Announcing Initial Implementation Timeline for Enhancing Peer Review
Notice Number: NOT-OD-08-118
Release Date: September 19, 2008
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov)
In June 2007, NIH initiated an effort to formally review the NIH peer review system. External and internal working groups deliberated on challenges and recommendations regarding enhancements to the review system. The recommendations that are being implemented are based on the results of the diagnostic phase and significant dialogue with both the internal and external communities.
The preliminary implementation plans for the 2009 through 2010 calendar years are as follows:
Priority Area 1 – Engage the Best Reviewers
- Improve Reviewer Retention: In 2009, new reviewers will be given additional flexibility regarding their tour of duty, and other efforts will be undertaken to improve retention of standing review members.
- Recruit the Best Reviewers: A toolkit, incorporating best practices for recruiting reviewers, will be made available to all ICs in 2009.
- Enhance Reviewer Training: In spring 2009, training will be available to reviewers and Scientific Review Officers (SROs) related to the changes in peer review.
- Allow Flexibility through Virtual Reviews: Pilots will be conducted in 2009 on the feasibility of using high-bandwidth support for review meetings to provide reviewers greater flexibility and alternatives for in-person meetings.
Priority Area 2 – Improve the Quality and Transparency of Review
- Improve Scoring Transparency and Scale: Review criteria-based scoring on 1 to 7 scale commences in May 2009. Reviewers will provide feedback through scores and critiques for each criterion in a structured summary statement.
- Provide Scores for Streamlined Applications: In 2009, streamlined applications will receive a preliminary score.
- Shorten and Restructure Applications: Shorter (12-page research plan) R01 applications (with other activity codes scaled appropriately) will be restructured to align with review criteria for January 2010 receipt dates.
Priority Area 3 – Ensure Balanced and Fair Reviews across Scientific Fields and Career Stages, and Reduce Administrative Burden
- Fund the Best Science Earlier and Reduce Need for Resubmissions: To ensure that the largest number of high quality and meritorious applications receive funding earlier and to improve system efficiency, NIH is considering separate percentiling of new and resubmitted applications and permitting one amended application.
- Review Like Applications Together: NIH is establishing an Early Stage Investigator (ESI) designation. In 2009, NIH will evaluate clustering ESI applications for review. The same approach will be considered for clinical research applications.
Updates and details of the implementation will be forthcoming. Learn more at the Enhancing Peer Review Website (http://enhancing-peer-review.nih.gov) and in the monthly Extramural Nexus.
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