Press Release

Educating women in the third world: what is the socio-economic impact?
14 May, 2014

Educating women is purported to be one of the most valuable investments a developing country can make. Research has found that nations that educate girls to the same degree as boys benefit from longer life expectancies, lower birth rates and higher economic growth. Evidence also shows that educating girls reduces child malnutrition rates and lowers the risk of HIV infection. So, if educating women is such a good idea, what is holding the third world back?


Communications between COPE and PIE
02 May, 2014

The Publication Integrity and Ethics (PIE) received its first communication from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) on the 18th of February 2014. Dr Virginia Barbour, Chair of COPE and Medicine Editorial Director of PLOS sought clarification on some of the issues that were raised previously by anonymous bloggers. The communications can be accessed through these following links:

1st communication (18th Feb 2014): Email from Natalie Ridgeway, COPE Operations Manager with an attachment from Dr Virginia Barbour, Chair of COPE and Medicine Editorial Director of PLOS. (Link)
2nd communication (26th Feb 2014): Email from Waseem Jerjes, Director and Vice-Chairman of PIE. (Link)
3rd communication (11th Mar 2014): Email from Waseem Jerjes, Director and Vice-Chairman of PIE. (Link)
4th communication (18th Mar 2014): Email from Waseem Jerjes, Director and Vice-Chairman of PIE. (Link)
5th communication (2nd April 2014): Email from Dr Virginia Barbour, Chair of COPE and Medicine Editorial Director of PLOS and Natalie Ridgeway, COPE Operations Manager. (Link)

Student numbers soar - and staff levels fall
02 May, 2014

University students should feel confident that lecturers can provide the support they need throughout their academic study at the institution. Is this crucial aspect of higher education being compromised?

Whilst job cuts are limiting the number of lecturing staff, enrolment figures continue to rise. If a lecturer does not have enough hours in the day to spend time with an ever increasing number of students, the quality of learning will, inevitably, decline.


Balancing university teaching with research - what is the challenge?
28 Apr, 2014

For an academic career to be successful, it needs to be rewarding; there has to be passion, dedication and commitment. These elements need to be concomitant with a fine balance between teaching and research. This is surely an expectation and a principle of academic life.

Publishing research material is now considered an essential academic activity for a university academic. Furthermore, for this to be effective, research output needs to make an impact and be available for assessment. However, it may be argued that as a result of this, academic performance has now become balanced on an uncertain fulcrum whereby career progression depends on research as a core element.


The cost of research: are academics paying the price?
22 Apr, 2014

Senior academics are under increasing pressure to generate research funding in the higher education sector. With government investment in research still sitting well below the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average in the UK, academics are feeling the strain and seeking alternative methods of funding. How will a change in the funding process affect the work produced by researchers? Currently, the pressure to secure funds has resulted in academics focusing on turning research into profitable business; this can boost university income and also help continuation of further studies.


Similarities v plagiarism: is there a margin for debate?
12 Apr, 2014

When compiling relevant data for publication, certain common terms and phrases will inevitably be apparent. Many such texts will be researched by different authors and organisations for publication within their publications and websites. Common references and occasionally whole phrases may be embedded in the copy and constitute stylistic language appropriate to the sector under discussion. As a result certain sentences are likely to resemble those written by others of the same subject matter. Is this plagiarism?


This is a formal statement by Colin Hopper and Waseem Jerjes regarding the current state of the Journal: Head & Neck Oncology
26 Feb, 2014

Dear Colleagues

In July 2012, BioMed Central made several serious accusations against the Editors-in-Chief of Head & Neck Oncology (especially those based in the UK, Colin Hopper, Waseem Jerjes and Tahwinder Upile) including accusations of editorial mishandling and research misconduct (plagiarism, failure to declare conflicts of interests, duplicate publication and citation manipulation). The Editors-in-Chief were given 24 hours to respond to all accusations. At the same time, BioMed Central blocked access to all editorial tools, denying the Editors-in- Chief any access to the raw data. BioMed Central also failed to involve any independent party in their investigation despite the fact that the UK-based Editors-in-Chief are doctors registered with the General Medical Council and these allegations (if proven to be correct) could severely prejudice their clinical and academic carriers.

