NIH

Drop re-review for big grant holders

Article metrics

The fundamental concern with a second layer of review for holders of more than US$1 million in grants from the US National Institutes of Health is that it takes us further from a meritocracy in which the best and highest-impact science is supported (Nature 489, 203; 2012).

Elite grant recipients have gone through reviewers' scrutiny and proved their productivity many times. Reviewers and grant administrators already check for potential funding overlap, one of the issues the reforms are designed to address. Peer review may be imperfect, but it is done by the scientific leaders in the relevant field, and there is no reason to believe that the judgement of an advisory council is superior.

The reluctance of most funding agencies to pay for research infrastructure necessitates either leveraging economies of scale from multiple grants or belonging to an academic institution that is wealthy enough to share the costs — a position not all researchers enjoy. The new policy would mainly affect the most productive principal investigators with multiple R01-type (individual project application) grants, widely considered to yield the most innovative research.

Taxpayers have the right to make the scientific community accountable for improving health, but this extra scrutiny may compromise attainment of that goal.

Author information

Correspondence to Hemant K. Roy.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Roy, H. Drop re-review for big grant holders. Nature 490, 176 (2012) doi:10.1038/490176a

Download citation

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.