Our trusted certification policy
ReviewerCredits is highly committed to the highest ethical standards to contribute towards a healthy publishing environment.
As associate corporate member of COPE we fully share their codes of conduct for the ethical behaviour of editors, authors, reviewers, Journal publishers and members of the editorial board. We expect reviewers and Journals registered for our services to perform their activities following the ethical recommendations from COPE. ReviewerCredits provides a certification service and does not take any role in judging Journals’ editorial or ethical policies.
Ethical guidelines for scientists
Becoming a peer-reviewer means joining a community of experts who assess each other’s work. Peer-review can be a demanding task, requiring skills, competence and time. While reviewing carries heavy responsibilities, it also gives significant benefits by enabling reviewers to see what others are doing and thinking, long before that information is published in scholarly Journals. It does not provide immediate benefits: however, as a member of the scientific community, peer-reviewers feel the duty to contribute to fairness and integrity in scientific research. Their contribution is of immense value.
COPE has developed Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers which help peer-reviewers to identify the most ethical approach to peer-review. We encourage our registered reviewers to review these guidelines, as they play an important role in identifying misconduct. We expect reviewers registered for certification with ReviewerCredits to adopt the most professional ethical approach to all reviews they claim on our portal, with specific reference to the following points:
- Perform a review personally, if you are competent on the subject, do not have conflict of interest and have the time to dedicate to it, avoiding to engage junior colleagues without permission from the Editor
- Inform the editors if you are working on similar topics or if you work at the same institution of the authors
- Perform your review confidentially, returning fair, polite and constructive comments within the allocated time
- Share with the editor confidentially potential ethical issues
Ethical guidelines for Journal publishers
The mission of our platform is to certify the peer-review process of all Journals for which a registered peer-reviewer has made a claim. This occurs when a Journal’s editor (or editorial office) confirms that a completed peer-review has effectively taken place. We have created an automated process to assign credits to registered users, which is based on the confirmations by Journals.
This confirmation is a firm assessment of the quality and efficiency of the peer-review process, performed thanks to the collaboration of qualified reviewers, respectful of deadlines, the Journal relies on.
The role of Publishers, Journals and their Editors is of fundamental importance to the dissemination of scientific contents and must have clear publishing policies in place to ensure fair and effective handling of ethical cases. As member of COPE, we recommend that Journals and editors adopt COPE’s Codes of Conduct, which provide guidelines on the ethical approach to scientific publication (Code of Conduct for Editors – Code of Conduct for Publishers). We ensure that Journals for which a claim is filed for certification with ReviewerCredits adopt an ethical approach to publication, with specific reference to the following points:
- The peer-review model and process must be clearly identified in the Journal website in an appropriate peer-review policy, including a triage process which may result in submissions being rejected without peer-review
- Peer-reviewers are required to disclose conflicts of interest when invited to review an article
- Reviewers are supplied with guidance on their role and responsibilities, including how to report on potential ethical misconduct
- Guidelines are supplied to the peer-reviewer with regards to deadlines
The validation process may be manual or automatic.
When completed peer-review information are entered in our system we contact the Journal’s editorial office and validate your review details.
We provide APIs to allow automated transfer of peer-review data from the journal to our database. APIs are available for journals using Open Journal Systems or Pensoft software and you will be offered the option to link your ReviewerCredits account to the journal’s peer-review system. Using your ORCID is a very reliable method.
Why don’t we accept a “Thank you for reviewing” email?
There are several reasons why we do not accept the “thank you” mail that Journals send, to peer reviewers, upon submission of a peer review as a proof it has effectively been performed.
The first reason is that the “thank you” mail is a simple text email, and can be easily edited, changing date, name of the Journal and the manuscript ID. We are looking for a real, strong certification of peer reviewers activity, therefore we cannot accept something so easily manipulated.
Another reason is that we are very respectful of the privacy of peer reviewers, especially in the cases of single-blind peer review. The “thank you” mail usually contains the name of the Authors and the title of the manuscript reviewed. This is unacceptable to us. When filling a claim on ReviewerCredits.com, reviewers are only asked to indicate the manucript ID, and not the title.
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