Publication ethics: thinking globally, acting locally

Electronic publishing has effectively globalized many publications. Readers, reviewers and editorial board members can be drawn from anywhere with decent internet connectivity. While many fundamental ethical principles appear universal, editors and translators face differences in norms and accepted behaviours between regions, disciplines and cultures. This talk will consider the challenges faced by publications that strive to achieve world-class standards yet have to work with individuals and institutions who may be ignorant of, or even resistant to, these principles. It will focus on how small changes in routine publication processes can prevent many types of misconduct and explain how manuscript editors and translators can spot ethical problems.

Liz Wager, secretary of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and member of the BMJ ethics committee, is a freelance publications consultant, editor and trainer working with biomedical authors and editors. She is the author of books and articles on publication ethics.