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April 2023

Use of AI tools in research publications: New guidance for authors from the Committee on Publications Ethics (COPE)

Many universities and research-related organizations are issuing guidelines that clarify and restrict how authors can use AI tools, such as ChatGTP, to help them prepare research papers, grants, and other documents. Guidance is evolving quickly as more uses for the AI tools emerge and more violations of publication ethics are being discovered.

The Committee on Publications Ethics (COPE) has recently issued a position statement on Authorship and AI Tools to guide authors, journals editors, publishers, and others involved in producing research-related publications, stating the following:

1. AI tools cannot meet the requirements for being an author and therefore they cannot be listed as an author of a paper.

2. Authors who use these tools must be transparent in disclosing their use, by stating how and which AI tools were used to collect or analyze data and/or to prepare the text or supporting figures and tables.

Note that authors remain “fully responsible for the content of their manuscript, even those parts produced by an AI tool, and are thus liable for any breach of publication ethics.”

The reasons for this guidance are given in the position statement. However, the situation is evolving quickly, so if you have any questions about how you are affected—as an author, peer reviewer, or journal editor, for example—please ask us and we’re happy to explain the latest best publication practices to you.

For more details about the use of AI tools in scholarly publishing, see a longer opinion piece by COPE here.



Interested in reading more about the latest in writing & publishing research? See all news and updates.



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