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Peer Review Notes May 2015

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The Center for Scientific Review publishes Peer Review Notes to inform our reviewers, NIH staff and others of news related to our grant application review policies, procedures and plans. (PDF Version)

Peer Review Scores Correlated with Better Research Outcomes



A scatter plot showing the correlation between peer review scores and journal citations discovered by Li and Leila.

Researchers from Harvard and Boston University recently cast a positive light on NIH reviewers. They published an article in Science magazine that helps address a key question: “Big names or big ideas: Do peer-review panels select the best science proposals?” More...


Update on the Waves of Applications  



Photo of waves at the seashore.

“Reviewers and NIH staff can breathe a little easier,” said CSR Director Dr. Richard Nakamura. “The waves of applications haven’t increased after the initial surge we experienced following NIH’s decision to remove limits on resubmissions.” He noted that, after the policy change last April, applications surged 15 percent. “In the last round, the numbers stabilized . . . More...

NIH Calls for More Grantees to Review



Image of a bullhorn with the letters NIH on the side.

“When we ran the numbers, we discovered too many NIH grantees haven’t been doing their part,” said CSR Director Dr. Richard Nakamura. “So NIH put out a call to remind them of their obligation to the community and encourage them to say yes when asked to serve on a peer review or advisory group.” More...

CSR Director Responds to Community Concerns



Photo of CSR Director Dr. Richard Nakamura

“In the many interactions with researchers each week, we hear your concerns and learn about your burdens,” he said. “The truth is we usually share your concerns and have explored your suggestions.” More...



Peer Review and Grant Reforms in Canada



Image of the Canadian flag with a red maple leaf in the center.

Bold changes are underway in Canada, where the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is overhauling its grants and peer review systems. Dr. Jane Aubin CIHR’s Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President of Research came to CSR to discuss CIHR efforts at a recent CSR Director’s Seminar. More...


The Invention of Expansion Microscopy, a Diaper Compound, and the Power of Peer Review



Photo of Ed Boyden taken by Dominick Reuter.

Scientists can’t break the laws of physics. This was a problem Dr. Edward Boyden faced at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The best light microscopes cannot bring key molecular structures into focus without losing track of the larger cellular context. Boyden’s lab worked around the laws of physics by using a compound used in making diapers. More...