"Best practices for guest edited collections" introduces recommendations for journals and publishers for handling collections that are edited by guest editors. The potential risks and ethical issues are highlighted, as well as a checklist for creating guest edited collections, steps to ensure collections are edited according to valid publishing practices and ethical standards, and clarification of the ethical responsibilities throughout the various stages of the process. COPE welcomes comments which add to the ongoing discussion about the topic.
- Journals and publishers should be aware that collections can expose journals to greater risks in terms of unethical behaviour and peer review manipulation that should be carefully considered before the start of these projects.
- Guest editors should be provided with clear terms and guidance on their role in organising, commissioning, and editing content for collections in the journal. Standard ethics, principles, and policies of the journal apply.
- The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the content published in their journal, including in guest edited collections.
- Some types of broad and complex unethical behaviours (eg, citation cartels, undisclosed competing interests, peer review fraud, identity theft) are more common in collections and should be carefully monitored by journals for early detection and prevention.
- Journals should suspend the peer review and publication process of all content in a collection when investigations into unethical practices involving guest editors are ongoing.
- Addressing concerns about systematic manipulation of the publication process COPE guidance
- Fabricated data in a submitted manuscript COPE flowchart
- How to recognise potential authorship problems COPE infographic
- Suspected ethical problem in a submitted manuscript COPE flowchart
- Peer review manipulation suspected during the peer review process COPE flowchart
- Peer review manipulation suspected after publication COPE flowchart
- Retraction guidelines COPE guidelines
- Ethical guidelines for peer reviewers COPE guidelines
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Cite this as
COPE Council. COPE Discussion Document: Best practices for guest edited collections — English.
©2023 Committee on Publication Ethics (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Version 1: May 2023.