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Committee on Publication Ethics: the COPE Report 1999
Guidelines on good publication practice

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Why the guidelines were developed

COPE was founded in 1997 to address breaches of research and publication ethics. A voluntary body providing a discussion forum and advice for scientific editors, it aims to find practical ways of dealing with the issues, and to develop good practice.

We thought it essential to attempt to define best practice in the ethics of scientific publishing. These guidelines should be useful for authors, editors, editorial board members, readers, owners of journals, and publishers.

Intellectual honesty should be actively encouraged in all medical and scientific courses of study, and used to inform publication ethics and prevent misconduct. It is with that in mind that these guidelines have been produced.

Details of other guidelines on the ethics of research and published codes of conduct are listed in the .

How the guidelines were developed

The guidelines were developed from a preliminary version drafted by individual members of the committee, which was then submitted to extensive consultation. They address: study design and ethical approval, data analysis, authorship, conflict of interests, the peer review process, redundant publication, plagiarism, duties of editors, media relations, advertising, and how to deal with misconduct.

What they aim to do

These guidelines are intended to be advisory rather than prescriptive, and to evolve over time. We hope that they will be disseminated widely, endorsed by editors, and refined by those who use them.

(1) Study design and ethical approval

(2) Data analysis

(3) Authorship

(4) Conflicts of interest

(5) Peer review

(6) Redundant publication

(7) Plagiarism

(8) Duties of editors

(9) Media relations

(10) Advertising

Dealing with misconduct



The following are gratefully acknowledged for their contribution to the drafting of these guidelines: Philip Fulford (Coordinator), Professor Michael Doherty, Ms Jane Smith, Dr Richard Smith, Dr Fiona Godlee, Dr Peter Wilmshurst, Dr Richard Horton, Professor Michael Farthing, Other members of COPE, Delegates to the meeting on April 27 …

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  • Reference: Committee on Publication Ethics.The COPE Report 1999. Guidelines on good publication practice. London: BMJ Books, 1999:43–