Professor Ana Marušić was up next, presenting on ‟Differences in publication ethics in Central and Eastern Europe.” This talk explored possible differences in policies of biomedical journals between East European countries that are members of the European Union and South-East European countries that are not members of the European Union. Professor Marušić concluded that more transparency is needed about ethical issues in journals in small scientific communities and there should be more guidance for editors on how to present their journal policies to the public.
Professor Christopher Baethge, Chief Scientific Editor of Deutsches Ärzteblatt (German Medical Journal) and Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, discussed ‟Conflicts of interest and other ethical problems in German medical publishing.” Professor Baethge talked through some of the issues involved in publishing bilingual journals and presented the results of a trial of a new conflicts of interest disclosure form. The new form used a series of closed questions and resulted in a higher number of reported conflicts of interest.
Professor Debora Weber-Wulff, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, University of Applied Sciences, presented on ‟Plagiarism detection: manual versus automatic plagiarism detection.” Professor Weber-Wulff took attendees through different types of plagiarism and the different software packages, such as CrossCheck, that can detect plagiarism, noting that checking for plagiarism without software can be very time-consuming. During this session it was stressed that similarity percentages can be very misleading and that manual interpretation of each originality report is very important.
A workshop allowed for group discussions on a variety of cases, including handling a paper that contained duplicated images, which gave attendees an opportunity to discuss best practice. The day was then wrapped up with an update from Dr. Irene Hames on the classification and taxonomy of COPE cases and keywords on the COPE website. The new scheme has 18 main Classifications (up to two are assigned per case), 99 Keywords (up to ten per case) and all are descriptive and non-judgmental.
The 2014 COPE European Seminar was a great opportunity to explore new research on publishing ethics and discuss best practice with other publishers and editors. All presentations from the 2014 COPE European Seminar can be found here.