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Category: Peer Review

Summer legislation and the scientific community ?>

Summer legislation and the scientific community

Today, Congress returns from their Memorial Day holiday. Much of the political news in the coming months will focus on scandals rather than legislation. However, Congress will be in session for the next two months with a brief break for Independence Day, and they are sure to do some legislating, right? Here is a preview of some of the policy issues we will be following during the D.C. summer. Immigration reform On May 21, the Senate Judiciary committee passed the…

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ASBMB meets with U.S. House staff to discuss peer review legislation ?>

ASBMB meets with U.S. House staff to discuss peer review legislation

On Tuesday, ASBMB Public Affairs Director Ben Corb attended a meeting with the staff members of the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology committee that drafted the High Quality Research Act. The SST staff wanted to have a discussion with the scientific community to clear up misconceptions about the bill. The reality is that very little was clarified. Over 70 representatives of research organizations attended the meeting to ask questions of SST staff. SST staff indicated this version of the…

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The National Science Foundation responds to request for peer review information ?>

The National Science Foundation responds to request for peer review information

Peer review at the National Science Foundation has been the focus of recent inquiries from the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology committee. Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, had requested the notes of the peer reviewers and program officers pertaining to five grants awarded by the NSF. In a letter to NSF Acting Director Cora Marrett, Smith said he had “concerns regarding some grants approved by the Foundation and how closely they adhere to NSF’s ‘intellectual merit’ guideline.” President Obama, White…

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An update on peer review and the National Science Foundation ?>

An update on peer review and the National Science Foundation

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chair of the House Science, Space and Technology committee has spurred two distinct, yet related, discussions regarding peer review and the National Science Foundation. First, in an April 25 letter to NSF Acting Director Cora Marrett, Smith wrote, “I have concerns regarding some grants approved by the Foundation and how closely they adhere to NSF’s ‘intellectual merit’ guideline.” Smith went on to request the notes from the peer reviewers and NSF program officers regarding five grants…

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Two weeks of intense attacks on the National Science Foundation and the peer-review process ?>

Two weeks of intense attacks on the National Science Foundation and the peer-review process

The past two weeks were tumultuous for the National Science Foundation thanks to two hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives, a pair of letters passed between high-ranking members of Congress, and a controversial new bill. Discussions between Congress and NSF centered on the peer-review process and a question, most commonly coming from Republican representatives and senators, of whether the federal government should fund social science research in difficult economic times. House hearings On April 17, the full House Committee…

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Catching up on the fiscal cliff and other science policy stories ?>

Catching up on the fiscal cliff and other science policy stories

The fiscal cliff talks took a break as Congress and the president returned to their home states for the holiday. However, President Obama will return to Washington tonight, and Congress will be in session tomorrow. If the fiscal cliff is to be averted, a deal will need to be hammered out quickly. However, the American public, growing doubtful about a compromise plan, may have to wait until the final hours of 2012 to find out about the Democrats’ plan to…

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NIH launches additional grant review for investigators with more than $1.5 million in NIH funding ?>

NIH launches additional grant review for investigators with more than $1.5 million in NIH funding

On May 18, the National Institutes of Health announced a pilot program that would give additional scrutiny to proposals from investigators who already receive more than $1.5 million in NIH funding. In an October blog post, Sally Rockey, director of extramural research, asked for input from the research community on ways the NIH could manage its budget during these times of fiscal austerity. The pilot program represents one strategy the NIH is trying to employ to more widely distribute funding…

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Sally Rockey reports on grant success rates at NIH ?>

Sally Rockey reports on grant success rates at NIH

When it comes to grant review, it can be difficult to separate the facts from the hearsay. However, the director of extramural research at the National Institutes of Health, Sally Rockey, tried to do just that in a recent blog post. Rockey addresses the “urban myth” that grants reviewed by the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) are funded at a lower rate than those reviewed by an individual institute or center (I/C). Rockey first points out that the vast majority…

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Study finds black researchers less likely to receive NIH funding ?>

Study finds black researchers less likely to receive NIH funding

Last week, a study released in Science reported a disturbing gap in the funding success rates of black scientists. The study, commissioned by the National Institutes of Health, looked at 83,000 RO1 grant applications from 2000 to 2006 and compared the applicants’ self-identified ethnicity to the probability of receiving an award. The authors hypothesized that scientists with similar research records and affiliations would have a similar likelihood of receiving awards, regardless of ethnicity. However, the study found that black scientists were…

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Coburn Report Targets National Science Foundation ?>

Coburn Report Targets National Science Foundation

In what has become an annual routine, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Ok., released yet another report last week claiming to identify wasteful government spending, this time going after the National Science Foundation. In “The National Science Foundation: Under the Microscope,” Coburn criticizes the NSF for “lack[ing] adequate oversight of its grant funding, which has led to mismanagement, fraud, and abuse and lack of knowledge regarding research outcomes.”  He goes on to list several examples of “questionable NSF projects,” a hackneyed method…

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