The peer review process is an important step that relies on the scholarly community's willingness and trust to ensure that everyone involved in the process acts ethically and responsibly. Peer reviewers are an important element of the peer review process, although they may lack training and are ignorant of their ethical responsibilities. Reviewers have a duty to perform reviews in an ethical and accountable way, and journals have an obligation to publish clear peer review rules. This COPE policy has been adopted by our journal (Committee on Publication Ethics). To ensure consistent, fair, and timely review, clear communication between the journal and the reviewers is necessary. Peer review offers these standards, which are based in part on the Forum participants' cumulative experience and expertise. It is believed that they would assist researchers, serve as a resource for editors and publishers in directing their reviewers, and serve as an educational resource for institutions in teaching their students and researchers. Peer review refers to reviews offered on article submissions to journals for the purposes of these criteria, but it may also relate to reviews for other platforms and public commentary that might occur before or after publication. Preprints, grants, books, conference proceeding submissions, registered reports (preregistered procedures), and data reviews will all follow a similar ethical framework, but the process will differ based on the source material and the kind of review required. Elements of the procedure will be influenced by the peer review approach. Peer review models There are several sorts or models of peer review, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. F or a description of several peer review models, before agreeing to do peer review, it's critical to understand the peer review mechanism used by the journal or platform. The figure below, which was used with permission from QUT in Australia, identifies major aspects of several peer review approaches. Reviewers should be aware of their duties in terms of process secrecy and ownership of the review result, depending on the peer review model utilised.

 1 Reference Ethical principles for peer reviewers, COPE Council, September 2017. is a website dedicated to the ethics of publishing. Version 2 was released in September of 2017. Version 1 was released in March of 2013. Peer review models have been used in the past.

Peer review can be done in a variety of ways. By picking one option from each row in the following table, a peer review process can work in practically any combination: TIMING PrePrints Pre-publication Post-Publication IDENTIFIABILITY Blindfolded Blindfolded MEDIATION IS OPEN Editors mediate all interactions between reviewers and authors, and all conversations between reviewers and authors are accessible to the public. Peer reviews are an important part of the process. Peer reviews are an important part of the process. Peer reviews are not public, although they are signed and published. FACILITATION The review process was made easier. The review process was made easier. Authors' review supported by a journal by a third-party OWNERSHIP Review is the owner of this review. The writers of the reviews own the reviews, whether they are held by a journal or a third party. A conventional, blinded peer review procedure for a journal may look like this: Editors moderate all contacts between reviewers and writers; pre-publication; single blind; Peer reviews aren't published; they're enabled by a journal; and the writers of the reviews own the reviews. Working as a reviewer Responsibility in the workplace: Authors who have benefitted from peer review might consider taking on the role of peer reviewer as part of their professional obligations. Some publications need a formal appointment procedure to join the review panel, while others require specialised expertise; anybody interested in becoming a reviewer should seek for the journal's peer review criteria and complete any requirements listed. To acquire the best evaluations possible, editors must match reviewers with the extent of the information in a submission. Potential reviewers should supply journals with correct personal and professional information, as well as verified and accurate contact information, that reflects their competence. It's critical to understand that pretending to be someone else throughout the review process is regarded significant misbehaviour (e.g. see COPE Case 12-12: Compromised peer review in published papers). When asked to evaluate a paper, only accept to do so if you have the relevant knowledge and can be objective in your opinion. When requested to evaluate, it is preferable to indicate any gaps in your knowledge. 2 As a critic, I kept going. Conflicts of interest: Make a list of any potential competing or conflicting interests. If you're not sure if you have a competing interest that would restrict you from evaluating, bring it up. Personal, economical, intellectual, professional, political, or religious conflicts might arise. You should not accept to review if you are presently working at the same institution as any of the authors or have been recent (e.g., within the last three years) mentors, mentees, close collaborators, or joint grant holders. Furthermore, you should not agree to evaluate a manuscript only to get a glimpse of it without intending to submit a review, or agree to examine a manuscript that is extremely similar to one you are working on or that is being considered by another journal. Timeliness: It is polite to reply to a peer review invitation within a reasonable timeframe, even if you are unable to complete the review. If you believe you are qualified to assess a manuscript, you should only accept to examine it if you are able to do so within the requested or mutually agreed-upon time range. If your circumstances change and you are unable to fulfil your initial agreement or require an extension, please notify the journal as soon as possible. If you are unable to review, it is important to give recommendations for other reviewers, based on their competence and free of any personal bias or expectation that the paper would receive a certain conclusion (either positive or negative). Performing a review Steps to get started: Read the paper, supplemental data files, and auxiliary information (e.g., reviewer instructions, needed ethical and policy statements) thoroughly, contacting the journal if anything is unclear, and requesting any missing or incomplete elements. Without the permission of the journal, do not contact the authors directly. Before you begin, make sure you understand the scope of the review (i.e., will you be reviewing raw data?).

