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NIH Plans Changes for Peer Review Process in 2009

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health said today that it has developed a timeline for implementing changes to its peer-review system as part of an effort to “attract and retain the most accomplished, broad-thinking, and creative scientists to serve on NIH study sections.”
NIH plans to begin phasing in the some of the new policies for the years 2009 and 2010. 
Starting in 2009, NIH plans to offer increased flexibility for reviewers’ schedules and will consider using telecommuting methods instead of in-person meetings. Training also will be available to reviewers as well as scientific review officers, NIH said.


In addition, because both external and internal reviewers have said that applications are too long – up to 25 pages – the agency plans to take measures to shorten applications to 12 pages for those due in 2010.
The NIH’s goals in the review process overhaul are to engage the “best” reviewers, improve the quality and transparency of reviews, ensure balanced and fair reviews, and to continue to review the program.
"These changes help ensure that NIH continues to be the world-renowned peer review system," NIH Director Elias Zerhouni said in a statement. "We did the review through a deliberative process, and we are going to implement the changes in a similar way — carefully, with a phased approach, and carefully evaluate the impact of these changes in real time.”
More information about the review program may be found here.

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