Archive for the ‘grants’ Category

NIH Commissioned Study Results on Race, Ethinicity and NIH Research Awards.

August 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Findings of a US National Institutes of Health (NIH) commissioned study to investigate gaps in NIH grant success rates among various racial and ethnic groups have been published in the Aug 19 issue of Science.  The study reported that even after controlling for education, institution, and other factors that influence the likelihood of success, black investigators were still 10 percentage points less likely than white investigators to receive a new research project grant.

Dr. Lawrence Collins, Director of the NIH, and Lawrence Tabak, NIH Principal Deputy Director, have pledged to remedy that with a thorough investigation of ways to improve the peer review process, encourage greater diversity on review boards, increase technical assistance to applicants in grant preparation, and support innovative ways to increase local mentoring of junior faculty.    As they say in their commentary “Troubling data such as these require substantive action. Compelling evidence supports the view that diversification of the research workforce is an imperative for our nation’s continued success”. They call upon every institution and scientist supported by NIH to join in reinvigorating efforts to diversify the nation’s current and future biomedical research workforce.

The study can be downloaded  here

Lawrence Tabak and Francis Collins Commentary on the study can be downloaded here.

News article about the study can be downloaded here


Peer review under review

August 16, 2011 1 comment

Two interesting reports were mentioned on  DocuTicker today concerning the use of peer review in scientific publications:  Peer review in scientific publications by the U.K. House of Commons Science and Technology Committee; and Alternatives to peer review in research funding by the Rand Corporation.

A detailed examination of the current peer-review system was conducted this year by the UK Science and Technology Committee,  examining its effectiveness, and  touching on issues of impact, publication ethics and research integrity.  Among its recommendations the report advocated for a development of standards and training for all editors and, particularly, for early-career researchers in peer review, acknowledging that the system depends on the integrity and competence of the people involved, and the degree of editorial oversight and the quality assurance of the peer review system itself.  The committee felt strongly that research data should be fully disclosed and, especially in the case of publicly funded research, made publicly available, to ensure reliability, testing, and reproducibility. Citing the importance of post-publication peer review and commentary, the use of new media and social networking tools was seen as an “enormous opportunity for experimentation” as a supplement to pre-publication peer-review. As well  post-publication review was recognized as an important vehicle in ensuring wide and expedient transmission of interesting research,  facilitation of rapid review by the global audience, and  in alerting the community to ”potential deficiencies and problems with published work”.

The Rand Europe Report, Alternatives to Peer Review in Research Project Funding  acknowledged that while peer review is considered the gold standard for reviewing research proposals, it is not always the best methodology for every research funding process.  The discussion of a set of established approaches that offer alternatives to traditional peer review are presented to inspire thinking among research funders to apply based on their situation and mission.

PubMed Central Canada: A new information resource

PubMedCentral Canada (PMC)  is a free digital archive of full-text, peer-reviewed health and life sciences literature. The CIHR has partnered with the NRC’s Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI) and the US Library of Medicine (NLM) in the creation of this central repository for CIHR-funded research publications.  Anyone can access this page to search, browse and download articles.  PMC recently launced its manuscript submission system that enables CIHR-funded researchers to deposit their peer-reviewed research publications.  Currently PMC is only accepting publications that are the result of CIHR funding. However, they say their aim is to grow PMC into a premier public access resource of Canadian health research findings and they hope to collaborate with other Canadian funders of health research in doing so.

Visitors can browse the PMC journals listed alphabetically.  Click on the A-B link, for example, and get a listing with more information about access and participation level of the journal in PMC. Also listed is a Search link with each article that gives you access to the abstract, full text, or pdf version of articles in that journal. An advanced search option takes you to the National Library of Medicine PubMed Central search interface and all the functionality and resources available there.

This seems a very valuable tool. I look forward to exploring it.

Social Networking, Social Neuroscience, Aging

A June 2, 2009 article, Online, A Reason To Keep On Going, in the New York Times reported that among older people who went online last year, the number visiting social networks like Facebook and MySpace grew almost twice as fast as the overall rate of Internet use among that group, according to the media measurement company comScore.
Researchers who focus on aging are now studying whether the networks can provide some of the benefits of a group of friends, while being much easier to assemble and maintain. About one-third of people 75 and older live alone. Per the article, in response to the growing number of older Americans, the National Institute on Aging is awarding at least $10 million in grants for researchers who examine social neuroscience and its effect on aging.