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Implementing Process Improvements to Peer Review Process

ORISE finds new uses for PeerNet application

How ORISE is Making a Difference

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) sets the standard for automated scientific peer reviews by continuously implementing process improvements. New applications for PeerNet continue to expand the ways in which ORISE is able to use the Web-based application to meet emerging sponsor needs.

Review of Meeting Abstracts/Presentations

Individuals participating in a scientific peer review

ORISE’s role: The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Program—a governmental research initiative that is developing the technologies necessary to provide petroleum independence for cars and trucks—asked ORISE for suggestions on a more effective way to choose which technical posters and presentations to include at its Diesel Engine-Efficiency and Emissions Research (DEER) conference.

Results: ORISE responded to the request by revising the PeerNet system with several new steps:

  • Developed an email-based call for abstracts and a submittal process to receive the abstracts.
  • Created a consistent file-naming and organization system.
  • Instructed the independent reviewers, most of whom were new to PeerNet, on how to access and rate the merit of the abstracts. (The DEER peer review was distinctly different from the classic PeerNet review in that it did not lead up to a funding decision.)

Integrating a Rebuttal Process into PeerNet

Individuals reviewing notes during a scientific peer review

ORISE’s role: DOE’s Office of Fusion Energy Science determines through an objective review process which institutions and organizations are worthy of research funding based on the assessment of research proposals submitted by principal investigators (i.e., researchers). This DOE office requested that ORISE create a new system giving principal investigators the ability to respond to proposal reviewer comments.

Results: Although PeerNet did not previously have this rebuttal capability, ORISE made it happen quickly and cost-effectively by integrating the process into the current application. ORISE also took extensive quality control steps to ensure the confidentiality of all involved.