My question may be a duplicate of: Sound reasons for excluding a reviewer, but it is motivated by What do you do when you are asked to perform an official review for a journal of a manuscript written by your supervisor?. Because there is an obvious conflict of interest between a supervisor and supervisee this answer claims the manuscript never should have been sent to the current student. The issue I see is how is the editor supposed to know if the potential reviewer has a conflict if they are not listed as a reviewer to exclude.

I essentially never list anyone in the excluded reviewer box. I would likely alert the editor if I was asked to review a manuscript from current and past collaborators, supervisors and advisees as well as colleagues in my current and past departments. This becomes a long list of people to include in the excluded reviewer box and it is not clear to me that it is helpful to the editor. Are there standard people that go in the excluded reviewer box?

  • 1
    Well, current supervisor and supervisee have probably the same affiliation, and this should be a hint to the editor, even if the supervisor is not explicitly listed in the excluded reviewer box. Nov 25, 2016 at 17:38
  • What to do when the field is rather small and many of the potential reviewers are at the same time collaborators of one of the authors? Nov 25, 2016 at 18:04
  • @LeonidPetrov by giving the list and reasons to the editor, they can make an informed decision rather than randomly trying people until they find someone with an "acceptable" conflict.
    – StrongBad
    Nov 25, 2016 at 18:41

2 Answers 2


You don't have to do the job of the editor and list every possible collaborator with whom you'd have a conflict of interest. If these people are asked to do the review, they should be the one to warn the editor. You can list people that you think wouldn't be obvious, but again you are under no obligation to do this.

As the first question you link to alludes, excluding reviewers is mostly because you think they'd be unfairly biased against your work.


I always understood that you propose the reviewers according to the instructions and when there is no conflict of interest, e.g. avoiding friends, current or very recent collaborators, your supervisor, etc. You propose who you think would be a good reviewer and unbiased towards your work, like a researcher more or less well-known in his field.

Then you propose to exclude reviewers that you think would be exceptionally biased against you, e.g. people you are in bad terms with, competitors etc.

I believe it is the job of the editor to make sure that there is no conflict with the reviewers proposed (or the reviewers he can find in his list from the journal) and of the reviewer to notify the editor that there is a conflict of interest and thus he/she is unable to do the review.

Meaning that the exclude list is not (to my understanding) a list of potential reviewers that they might be positively biased towards you, but a list of potential reviewers who (you think) would be biased against you.

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