7.1. The concept of peer review
Peer review is understood as all requests to an individual in their position of expert or similar status to undertake a specific assessment, examination, or evaluation of a manuscript submitted for publication, an individual or group grant proposal, a clinical or experimental protocol subject to assessment by an ethics committee, or a report arising from an on-site visit to a laboratory or centre.
7.2. Conflicts of interest
Reviews must be objective and based on scientific criteria rather than personal opinion. Reviews should be declined in the event of a conflict of interest—for instance, when there is a direct relationship between the author(s) and the reviewer or when the reviewer is in direct competition with the authors—or if the invited reviewer does not consider that he or she is sufficiently prepared to perform the review14.
7.3. Use and fate of documentation submitted for assessment
Reports and written documents that are subject to review are always confidential and represent privileged information. As a consequence, such documentation a) may not be used for the benefit of the reviewer until the information has been published; b) may not be shared with other colleagues except in specific circumstances or with the explicit permission of the editor or research organization; c) may not be retained or copied except where this is allowed by those responsible for the editorial process or the research organization for whom the review is requested. Common practice is to destroy or return the material once the review process is completed.