International Peer Review Expert Panel – Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Peer Review Expert Panel?
The Peer Review Expert Panel members, under the Chairmanship of Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, will examine the design and adjudication processes of CIHR's investigator-initiated programs in relation to the CIHR mandate, the changing health sciences landscape, international funding agency practices, and the available literature on peer review.
Specifically, the Panel will address the following questions:
- Does the design of CIHR's reforms of investigator-initiated programs and peer review processes address their original objectives?
- Do the changes in program architecture and peer review allow CIHR to address the challenges posed by the breadth of its mandate, the evolving nature of science, and the growth of interdisciplinary research?
- What challenges in adjudication of applications for funding have been identified by public funding agencies internationally and in the literature on peer review and how do CIHR's reforms address these?
- Are the mechanisms set up by CIHR, including but not limited to the College of Reviewers, appropriate and sufficient to ensure peer review quality and impacts?
- What are international best practices in peer review that should be considered by CIHR to enhance quality and efficiency of its systems?
- What are the leading indicators and methods through which CIHR could evaluate the quality and efficiency of its peer review systems going forward?
Their recommendations are expected to help inform refinements to the investigator-initiated programs moving forward. They will also guide the ongoing work of the College of Reviewers.
Who initiated the Peer Review Expert Panel?
CIHR initiated the Panel as part of its commitment to seek feedback from independent international experts on the quality and efficiency of its new peer review process. This commitment was announced in an open letter to the heath research community, as well as in a letter to the Presidents of the country’s research-intensive universities (U15) in early 2016.
How were the Peer Review Expert Panel members selected?
The panel members were chosen for their expertise in the science of peer review, international funding agency perspectives and vast research expertise.
What information will the Panel members take into consideration as part of their deliberations?
The Panel members will review international best practices and literature. They will also receive scientific community feedback through a variety of channels. More specifically, Panel members will:
- receive feedback from the scientific community through consultations by the Scientific Directors of CIHR’s thirteen Institutes (each Institute will lead their own consultation efforts);
- receive submissions from key stakeholders and national health research organizations invited to answer the questions being addressed by the Panel;
- hear from key stakeholders and scientific community representatives during a two-day series of meetings; and
- have access to data from applicant and reviewer surveys about peer review processes; analyses of funding data and bibliometric performance data; comments and letters received from the community about the changes to the investigator-initiated programs; as well as the deliberations from the July 13th Working meeting with the health research community and the Peer Review Working Group, whose work was recently completed.
Is the Peer Review Expert Panel assessing the design and implementation of CIHR’s new grant adjudication processes in relations to Indigenous health research?
No, the Panel’s mandate does not include the assessment of the design and implementation of CIHR’s new grant adjudication processes in relations to Indigenous health research. Complimentary advisory structures comprising of Indigenous researchers and community members are in place and will continue to provide expert advice to CIHR related to the iterative review processes for Indigenous health research, and its assessment.
As such, the Reference Group on Appropriate Review Practices for Indigenous Health Research currently remains the CIHR advisory body on how culturally appropriate peer review of Indigenous Health Research should be conducted. The IAB on Indigenous Peoples' Health also plays a key role in providing advice on how to build the strategic alliances to transcend traditional boundaries and establish culturally sensitive health research policies and interventions.
What is the difference between the Peer Review Expert Panel and the other CIHR committees related to peer review?
The Peer Review Expert Panel will specifically examine the design and adjudication processes of CIHR's investigator-initiated programs in relation to the CIHR mandate, the changing health sciences landscape, international funding agency practices, and the available literature on peer review.
Their work complements the efforts of other CIHR committees related to peer review such as the Reference Group on Appropriate Review Practices for Indigenous Health Research, the Chairs of the College of Reviewers, and the Institutes Advisory Board (IAB) on Research, Excellence, Policy and Ethics. It also complements the work of the government-wide Science Review whose mandate; to assess the program machinery that is currently in place to support science and scientists in Canada, is considerably broader.
When will the final report from the Panel be available?
The report of the International Peer Review Expert Panel has now been received and accepted by CIHR Governing Council.
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