When I moved from sunny Va to baby it’s cold outside, I wanted to continue providing a central resource for advice on grantsmanship and the medical writing/editing process, notices from the NIH (including paylines) and other major grant sponsors (e.g., NSF), tidbits of biomedical research news, commentaries on research integrity, etc. (including, as you’ve no doubt noticed, a personal concern with academic health centers that accept funding from the tobacco industry). Plus I need a convenient place to archive all this for my own reference. If anyone has a specific request for demystification, please feel free to drop it in the suggestion box.

I owe a big thanks for the inspiration and encouragement offered by my favorite medical librarians at Tompkins-McCaw Library. Right now, I have a grant application to review – but there is plenty more to come.



  1. I believe I am an alum of the University of Baby It’s Cold Outside. If so, I bet it’s been really hot these days, and that there are plenty of sunbathers on the Cathedral Lawn. Thanks for all of your entries. It’s a mine!

  2. NLM said

    Greetings from the North!

    I find this blog to be a fantastic resource. Thank you!

    In fact, it’s inspired me to pilot a similar blog on Canadian funding agencies.

    Do you have any advice for one just starting out?

    Sure – just start! Perhaps you can launch with a discussion of how funding priorities and strategies might change, if at all, at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research under new leadership. Please send me your link so I can add it to the blogroll for your colleagues due north looking to support their research programs. – writedit

    • NLM said

      Hi, there,

      Our website is up at long, long last! The content is aimed at grant facilitators, particularly those at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada (we did a needs assessment of this group), but we’re hoping that others may find the content useful as well. Our aims are to create a sense of community for facilitators, encourage knowledge sharing, and emphasize how technology can be used in this role to make our lives easier.

      You can find us at http://www.grantfacilitation.ubc.ca/.

      Thanks for your advice two summers ago!

  3. MLK said

    I like anyone who lists librarians as sources of inspiration and encouragement. And if the University of Baby It’s Cold Outside is where I think it is, you have a boatload of medical librarians at the health sciences library system (HSLS) happy to help in any way they can (myself included).

    Folks – medical librarians are the BEST – and most underutilized – resource at your institution! – writedit

  4. Marilyn said

    From the Wall Street Journal Health Blog

    November 21, 2007, 11:06 am
    Odd Ghostwriting Offer Raises Researcher’s Blood Pressure
    Posted by Jacob Goldstein

    Cornell researcher Jean E. Sealey was a bit surprised — and eventually outraged — by an email she received on Nov. 12 from an employee of Medicus International, a London-based consultant that helps drug companies publish research on their drugs.

    The email asked whether Sealey would be interested in authoring an abstract article for an upcoming meeting of the American Society of Hypertension. The article would discuss research on nebivolol, a high blood pressure drug from Forest Laboratories, and the “effects of nebivolol in men versus women.”

    Sealey, professor emerita of physiology and biophysics in medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College, is a well-known expert in hypertension. But she was being asked to author a report on research she hadn’t conducted. In fact, she had never heard of the drug until receiving the email pitch.

    To Sealey, it appears the company was shopping for a name to slap on the cover of internal drug company research. “I was totally perplexed,” she says. “I surmised they wanted a name and maybe a woman because they were going to compare the drug in men versus women.”

    The email indicates the abstract would have to be submitted by Nov. 19 — just a week later. But the email assured Sealey that she wouldn’t have to do much work. “We can draft the abstract, offer our editorial support in developing the content of the abstract and help with the submission process on your behalf,” wrote Liz Burtally, who identifies herself in the email as a medical writer “for the nebivolol team working with Forest Laboratories.”

    Burtally sent another email on Nov. 13, and called Sealey the next day. Sealey asked a lot of questions. Would she be the only author? Yes, she says she was told. When Sealey asked if she would have access to the raw data, the phone went dead. Burtally never called or emailed again.

    The Health Blog called Burtally, who says she didn’t hang up on Sealey, but confirmed the call was cut off. She said Forest Labs had recommended Sealey for the authorship. Asked if it was common to ask someone to author an article on research they hadn’t conducted, she said “no, not really.”

    When told it appeared the company was offering to ghost write the abstract for Sealey, Burtally said she wasn’t sure what to call the proposed arrangement. She did say Forest wasn’t going to go forward with the planned abstract.

    A Forest spokesman said the abstract idea pitched to Sealey was for a sub analysis of data from already published studies. Under that circumstance, he said, the offer met guidelines established by the international association of medical journal articles.

    The Food and Drug Administration, meanwhile, is expected to make a decision by the end of the month on an application from Forest to sell nebivolol in the U.S.

    * * *
    Hm . . . Does this in fact meet the applicable guidelines? Even if it does, it would seem to be misleading to the unsuspecting reader.


    What the hell is the “international association of medical journal articles”??? Definitely does NOT meet the guidelines set by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Though I’m sure there is some group out there with the word “integrity” stashed in their title that would condone such actions. – writedit

  5. […] Research Ethics, Biomedical Writing/Editing on unauthorized authorship again, thanks to Marilyn’s post from the WSJ Health Blog. Anyone a member of the “international assoc of medical journal […]

  6. […] Update: Marilyn posted under About another egregious incident of unauthorized authorship from the WSJ Health […]

  7. Alison McCook said

    Nice blog! We’ve been covering similar issues at The Scientist.com — drop me a line if you’d ever like to chat.


