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I got a request to review a paper from a journal. I know the topic area well, but I've had some recent collaborations with some of the authors. Should I decline the request because of this? What is the common practice here?

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It's potentially a conflict of interest, but some fields are small and have few competent reviewers. Tell the editors, and let them decide. They can offset a bias in their final decision in an informed way, or take you off the review if they believe this poses a problem.

  • There are separate links to accept or reject the request, so I'm not sure if this is a possibility. – user11550 Sep 29 '16 at 13:59
  • @user11550 Presumably you know the name of the editor though, so can make direct contact with them? – Ian_Fin Sep 29 '16 at 14:03
  • Isn't there an email through which it was sent? A "reply" usually works. – Captain Emacs Sep 29 '16 at 14:04
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    Given that any time that the editor spends waiting to find out that they can't use the review is time they've not used for finding a new reviewer, it would always be best to clarify this with the editor as soon as possible. Hopefully this should be obvious, but I wouldn't want any reader misunderstanding @StephanKolassa's comment as a suggestion to write the review and then notify the editor of the potential conflict of interest. – Ian_Fin Sep 29 '16 at 14:25
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    From personal experience, I would suggest directly e-mailing the editor who was named in the request to review, or the editor-in-chief if there wasn't one. The "reply" may go to an editorial assistant who doesn't know what to do with your question. (If you can't get a reply from them about this question, I might suggest these are not editors you want to review for (or submit papers to!)) – Alexander Woo Sep 29 '16 at 22:18

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