All accepted manuscripts are submitted for review to reviewers, who maintain confidentiality thereof. Neither the members of the editorial board nor the reviewers (except for the editor-in-chief and the executive secretary of the editorial board) should communicate directly with the authors. Reviewers are not allowed to publicly discuss manuscripts that have not yet been published.
Manuscripts received by the journal are a privileged message that is the private, confidential property of the authors, and authors may be harmed by the premature disclosure of any or all details of the manuscript. Therefore, editors should not pass on information about manuscripts, in particular whether they have been received and reviewed, their content and status in the review process, criticism of reviewers and decisions about their final fate to anyone but authors and reviewers.
Requests from third parties for the use of manuscripts and reviews for trial should be politely denied, and editors should make every effort not to provide such confidential material if it is brought to court.
The editor-in-chief must also make it clear that reviewers must keep manuscripts, related materials, and the information they contain in strict confidence. Reviewers and editorial staff should not publicly discuss the authors’ work, and reviewers may not pass on the authors’ ideas to anyone before the manuscript is published.
Reviewers may not keep manuscripts for personal use and must destroy paper copies of the manuscripts and remove electronic copies after submitting their reviews. In case the manuscript is rejected, the best practice is to remove the manuscripts from the editorial system.
When a manuscript is published, the journal must keep copies of the original submitted materials, reviews, views, and correspondence for at least three years to be able to answer future work questions, if any. Editors should not publish or distribute reviewers’ comments without the permission of the reviewer and author. Because the journal’s policy is to conceal the authors’ identities from reviewers and not to sign comments, reviewers’ identities should not be disclosed to the author or anyone else without the written permission of the reviewers.
Enforced breaches of privacy may occur if deception or fraud is detected, but editors must notify authors or reviewers if they intend to violate privacy. Otherwise, confidentiality must be respected.