Reviewer ethics


Reviewers are expected to point out relevant work that has not been cited in the manuscript, and use citations to explain where elements of the work have been previously reported.

Citations should add value, and should not be unfairly biased towards an individual, group or organisation. Please note that the editor reserves the right to challenge excessive citation suggestions, especially to the reviewer’s own work. The practice of including superfluous references (including to the reviewer’s own work) to promote and inflate citation scores is unethical. The editor reserves the right to exclude citation suggestions from reviewer reports if these are considered to be potential acts of citation manipulation, and/or to protect reviewers’ anonymity.


Anonymity and confidentiality

Reviewer names are kept strictly confidential. Reviewer identities may only be disclosed to journal Editorial Board members, who are also instructed to maintain confidentiality. You should not disclose your identity to the authors, including sending reviewer reports directly to the authors.

Information and ideas obtained while acting as a reviewer must be kept confidential and not used for competitive advantage.

We also ask that you do not discuss the papers you have reviewed with colleagues unless the paper has been published.



Reviewers should objectively judge the quality of the research reported, give fair, frank and constructive criticism, and refrain from personal criticism of the authors. Reviewers should explain and support their judgements so that authors can understand the basis of the comments and judgements.



Reviewers should inform the journal if they are unable to review a paper or can only do so with some delay. Reviewers should not delay the peer review process unnecessarily, either deliberately or inadvertently.


Ethical statements

Some manuscripts will be required to include an ethical statement if the research involved human or animal subjects. In journals that operate double-anonymous peer review, ethical statements are not revealed to reviewers, as they may give clues to the author’s identity. Our editorial team checks all ethical statements are appropriate for the study being reported. If a reviewer feels they need to see an ethical statement, they are advised to contact the journal to discuss.


Suspected author misconduct

Reviewers should report any suspicions of misconduct to the journal staff for investigation. This includes, but is not limited to, suspicions of:

  • Plagiarism
  • Duplicate publication
  • Parallel submission
  • Data fabrication/falsification
  • Image manipulation
  • Incorrect authorship
  • Author conflict of interest
  • Unethical research practices
  • Content that could be considered offensive

We follow the COPE guidelines on responding to whistleblowers, which includes protecting their anonymity.


Large language models

IOP Publishing does not accept or condone the use of ChatGPT to write peer review reports. ChatGPT is not a subject matter expert and cannot take responsibility for any text that it creates. It also cannot comprehend the ethical responsibilities associated with creating reviewer reports. Finally, ChatGPT does not consistently provide accurate scientific information or effectively back up assertions with correct references. Click here to read about our ‘Use of large language models/AI writing tools’ policy for authors.