Colleagues who have served on NIH study sections in recent rounds are reporting being surveyed by the NIH/CSR process which has been evaluating grant review. The NIH Peer Review Advisory Committee (PRAC) links are a good place to start if you want to catch up. Or you can start with some posts on the old blog.
It is no secret that I think it idiotic that so much of this breast beating about the "broken" review system has preceded without obvious and significant input from current reviewers. Well, now they are soliciting input.
From my sources, one Don Schneider has been emailing a request for comment on study sections. (lightly edited for anonymity purposes)
You have attended recent meeting(s) of the Bunny Hopper study section. Since the NIH Center for Scientific Review believes in periodic assessment and continuous adjustment in response to changing science, we are using a Working Group Process to examine how well study sections are functioning. In this process, distinguished reviewers like you are asked to comment in confidence on study section operations. Small samplings of such opinions are pooled and summarized, and the summary report (free of reviewer identifiers) is discussed with the collective chairs. The summary report is also shared with the NIH Peer Review Advisory Committee.
Would you please help with this process by sending me your thoughts on the functioning of the study section. To guide your response, we are interested in the following areas:
· Scope and breadth of the science reviewed
· Accommodation of new directions and emerging areas
· Appropriateness, qualifications, stature and diversity of reviewers
· Management of the meeting
· Policies and procedures
· Other emerging peer review issues
To facilitate the processing of information on our end, a reply by October 1 would be most helpful.
Thanks very much for your consideration.
Looks like a good plan to me. Hope they get enthusiastic participation from reviewers. You know, reviewers who have just received their pile of applications to review for this round. ...sigh.
So, DearReader, if you have reviewed for NIH in the past couple of rounds and have received this query, please respond. Take the few minutes and jot down some thoughts. Reviewer voices need to be heard in this process.