Organisations and researchers should be aware that peer review is an important part of good practice in: the publication and dissemination of research and research findings; the assessment of applications for research grants; and in the ethics review of research projects.
Organisations should encourage researchers to act as peer reviewers for meetings, journals and other publications, grant applications and ethics review of research proposals, and support those who do so. They should recognise the obligations of peer reviewers to be thorough and objective in their work and to maintain confidentiality, and should not put pressure, directly or indirectly, on peer reviewers to breach these obligations.
Researchers who carry out peer review should do so to the highest standards of thoroughness and objectivity. They should follow the guidelines for peer review of any organisation for which they carry out such work.
Researchers should maintain confidentiality and not retain or copy any material under review without the express written permission of the organisation which requested the review. They should not make use of research designs or research findings from a paper under review without the express permission of the author(s) and should not allow others to do so. Researchers acting as peer reviewers must declare any relevant conflicts of interest.
While carrying out peer review, researchers may become aware of possible misconduct, such as plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, or have ethical concerns about the design or conduct of the research. In such cases they should inform, in confidence, an appropriate representative of the organisation which requested the review, such as the editor of the relevant journal or chair of the relevant grants or ethics committee.