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Peer Review

Each year, organizations and major foundations award billions of dollars to the research proposals and projects that are determined to show the most promise. Among many qualified contenders, how can these funding organizations effectively decide which proposals are the best? The most time-tested and widely accepted method is peer review.

What is peer review?

Peer review is the evaluation of scientific work by subject matter experts from the same or a related field. The evaluated work may be among other things, a proposal to conduct scientific research, ongoing research itself or a submitted paper based on ongoing or completed research. The peer review process involves selecting experts in the same field as the proposals who evaluate, comment, and score proposals based on their knowledge of the subject and their understanding of the impact each proposal would make if funded.

This value of this process comes from enlisting experts who can provide their evaluations with no real or perceived bias.

Impact Areas

What we offer

Is your organization involved in proposal evaluation that requires peer review? If so, ORAU can support your efforts by conducting a full-scale review that we manage from start to finish, by taking responsibility for any of the review’s component parts, or operating as an extention to your current staff. We can draw upon our proprietary network of more than 24,000 global subject matter experts and numerous other expert databases to support your peer review. In addition, we offer:

  • Independent third party with decades of experience managing all phases of the scientific peer review and merit review process
  • A fully-integrated peer review and grants management system
  • Broad experience in using other online peer review management systems
  • Logistics management for reviews, workshops, and meetings of any size
  • Ease-of-use in managing reviews from start to finish or managing any component
  • Proprietary network of global subject matter experts and access to numerous other expert databases
  • Low cost and high efficiency in all phases of the peer review process
  • Management of all travel, honoraria, and other arrangements for expert panels

Why choose ORAU?

For those who are tasked with conducting peer review on behalf of their organization, the process can be daunting and often costly in both dollars and time. When an organization needs only a few reviews on an infrequent basis, it can also be a very inefficient process.

That’s where ORAU has the ability to take the entire process, or any part of it, and manage it with the efficiency and cost-effectiveness that only comes with having conducted thousands of reviews of all sizes.

The other added value that ORAU offers—and why so many organizations depend ORAU’s services—is that we provide objective, effiecient, end-to-end review services that are free of any hint of conflicts of interest. The integrity of the process from start to finish ensures that the results can be trusted without question.

A group of people discuss a peer review in a restaurant

ORAU's end-to-end peer review and grants management support

  • Planning the review
  • Identifying the experts
  • Collecting proposal
  • Convening the peer review
  • Arranging science writers
  • Facilitating the review
  • Providing technology support and information management
  • Coordinating advisory committees and workshops
  • Monitoring for continuous improvement
A group of diverse people talk in a large meeting area

Five common peer review mistakes (and how to avoid them)

How do you assess the reliability and performance of a peer review contractor? Before trusting an organization with responsibility for proposal evaluations or program reviews, check their track record by asking questions that address the core elements of quality reviews. Learn the five essential requirements for peer review contractors.

Read more about these requirements

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Contact us

For information about ORAU’s peer review and grants management capabilities, contact