BioMed Central decided to cease publishing the Journal and sent numerous emails to editorial board members and authors of the Journal informing them that the Journal was closed due to ethical issues.  At the same time, Biomed Central posted a false statement concerning the Journal on its website.  BioMed Central also sent emails to authors of pending articles advising them to withdraw their articles from Head & Neck Oncology and to submit them to a rival BioMed Central journal.

Although BioMed Central’s actions have been damaging to the reputations of the Editors-in-Chief, we have approached the problem sensibly and explained to editorial board members and authors that there is no basis for any of these accusations.  We are pleased to confirm that the Journal has retained its world class editorial board with no change.

Title to the Journal passed to the Editors-in Chief upon BioMed Central’s decision to cease publication. The Editors-in-Chief then decided to re-launch the Journal with another publisher.

BioMed Central commenced a further investigation against the authors and editors of the Journal stating that if BioMed Central received no satisfactory response to their enquiries (including copies of patients’ consent forms and ethical approvals) then BioMed Central would retract several articles from the Journal (which by that time belonged to a different publisher) without the consent of the Editors-in Chief. This gave rise to serious concerns among many authors (clinicians and scientists) in the head and neck discipline. We continued to support our authors during this difficult time and succeeded in preserving the content of Head and Neck Oncology with no record of any retraction.

BioMed Central reported the three UK-based Editors-in-Chief to University College London.  Although UCL had jurisdiction under its Procedure to investigate all three UK-based Editors-in-Chief, they chose not to investigate Tahwinder Upile (a former student and member of staff) and Waseem Jerjes (a doctoral student and former member of staff). Subsequently, the UCL investigation (which was conducted jointly with UCLH) found no case to answer against Mr Hopper and any employee, researcher or student and cleared all the articles that were the subject of BioMed Central’s complaint. UCL’s findings cleared the Journal and its Editors-in-Chief from any editorial or research misconduct.

Despite UCL’s findings, BioMed Central continue to publish false and damaging statements concerning the Journal and the Editors-in Chief. Recently, BioMed Central published a comment regarding Head & Neck Oncology and its Editors-in-Chief on one of its journal’s websites (BMC Medicine). This false and damaging statement cited publisher’s notes on a number of Head & Neck Oncology articles (on the inactive/archived website of the Journal hosted by BioMed Central) which were calculated to give the impression that there had been editorial mishandling. We would like to assure our authors that these notes are not recognised by the current owner of the Journal and the Journal’s Editors-in-Chief and we will continue to provide support to our authors. A separate statement will be released regarding these false and damaging notes published by BioMed Central.

As a consequence of BioMed Central’s actions, reviving the Journal again is not an easy task. The National Library of Medicine has requested written confirmation from BioMed Central that it no longer has title to the Journal and a letter confirming the outcome of the investigation. Although the Journal is now the property of another publisher and despite the satisfactory outcome of UCL’s investigation, BioMed Central refuses to provide the confirmations sought.

Despite BioMed Central’s conduct since July 2012, we are determined to restore the Journal to its prestigious status.

We aim to start a petition to the National Library of Medicine (PubMed) and hope that our friends and colleagues will support us in this endeavour. We hope to convince our colleagues in the NLM that the false accusations made by BioMed Central against the Editors-in-Chief have no basis as University College London has already found. A similar petition will be sent to Thompson Reuters to deal with the impact factor issue.

We thank you for your continued support.

Colin Hopper and Waseem Jerjes

OAPL (UK) is implementing the Transparency Declaration policy
02 Jan, 2014

OAPL (UK) is joining the academic community by implementing this Transparency Declaration policy immediately (see below). “Lead Authors” submitting their “Research Work” to OAPL journals will be expected to accept this Transparency Declaration before being able to complete the submission process. The Lead Author (manuscript’s guarantor) is defined here (by OAPL UK) as the submitting author, first author and last (senior) author. Research work is defined here (by OAPL UK) as submissions in the form of Original research studies, Research studies, Systematic reviews, Case studies, Case reports, Case series, Hypothesis, Methodology, Short communications and Study protocols.