Preserving Transparency: New Standards for COPE Members

By Connor Sodak on Dec 2, 2019

Due to an increase in the number of membership applications, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) recently collaborated with several other scholarly organizations including the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) in an effort to re-establish their principles of transparency.

Through this collaboration, prospective members will be reminded of what is expected of them during the application process and how these practices form a portion of the criteria in which membership applications are assessed.

This is the third adaptation of a continuous project for improving upon transparency principles that initially started in January of 2014. COPE, as well as these collaborating organizations, are persistently looking to improve upon their levels of transparency by welcoming feedback from members and the general public as well as promoting the expectations of organizations that wish to become affiliated with COPE. A portion of these newly established principles are featured below.

1. Website: The website of a journal should contain language that establishes its ethical and professional values, as well as promoting authorship criteria. The inclusion of an “Aims and Scope” statement further promotes the transparency of a journal website.

2. Peer Review Process: Peer review can be defined as gaining advisement from experts in a specific field on a singular article. The process and methods in which each journal uses peer review should be clearly stated within the website in order to avoid confusion and misleading information.

3. Governing body: The inclusion of an editorial board, which features recognized experts in the subject areas included within the journal’s scope, shall be highlighted on the journal’s website by listing their full names and affiliations, which assists in establishing legitimacy of this governing body.

4. Copyright and Licensing: Copyright policies vary between journals. Because of this, licensing information and copyright guidelines should be visibly defined on the website as well as in all published articles.

5. Publication Ethics: A journal must have regulations on publishing ethics that can be easily found on its website. Points of reference should include the journal’s policies on submissions, ethical oversight, intellectual property, post-publication corrections, and how it handles complaints and appeals.

6. Access: Journals must establish if their articles are Open Access or if readers must pay subscription or pay per view fees in order to read its material. This information should be clearly visible on the journal’s website.

These practices clearly define the expectations for members who wish to be included within COPE and its collaborating groups. Already a full member of COPE, IGI Global continuously strives to remain up to date on changes in ethical practices to retain its full member status. As such, IGI Global endorses these policies to further transparency and continually works with its Editors-in-Chief to ensure best practices are followed and maintained. For more information on the collaborating scholarly organizations mentioned earlier, as well as the complete list of transparency policies, please visit the article, Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.
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