NIH head of Extramural Research Salley Rockey has a post up defending peer review.

There has been much talk on the peer review process in our blog comments recently. We are extremely proud of our peer review system and its acceptance as one of the premier systems of peer review around the world. Our peer review system is based on a partnership between NIH staff and our reviewers. Each year we review about 80,000 applications with the help of tens of thousands of outside experts. I greatly appreciate those who have served and encourage everyone to participate in the process when you can.

The reason for this post seems to be one prolific commenter who has a bone to pick and he just keeps getting nuttier. The last exchange was a trigger:

I merely express my firm opinion, based on my own numerous experiences and without undermining the rules of the respected blog – that is why I am restricted from providing any specific examples. Should my respected opponent be interested in seeing these specific examples, I shall be very happy to share them in a private manner.

“numerous experiences”. yeah. so have we all. Had numerous experiences. Mine come from my *cough*cough* years of putting in anywhere from ~2-6 proposals per year, to a 4 year term of service on a study section (~60-100 apps per round), to having local departmental colleagues with similar experiences and through writing a blog that fields many comments from other NIH funded investigators.

I hesitate to suggest I have a full picture on NIH grant review; and I seek data from the broader NIH-wide perspective wherever possible. To buttress my very limited personal experiences. Rockey’s post says they review 80,000 applications per year. I don’t think anyone’s personal experience as an applicant, ad hoc reviewer or even multi-term appointed reviewer is all that comprehensive.

– break- I’m going to return to this thought later-