Introducing COPE’s short guide to ethical editing for new editors

A valuable resource and reminder of the benefits of COPE membership

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Helping you “COPE” with ethical issues

Elsevier has offered all its journals membership of COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics, since 2008 – a demonstration of Elsevier’s commitment to providing guidance and support to our editors in handling actual or suspected infringements of publication ethics. This membership gives editors a further important source of advice and support for such issues and complements our other ethics resources. Being members of COPE affords our editors many benefits including advice on ethics cases from the quarterly COPE Forum. Our editors also have the facility to obtain confidential advice on sensitive ethical issues.

COPE also provides a number of highly useful resources and tools including their recently revised short guide to ethical editing for new editors. Below we present an introduction from COPE and their take on the new guide.

Introducing COPE

COPE (the Committee on Publication Ethics) is a non-statutory advisory membership body which sets out to provide leadership in thinking on publication ethics, practical resources to educate and support members, and offers a professional voice in current debates.

A short guide to ethical editing for new editors

This 10-page document, reviewed and updated in 2019, provides an at-a-glance guide on ethical editing for new editors.

COPE started life in 1997 as a small group of editors asking each other for advice on publication issues they’d experienced. Over 20 years on, COPE’s wealth of knowledge on these issues is distilled into 13 short sections in this introductory document. It guides a new editor from their arrival at a journal and the baseline checks and audits they’re recommended to take, provides a structural approach to journal management, and outlines the key relationships new editors will be asked to forge and negotiate in their new role.

The document covers the publication ethics topics all academic editors should address including what you should expect from reviewers, how to manage peer review and your relationships with authors. The document also tackles queries and issues that commonly arise in scholarly publishing such as whether editors can publish in their own journals, how to approach retractions (“Prompt retraction of a seriously flawed article should not be viewed as an admission of failure on the part of the journal but as a responsible action to safeguard the academic record.”), handling commercial interests, and how to deal with misconduct and complaints.

COPE’s most popular resources - its core practices, 20 flowcharts, and cases (discussed during COPE Forum sessions and included in a 600+ item archive on the COPE website) - are referenced and linked to within the text, providing editors with a trove of helpful advice for their first years in post and for future reference as their editing career progresses. The document closes with a suggested further reading list and resources with links.

We hope you find the re-released guide useful. Should you have any feedback or suggestions, please let us know in the comments below!




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