Respect the confidentiality of the review process and refrain from using the information obtained during the review process for your own or others' interests, as well as to the detriment or discrediting others (eg, see COPE Case 11-29: Reviewer asks trainee to review manuscript). The names of any individuals who have helped with the review should be included so that they are associated with the manuscript in the journal’s records and can also receive due recognition for their efforts.


The main important points to ensure confidentiality:

(1) unpublished materials disclosed in the submitted manuscript should not be used in the reviewer's own research without the express written consent of the author;

(2) confidential information or ideas obtained as a result of expert evaluation should be kept secret and not used for personal purposes;

(3) all authors must disclose in their manuscript information about a financial or another significant conflict of interest that can be interpreted as affecting the results or interpretation of their manuscript;

(4) it is appropriate to cooperate confidentially with the journal, but not to conduct a personal investigation unless the journal requests additional information or advice;

(5) reviewers should not participate in reviewing the manuscript in the event of a conflict of interest arising from competitive, joint and other interactions and relationships with any of the authors, companies or other organizations related to the research presented in the manuscript;

(6) in the case of double-blind peer review, if the reviewer suspects the identity of the author, then he is obliged to inform the journal if this knowledge causes any potential competition or conflict of interest.


Bias and competing interests

It is important to remain impartial for reasons related to nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender or other characteristics of the authors, the origin of the manuscript or commercial considerations. If you find a competing interest that may prevent you from providing honest and unbiased feedback, report it to the magazine and seek advice (e.g. see COPE Case 15-05: Reviewer requests to be added as an author after publication). While waiting for a response, refrain from viewing the manuscript and related materials in case the review request is cancelled. The reviewer should notify the journal as soon as possible if he finds that he does not have the necessary knowledge to evaluate the relevant aspects of the manuscript, so as not to delay the review process unnecessarily.