Cooperation Between Research Institutions and Journals on Research Integrity Cases: Guidance from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)

Elizabeth Wager, Sabine Kleinert

Acta Inform Med. 2012; 20(3): 136-140

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Institutions and journals both have important duties relating to research and publication misconduct. Institutions are responsible for the conduct of their researchers and for encouraging a healthy research environment. Journals are responsible for the conduct of their editors, for safeguarding the research record, and for ensuring the reliability of everything they publish. It is therefore important for institutions and journals to communicate and collaborate effectively on cases relating to research integrity. To achieve this, we make the following recommendations. Institutions should: have a research integrity officer (or office) and publish their contact details prominently; inform journals about cases of proven misconduct that affect the reliability or attribution of work that they have published; respond to journals if they request information about issues, such as disputed authorship, misleading reporting, competing interests, or other factors, including honest errors, that could affect the reliability of published work; initiate inquiries into allegations of research misconduct or unacceptable publication practice raised by journals; have policies supporting responsible research conduct and systems in place for investigating suspected research misconduct.Journals should: publish the contact details of their editor-in-chief who should act as the point of contact for questions relating to research and publication integrity; inform institutions if they suspect misconduct by their researchers, and provide evidence to support these concerns; cooperate with investigations and respond to institutions’ questions about misconduct allegations; be prepared to issue retractions or corrections (according to the COPE guidelines on retractions) when provided with findings of misconduct arising from investigations; have policies for responding to institutions and other organizations that investigate cases of research misconduct.


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5. COPE code of conduct for journal editors.

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7. COPE Flowcharts: Changes in authorship.

8. Singapore Statement on Research Integrity.

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12. Further reading

13. Office of Research Integrity. Handling misconduct.

14. UK Research Integrity Office. Procedure for the Investigation of Misconduct in Research.

15. Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.


17. European Science Foundation (ESF)/ All European Academies (ALLEA). The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.


19. Honesty, Accountability and Trust: Fostering Research Integrity in Canada. The Expert Panel on Research Integrity, 2010.

20. and publications and news releases/research integrity/RI_report.pdf

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