Ethics for Peer Reviewers

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Image: Pixabay (CC0)

As a reviewer, you have a crucial role in supporting research integrity in the peer review and publishing process. This guide outlines some of the basic ethical principles that you should expect to follow.

These recommendations are based on the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers. Visit the COPE website to see the full ethical guidelines for reviewers.

PLOS is a member of COPE. We abide by the COPE Core Practices and follow COPE’s best practice guidelines.

Basic ethical guidelines for peer reviewers

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Choose assignments wisely

You should agree to review a manuscript only if you have the appropriate subject expertise and a sufficient amount of time to complete the review, in accordance with the journal deadline.

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Provide an objective, honest, and unbiased review

→ Declare any potentially competing interests and/or recuse yourself from assignments if you have a conflict of interest.
→ Make sure your perspective is not influenced by authors’ origins, nationality, beliefs, gender, or other characteristics.
→ Do not impersonate another individual in your work as a reviewer.

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Honor the confidentiality of the review process

Do not share information about manuscripts or reviews during or after peer review, and do not use any information from the review process for your own advantage.

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Be respectful and professional

Make sure your review comments are professional. Keep your focus on the work and not on the individuals.

 

Read more about peer review ethics

Thank you for helping to promote greater transparency and integrity in the review process!