Review Quality Assurance Process

The Review Quality Assurance (RQA) process measures and monitors reviewer’s participation and performance in peer review. The process is designed to encourage and support high quality reviews as well as recognize reviewer performance. The process includes learning materials, a Review Quality Checklist and supportive strategies to raise awareness on peer reviewer responsibilities and provide learning and mentoring opportunities to sharpen reviewer skills and strengthen review quality.

CIHR staff, as well as peer review committee executives, will provide feedback on reviewer performance to support excellence within the peer review system. The collection and analysis of performance data will inform recognition practices and/or when to apply supportive interventions. Supportive interventions will include measures that raise reviewers’ awareness on performance expectations as well as provide learning and mentoring opportunities to promote continuous improvement. Additionally, the RQA process will inform decisions and practices relating to College member recruitment, membership progression and renewal.

Expectations regarding peer review roles and responsibilities

The CIHR Standards of Practice for Peer Review (SPPR) was created to promote transparency and support review quality excellence by clearly outlining peer reviewer responsibilities. Competition Chairs, Scientific Officers and Reviewers will be asked to consent to the CIHR Standards of Practice for Peer Review Agreement prior to participating in peer review. Similar to the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Agreement, committee members who do not consent will not be able to participate in peer review for that competition.

Reviewer Quality Feedback Form

CIHR staff, Chairs and Scientific Officers will use the Reviewer Quality Feedback Form to provide information on the performance of reviewers throughout the peer review process and highlight reviewers that are outstanding or need support. A copy of the Reviewer Quality Feedback Form is provided as information only. If you are a Chair or Scientific Officer, you will receive details about how to complete and submit the information.

Performance is measured at CIHR by the degree to which reviewer participation and efforts meet the criteria specified below:

Review Quality
  • Written reviews were noted as either outstanding or lacking in appropriateness, robustness or utility
  • Reviews were flagged for inappropriate wording
Participation (at meeting) Outstanding Needs Improvement
  • Constructively participated in discussions of applications NOT assigned to them
  • Agreed to take additional tasks on short notice
  • Lacks professionalism
  • Difficult during meeting
  • Major presentation weaknesses
  • Low participation level
Responsiveness Needs Improvement
  • Required follow-up for conflict declaration/ATR
  • Pre-meeting and Post-meeting: required follow-up to submit scores and/or reviews
  • Reviews were not submitted by Notice of Decision
Other Considerations: Demonstrates potential as future Chair, Scientific Officer or Peer Reviewer Mentor


The College will implement various supportive measures to ensure all reviewers understand and are able to act in accordance with the CIHR Standards of Practice for Peer Review. Supportive measures could range from general statements/reminders to all committee members about review quality best practices to direct communication with reviewers who would benefit from mentorship or an increased awareness of specific review issues. As part of the process, CIHR will provide opportunities for reviewers to respond to the feedback provided and work collaboratively to promote and maintain peer review excellence. Additionally, we will begin to implement reviewer recognition strategies for reviewers who are deemed outstanding. These recognition strategies include institution acknowledgement, letters of recognition and/or public promotion through website profiles.

Peer Review Supportive Measures

Contact information

If you have questions, comments or concerns regarding the quality assurance in peer review process, please contact the College of Reviewers:

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