  8. madhamster said

    I can say that after reading this blog for about a year now, I have (as a grad student) truly benefited week by week from your understanding and insight into this world of paylines and resubmissions. Thanks and happy holidays.

  9. iGrrrl said

    You’re the first person I’ve found with a job similar to mine. I would very much appreciate being able to talk about how your job is structured, if you’d feel comfortable dropping me an email.

  10. Katrina Gwinn said

    Thank you for this blog. It is a very useful and helpful public resource and greatly valuable to me in my role as an advisor to junior faculty and other investigators seeking NIH funding. I worked as eight years as an NIH program director and I can say that this is a great blog from both sides of the NIH fence.


  11. You are making a great contribution with this blog. I am an “executive coach” for scientists as well as a science editor, and I need to advise my clients about grantmanship and publishing, as well as helping them edit their work. You are providing a unique resource.

    I just wish I knew where Baby It’s Cold Outside was!

  12. There is an upside to being a researcher at the Baby It’s Cold Outside University: Here, it was -40f for about two weeks this last winter. Also had about 110 inches of snow. So what is the upside? Well, you aren’t going anywhere, so there is plenty of time for research and preparing the nursery for the new arrival(s) which are sure to follow a winter like that. 🙂

  13. Betty said

    You are highly entertaining and informative. Please keep up the great work.

  14. I’ve encountered your blog from time to time, but find myself reading or referring others to it more and more often. Your clear-eyed analyses and broad scope are really helpful. Thank you for providing such a great resource!

  15. My name when owner is nameless? said

    Interesting site here. But shouldn’t there be a bit of a disclosure of the person behind it? There’s a lot of stuff about integrity and such, but it first starts with disclosure. And there’s not nearly enough of it about the site owner here.

  16. I am interested in placing the “Preparing Competitive NIH Applications for Enhanced Peer Review” on our University of Louisville research site. Is this permissible? Obviously, I don’t want to violate a copyright law.

    Thank you for your consideration.
    Beverly Daly
    Sponsored Programs Development
    University of Louisville

    • writedit said

      Of course. I maintain this blog and make the materials available as a service to the biomedical research community, and you can certainly provide the download directly on your site. Please just include a link or citation of the source.

  17. mel said


    So I just got a score of 39 and 35% tile in the first round of R01(NCI). Although new investigator, I know its off. When is the resubmission possible?


  18. RIchard Long said

    It seems I can resubmit my R-21, that was reviewed and scored initially and then reviewed and unscored in A1, as an R-15 – I am getting this from NOT-OD-03-019,

    3. When an unfunded application that was reviewed for a particular
    research grant mechanism (for example, R01) is to be submitted
    for a different grant mechanism (for example, R03), it is to be
    prepared as a NEW application.

    Am I reading this correctly?? Am I posting this ?? in the right place??

    Thanks for the wonderful resource


    • J said

      When you change mechanisms, it becomes a new application. This means no introduction, the old Summary Statement isn’t given to reviewers, and you get two submission chances. It would be helpful to talk to your Program Officer for the R21 to see if the R15 would be a good mechanism.
      This particular page doesn’t get a lot of postings.

  19. mab said

    A silly question – Can NIH funds be juggled between projects?

  20. saad said

    This may be off-track but I need some help on this. There is an Instructor in a neighboring lab who also has his own lab in China. Now this guy is getting paid a hefty salary from NIH grants but is also getting a salary from his Chinese university. Is it legal to get paid two salaries while one is on an NIH grant?

  21. BikeMonkey said

    why would you care?

    (but sure, NIH only cares about federal sources of salary. there are puh-lenty of senior scientists getting paid salaries that exceed the NIH cap and those have to come from nonfederal funds. not seeing how your example would be any different. now, the local University might have rules against it…)

  22. Fan mail. said

    This site is an absolutely incredible resource! I am astounded that the only concise, organized, and well-edited picture of the grant scene in the US is based in Canada! Whoever you are, thank you for putting this together, and please keep up the great work.

    • writedit said

      Um, it may be BICO, but it’s not *that* cold outside (not yet anyway). I am in the US, though not terribly far from the Canadian border. Thank you so much for the kind words – I am glad you find the site useful (keep hoping I’ll have more time to post instructive items), which is largely due to the daily contributions of so many of your peers in the trenches. Best wishes for success with your own proposals, manuscripts, and research program!

  23. mika said

    Dear Writedit,
    Recently, MY RO1 scored 29%, NIDDK; today, login era commons system to check the update status. I saw in Contacts listed SRO, Administration: Grants Management Specialist(GMS), and Program Official(PO). But another RO1 at the same cycle NCI scored 34%, I could not find GMS listed. So I am asking of curiosity, it means something or nothing.
    Stay healthy and safer,

    • writedit said

      I expect it’s just a difference in SOPs between the two ICs. If you have your summary statement, you can check in with the NIDDK PO on next steps (if you should write a short rebuttal, advice for crafting next submission). At NCI, you can ask about resubmission strategy (unless that was an RFA or PAR, in which case programmatic interest may play a role).

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