What should NIH peer review look like?

Lawrence Tabak, who is spearheading the NIH's review of peer review, has read every single one of the thousands of responses submitted to the NIH last year, after the agency asked the biomedical community to weigh in on how it should linkurl:improve;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54100/ peer review. Last month, I sat down with him to talk about what he plans to do with this information. For starters, the "village vote" won't work, linkurl:Tabak;http://intramural.nidd

By | January 18, 2008

Lawrence Tabak, who is spearheading the NIH's review of peer review, has read every single one of the thousands of responses submitted to the NIH last year, after the agency asked the biomedical community to weigh in on how it should linkurl:improve;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54100/ peer review. Last month, I sat down with him to talk about what he plans to do with this information. For starters, the "village vote" won't work, linkurl:Tabak;http://intramural.niddk.nih.gov/research/faculty.asp?People_ID=1560 said. "The fact that most people raised their hand about something doesn't mean that it's something that will have the most impact," he said. The NIH received more than 2,000 responses, some in the form of a statement from an institution or professional organization, each representing thousands of researchers. For now, the agency is sifting through the recommendations and will submit a list of key suggestions to NIH director Elias Zerhouni at the end of February. Tabak has some favorites: "There are several where I just sat and said, 'gee, I wish I had thought of that.'" But he won't say which recommendations he prefers. "I don't want to potentially bias the process." Still, "every comment has been instructive, at some level." Click linkurl:here;http://images.the-scientist.com/supplementary/audio/track5_edited.mp3 to listen to excerpts of my conversation with Tabak, during which he explains how he got involved in this massive undertaking. We want to know what you think. Click linkurl:here;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/54009/ to weigh in on some of the recommendations the NIH is considering.

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