26th Nov 2015

NIAA Statement on Signing Peer Reviews for NIAA Grant Applications

Proposal to the NIAA Research Council

In January 2015, the NIAA Research Council considered a proposal from the Difficult Airway Society on the de-anonymisation of peer reviews seen by NIAA grant applicants. Following discussion it was agreed that although reviewers should be encouraged to sign their reviews, this would not be made mandatory. It was also agreed that the NIAA would conduct a survey to gauge reviewers' opinion on this matter.

Survey and current position

A survey was sent to all external peer reviewers involved in the NIAA Grants Round 1 2015, asking whether they would be prepared to sign the reviews seen by applicants. At the November 2015 NIAA Research Council, it was reported that 28% of the 86 reviewers who responded to the survey would decline to review if un-blinding was made compulsory.

The Chairman subsequently invited the NIAA Research Council members to vote on whether signing should therefore be mandated. The majority agreed that mandatory signing should not be a requirement, but reviewers should be encouraged to sign their reviews.

Following this, a revision has been made to the relevant field of the online peer review tool, stating that reviewers are strongly encouraged to signs their reviews and make all their comments visible to applicants. The NIAA Research Council will review this position again in November 2016.

NIAA Grants Committee and funding partners

It should be noted that it is the NIAA Grants Committee and, ultimately, the funding partner who decides whether an application should be funded. At the NIAA Grant Committee, peer reviews are 100% open and committee members can see all the reviews along with the names and affiliations of the reviewers.

The composition of the NIAA Grants Committee via the minutes is published on the NIAA website at

Professor Robert Sneyd, Chair, NIAA Research Council
26th November 2015

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