Peer Review Terms and Conditions

Peer reviewers play a central and critical part in the peer-review process. BMJ requests that all reviewers adhere to a set of basic principles and standards during the peer-review process in research publication; these are set out below. Please read them carefully before you submit a review, as, by agreeing to be a reviewer for journals from BMJ, you are acknowledging that you agree to and accept these conditions. These conditions are based on the Committee on Publication Ethics Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers which also provides further information on how to be objective and constructive in your review.

Conflicts of interest

During the review process we ask you to declare any potentially conflicting or competing interests (which could be personal, financial, intellectual, professional, political or religious in nature) so that editors can assess these and factor them into their decisions. Please refer any major concerns over potentially competing interests to the editorial office before beginning your review. In addition, you should not agree to review a manuscript just to gain sight of it with no intention of submitting a review.


Unpublished manuscripts are confidential and you must not disclose their contents to anyone except a professional colleague whose input you request as part of your review process. If you do choose to discuss the manuscript and/or your review with a professional colleague you are responsible for ensuring that they are made fully aware of the confidential nature of the discussion and that they must not disclose any information about the manuscript until the article is published. The identity of any co-reviewer and any potential conflicting or competing interests they may have must be disclosed when submitting your review.


If you feel qualified to judge a particular manuscript, you should agree to review only if you are able to return a review within the proposed or mutually agreed time-frame. If you cannot review, it is helpful to make suggestions for alternative reviewers if relevant, based on their expertise and without any influence of personal considerations or any intention of the manuscript receiving a specific outcome

Scientific misconduct

If you have concerns that misconduct occurred during either the research or the writing and submission of the manuscript, or you may notice substantial similarity between the manuscript and a concurrent submission to another journal or a published article; please do let the journal Editor know.

Appropriate feedback

As a reviewer you must provide a fair, honest, and unbiased assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript. For example, be specific in your critique, and provide supporting evidence with appropriate references to substantiate general statements. Be professional and refrain from being hostile or inflammatory and from making libelous or derogatory personal comments. If the work is not clear because of missing analyses, the reviewer should comment and explain what additional analyses would clarify the work submitted. It is not the job of the reviewer to extend the work beyond its current scope.

Our use of your review

With the exception of BMJ Open (see below) and BMJ Open Science, journals from BMJ do not publish peer reviews. Depending on a journal’s editorial policy, you may be offered the opportunity to make additional confidential comments to the editor.  Unless the reviewer has been offered confidentiality, reviews will usually be passed on in full to authors and other reviewers when an editorial decision is made.  Reviews should be civil and constructive and editors reserve the right to edit or remove any comments felt to be inappropriate

Authors are given the option of nominating other journals from BMJ to which they would like their manuscript passed if it is rejected for publication by their first choice. This may result in the paper being resubmitted to other journals from BMJ in succession. If the author of the manuscript you reviewed has taken up this option, your review will be passed on to the editor(s) of the nominated journal(s) along with the manuscript and you might be invited to review a revised version.  If the article is selected for publication in another journal from BMJ, your review may also be published (depending on the editorial policy of the journal in question). You will be contacted for your permission before this happens.

For more information on reviewing for BMJ Open, please read their reviewer guidelines.

Restrictions on your use of your review

We do not restrict the use you make of your review once the manuscript has been published. However, an author’s manuscript remains confidential until it is published, and you must not disclose any information about an unpublished manuscript, including your review of it.

Please note that if the article is NOT published you may refer to the journal which requested your review and the fact that you have reviewed an article for it. However, you may not post any details of the article which was reviewed, or any part of the review that would breach the confidentiality under which the article was provided to you for review.

Your registration details

We hold your details on the database for the journal you register to review for.   We also ask your permission to hold your details on the reviewer databases for other journals from BMJ with similar content.   If you agree to this, you may opt out at any time by emailing the editorial office of the journal you registered to review for. Please ensure you read the BMJ Privacy policy for information on how we store and use your data.