Yawn. The May edition of Peer Review Notes includes exciting job opportunities (folks looking to leave the lab: SROs wanted, not to mention a director for the new Translational & Clinical Sciences Division … perhaps a glimmer of hope, Whimple), an asynchronous electronic discussion review anecdote, updates on IRG realignments, and the story of a $10 grant awarded to a 10-year-old in 1957 (project had NO public health significance no less!).
I’m still wondering how the following peer review recommendations (a la Great Zerhouni) – apparently to be phased in via a pilot program in JUNE – represent a significant enhancement of the process:
Restructured Applications: The recommendations also [in addition to shorter R01 application length] call for R01 applications that are structured according to the review criteria with an emphasis on an application’s impact and significance in advancing scientific knowledge. Each application would be rated against individual criteria and also given an overall score. Applications would then be ranked, and any necessary adjustments in scoring made. [okay, the ranking is new – so you would get priority score, percentile, and rank?]
More Focused Reviews: Reviews themselves would be shorter and more specifically address how applications fared in terms of the criteria—impact, investigator, innovation/originality, research plan and environment. This set of changes will emphasize the impact of the application, versus the methodology, allow reviewers to read more applications and give applicants, councils and staff clearer feedback. [hmmm]
Enhanced Training: The recommendations also call for enhanced training for Scientific Review Officers, chairs and members and incentives for reviewers. [don’t hold back folks – let them know what might incentivize you!]