Scientific Peer Review

Peer review ensures the most effective use of scientific research funding

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education manages scientific peer reviews for the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as many other government agencies. Peer reviews provide critical, independent assessment of research proposals and program performance to help sponsors determine the quality of research proposals and the accuracy of the scientific information they contain. 

In order for new advancements to occur in science and technology, the process begins with an idea or concept and concludes with a new product or a significant enhancement to an existing technology launched into the marketplace. Along the way, there are many steps that require significant funding as well as accountability to ensure that the process is moving forward and being conducted in the most efficient and ethical manner possible. For government agencies like DOE to determine which projects should receive taxpayer funding and to then ensure that funded projects are managed ethically it requires a process of independent review. That oversight comes in the form of peer review, a discipline where ORISE excels. 

Our capabilities span the entire peer review process, from event planning, to reviewer identification and recruitment, to evaluating proposals and implementing improvements.  

Peer reviews can happen at any scale—from large events involving hundreds of participants over multiple days, to smaller meetings involving just a handful of reviewers, to completely virtual events where reviewers perform their functions from their own homes or offices. ORISE manages events of all these sizes and helps agencies in need of review know what format and size of event is best-suited to their needs. 

Successful peer review also depends heavily on recruiting the best subject matter experts, and ORISE has both cultivated an existing network of more than 19,000 qualified academic, government and corporate reviewers as well as refined the process for identifying new reviewers. In both cases, ORISE also performs extensive background research to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts of interest with the proposals or research they are reviewing. So, as the taxpayer-sourced funding designated for scientific research is dispersed each year, ORISE continues to provide the necessary resources and processes to ensure that only the best, most promising proposals that help advance national interests receive that funding.