COPE Workshop for Journal Editors at the University of Split

EASE Council members Iva Grabarić Andonovski and Ksenija Baždarić attended the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) workshop for journal editors last week, which took place on 13 June at the University of Split, ahead of the 50th anniversary of this best-ranking Croatian university. The workshop was organised by ST-OPEN and the Croatian Association for Scholarly Communication.

The theme of the workshop was: Transparency and Best Practices in Scholarly Publishing: What can we learn from COPE cases?

After the introductory words of COPE Council member and host of the event, EASE Past-President Professor Ana Marušić, COPE Chair Daniel Kulp and Vice-Chair Nancy Chescheir presented the purpose, vision and mission, structure and geographical distribution of the members, as well as the plans for the future development of COPE.

COPE Council members Jason Hu, Stephanie Kinnan, Anubhav Pradhan and Jennifer Wright presented COPE activities and resources, including the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing and guidelines for peer review. They also explained the process of application for COPE membership and the 10 core practices that journals should clearly describe in order to be eligible for membership: allegations of misconduct, authorship and contributorship, complaints and appeals, conflicts of interest, data and reproducibility, ethical oversight, intellectual property, journal management, peer review, and post-publication discussions and corrections.

In the second part of the workshop, six COPE case studies were discussed with the workshop participants. COPE Council member Trevor Lane led the discussion on two case studies that questioned journal content and practices (how to handle the addition of authors after manuscript acceptance and correspondence about errors in a published article), COPE Treasurer Michael Wise led the discussion on journal organisation and business practices (what to do in case of a peer reviewer’s undisclosed conflict of interest and unethical withdrawal of the manuscript after acceptance), and Ana Marušić presented the challenges of scholarly publication, namely how to handle offers of authorship for sale and how to deal with image integrity flags for a paper published more than a decade ago.

The participants shared their views and experiences, and although they come from different scientific fields, the experiences are similar. The topics that most journal editors are concerned about are: maintaining the quality of peer review while processing the submissions in a timely manner, resolving authorship disputes, and detecting image manipulation and the use of AI tools. The need to collectively act against the threats to the integrity of scholarly communication was emphasised, with the United2Act campaign cited as a good example of collaboration of the COPE and STM in the fight against paper mills.

Written by: Iva Grabarić Andonovski

EASE Council