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Peer Review

ORAU brings decades of experience in scientific peer review and merit review for agencies and organizations of all sizes.

Each year, federal and state agencies as well as major foundations award billions in dollars to research proposals and projects deemed to show the most promise. The goal is always to award funding to the most deserving proposals. But how can these 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 to evaluate, comment, and score proposals based on their knowledge of the subject and understanding of the impact each proposal would make if funded.

Peer reviewer

What we offer

  • Multiple decades of experience in all aspects of scientific peer review and merit review
  • A fully-integrated peer review management system
  • Broad experience in using other online peer review management systems
  • Ability to conduct 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
  • Facilitator and subject matter experts engaged in peer review

    Why choose ORAU?

    For those who are tasked with conducting peer review on behalf of their agency or 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.

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    Recruiting the experts

    We can draw upon our proprietary network of more than 18,000 global subject matter experts and numerous other expert databases to support your peer review. Contact us at to connect to the right experts or for help recruiting subject matter experts.

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    ORAU's peer review process

    • Planning the review
    • Identifying the experts
    • Conducting the peer review
    • Managing the information
    • Coordinating workshops
    • Implementing improvements
  • Peer review subject matter experts talk during a peer review

    How we can help

    Is your agency or company 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 beginning to end, or by taking responsibility for any of the review’s component parts. Contact us at to learn more.

    Request a PeerNet Demo

Reviewer using PeerNet

PeerNet – Proposal Management System

PeerNet logo

PeerNet is specifically designed to facilitate effective proposal solicitation, peer review, and award management by using ORAU’s proprietary and easy-to-navigate online portal. PeerNet is a structured system where:

  • Proposals are collected from principal investigators using customized criteria.
  • Peer review scores and comments from multiple subject matter experts are entered.
  • Common criteria and scoring methods allow for apples-to-apples comparisons.
  • Data are delivered quickly to inform decision making.
  • Information, documents, and deliverables are exchanged with awardees.

Already a PeerNet user?  Log in to PeerNet

Want to check it out?  Request a PeerNet demo

View the PeerNet Fact Sheet

Building trust in peer review

Building trust in peer review

At its core, peer review is a method used to help agencies allocate finite resources, like grant funding or even time on supercomputers or telescopes. While it is the most reliable and trusted system for research grant evaluation, peer review does have issues that can lead to lack of trust. Meredith Goins, MSIS, ORAU science and research support group manager, presented a poster at the American Geophysical Union 2020 virtual conference. Her poster helps define the qualities peer reviewers should possess to be effective in their roles.

Our Experts

Jody Crisp

Jody Crisp

Expertise: Project management, performance measurement, budgeting, contingency planning, sponsorship development, conflicts of interest resolution, quality assurance

  • Peer review project manager for more than 500 DOE Office of Science peer review projects since 2002
  • Community volunteer, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children, Anderson County, Tennessee
Keri Cagle, M.S.

Keri Cagle, M.S.

Expertise: Peer review operations and project management, government contract compliance, process improvement, systems development, collaborative leadership and team building

Cagle is an astute business leader with an innovative mindset to use technology to revolutionize processes at ORAU. Her sponsorship of the redesigns of key systems such as PeerNet and Zintellect demonstrate her technological ability and essential collaboration and communication capabilities.

Certifications: Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Internal Auditor, Master Certification in Government Contracting

Contact us

For information about ORAU’s research, reviews and evaluations, contact Keri Cagle at 865.241.3804 or