In DepthFunding

In Canada, peer-review changes stir outrage

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Science  08 Jul 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6295, pp. 112
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6295.112

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Summary

Nearly 1000 Canadian researchers are demanding that the government immediately reverse "radical" changes that the nation's main biomedical research funder has made to its grantsmaking process, arguing that they are wreaking havoc on the science community. In particular, the researchers want the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to reinstate face-to-face meetings of peer review panels, which the agency has ended in favor of an on-line system for evaluating grant proposals. The letter represents the latest salvo against a controversial reform effort launched roughly 4 years ago by CIHR President Alain Beaudet. Responding to recommendations made in 2011 by an international review panel, the agency launched a three-pronged reform effort that revamped its funding streams, the way researchers submitted proposals, and the way proposals are reviewed. But the changes have been met with fierce criticism from researchers.