January 24, 2014 | Rebecca Bryson, Publishing Editor

Australian COPE Forum 2013


Rebecca Bryson, Publishing Editor in our Melbourne office, attended the Australia COPE Forum in November 2013. The forum was chaired by COPE Chair Ginny Barbour and COPE Ombudsman Suzanne Morris and was well attended. Two cases were presented for discussion: the first of these on the topic of the acceptability of recycled review articles, and the second on dealing with suspected breaches of proper reviewer behavior.

Case 1: Recycling review articles without adequate citations

Recycled review articles were defined as using material that has been used in a previous review article by the same author (sometimes referred to as “self-plagiarism”).

Questions that were considered included:

  • Should the piece be treated differently from an original article?
  • Where does the line need to be drawn between text recycling and self-citing – is the piece a duplicate?
  • Does it make a difference if the review contains opinions?
  • Does it breach copyright?

The general consensus was that, in the case of a recycled review article without appropriate citation, the case needs to be pursued with the author. The forum agreed that the preferred course of action is to discuss options with the journal editor and publisher, issue an amendment, and educate the author on proper practice.

Case 2: Suspicion of improper peer-reviewer behavior

An article was published that was strikingly similar to an article that had been previously submitted for review to another journal by a different author, a substantial amount of time before the publication date of the other article.

Questions that were considered included:

  • Does the breach of reviewer guidelines apply?
  • Should the funding body be informed?
  • Whose responsibility is it to investigate?

The forum agreed that directly asking the reviewer may not achieve the desired outcome, as they may not admit to using the work without permission. There was also agreement that it would be difficult to detect which was the original piece, even with the appropriate records stating when the second article was published and when the first article was submitted.

Any Taylor & Francis editors with concerns about recycled review articles or improper conduct by a peer reviewer should contact their Managing Editor for guidance. Further information on publishing ethics can be found here. A useful document on ethical guidelines for peer reviewers can be accessed on the COPE website here 

An open discussion was also held on the concept of “authorship.” There was much discussion of the different methods journals use to list the authors of each article, for example the IJCME authorship criteria. The general agreement was that there needs to be a more uniform system that distinguishes the role of each author, such as a list of questions that must be completed at the point of submission. Ginny Barbour also demonstrated the functions of ORCID, a system that delivers a persistent digital identifier to distinguish researchers.

The forum proved useful in determining different approaches and viewpoints on a variety of case studies, as well as giving writers, reviewers, editors, and publishers information on correct and favored practices within the publishing industry.

Published: January 24, 2014 | Author: Rebecca Bryson, Publishing Editor | Category: Ethics and rights, Front page, In the industry, Peer review | Tagged with: