Guidelines for book reviewers

Research is important to confirm, change or advance knowledge. Intellectual honesty and (research) integrity are essential in all scholarly works. These guidelines set the standards of proper ethical behavior and responsibilities of book reviewers. A reviewer may be asked to give advice on various source materials including, but not limited to, a book proposal, proceedings paper, book chapter, full manuscript, and/or an entry to an encyclopedia.

Reviewer responsibilities:

  • ensure consistent, fair and timely review of material sent for review
  • notify the Publisher or Editor if, upon receipt of the material for review, it appears they are not sufficiently qualified to provide a review
  • notify the Editor if the review cannot be provided within the specified time
  • refrain from making unfair negative comments, personal or unjustified criticism in their reviews
  • respect the intellectual independence of the Author / Editor
  • highlight any substantial similarity or overlap between the work under consideration and any other published work of which they have personal knowledge
  • contribute to editorial decision-making by providing clear arguments
  • should not agree to review if they are currently employed at the same institution as any of the Authors or Editors (possible exceptions may apply if the institution is extremely large and there is no possibility of overlap, or for very niche fields. In these situations, the Editor should contact the Publisher to get approval) or have been recent (in the last three years) mentors, mentees, close collaborators or joint grant holders
  • provide verifiable and accurate contact information (NB: impersonation of another individual is considered serious misconduct)

Conflict of interest:

Reviewers are requested to disclose interests that may bias the review of the Work.

Interests, directly or indirectly related to the topic or theme, may include but are not limited to the following: funding (grants, other forms of research support such as salaries, equipment, supplies, reimbursement for attending symposia, and other expenses), employment, financial interests (stocks, shares, consultation fees, patents and patent applications) and non-financial interests (professional interests, personal relationships or personal beliefs such as position on editorial board, advisory board or board of directors or other type of management relationships; writing and/or consulting for educational purposes; expert witness; mentoring relations).  

Confidentiality:

Reviewers must respect the confidential nature of the review process and:

  • not reveal details of the Work such as data, information, interpretation, discussion or review reports during and after peer review unless permission has been received from the Author or Editor and Publisher; 
  • not use the (un)reported material in unpublished, submitted Works for their own research.

Committee on Publication Ethics:

Springer Nature is a member of the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE). COPE is an advisory body which provides guidance to editors and publishers on all aspects of publication ethics. COPE have created guidelines for peer reviewers, which also apply to book reviewers.

See COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers.

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