Publication Ethics for Reviewers

The Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health is an open-access and peer-reviewed international journal. This section describes the important role and task of reviewers in this journal. Reviewers evaluate article submissions to this journal based on the requirements of this journal, predefined criteria, and the quality, completeness, and accuracy of the research presented. They provide feedback on the paper, suggest improvements, and make a recommendation to the editor about whether to accept, reject or request changes to the article. The ultimate decision always rests with the editor but reviewers play a significant role in determining the outcome.

Good reviews not only aid in the selection of manuscripts for publication but also improve the clarity, transparency, accuracy, and utility of the selected submissions. The following describes the important roles of reviewers in a scientific publication:

  1. To ensure the rigorous standards of the scientific process by taking part in the peer-review system.
  2. To rectify the integrity of the journal by identifying invalid research, and helping to maintain the quality of the journal.
  3. To help prevent ethical breaches by identifying plagiarism, research fraud, and other problems by dint of their familiarity with the subject area.
  4. To establish relationships with reputable colleagues and their affiliated journals
  5. To reciprocate the professional courtesy. Authors and reviewers often share interchangeable roles – as reviewers, researchers "repay" the same consideration they receive as authors.

The reviewers carry out a scientific examination of the author’s materials, so their actions shall be unbiased and ethical.  The following are principle instructions for the expected ethical work of the reviewers:

  1. The assigned manuscript shall be considered a confidential document. It cannot be transferred for review or discussion to third parties who do not have the authority from the editorial office. Violation of confidentiality is possible only if the reviewer claims that the paper contains unreliable material or falsified data.
  2. The reviewers understand that the manuscripts sent to them are the intellectual property of the authors and relate to information that is not subject to disclosure.
  3. The reviewer shall immediately call to the editor’s attention a manuscript containing any similarities between the manuscript under review and another paper as well as the fact that there are no references to the provisions, conclusions, or arguments previously published in other works of this or other authors.
  4. The reviewer shall note the relevant published works that are not cited (in the article).
  5. The reviewer shall give an unbiased and reasoned assessment of the presented research results and justified recommendations. Personal criticism of the author is unacceptable. The reviewer is expected to be critical about whether or not to accept the review.
  6. The reviewer’s comments and suggestions shall be unbiased and well-reasoned, aimed at improving the scientific level of the manuscript.
  7. The reviewer shall make decisions based on specific facts and provide evidence of his/her decision.
  8. Reviewers are not allowed to make copies of the manuscripts for their own needs.
  9. The reviewer should not use for his/her advantage any part of any data or work reported in submitted and as yet unpublished articles.
  10. The reviewer shall be honest about his/her expertise and possible conflicts of interest. The reviewer who feels unqualified to review the assigned manuscript or affirms that he/she cannot be unbiased, for example, if there is a conflict of interest with the author or organization, should immediately notify the editor requesting to remove him/her from the process of reviewing this manuscript. A review from someone who does not have the proper expertise will not be useful to the editor to decide whether or not to accept the article, and the comments will be of little value to the authors.
  11. The full name of the reviewer is known by the assistant editor and the editor-in-chief of this journal. This information is not disclosed.

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