Medical Journal of Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth

: 2019  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 555--556

Reviewing process in medical journal: Ethical aspects

Beuy Joob1, Viroj Wiwanitkit2,  
1 Sanitation 1 Medical Academic Center, Bangkok, Thailand
2 Department of Community Medicine, Dr. D. Y. Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Beuy Joob
Sanitation 1 Medical Academic Center, Bangkok

How to cite this article:
Joob B, Wiwanitkit V. Reviewing process in medical journal: Ethical aspects.Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2019;12:555-556

How to cite this URL:
Joob B, Wiwanitkit V. Reviewing process in medical journal: Ethical aspects. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Dec 4 ];12:555-556
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Full Text

Dear Sir,

Reviewing process is the basic requirement in standard medical journal. Any submitted article is expected to pass a good-reviewing process before final acceptance and publication. The ethical issues regarding reviewing process are very important, but it is little mentioned in the literature. Here, the authors would like to discuss some important ethical concerns regarding reviewing process. In fact, there are many new emerging ethical considerations. First, fake reviewing is an important emerging problem. This problem is usually due to the online submission system.[1] In the present day, many journals use online internet tool for processing of the manuscript. Many online submission systems allow the submitting authors to suggest for some reviewers for reviewing process. Of interest, some unethical authors suggest for fake reviewers. The fake reviewers might be prepared to support the authors. The too good-reviewing result is common due to fake reviewer.[2] If the medical editor does not recognize the problem, the unethical author might successfully lure the journal. Nevertheless, fake peer review is totally not due to the online submission systems, but it is due to unethical practice of submitting authors.

Another interesting problem is nonreviewing before acceptance. This problem is related to the bad predatory publisher. There are many emerging predatory publishers. Beall recently well collected and noted for the list of such publishers. Bad predatory publisher usually aims at making a profit. The bad journal will violate the basic standards. Only if the submitting author pays, the article will be simply accepted and published.[3] The predatory journal does also not screen the submitted article. Often, the plagiarism is detected after publication. Of interest, the predatory journal also neglects to retract the detected problematic publication.

Finally, some bad reviewers might steal the idea of the submitting authors and use as their own ideas. This kind of problem is not common, but it is observable. Any medical journals should have their own list of reliable reviewers. Reviewer guidelines should be provided to the reviewers. There should be the proficiency test for the possible reviewer as well. Reviewing of the reviewer as well as reviewing process is very important.[4] In case that there is a suggested reviewer, the editor should carefully consider before selection. According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guideline 2018 (accessible at, selection of appropriate reviewers is the responsibility of the journal. Furthermore, the code of conduct for reviewer is also well described in the ICMJE guideline 2018. In brief, a reviewer must keep any information relating to the reviewed manuscript confidentially and should not retain any data from reviewed manuscript for further use.

Although the information described in this Letter to the Editor is well documented and not novel, it is little mentioned. The information might be educational for the naïve readers of the journal. In conclusion, there are many important ethical issues involved in peer review, and it should be mentioned. To promote the ethical academic publication practice, the peer review ethics should not be forgotten.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Rivera H. Fake peer review and inappropriate authorship are real evils. J Korean Med Sci 2019;34:e6.
2Cheung BM. Fake peer review – Too good to be true. Postgrad Med J 2017;93:498.
3Ferris LE, Winker MA. Ethical issues in publishing in predatory journals. Biochem Med (Zagreb) 2017;27:279-84.
4Blockeel C, Drakopoulos P, Polyzos NP, Tournaye H, García-Velasco JA. Review the 'peer review'. Reprod Biomed Online 2017;35:747-9.