Code of Conduct
In the interest of fostering an open and welcoming environment we, as leadership, contributors, and maintainers, pledge to make participation in our project and our community a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of background, family status, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, native language, age, ability, race and/or ethnicity, caste, national origin, socioeconomic status, religion, geographic location, and any other dimension of diversity.
We founded PREreview because we believe scholarship should be equitable, transparent, and collaborative. We believe it is our duty as researchers at any level of our career to contribute to research evaluation in the form of peer review. PREreview provides a space for any researcher, independently of their career level, to provide feedback to preprints.
The PREreview team is responsible for clarifying the standards of acceptable behavior and is expected to take appropriate and fair corrective action in response to any instances of unacceptable behavior. Please read below for examples of expected and unacceptable behaviors.
The PREreview team has the right and responsibility to remove, edit, or reject reviews and comments, and other contributions that are not aligned to this Code of Conduct, as well as to temporarily or permanently ban any contributor for other behaviors that they deem inappropriate, threatening, offensive, or harmful.
Who does this code of conduct apply to?
This Code of Conduct applies to anyone in the PREreview community, including all members of our team, PREreview users contributing directly to the PREreview platform or members/non-members participating in online or in-person projects or events organized or sponsored by PREreview, including but not limited to the PREreview Open Reviewers Program, Live-streamed preprint journal clubs, workshops, and community calls.
Example behaviors that contribute to creating a positive environment include:
- Using welcoming and inclusive language;
- Providing feedback that is constructive, i.e., useful to the receiver;
- Being respectful of differing viewpoints and experiences;
- Gracefully accepting constructive criticism;
- Focusing on what is best for the community;
- Showing empathy towards other community members.
The following behaviors are expected of all PREreview community members:
Value each other’s ideas, styles and viewpoints. We may not always agree, but disagreement is no excuse for poor manners. Be open to different possibilities and to being wrong. Be respectful in all interactions and communications, especially when debating the merits of different options. Be aware of your impact and how intense interactions may be affecting people. Be direct, constructive and positive. Take responsibility for your impact and your mistakes – if someone says they have been harmed through your words or actions, listen carefully, apologize sincerely, and correct the behavior going forward.
Be direct but professional
We are likely to have some discussions about if and when criticism is respectful and when it’s not. We must be able to speak directly when we disagree and when we think we need to improve. We cannot withhold hard truths. Doing so respectfully is hard, doing so when others don’t seem to be listening is harder, and hearing such comments when one is the recipient can be even harder still. We need to be honest and direct, as well as respectful.
Seek diverse perspectives. Diversity of views and of people on teams powers innovation, even if it is not always comfortable. Encourage all voices. Help new perspectives to be heard, and listen actively. If you find yourself dominating a discussion, it is especially important to step back and encourage other voices to join in. Be aware of how much time is taken up by dominant members of the group. Provide alternative ways to contribute or participate when possible.
Be inclusive of everyone in an interaction, respecting and facilitating people’s participation whether they are:
- Remote (on video or phone)
- Not native language speakers
- Coming from a different culture
- Using pronouns other than “he” or “she”
- Living in a different time zone
- Facing other challenges to participate
Think about how you might facilitate alternative ways to contribute or participate. If you find yourself dominating a discussion, step back. Make way for other voices and listen actively to them.
Understand different perspectives
Our goal should not be to “win” every disagreement or argument. A more productive goal is to be open to ideas that make our own ideas better. Strive to be an example of inclusive thinking. “Winning” is when different perspectives make our work richer and stronger.
Appreciate and accommodate our similarities and differences
Cultural differences can encompass everything from official religious observances to personal habits to clothing. Be respectful of people with different cultural practices, attitudes and beliefs. Work to eliminate your own biases, prejudices and discriminatory practices. Think of others’ needs from their point of view. Use preferred titles (including pronouns) and the appropriate tone of voice. Respect people’s right to privacy and confidentiality. Be open to learning from and educating others as well as educating yourself; it is unrealistic to expect others to know the cultural practices of every ethnic and cultural group, but everyone needs to recognize one’s native culture is only part of positive interactions.
Lead by example
By matching your actions with your words, you become a person others want to follow. Your actions influence others to behave and respond in ways that are valuable and appropriate for our organizational outcomes. Hold yourself and others accountable for inclusive behaviors.
