State Forensic Examination Committee
of the Republic of Belarus

Objectivity. Honor. Motherland.

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Ethical Guidelines for Reviewers

The impact of reviewing on the decision to publish an article

Reviewing scientific articles is a prerequisite for their publication, which allows guaranteeing a high scientific level of the journal by improving the quality of articles.

Review assists the editor in making an informed decision about the possibility of publishing the submitted article. The interaction between the editorial staff and the author in correcting his article with regards to the comments of the reviewer may also assist the author in improving the content and quality of his paper.

When assessing the quality of articles, single-blind and double-blind review is used. In case the reviewer wished so and and with his written consent, his name can be communicated to the author of the article. Single reviewing by the editor-in-chief is allowed.

The reviewer's activity is voluntary. He cannot be forced to review. The reviewer's assessment of the submissions should be unbiased and based on the ethical principles.

The reviewer is obliged to provide accurate and truthful information about his personal and professional knowledge and experience, and be aware that attempts to impersonate another person during peer review are a serious violation of ethical norms and rules.

The reviewer should evaluate only those manuscripts that correspond to his areas of scientific and professional interest. If this is not the case with the article under review, the reviewer should promptly inform the editor-in-chief who is to determine the candidacy of another reviewer.

The purpose of the review is to express the reviewer's own opinion on the submitted article. The reviewer may not be disciplined, or hold administrative or criminal liability for the judgment expressed by him.

Based on the results of the review, one of the decisions can be made:

  • publish as it is / as presented;
  • publish with minor changes / with revision;
  • send for re-review (if significant changes are necessary);
  • reject (if significant processing is required, with the possibility of re-supply of material after the elimination of deficiencies);
  • reject without permission for resubmission (if the material has fundamental flaws, contains plagiarism or does not correspond to the subject of the journal).

In cases where the reviewer, with a generally positive opinion, has fundamentally significant comments on the article under review, in agreement with the editorial office they can be published in the form of comments, while the author is given the opportunity to give a public response to the reviewer on the pages of the journal.

Objectivity and promptness of review

Reviewers should clearly and convincingly express their opinions, objectively and fundamentally evaluating the presented research results and giving sound recommendations aimed at improving the scientific level of the article. Reviewers are required to make decisions based on specific facts and provide evidence to substantiate their position.

The reviewer who feels unqualified to review the manuscript, or cannot be objective (for example, in the event of a conflict of interest with the author or organization), should immediately notify the editorial office and refuse and excuse himself or herself from the process of reviewing the manuscript.

The review should be conducted impartially and evaluate purely the scientific content of the article. Reviewers should be aware of any personal bias they may have and take this into account when reviewing a paper. Personal criticism of the author (his personality, worldview, level of special training, etc.) is inappropriate and unacceptable. Reference to the gender, nationality, religion and other personal qualities of the author are not allowed.

The reviewer is obliged to notify the editorial office if he is aware of any circumstances that prevent him from considering and evaluating the article fairly and impartially. The reviewer has no right to involve anyone, including his assistants, in the preparation of the review, without obtaining prior consent of the editorial board (the editor-in-chief). The names of all persons who have helped reviewers write reviews should be indicated. The reviewer cannot sign a review written by another person.

Reviewers must conduct a scientific examination of articles in up to 20 days.

A reviewer who does not have enough time to promptly carry out a review should immediately notify the editorial office (editor-in-chief) in order to agree on a new date for submitting a review. If it is impossible to extend the review period, he should decline to participate in the review process.


Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents, not subject to disclosure. Information, ideas and other unpublished materials disclosed in a submitted manuscript must not be used by reviewers for personal purposes or for personal advantage (for example, in a reviewer’s own research, in writing article on similar topics, etc) without the express written consent of the author ((in the case of blind review - obtained with the assistance of the editorial office).

Any distribution and publication of the received materials by the reviewer, including for the purposes of open reviewing, is not allowed. Such actions are acceptable only with the permission of the author.

The manuscript sent to the reviewer is the intellectual property of its author. The reviewer has no right to disclose the work submitted for reviewing or discuss it with any third parties without obtaining prior consent from the chief editor of the journal.

Violation of confidentiality is possible only in the case of the reviewer's statement about the unreliability or falsification of the materials contained in the article.

The authors are not informed about the reviewers’ name without prior consent of the reviewer.

Principles of reviewing a scientific article

The review should reveal the relevance, significance, scientific and theoretical, methodological and practical value of the article, contain an assessment of the scientific results presented in it and their reliability, the validity of the conclusions.

The reviewer should also call to the editor's attention any substantial or partial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other previously published work of this or another author. This fact should be indicated in the review.

The reviewer assesses the presence of bibliographic references to the provisions, conclusions, arguments that have previously been published in other works. In the absence of proper references to such works, the reviewer and should bring these to the attention of the editor, such statements should be accompanied by the relevant citation.

When assessing the credibility and depth of research of the topic by the author, the reviewer may also draw attention to significant published works on the research topic and not included by the author in the list of references. If a reviewer suggests that an author includes citations to the reviewer’s (or their associates’) work, this must be for genuine scientific reasons and not with the intention of increasing the reviewer’s citation count or enhancing the visibility of their work (or that of their associates).

Conflict of interests

When submitting an article for review, as a general rule, information relating to the author of the work is deleted from it. If the identity of the author is clearly evident (from the information provided in the article, for example, when quoting author’s own articles), or disclosed to the reviewer upon his request, all measures should be taken to eliminate the occurrence of a conflict of interest situation.

The reviewer should inform journal’s editorial office (editor-in-chief) as soon as possible and recuse himself or herself from reviewing the manuscript if there is a conflict of interest. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.