The ethics of repeat reviewing of journal manuscripts

Susan T. Fiske

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In my capacity as a journal’s associate editor, I received a reviewer’s cover note, which reported having reviewed the paper for another journal, having read the new submission, and finding the manuscript little changed in response. This is not uncommon, in my experience as a journal editor. Sometimes reviewers refuse to review the same manuscript twice, to prevent putting the author into double jeopardy, potentially putting themselves into the position of vetoing a paper. Sometimes reviewers ask the editor’s advice about whether to re-review. This itself is an ethical dilemma. After considering this, then deciding also on the basis of two other reviews, one positive but critical and one negative, as well as my own independent response - which was to remain unconvinced by the paper - I rejected it. The author wrote politely to question whether the repeat reviewer had acted ethically, stating that the review was reportedly identical to the previous review. The author did raise the issue of double jeopardy and the reviewer reportedly submitting verbatim reviews twice, despite the author reportedly having substantially revised the paper. The author did not, however, request a reconsideration of the editorial decision. I responded, thanking the author for thoughtful consideration of the issues involved. I communicated that the reviewer did indicate in a cover note to me having reviewed the manuscript already for another journal, but felt that the manuscript was not much revised from the earlier version. I considered this information in the context of the other two reviews and my own reaction, so the coni guration guided the outcome. That person did not unduly affect the decision, which would have been the same without that reviewer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEthical Challenges in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781139626491
ISBN (Print)9781107039735
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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