Ethical guidelines for peer reviewers.
September 2017. www.publicationethics.org
Peer reviewers play a role in ensuring the integrity of the scholarly record. The peer review
process depends to a large extent on the trust and willing participation of the scholarly
community and requires that everyone involved behaves responsibly and ethically. Peer
reviewers play a central and critical part in the peer review process, but may come to the role
without any guidance and be unaware of their ethical obligations. Journals have an obligation
to provide transparent policies for peer review, and reviewers have an obligation to conduct
reviews in an ethical and accountable manner. Clear communication between the journal
and the reviewers is essential to facilitate consistent, fair and timely review. COPE has heard
cases from its members related to peer review issues and bases these guidelines, in part, on
the collective experience and wisdom of the COPE Forum participants. It is hoped they will
provide helpful guidance to researchers, be a reference for editors and publishers in guiding
their reviewers, and act as an educational resource for institutions in training their students
Peer review, for the purposes of these guidelines, refers to reviews provided on manuscript
submissions to journals, but can also include reviews for other platforms and apply to public
commenting that can occur pre- or post-publication. Reviews of other materials such as
preprints, grants, books, conference proceeding submissions, registered reports (preregistered
protocols), or data will have a similar underlying ethical framework, but the process
will vary depending on the source material and the type of review requested. The model of
peer review will also influence elements of the process.
The guidelines are here.