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Many think it is unethical to have your coauthor to review the paper; many think it is not.

In my situation, I am discussing possible collaboration opportunities with researcher A. He knows the field well and might be the fittest referee for my current paper, which is also in this field.

Is it unethical to nominate him as a reviewer?

  • How far are you in the planning of your collaboration? Are you both determined to actually work together, or is it in the phase of just casually swapping ideas? – lighthouse keeper Jan 2 at 17:44
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    I think everybody nominates a couple of past or future co-workers who are also on the friendly side. I do not think is unethical. Major ethical loads are eventually on his/her side. The point is that instead of stupid comment you are getting 1) a trustful report or 2) a somewhat privileged way to discuss and improve the ms. Or both. I don't know if this should be an answer. Unethical would be the situation in which the nominated does not really review the paper. – Alchimista Jan 3 at 8:59
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Many think it is unethical to have your coauthor to review the paper; many think it is not.

Many journals and associations have strict guidelines on this matter; I suggest you to take a look at the answers to Conflict of interest as a referee, especially @DavidRicherby's one, and possibly also to other questions with the tag . In any case, a recent co-author, in my opinion, is a big no.

In my situation, I am discussing possible collaboration opportunities with researcher A. He knows the field well and might be the fittest referee for my current paper, which is also in this field.

Is it unethical to nominate him as a reviewer?

I assume these are serious discussions and not just a generic exchange of niceties "this is interesting, we should discuss it some time" at a conference. In this case, I suggest nominating him, but mentioning the possible conflict of interest at the same time. There is no harm in being explicit about it; just let the editor know and decide for themselves. If you have only a tiny text box to nominate possible referees, you can argue more in the cover letter.

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I assume you mean a formal co-author. Someone listed on the paper itself. It isn't unethical to nominate them, but I don't think any editor would go along with it. They want an independent analysis.

So, I think you would be wasting an opportunity by naming a co-author. It would probably generate a laugh at the editorial office.

But if you are speaking about someone you intend to work with in the future or on a different paper, then sure, they may be a good choice. But again, no conflict.

However, if you mean you want them to be a reviewer and then later add them as co-author, there would likely be problems. The journal might have rules about that, especially in blind reviewing. But the ethical concerns would be those of the reviewer, not yourself, if you don't know who actually does the reviews.

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    I think OP means a "coauthor" in the sense of someone she is collaborating with on another paper. – Federico Poloni Jan 2 at 17:38
  • @FedericoPoloni, did I address the issue sufficiently? – Buffy Jan 2 at 17:41

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