Nominations and appointments of NHMRC peer reviewers across any NHMRC funding scheme is guided by the following principles:
Peer review membership turnover: NHMRC strives to ensure composition of those reviewing applications is comprised of both experienced and new peer reviewers by retaining approximately 60 per cent of peer reviewers from the previous year. Where a peer reviewer has served for more than three years consecutively, NHMRC endeavours to provide at least one ‘rest year’. This does not include those peer reviewers who have, in the past, served three years consecutively but have not participated in peer review recently.
Peer reviewer research track record: Peer reviewers should be experienced researchers who have had funding from NHMRC or have been part of an equivalent national or international competitive peer review process.
Peer reviewer experience: NHMRC considers that peer reviewers’ experience in peer review, including for peer-reviewed journals or other funding organisations, is important to ensuring that NHMRC funding is awarded to applications that have been rigorously and fairly assessed against the assessment criteria.
Integrity: NHMRC expects peer reviewers to exemplify integrity in all involvement with the peer-review process, and must act in good faith in the best interests of NHMRC and the research community. This includes, but is not limited to, the maintenance of absolute confidentiality and thus, abstaining from improper use of their involvement (or information obtained from their involvement) to gain an advantage for themselves or any person, or to cause detriment to NHMRC. NHMRC expects peer reviewers to adhere to the principles and practices outlined in Peer Review: a guide supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
Goals for peer review membership
In determining the final peer review membership, NHMRC will also aspire to:
- retain approximately 60 per cent of peer reviewers from one year in the next year’s peer review membership
- ensure broad State and Territory representation
- ensure representation of peer reviewers from diverse (location and size) Administering Institutions
- ensure spread of a single Administering Institution’s applications across peer review panels
- ensure a balanced representation of gender
- ensure relevant expertise is included as dictated by application demand
- minimise the number of instances that panels consider an application(s) submitted by an applicant serving on the same panel.
NHMRC Peer Review – Guidance for Self-nominations
A guide for researchers considering self-nominating for peer review covers the different scheme types and the level of expertise and experience required.