Last Chance to Enhance Peer Review

Little slow getting to this & the rest of life, but on Friday, the Final Draft Report of the NIH 2007-2008 Peer Review Self-Study was posted, and public comment has been sought. You can send your comments electronically to by Monday, March 17, 2008. Snail mail address and additional information available at the main Enhancing Peer Review Website. Next up, pilots of some of the proposals made and development of an “implementation plan.” Go forth and send the Great Zerhouni your two cents (with a 1.5% reduction, of course).


  1. whimple said

    Excellent link. Thanks writedit.

    De nada. Thank you for caring about the process & contributing to the discussion. Hey, the GZ took your question from “human taxpayer/researcher, major state university” … hopefully the Advisory Committee will give careful thought to whatever comments you submit to them as well. -writedit

  2. whimple said

    Mostly, I think the draft report has some good material in it. Some of the information was also surprising and distressing, specifically that the NIH is funding many more investigators over the age of 70 than they are funding investigators under the age of 30. Also, the concept that the average age of first R01-level funding is increasing faster than the average age of first independent position is increasing and therefore the New Investigators are running out of startup funds before they can get funding, looks to be a major challenge to overcome (Challenge 4C in the draft report).

    I sent in a suggestion:

    For R01s, keep the -01 and -01A1 submissions and get rid of the -01A2. The logic is: you submit a grant and it’s funded or not. If not, you still get one opportunity to answer constructive criticism from the reviewers and fix any fixable problems. To avoid reviewers delaying good scores into the -01A1, percentile all the -01 applications together, and separately percentile the -01A1 applications together.

  3. bikemonkey said

    I like the idea of independent percentiling of -01 A1 and heck, even A2. It would make “what is going on” at the study section level more transparent.

    My problem with the “can all revisions” approach is that it does nothing to address the fundamental problem. revised “new” grants will still come in. they will “look” better to the unaltered study section viewpoint. the study section will know that they previously reviewed a similar grant and recognized that the current one is an improved version. and we will get no change in outcome.

    until and unless we hammer through the idea that what we need to concentrate on are the underlying ideas and away from the focus on grantsmanship…

    BM – you tryin’ to comment me out of a job?? yes! yes! yes! – writedit
    (who just received from a junior faculty member, who in 3 years has had 23 grant applications rejected, an e-mail with 6 attachments and 2 words: “please help”)

  4. bikemonkey said

    see, now why do you tease us like that? clearly you won’t be able to provide more details but dang it would be interesting to know what the problem is here. sounds like something pretty fundamentally wrong . …but maybe not? maybe this IS how grim it is out there?

    PI has published in Nature, and reviewers are excited by the science and his/her exceptional potential. Problem is, the PI is at the buffet table, and, having already tasted scientific success, there is so much she/he wants to put on the plate. We need to put the research plan on a sensible diet, so to speak. The PI now recognizes this and has proposed a focused grapefruit-only type strategy. Tart but refreshing. -writedit

  5. […] the NIH is seeking public comment on the Public Access policy. As with Enhancing Peer Review, written comments are due by Monday, March 17th. You can submit a comment to present in person at […]

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