COPE Forum discussion: 11 July 2023
REGISTER TODAY COPE Members only
Special issues and guest editorship
Publication of collections that are topic-themed is an established way of communicating focused or unique information that is within the scope of the parent journal, allowing targeted production of related information and promoting innovation in research. Such collections are often overseen and edited by guest editors, who are solicited or propose (unsolicited) to edit a collection of articles on a topical subject area. These guest editors typically invite or commission submissions to the special issue and oversee the peer review process.
The increase in guest-edited article collections has raised concerns about the quality of content in these issues, the peer review processes undertaken, the sometimes-indiscriminate marketing to academics, and the susceptibility of these initiatives to organised fraud (e.g. peer review manipulation, falsification of review, lack of oversight regarding ethical matters, financial conflicts, greater instances of endogeny, citation cartels, and paper mills). It can give the impression that different standards are being applied for regular versus guest-edited content.
COPE recently released an initial discussion document on guest-edited article collections.
During this forum we would like to continue the discussion about these issues, gathering your thoughts and feedback, which COPE will use to develop official guidelines.
Questions for the Forum discussion
1) What is the root problem with large amount of collections?
2) Some publication platforms are dedicated to special issues, such as conference proceedings. Do these bring their own ethical issues or considerations?
3) Are there different peer review or publishing standards for collections that should be considered?
4) Is there increased risk of lower quality and lack of ethical oversight in collections? Why would that be?
We welcome comments on this discussion from members and non-members.
You must be logged in to leave a comment on the COPE website. If you are not a member of COPE you can register to create a guest account.
Comments will not appear immediately. We review comments on our website before publishing them, to ensure they are respectful and relevant.