Comment on:

The following comment refers to this/these guideline(s)

Guideline 16

Confidentiality and neutrality of review processes and discussions

Fair behaviour is the basis for the legitimacy of any judgement-forming process. Researchers who evaluate submitted manuscripts, funding proposals or personal qualifications are obliged to maintain strict confidentiality with regard to this process. They disclose all facts that could give rise to the appearance of a conflict of interest. The duty of confidentiality and disclosure of facts that could give rise to the appearance of a conflict of interest also applies to members of research advisory and decision-making bodies.


The confidentiality of third-party material to which a reviewer or committee member gains access precludes sharing the material with third parties or making personal use of it. Researchers immediately disclose to the responsible body any potential or apparent conflicts of interest, bias or favouritism relating to the research project being reviewed or the person or matter being discussed.

Confidentiality and neutrality in reviews and consultations in the life sciences

Research results in the life sciences can relate directly to socially relevant aspects such as prevention, disease, nutrition and environmental issues. Conscientious, prudent handling of the information contained in project proposals as well as the disclosure and consistent avoidance of conflicts of interest are therefore particularly relevant when it comes to safeguarding decision-making processes and ensuring their credibility in the life sciences.

The comment belongs to the following categories:

GL16 (Life sciences)