The following comment refers to this/these guideline(s)
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.
FAQ on confidentiality and neutrality of review processes and discussions
What duties of care do reviewers have when preparing reviews and what considerations must be made with regard to protecting the integrity of the reviews?
- Any facts that may give rise to the appearance of bias or any conflict of interest with regard to the subject matter of the review, including the reviewer themselves, are to be disclosed immediately by the reviewer to the relevant body that sent the documents.
- Careful and detailed reading of the proposals, documents and papers to be reviewed
- Exclusively objective and unbiased assessment of the subject matter of the review
- The review may not contain any subjective or discriminatory statements.
- The reviewer must maintain strict confidentiality with regard to the documents and their content.
- No delegation to third parties
- No discussion with third parties about the content of the documents, whether verbally or in writing
- No use of the documents or their content for the reviewer’s own academic purposes and no sharing of the documents or their content with third parties
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