The US National Institutes of Health says that it is not reversing its so-called "two strikes" rule that limits the number of times a researcher may resubmit a rejected a grant application, ScienceInsider reports. The policy is quite unpopular — ScienceInsider adds that more than 2,300 researchers signed a petition saying the limit was unfair — and a little more than a month ago, the Nature News blog reported that the agency was considering revising its rule.
But, Sally Rockey, the deputy director for extramural research at NIH, writes at her Rock Talk blog that one of the concerns that researchers had — that applications would build up into a queue and would be delayed — has not materialized. In addition, Rockey adds that the policy does not appear to, as some were afraid, put new investigators at a disadvantage.
Rockey also addresses the suggestion that a subset of applications, those just beyond the payline, be able to submit another time. After looking at the data, she writes that "any revision to the policy to allow additional resubmissions of all or a subset of A2 applications will displace equally meritorious A0 and A1 applications, and increase the time to award for many applications."
Weill Cornell Medical College's John Moore tells the Nature News Blog that the decision to keep the two-strikes policy "is a characteristic refusal by administrators to admit they erred badly when they made a change that has been consistently unpopular with those it affected, in this case NIH grant applicants."