Peer review policy

UCL Open: Environment aspires to select and publish, through peer review, the highest-quality environment-related research. To achieve this, the peer review process must be objective, fair and thorough. This peer review policy and commenting code of conduct outlines how peer review and commenting to be conducted. Further information about how peer review works can be found here.


Open Science Peer Review Oath

UCL Open: Environment expect all reviewers to adhere to the four core principles as outlined here when writing a review:


Principle 1: I will sign my name to my review

Principle 2: I will review with integrity

Principle 3: I will treat the review as a discourse with you; in particular, I will provide constructive criticism

Principle 4: I will be an ambassador for the practice of Open Science


The Open Science Peer Review Oath was compiled during the AllBio: Open Science and Reproducibility Best Practice Workshop: Aleksic J, Alexa A, Attwood TK et al. An Open Science Peer Review Oath . F1000Research 2015, 3:271 (https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.5686.2)

Ethical obligations of reviewers

To ensure the highest quality research in UCL Press publications, reviewers are expected to uphold the following when reviewing:


  1. Provide clearly written, unbiased feedback in a timely manner on the scholarly and/or scientific merits and value of the work, together with a documented basis for the reviewer’s opinion. Judge the paper on its merits without regard to personal bias, ethnic origin, race, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, appearance, age, or economic class, seniority, or institutional affiliation of the author(s).
  2. Thoroughly address all review criteria provided by the journal.
  3. Decline to review manuscripts for which the reviewer lacks sufficient time, is not qualified, or has a conflict of interest with any of the authors, including personal or competitive relationships.
  4. Explain and support judgments adequately so that Editors and authors may understand the basis of their comments. Any statement by a reviewer on an observation, derivation or argument that has been previously published should be accompanied by the relevant citation.
  5. Provide citations to relevant work by other scientists as appropriate.
  6. Alert the Editor to any significant similarity between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper or manuscript submitted concurrently to another journal. Report any plagiarism or the appearance of plagiarism.
  7. Never use or disclose unpublished information, arguments or interpretations contained in a manuscript under consideration, except with the consent of the author.
  8. Never include personal criticism of the author in reviewing a manuscript.

Review policy

Please note that this review policy is part of the journal’s editorial policies as outlined on the editorial polocies web page at https://ucl-about.scienceopen.com/publishing-policies/editorial-policies

UCL Open: Environment operates an open and transparent peer review process where readers can assess the peer reviewer reports as part of the article’s review history. Articles submitted to the journal are first posted to the preprint server to undergo open peer review before being published officially in the journal after editorial acceptance. All preprint articles are declared as not yet peer reviewed.

UCL Open Environment requires at least two external peer reviews of a submitted article to be made openly available online before an editorial decision for official publication in the journal can be made.

As far as possible, assigned editors and invited reviewers will not possess any potential conflicts of interests to the submitted article. However, where this is not possible, in circumstances where specific and required expertise or other reasons that are deemed necessary, any decision to publish may require an additional third review to maintain fair review practice.

The journal Editor may also decide to reject a review after considering any and all conflicts of interest and the reviewer will be informed of this decision. The Editor’s decision is final.

Reviewing code of conduct

Members of the research community who meet certain conditions are able to contribute to the review process in two different ways (see below). These conditions are verified via the non-profit organisation ORCID.

ORCID provides unique numeric identifiers to researchers to solve the name-ambiguity problem in the field of science publishing. Additionally, ORCID conveniently provides a free space on the internet for researchers to compile html links to their previous publications. Lastly, ORCID links the researcher’s ORCID to the html link of the researcher’s publications. Researchers register with ORCID via their institutionally legitimated email address.

The two ways to contribute to articles are as follows:

  1. Members with at least one publication linked to their ORCID account are able to comment on a paper.
  2. Scientific Members and Subject Expert Members with at least five publications linked from their ORCID account are able to write a review and rate an article

Reviews, comments, and the average rating are displayed along with the article and are included in the article metadata.

Commenting code of conduct

UCL Open: Environment aims to provide a safe, open, and professional environment for learning and communicating research with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency. Open debate and commenting are an important aspect of the scientific endeavour to encourage constructive criticism and high quality discussions of scientific issues that will both enhance understanding and provide new avenues of collaboration within the community.

To comment, members of the research community must have at least one publication linked to their ORCID account to comment on a paper. Comments will be monitored to ensure that they contribute to the scholarly debate. Comments that appear to be advertising, potentially libellous or legally problematic (including comments revealing any personal and/or sensitive information) will not be published. We will not accept comments that are offensive, indecent or contain negative comments of a personal, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation or religious character. All comments must be written in good English; a comment may be rejected if it is deemed unintelligible.

While we welcome open scholarly debate and discussion, we will not tolerate abusive behaviour towards our authors and reviewers via our Comment system or via social media. In extreme cases we will consider contacting the affiliated institution to report the abusive behaviour of individuals.

To leave a comment, users agree to the terms and conditions as set out online at http://about.scienceopen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/ScienceOpen_TermsConditions_2018.pdf