In DepthGrantmaking

No bias in NIH reviews?

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Science  08 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6393, pp. 1055
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6393.1055

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Summary

An investigator's race or gender didn't appear to influence the judgments of reviewers in an unusual experiment that altered the names on real National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant proposals. Researchers substituted common names of white men, black men, white women, and black women for the actual investigators' names in 48 proposals. When 412 scientists reviewed the proposals, they gave similar scores to all four test groups. But the results don't rule out bias during the NIH grantmaking process, the researchers say. The NIH-funded study is part of an ongoing effort to check for bias in the agency's peer-review process after a troubling 2011 study found that black applicants are less likely to win NIH funding than whites.