I am back on a study section. I thought hard about doing this, but felt I could do some good (the downfall and delusion of right-thinking people in every walk of life).
First, a reminder of one of my favorite things:
Aims should be general enough to require a project (1-2 papers per aim), but specific enough that they are a project.
I've written a lot about writing grants over the years, and I will try repost at least links to those.
How study section is being handled now is a significant departure from my previous experiences. The amount of energy that is going into training and preparation of the reviewers is not just larger than before, it exists. In the past, in my experience, there was none of this. There is a large effort to make sure we are calibrated, that we know what the criteria are, and that we do reviews as uniformly as possible.
I've had two phone call training sessions, and a nearly weekly email with substantive information. Here is today's bolus (all of this is online, but don't have links right now):
General guidance for all sections of the critique:
- Avoid general comments and provide specific details.
- Provide sufficient context to orient comments (e.g. does the comment refer to a specific aim?)
- Make sure bullets have evaluative statements that indicate your assessment of a particular aspect of the application.
- Make sure that the text within each section is consistent with the score.
- Scores of 1-3 should be supported by clearly articulated strengths.
- Scores of 4-6 may have a balance of strengths and weaknesses.
- Scores of 7-9 should be supported by clearly articulated weaknesses (or lack of strengths).
- Prioritize strengths and weaknesses by indicating if they are major(score-driving) or minor.
- Address all relevant review criteria and critique sections (e.g. many applications require evaluation of issues in addition to Overall Impact, Significance, Investigators, Innovation, Approach, and Environment).
- Include attention to new considerations related to Rigor and Transparency in research (scientific premise, rigor, consideration of biological variables including sex, and biological/chemical resource authentication), as appropriate for the research questions.
Please try to adhere to the guidance and provide specific comments with sufficient context.
There was an attached, lengthy document. I will start posting that, with comments and perceptions later this week. Right now, I must go off and be a good citizen.