The new “NIH Peer Review” section provides information related to initial peer review across NIH. It includes data on peer review organized by the Center of Scientific Review as well as by NIH institutes and centers.
Which kinds of data, and what do they tell us? For starters, the data truly demonstrate how you, our peer reviewers, are the lifeline of the scientific process. In 2013 alone nearly 25,000 of you served the biomedical research enterprise by providing over 230,000 critiques of grant applications and by participating in over 2,500 peer review meetings. The numbers of reviewers and review meetings have remained relatively stable over the past 3 years, even during last year’s shutdown, again demonstrating what a valuable and reliable resource you are.
I also want to particularly call your attention to the data on the major activity codes of the applications reviewed, and on the breakdown of “R”-series activity codes. If you look at these two graphs together you will note the breadth of award programs that undergo peer review and that the R01s, which make up the bulk of “R”-applications, only comprise about 40% of the full range of applications that go through the peer review system.
I encourage you to check out this new addition to the NIH Data Book and the introduction text and notes that explain the kinds of data included, and how we calculate these data. It’s truly a humbling experience to look at the landscape of peer review at NIH and how the enormous commitment of the biomedical research community makes it all possible. As I said before in a short video I recorded after the shutdown, I truly thank our peer reviewers for the remarkable benefit you provide to our enterprise.