This study assessed stakeholder satisfaction with changes made to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) peer review process that were based on the recommendations of the initiative. NIH started the Enhancing Peer Review Initiative in 2007 as a self-study to promote fairness, efficiency, and effectiveness in the peer review process. Changes implemented as a result of the initiative included: 1) a nine-point scoring system; 2) criterion scores; 3) a bulleted critique format and structured critique templates; 4) enhanced review criteria; and, 5) clustering of applications that propose clinical research and clustering of research project grant applications submitted by New Investigators. Evaluators administered satisfaction surveys to five groups of stakeholders, including NIH grant applicants, NIH peer reviewers, Scientific Review Officers (SROs), Program Officials (POs) and Advisory Council members.
Stakeholders rated the nine-point scoring system as adequate for communicating meaningful differences in application quality. Criterion scores were rated by POs to be among the most helpful elements of the initiative for advising applicants. Applicants, however, were more equivocal about the usefulness of criterion scores in the application process. Neither POs nor applicants rated the bulleted format for reviewer critiques as helpful for understanding the recommendations of the review group. The clustering of applications submitted by New Investigators and those proposing clinical research were uniformly judged to be a positive change to the NIH peer review process as a result of the Enhancing Peer Review Initiative.
Report Title: Enhancing Peer Review Survey Results Report
Agency Sponsor: NIH, National Institutes of Health
Federal Contact: Rosanna Ng, 301-496-5367
Performer: RTI International
Record ID: 9439 (Report issued December 31, 2010)