Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)

African Studies Library

The COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers aim to provide guidance and raise awareness of ethical obligations of reviewers. These guidelines are intended to be applied across disciplines.


Key points of the Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) include:

  • "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."