CRfocus, the members’ journal of the UK-based Institute of Clinical Research (ICR), has been accepted as a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Formed in 1997 and with a membership that includes the British Medical Journal, The Lancet and more than 400 other publications, COPE is a forum for editors of peer-reviewed journals to discuss issues related to the integrity of the scientific record.

As the ICR explained, the Committee supports and encourages editors to report, catalogue and instigate investigations into ethical problems in the publication process. It also aims to provide a sounding board for editors dealing with possible breaches of research and publication ethics.

“Data falsification, plagiarism and other forms of fraudulent publication are relatively uncommon but can damage the scientific record and can seriously impact on literature surveys,” commented Andrew Smith, the editor of CRfocus.

“This incorrect data is particularly dangerous in clinical research and medicine, where future prescribing decisions based in part on falsified information can increase risk to patients and study participants,” he added.