Confidentiality: Respect the confidentiality of the peer review process, and do not use information received during the peer review process for your own or another's benefit, or to harm or disparage others (e.g. see COPE Case 14-06: Possible breach of reviewer confidentiality). Without first getting permission from the journal, do not include anyone else in the evaluation of a submission (even early career researchers you are mentoring) (e.g. see COPE Case 11-29: Reviewer asks trainee to review manuscript). Any persons who assisted with the review should have their names provided so that they may be linked to the paper in the journal's database and given proper credit for their services. Conflicts of interest and bias: It is critical to maintain objectivity when considering country, religion or political opinions, gender or other characteristics of the writers, manuscript sources, or commercial factors. Notify the journal and seek guidance if you detect a conflicting interest that would prohibit you from offering a fair and unbiased evaluation (e.g. see COPE Case 15-05: Reviewer requests to be added as an author after publication). While you wait for a response, don't look at the manuscript or any accompanying materials in case the request to review is cancelled. Similarly, contact the journal as soon as feasible if you discover you lack the appropriate competence to evaluate the relevant components of a submission so that the review process does not become unreasonably slowed. If you suspect the author(s) identity during doubleblind review, contact the journal if this information concerns any possible competing or conflict of interest.

 3 Conducting a review continued Suspicion of ethics violations: If you come across any research or publishing ethical issues, please notify the journal (e.g. see COPE Case 02-11: Contacting research ethics committees with concerns over studies). For example, you could be concerned that there was misbehaviour during the research or the drafting and submission of the manuscript, or you might detect a significant resemblance between the manuscript and a concurrent submission to another journal or a published piece. Contact the editor directly if you have any of these or other ethical issues; do not try to investigate on your own. It is OK to work with the journal in confidence, but not to personally explore further until the journal requests more information or recommendations. Peer review transferability: Publishers may have policies in place regarding the transfer of peer reviews to other journals in their portfolio (sometimes referred to as portable or cascading peer review). If the journal requires it, reviewers may be requested to consent to the transfer of their reviews. If you are requested to assess a manuscript that has been rejected by one journal and then submitted to another, you should be prepared to review it again because it may have changed between the two submissions and the journal's criteria for evaluation and acceptance may be different. It may be good to give your initial evaluation for the new journal (with permission from the original journal), indicating that you had previously examined the submission and highlighting any changes, in the interests of openness and efficiency. Putting together a report Format: Follow the journal's guidelines for drafting and submitting the review. Use the resources provided by the journal if a specific format or scoring rubric is necessary. In your review, be neutral and helpful, offering suggestions that will assist the writers in improving their book. To assist editors in their review, be precise in your critique and give supporting evidence with suitable sources to corroborate broad comments. Maintain a professional demeanour and avoid being aggressive or provocative, as well as making libellous or insulting personal remarks or baseless charges (e.g. see COPE Case 08-13: Personal remarks within a post-publication literature forum). Appropriate criticism: Keep in mind that the editor expects a fair, honest, and unbiased review of the manuscript's merits and faults. Most journals enable reviewers to give both secret and public comments to the editor and to the authors. The journal may also request a suggestion to accept, amend, or reject the manuscript; such recommendation should be consistent with the reviewer's remarks. If you haven't gone through the entire document, make a note of the parts you have evaluated. Ensure that your editor's comments and recommendations are consistent with your authors' report; the majority of input should be included in the report that the writers will view. In the awareness that the writers will not see your remarks, confidential comments to the editor should not be used for denigration or false accusations. 