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Confidentiality of Reviews

One of the fundamental premises of peer review is that the transparency of the review process and the anonymity of individual reviewers must both be maintained. Federal agencies try to achieve this goal by keeping the names of individual proposal referees confidential but disclosing the membership of summary review panels.

The Office of the Vice President for Research follows similar procedures:

  1. In competitions where there are several levels of review—typically individual referees and a relatively large review committee divided into subcommittees—individual referees remain confidential, while the membership of the committee is listed on the VPR website. In such cases individual referees and committee members cannot be linked to specific proposals. Examples of this kind of competition include New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities.
  2. In competitions where there is a small committee, each of whose members serves as a referee for every proposal, the names of committee members are not made public. To do so would violate confidentiality and make it extremely difficult to find faculty members willing to serve on review committees. Examples of this kind of competition include the various Grants-in-Aid programs or Limited Submissions.

Because of limited staff and time, VPR does not automatically provide feedback on rejected proposals. Feedback from referees and committees will always be provided upon request. The names of individual reviewers on individual proposals will not be revealed under any circumstances, however. Faculty members who want feedback on unsuccessful proposals should contact the appropriate person responsible for the program.