For referees

Code conduct for referees

The Association for Logic Programming (ALP) is most grateful to you, as a reviewer, for your time and effort. Peer reviewing is a fundamental service to the community. It is not only vital to identify valid science, it is increasingly the deciding factor in the intense competition for scarce resources such as research positions, research funds, and pages in prestigious journals. For this reason, it is important that reviewers maintain high ethical standards, taking special care in cases of conflict or sharing of interest which are inevitably much more frequent than in the past. To ensure high standards are met, the Association suggests that the referees:

  • Take care, in assigning grades or recommendations, that these are fair for the event or publication for which the paper is being considered.
  • Make clear to the editor or to the chair of the programme committee any bias (positive or negative) they may have regarding the paper, the authors, or their institutions, which may affect the review.
  • Indicate to the editor or chair any doubts about their own expertise or understanding of the paper that may affect the recommendation.
  • Read the paper from beginning to end. If, for some reason, they do not read the whole paper, they should explain in their review which parts they read.
  • Justify clearly the reasons for their recommendation to accept or reject the paper. Be as objective as possible. The quality of the journal or conference depends essentially on the judging capability of peer reviewers.
  • Should not misuse the privilege of anonymity: The review should be written as though the authors and other experts had a chance to argue the comments directly with you. Always be prepared to defend both your criticism and your praise.

Please remember that the rejection of a paper is never a pleasant experience, especially to a new researcher who could easily become discouraged by inconsiderate or offensive remarks. Doing research is a noble activity, and, even if the paper is not acceptable for publication, the authors will probably still have spent considerable effort in carrying out their research and writing up their results. Therefore, please avoid any remark that might cause offense, and try, whenever possible, to be constructive, and to write comments that can help the authors to improve their paper.