Applications, Resubmissions, and the Relative Citation Ratio

Measuring the impact of NIH grants is an important input in our stewardship of research funding. One metric we can use to look at impact, discussed previously on this blog, is the relative citation ratio (or RCR). This measure – which NIH has made freely available through the iCite tool – aims to go further than just raw numbers of published research findings or citations, by quantifying the impact and influence of a research article both within the context of its research field and benchmarked against publications resulting from NIH R01 awards.

In light of our more recent posts on applications and resubmissions, we’d like to go a step further by looking at long-term bibliometric outcomes as a function of submission number. In other words, are there any observable trends in the impact of publications resulting from an NIH grant funded as an A0, versus those funded as an A1 or A2? And does that answer change when we take into account how much funding each grant received? …. Continue reading

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Outcomes for R01 “Virtual A2s”

A few months ago, a researcher told me about his experiences with the relatively new NIH policy by which investigators are allowed to submit what we have come to call “virtual A2s.” Under NIH’s previous single resubmission policy, if an investigator’s de novo R01 grant application (called an “A0”) was not funded, they had one chance to submit a revision (called an “A1”). If the A1 application was unsuccessful, the applicant was required to make significant changes in the application compared to the previous submissions. NIH took measures to turn away subsequent submissions that were materially similar to the unfunded A1. Under NIH’s current policy, investigators may resubmit a materially similar application as a new submission after the A1 submission. We will call these applications “virtual A2s.” The researcher told me that his virtual A2 did not fare well; although his A0 and A1 had received good scores (though not good enough for funding), the virtual A2 was not discussed. He wondered, just how likely is it for a virtual A2 to be successful? …. Continue reading

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A Change in Our Resubmission Policy

We have had much discussion on this blog about NIH’s resubmission policy (most often referred to as the NIH A2 policy). I have also heard from many of you in a variety of forums, expressing serious concerns about the impact of NIH’s resubmission policy on applicants during these times of tight funding. We’ve listened to your concerns, and we are making changes. …. Continue reading

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The A2 Resubmission Policy Continues: A Closer Look at Recent Data

We have heard from many of you about the policy to sunset A2 applications. As you may remember, this policy was developed as part of NIH efforts to enhance peer review. There were concerns that applications were piling up in a “queue” and subject to a holding pattern that delayed funding until the resubmission (A1 and A2) stages, and as a consequence highly meritorious science proposed in original (A0) applications was made to wait additional months for funding. Continue reading

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