How would you change peer review process?

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Tony Rook
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How would you change peer review process?

From the NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, MD., a request is being made for researcher to comment on how they would improve the peer review process.

Here is a paraphrase from a recent newsletter the NIH has posted...

"Reviewing Peer Review: NIH needs your help!

Please take a few minutes to respond to the NIH Request for Information on Peer Review at: Request for Information - NIH System to Support Biomedical and Behavioral Research and Peer Review

We all rely on the NIH peer review system to ensure that we support the best biomedical and behavioral research in the world. Today, we can all agree that the system faces challenges. These challenges include, among others, a rising number of applications, rapid changes in science, and increasingly competitive funding levels, all of which require many investigators to apply multiple times to obtain funding.

For more than half a century, the NIH peer review system has been the gold standard for funding science of the highest quality. The scientific community, including members of NIH advisory councils and Institute and Center Directors, all agree that we must continue to fund the best science and the best scientists, with a minimum of bureaucracy. And so, like all things great, our peer review system must be regularly examined, critiqued, and improved if we are to maintain its quality. We have therefore arrived at another juncture when it is time to review peer review.

The NIH Center for Scientific Review and Office of Extramural Research are working to respond to these challenges. We are making efforts to reduce review times, especially for new investigators; experiment with new formats for review; and assess the need to streamline the application, while successfully implementing electronic submission for most grants. A series of open houses to review the performance of each Integrated Review Groups (IRGs) is beginning.

We are also launching a comprehensive effort to examine the NIH peer review process, one that is broader than many previous efforts. The ultimate goal of this new study is to optimize the entire system used by NIH to support biomedical and behavioral research. We welcome suggestions about the review process per se, as well as suggestions regarding how to structure our grant mechanisms in order to facilitate review and reduce the need for scientists to spend more time on the application process, rather than doing science. This requires broad and comprehensive input from the scientific community. We are particularly interested in creative suggestions about how we can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the system, even if this involves radical changes to the current approach. The entire NIH leadership, including myself, has decided to make this issue a top priority for NIH this year.

And I am making a direct appeal to you to respond to our call for ideas, spread the word to your colleagues about this effort, and encourage their participation."

To read more about this, here are some links.

From the desk of the NIH Director Newsletter

Enhancing Peer Review at NIH Website

Please feel free to leave any comments with us as well.