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Archive icon With the completion of the three implementation goals of the Enhancing Peer Review Initiative, this page is no longer being updated and is provided for historical information only.  For current information, visit Peer Review Policies and Practices. Archive icon

Enhancing Peer Review at NIH

Design Implementation Phase

Phases of Process

phase of process diagram Peer Review Process & Changes Restructured Applications Continuous Evaluation of Peer Review

In March 2008, the NIH Director established the Steering Committee Peer Review Implementation Group to draft implementation plans for each recommended action. Subgroups of the Steering Committee, which consisted of Institute Directors, NIH program and review officers, planning and evaluation experts and statisticians, solicited feedback from both NIH internal and external communities. This feedback, together with careful consideration of the pros and cons of both individual and combined recommendations, informed decisions on enhancements to the peer review system.   

On June 6th, 2008, the Peer Review Enhancements and Implementation Plan was announced in a Press Release, and at the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) meeting. For detailed information on the Implementation Plan, please see the Slides (PDF - 534 KB) from the meeting. 

The Implementation Plan is organized into the following priority areas:

  • Priority 1 – Engage the Best Reviewers - The excellence of peer review is directly correlated with the ability to recruit and retain the most accomplished, broad-thinking, and creative scientists to serve on NIH study sections.
  • Priority 2 – Quality & Transparency of Review - The peer review process must strive for maximum clarity, fairness, and consistency and help applicants determine a best course of action once reviewed. The process of review should focus on the potential impact, originality, and feasibility of the proposed research.
  • Priority 3 – Provide Balanced and Fair Reviews Across Scientific Fields and Career Stages - Peer review should fairly evaluate proposals from all scientists, regardless of their career stage or discipline, and avoid bias towards more conservative and proven approaches at the expense of innovation and originality.
  • Priority 4 – Continuous Review of Peer Review - The last priority is to develop a permanent process for continuous review of peer review. Peer review should continuously adapt itself to the evolution of science. The NIH peer review process will commit to a continuous quality control and improvement process based on a rigorous and independent prospective evaluation that favors innovative approaches to review and program management.

For more information on how selected actions will be implemented, see Begin Phased Implementation of Selected Actions.

This page was last reviewed on July 21, 2009
Archive icon With the completion of the three implementation goals of the Enhancing Peer Review Initiative, this page is no longer being updated and is provided for historical information only.  For current information, visit Peer Review Policies and Practices. Archive icon
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