Published online 7 January 2009 | Nature 457, 140 (2009) | doi:10.1038/457140a

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Geophysicists accused of breach of publishing ethics

Scientists at the Institute of Geophysics in Paris (IPGP) have been accused of acting as editors for dozens of papers by IPGP colleagues published from 1992 to 2008 in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters while they were members of the editorial board. The allegations follow a joint investigation by science journalists at the French newspapers Le Monde and Libération.

Among the authors of the articles involved is Claude Allègre, a former research and education minister in the French government and former IPGP head, whom French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been rumoured to be wooing to take up a ministerial position; and Vincent Courtillot, the institute's current head and a member of the journal's editorial board from 2003 to 2005.

Courtillot has dismissed the allegations, pointing out in Le Monde that all editors of papers submitted to the journal by the IPGP were openly identified. Allègre has described the allegations as "ridiculous". But Friso Veenstra, publisher of the Elsevier journal, maintains that reviewing papers from one's own institution runs against the journal's ethics policy. 

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