Examples of unacceptable behaviors by participants include:
- Trolling, insulting/derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks;
- Providing unconstructive or disruptive feedback on PREreview;
- Public or private harassment;
- Publishing others' private information, such as a physical or electronic address, without explicit permission;
- The use of sexualized language or imagery and unwelcome sexual attention or advances;
- Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting.
The following behaviors are considered to be unacceptable:
Violence and threats of violence
Violence and threats of violence are not acceptable - online or offline. This includes incitement of violence toward any individual, including encouraging a person to commit self-harm. This also includes posting or threatening to post other people’s personally identifying information (“doxxing”) online.
Conflicts will inevitably arise, but frustration should never turn into a personal attack. It is not okay to insult, demean or belittle others. Attacking someone for their opinions, beliefs and ideas is not acceptable. It is important to speak directly when we disagree and when we think we need to improve, but such discussions must be conducted respectfully and professionally, remaining focused on the issue at hand.
Hurtful or harmful language related to background, family status, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, native language, age, ability, race and/or ethnicity, caste, national origin, socioeconomic status, religion, geographic location, and any other attributes is not acceptable. This includes deliberately referring to someone by a gender that they do not identify with, and/or questioning the legitimacy of an individual’s gender identity. If you’re unsure if a word is derogatory, don’t use it. This also includes repeated subtle and/or indirect discrimination; when asked to stop, stop the behavior in question.
Unwelcome sexual attention or physical contact
Unwelcome sexual attention or unwelcome physical contact is not acceptable. This includes sexualized comments, jokes or imagery in interactions, communications or presentation materials, as well as inappropriate touching, groping, or sexual advances. This includes touching a person without permission, including sensitive areas such as their hair, pregnant stomach, mobility device (wheelchair, scooter, etc) or tattoos. This also includes physically blocking or intimidating another person. Physical contact or simulated physical contact (such as emojis like “kiss”) without affirmative consent is not acceptable. This includes sharing or distribution of sexualized images or text.
Influencing unacceptable behavior
We will treat influencing or leading such activities the same way we treat the activities themselves, and thus the same consequences apply.
At PREreview we ask all contributors to disclose any competing interest (CI) that may exist between a review author (or affiliated organization) and the author(s) (or affiliated organization) of the reviewed preprint.
In the context of this platform, a competing interest is anything that interferes with, or could reasonably be perceived as interfering with, the objective of a review of a preprint on PREreview.
Examples of competing interests that would be considered a violation of this Code of Conduct if not disclosed include, but are not limited to:
- The author of the PREreview is an author of the reviewed preprint;
- The author of the PREreview has a personal relationship with the author(s) of the reviewed preprint;
- The author of the PREreview is a rival or competitor of the author(s) of the reviewed preprint;
- The author of the PREreview has recently worked in the same institution or organization as the author(s) of the reviewed preprint;
- The author of the PREreview is a collaborator of the author(s) of the reviewed preprint;
- The author of the PREreview has published with the author(s) of the reviewed preprint during the last 5 years;
- The author of the PREreview holds a grant with the author(s) of the reviewed preprint.
Competing interests matter because they can introduce perceived or actual bias in the evaluation of the preprint that can have repercussions all the way to the journal acceptance of that manuscript.
If you think that you have a potential competing interest with the authors or the organization to which the author(s) is affiliated, please do disclose it in your PREreview. A failure to disclose a competing interest is considered a violation of this Code of Conduct and will be treated accordingly.
To read more about competing interests in peer review, please refer to the PLOS Peer Reviewer Center’s resources. They provide a very useful checklist for you to self-evaluate your possible competing interest in relation to a manuscript you wish to review or comment on.
Reporting code of conduct violations
Instances of abusive, harassing, or otherwise, unacceptable behavior may be reported directly by contacting the PREreview leadership team at email@example.com, or anonymously by filling out this anonymous form.
All complaints will be reviewed and investigated and will result in a response that is deemed necessary and appropriate to the circumstances.
The PREreview team is obligated to maintain confidentiality with regard to the person that reports an incident. Further details of specific enforcement policies may be posted separately. Individuals in our community, including those with decision-making authority, who do not follow and PREreview team members who do not enforce the Code of Conduct in good faith may face temporary or permanent repercussions as determined by other members of the project's leadership (Leadership Team and Advisory Committee).
License and attribution
This Code of Conduct is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.
The content of this page was adapted from the Contributor Covenant, version 1.4, Mozilla Community Participation Guidelines version 3.1, and from PLOS Peer Reviewer Center. If you have questions, feedback (please constructive only!), or suggestions on how to improve it, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for being a good community member!