China's National Natural Science Foundation is turning to artificial intelligence to choose individuals to review grant applications, Nature News reports.
The agency, it adds, is developing a tool to sift through the published literature as well as scientists' websites to in a bid to identify researchers who might be a good fit to review a particular grant application. A pilot program involving an early version of the tool found that it helped cut down the administrative time devoted to finding referees, Nature News says.
NSFC, it notes, assesses six times as many grant applications as the US National Science Foundation, leading the agency, as Patrick Nédellec from the French National Center for Scientific Research tells Nature News, to have to search for the most efficient approach.
Li Jinghai, who heads NSFC, says he also hopes that the approach reduces bias in reviewer selection. But Education Analytics' Elizabeth Pier says that an AI approach may just reflect human biases in its implementation, Nature News adds.