Ethics Consultation

The Ethics Committee will comment on cases involving ethical issues in publication. If you are a WAME member who has such a case and you want the opinion of the experienced editors on the committee, contact the committee chair, Lorraine Ferris. Please provide a synopsis of the case that covers all the pertinent details, without revealing identities of participants if possible. If necessary, we may ask you for more information.
If we believe the case is appropriate for us to review, we will notify you promptly by e-mail. However, it is difficult for the full committee to evaluate and discuss a case very quickly. Therefore, if you agree, we will submit your case in anonymous fashion to the WAME Listserv, where all WAME members can immediately comment on it. This will give you the benefit of immediate feedback from a broad spectrum of editors. We will make sure the description is anonymous and no one will know the origins of the case.
Later, when the full committee has had a chance to discuss the case, we will share our conclusions and reasoning with you. Particularly difficult or interesting cases may also be referred for additional consultation and discussion (again in anonymous format) to COPE (the Committee on Publication Ethics), which issues written opinions. COPE also has a Web site at that includes sample cases of ethical problems in publishing and position papers on controversial issues. If we believe the case to be useful for this purpose, we will write a summary of the case (masked as to identities, and only with your permission), our opinions, and those expressed on the listserve, for permanent posting on this Web site.
We believe these case discussions may be helpful to the editors involved, and those posted publicly may be a useful resource and educational tool for others. The Ethics Committee will not, however, become involved in any legal dispute involving such cases, nor is it our role to serve as arbitrator for disputes. Our goal is simply to provide expert opinion on publication ethics. Occasionally a case may seem to involve important enough priciples that we would want to refer it to the WAME Board of Directors for consideration of a statement on good publication practice. In that event, we may ask you to identify the journal or editor who engaged in the activity discussed, so that we may contact them directly (again, preserving their anonymity) to hear their response to the critique. We do this to be as fair to both sides as possible, so that both sides of the discussion can be forwarded to the Board for consideration.

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