Code of Conduct expansion for Software review?

I’d like to raise the question of expanding the code of conduct to have clearer expectations for conduct in software review.

This is based on our unfortunate experience with a reviewer who was extremely negative about an ropensci submission. This was very difficult for my student colleague for whom it was their first experinece of professional peer review of any kind. It shouldn’t happen, and I’d like to thank @jooolia once again for handling the situation with the utmost professionalism and kindness.

However I don’t think that unfortunate interaction technically violated the code of conduct. Version 2.3 of the code of conduct says:

We try to cultivate a community with shared values, where people are comfortable exploring ideas, asking questions, and saying things like “I don’t understand” or “Why”. Assume competence in the people you interact with. There are no stupid questions.

Be considerate in speech and actions, and actively seek to acknowledge and respect the boundaries of people who participate in rOpenSci activities.

Also the reviewer general guidelines say:

Please be respectful and kind to the authors in your reviews.

I am wondering about expanding these points in the code of conduct in the context of peer review:

  • “assume competence in the people you interact with”
  • “be considerate in speech and actions”
  • “be respectful and kind to the authors”.

I am also wondering about highlighting reviewer conduct at the top of the reviewer guidelines section.

Best wishes,

1 Like

Thanks for raising this, @ewallace. It’s something that we think is very important and will take it up with both the Editorial Board and Code of Conduct committee. We’ll reach out on other channels if we need to discuss anything particular to your review (and feel free to do the same). I agree that we should consider whether there should be specific changes, and/or whether we should highlight the CoC or our other guidelines in other venues such as reviewer invite letters, templates, or editor/bot posts in threads.


Thank you @noamross for taking this on board, let me know how I can help.