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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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British Journal Editors Form Misconduct Panel
29 July 1997 7:00 pm
Frustration with the United Kingdom's lack of policies on scientific misconduct has spawned a grassroots effort to deal with the problem. The editors of nine prestigious British medical journals have decided to form a Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) to help each other deal with fraudulent papers submitted to their journals. "We often consult each other over the phone, so we decided to formalize the process," says Richard Smith, editor of the British Medical Journal.
According to Smith, the formation of COPE was sparked by the experience of Michael Farthing, dean of medicine at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, who in his first year as editor of the journal Gut has already had to deal with four cases of apparent misconduct. "It's getting harder to say this is just the occasional nutter," says Smith. "It ain't going away," adds David Sharp, deputy editor of The Lancet.
Because the United Kingdom has no formal mechanism for investigating research fraud, journal editors often don't know how to deal with papers that appear to contain fraudulent data. COPE's main function will be for editors to present the details of alleged fraud cases to the committee anonymously and seek advice on how to handle them. Britain's libel laws would not allow the committee to carry out any kind of investigation. The committee may also draft guidelines on investigating complaints, promote research into publication ethics, and perhaps provide training in good practice.
Smith says the group may also campaign for the setting up of a more formal body, involving funding agencies and scientific societies, to advise on misconduct cases or even investigate them itself. "If we don't do something, there will be heavy-handed regulation eventually," Smith says.