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IOP Science

Handling cases of alleged misconduct

IOP Publishing is a member of the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE) and adheres to COPE’s Guidelines regarding misconduct and retractions, including the processes set out in COPE’s flowcharts. We take ethical allegations very seriously and believe it is our responsibility to maintain the integrity of the scientific record as far as possible. 

Our relationship with our authors is based on trust, and we publish submitted material in good faith. However, if a possible breach of ethics is brought to our attention, we will refer the case to our Research Integrity Team for investigation. We follow the COPE guidelines on responding to whistle-blowers, which includes protecting your anonymity. 

The team will seek the support of relevant individuals across the business, and may obtain advice from the journal’s Editorial Board. In some instances, the team may need to escalate an investigation to author’s institution(s) for further support or information. The team will ensure to take a balanced and objective approach, as well as reach out to the accused individuals in every instance, to provide them with the opportunity to comment on the matter before committing to a particular course of action.  

The team will decide the most appropriate approach to take according to industry guidelines and advise on any corrections (including retractions) that may be required to the published record, following the STM Guideline for the Preservation of the Objective Record of Science (2006). All relevant parties will be informed of the outcome of the case. 

Please note:

  • Misconduct investigations are sensitive and can take time. The Research Integrity team would appreciate patience while they investigate, by allowing them the time and space to review the matter in full.  
  • Due to the nature of investigations, we are unable to provide a timeline for when a particular case will be resolved by. 
  • IOP Publishing has the right to contact an individual’s institution regarding allegations of misconduct, according to the COPE Guidelines.
  • IOP Publishing has the right to share manuscripts and related information with other Publishers and Editors during the course of an investigation, according to the COPE Guidelines.
  • IOP Publishing has the right to request proof of identity in cases where identity theft is alleged or suspected. 
  • IOP Publishing has the right to request access to the raw data related to any manuscript, either under consideration or published, at any time.
  • IOP Publishing reserves the right to issue an expression of concern to a paper which is the subject of an ongoing investigation, such as when we are unable to resolve a case swiftly or when a third party is involved. 
  • Subject to a full investigation, IOP Publishing reserves the right to retract an accepted or published article that is found to have breached our licence to publish and/or meets the COPE criteria for retractions.
  • In instances where a breach of ethics is suspected with an unpublished work (a submitted manuscript or accepted manuscript that has not yet been made available on IOPscience), IOP Publishing reserves the right to reject or rescind the acceptance of the paper.
  • IOP Publishing reserves the right not to work with anyone who is abusive to our staff, authors, reviewers or editors. Please see our respect for others policy for more information. 

To report any concerns relating to potential misconduct, please contact the editorial office for the relevant journal. You can find contact information for all IOP journals here. Alternatively, you can contact the Research Integrity Team directly.