The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education begins the peer review planning process by analyzing the purpose of the funds to be distributed. Because each agency’s needs are different, ORISE designs and manages a flexible, scientific peer review process that can be modified based on a sponsor’s regulatory, policy and operational requirements.
To find reviewers, ORISE pulls from a curated database of more than 350 universities and other research and development organizations across the United States. This includes some faculty and researchers at the universities in the ORAU consortium of Ph.D.-granting universities. ORISE also locates contacts through relevant professional organizations, public lists and databases such as Scopus, Pivot, PubMed, ProQuest and Google Scholar. As reviewer candidates are identified, ORISE conducts an extensive screening process to identify those individuals with sufficient and appropriate expertise directly pertaining to the scientific peer review. If the expert is available to participate in the peer review, ORISE completes the screening process by identifying and mitigating any potential conflicts of interest.
ORISE’s existing tools and reviewer systems—coupled with the experience of reviewing proposals from a government agency perspective—are helping to promote the quality and credibility of scientific information and funded research. ORISE’s peer review planning process ensures each objective review is completed on schedule, within budget and with a high degree of review integrity. Some examples of current ORISE scientific review planning include:
- Implementation of a sponsor’s existing peer review protocols to evaluate the technical merit of each research proposal
- Design and management of an independent review program of research and development proposals for agencies that do not have established review protocols
- Design and management of programs to evaluate in-process and completed projects to provide recommendations on whether to continue funding
- Coordination of reviews related to the scientific assessment of documents in order to ensure feasibility and technical merit before releasing results to the public