Ultimately, the ability of peer review to identify the most promising research depends on the integrity and fairness of the process. A peer review process that is free from bias and inappropriate influences is absolutely essential to achieving the NIH’s mission, which is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems, and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. In addition, ensuring integrity in the peer review process is important for maintaining the public’s trust in the NIH. Reviewers play a critical role in maintaining the integrity and fairness of the peer review process, as their words and actions help shape the culture of peer review.

Understand your responsibilities:

How to report a breach of integrity

Please contact your Scientific Review Officer, or the CSR Review Integrity Officer at csrrio@mail.nih.gov, or the NIH Review Policy Officer at reviewpolicyofficer@mail.nih.gov.

How to report concerns about fairness

For issues related to respectful interactions, bias or anything else that could affect the fairness of the review process, contact your SRO or the CSR Associate Director of Diversity & Workforce Development, Dr. Gabriel Fosu, at G.Fosu_AssocDir@csr.nih.gov.

Review Integrity Training

In 2019, we convened a working group of the CSR Advisory Council to create review integrity training. The training was revised in 2022 to use a more engaging format and to make use of real-life scenarios. The revised integrity training has been provided to reviewers since the Fall 2022 review meetings.

Bias Awareness and Mitigation Training

CSR developed training specifically targeted toward mitigating the most common biases in the peer review process. The training includes personal testimonials, interactive exercises, and a narrated mock study section demonstrating techniques to intervene – all based on real-life examples. The training was developed with the assistance of a diverse CSR Advisory Council Working Group. Training has been provided to all CSR reviewers since August 2021.