4 The process of preparing a report continues. Style and language: Remember that it is the authors' work, so if it is fundamentally sound and clear, don't try to rewrite it in your preferred style; nonetheless, recommendations for improvements that increase clarity are crucial. Furthermore, be conscious of the sensitivity of language difficulties arising from the authors' writing in a language that is not their first or most fluent language, and phrase the comments appropriately and respectfully. Suggestions for future work include: The peer reviewer's responsibility is to provide feedback on the quality and rigour of the work they receive. If the work is unclear due to a lack of analysis, the reviewer should make a remark and describe what further analyses would help to clarify the work. It is not the reviewer's role to expand the scope of the work beyond its existing scope. Make it clear which of the recommended extra research (if any) are required to back up the assertions made in the manuscript under review and which will simply strengthen or expand the work. Accountability: Unless the journal has given you permission to include another individual, you must prepare the report on your own. Avoid making unreasonable negative remarks or making unjustified critiques of any rivals' work referenced in the manuscript. Avoid advising that writers incorporate citations to your (or an associate's) work just to improve citation counts or increase exposure; suggestions must be based on genuine academic or technological grounds. Do not purposefully prolong the review process by delaying your review submission or asking unwarranted extra material from the journal or author. If you're the editor in charge of a manuscript and decide to review it yourself (maybe because another reviewer was unable to provide a report), do it openly and not under the pretence of an anonymous supplementary reviewer. What to think about following a peer review If at all feasible, attempt to satisfy journal requests for modifications or resubmissions of papers you've previously read. If a journal contacts you about your review, it's a good idea to answer quickly and supply the information requested. Similarly, if anything comes to light after you've submitted your review that would change your initial criticism and suggestions, contact the journal. Maintain the confidentiality of the review process by not disclosing specifics of the article after peer review unless the author and journal have given you permission (e.g. see COPE Case 13- 05: Online posting of confidential draught by peer reviewer). For a more detailed examination of the concerns, see the COPE discussion document Who "owns" peer reviews?2. 5 Mentoring and peer review training To strengthen your peer review abilities, take advantage of chances to enrol in mentoring or training programmes. As early career researchers master the peer review process, offer to mentor them. Supervisors who want to participate in peer review with their students or young researchers must first get permission from the editor and then follow the editor's judgement. When a student does the review under the supervision of the supervisor, this should be recorded, and the student should be recognised as the reviewer of record. If the journal provides them, it may also be beneficial to read the evaluations of other reviewers in order to increase your own understanding of the issue and the reasons for the editorial decision. A good peer review guide for early career researchers is available from Sense about Science. 3. For those just getting started in peer review, there are additional training courses accessible, such as Publons' free online training course. (4) Contributions of Authors Irene Hames conceptualised and wrote the 2013 guidelines on behalf of COPE Council, and Tara Hoke, Trevor Lane, Charon Pierson, and Elizabeth Moylan edited them. All of the authors are listed alphabetically. Contributions to this project are described as follows: IH, IH, IH, IH, IH, IH, IH, IH, IH, IH, IH, IH, IH, IH EM and CP conceptualised the 2017 version; EM and CP wrote the initial draught. TH, TL, EM, and CP worked on writing, review, and editing. CP is in charge of supervision. EM and CP are two types of visualisation. Acknowledgements Kelly Cobey, John Hilton, Mark Hooper, and Irene Hames provided valuable input and recommendations that helped design the 2017 edition.

Further reading

  1. Web.pdf
  3. Our COPE materials are available to use under the Creative Commons Attributes.