What standards of ethical behaviour are expected of peer reviewers?

Peer-review is defined as obtaining advice on individual manuscripts from reviewers’ expert in the field of publication.

Contribution to editorial decisions

Peer review assists the Editors in making editorial decisions and, through the editorial communication with the author, may also assist the author in improving the manuscript. The editors are greatly indebted to the independent feedback provided by reviewers, but it should be noted that the final decision to accept or reject an article rests solely with the editors.


Any invited referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its timely review will be impossible should immediately notify the Journal Manager or corresponding Editor so that alternative reviewers can be contacted.


Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except if authorized by the Editor-in-Chief. Reviewers may keep materials once review has been received, but must maintain confidentiality and are not permitted to share unpublished manuscripts they have reviewed.

Standards of objectivity

Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is unacceptable. Referees should express their views clearly with appropriate supporting arguments.

Acknowledgement of sources

Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also call to the corresponding Editor's attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published data of which they have personal knowledge.

Disclosure and conflict of interest

Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider evaluating manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the submission.

Tone of Review

Reviewers are asked to adopt a respectful and fair-minded approach when discussing the work under review. Reviewers are expected to cite specific examples to support judgements made and to discuss the merits of the work as a whole, and to provide constructive feedback that might improve the work, if needed, and where possible.