Rule 1: Avoid conflict of interest. I will disqualify myself from review if I feel unable for any reason to provide an unbiased assessment.
Rule 2: Ask yourself honestly whether the paper falls within the scope of your expertise. If I don’t fell qualified for the paper, I will decline to do the review.
Rule 3: Punctuality is a virtue of kings. I will return my review within the specified deadline. There are many sources of unnecessary time loss in the publication process. Everyone loses out if some do not play by the rules.
Rule 4: Review unto others as you would have them review unto you. I will not propose a bunch of new experiments, especially the ones that I do not perform for my own work.
Rule 5: Leave it to the future to judge a manuscript’s impact. I will only evaluate the evidence for the claims. Impact is unpredictable. Peer review is only a process of ‘pre-filtering’. Readers are the ‘post-filter’, in other words = peer validation.
Rule 6: It is their papers, not yours. I will not try to turn author’s paper into a paper I would have written.
Rule 7: Review the work, not the authors. Whether the author is a Nobel laureate or a graduate student, I will judge the paper the same.
Rule 8: Don’t hide behind a cloak of anonymity, sign your review. I will have the courage to stand by my reviews, including negative reviews.