Contribution to editorial decisions
Peer review assists the editor in making editorial decisions and through the editorial communications with the author may also assist the author in improving the paper. Peer review is an essential component of formal scholarly communication and lies at the heart of the scientific method. For example, Elsevier shares the view of many that all scholars who wish to contribute to publications have an obligation to do a fair share of reviewing.
Any selected referee who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself from the review process.
Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. They must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor.
Standards of objectivity
Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author is inappropriate. Referees should express their views clearly with 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 editor's attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.
Disclosure and conflict of interest
Unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used in a reviewer’s own research without the express written consent of the author. Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider 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 papers.
These guidelines are based on existing Elsevier policies and
COPE's Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors.