Peer review guidelines provide basic principles and standards to which all peer reviewers should adhere during the peer review process in research publication. Peer reviewers play a central and critical part in the peer-review process, but too often come to the role without any guidance and unaware of their ethical obligations. These guidelines are intended to be applied across disciplines. COPE Guidelines are formal COPE policy and are intended to advise editors and publishers on expected publication ethics practice.
Peer reviewers play an important 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.
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.
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.