How to Fix the NIH
July 9, 2007
Readers will note I do a fair amount of talkin’ about the ways the NIH-funded research game might be fixed. The NIH has recently posted a request for information on they way they do things. I can’t overemphasize how important it is that you comment. Each and every one of you. Whether you are “a reviewer, applicant, or member of the public,” as the RFI puts it. If you are “only” a US taxpayer, well you are funding this stuff and will likely be a consumer of the medical advances that result. If you are nonUS, well, you just may be a consumer of medical advances resulting from NIH activities too. At best, this RFI is a straight game and you can have an influence on changing NIH funded science for the better. At worst, this is a rigged deal in which they are looking for confirmation but the only way to combat this is with overwhelming numbers! Either way, you should get involved. Above all, go to the NIH site and make your comments by August 17!
Writedit tagged me and then floated a set of comments. YHN took an initial shot based on some ideas that were motivated by something else originally. I’ll be working on my more-specific version for the actual NIH comment.
I’ll pass along writedits’ meme and call out a few blogs to participate. Ground rules are
II. Post the following RFI queries
- Challenges of NIH System of Research Support
Please describe any specific challenges presented by NIH’s support of biomedical and behavioral research such as the current array of grant mechanisms, number of grants awarded per investigator, and the duration of grants.
- Challenges of NIH Peer Review Process
Please describe any specific challenges presented by the current peer review process at NIH.
- Solutions to Challenges
Please concisely describe specific approaches or concepts that would address any of the above challenges, even if it involves a radical change to the current approach.
- Core Values of NIH Peer Review Process
Please describe the core values of NIH peer review that must be maintained or enhanced.
- Peer Review Criteria and Scoring
Are the appropriate criteria (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-05-002.html) and scoring procedures (http://cms.csr.nih.gov/NR/rdonlyres/B2CFE17E-AA1C-46E5-BADB-FDBF2FBBEE80/11892/CSRScoringProcedure090706.pdf) being used by NIH to evaluate applications during peer review? If not, are there changes in either that you would recommend?
- Career Pathways
Is the current peer review process for investigators at specific stages in their career appropriate? If not, what changes would you recommend?
III. Address at least one of the NIH queries in a post.
IV. Reach out and tag 7 someones, be they biomedical scientists, physical scientists, taxpayers or medical consumers.
- thomas at Hope for Pandora
- orac at Respectful Insolence
- bill at Open Reading Frame
- Dr. Shellie
- bdf at Aequanimitas
- razib at GeneExpression
Also, if you are a non-blogging reader (Physioprof I’m lookin’ at you!) consider yourself tagged to forward the RFI to 7 colleagues via email.
Update: Related posts from Hope for Pandora, Respectful Insolence, YoungFemaleScientist, The Daily Transcript, Pimm and Retrospectacle so far. Also a pickup from Genome Technology Online. Update 2: found another one here, a site which directs to a fascinating letter to Cell entitled “American Idol and NIH Grant Review“.