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Draft code of conduct for medical editors

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 30 October 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1010
  1. Smith Richard
  1. BMJ

    The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) is trying to produce a code of conduct for editors to help them regulate their conduct and to prevent abuses of editorial power.

    This is the first draft. The committee would welcome comments, which should be sent as rapid responses.


    • This is very much a first draft and “work in progress”

    • To produce this first draft I have used the code of the Press Complaints Commission, the statement on responsibilities of editors from the World Association of Medical Editors, and my own ideas

    • We will need feedback and “real cases” to arrive at a useful and workable code

    • The code will continue to evolve

    • I've deliberately made the statements positive rather than negative

    • This is very much a “lower common denominator” document—because it would seem pointless to propose a code that only a handful of editors currently meet

    • I've tried to begin with an aspirational—but necessarily non-specific—statement

      It's been an odd experience to write a book of rules. I'm more into breaking rules than creating them. I also think that I have a high chance of being the first editor to be complained about

    Editors of medical journals …

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