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Research Article

Teleconference versus Face-to-Face Scientific Peer Review of Grant Application: Effects on Review Outcomes

  • Stephen A. Gallo mail,

    sgallo@aibs.org

    Affiliation: American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), Scientific Peer Advisory and Review Services (SPARS) Division, Reston, Virginia, United States of America

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  • Afton S. Carpenter,

    Affiliation: American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), Scientific Peer Advisory and Review Services (SPARS) Division, Reston, Virginia, United States of America

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  • Scott R. Glisson

    Affiliation: American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), Scientific Peer Advisory and Review Services (SPARS) Division, Reston, Virginia, United States of America

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  • Published: August 07, 2013
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071693

Reader Comments (1)

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The ability of Face-to-Face vs Teleconferencing to move a grant

Posted by maschner on 09 May 2014 at 15:01 GMT

I am not a big fan of the Teleconferencing review process, and I have no data to back up its equality (or lack thereof) to the Face-to-Face process. I therefore welcome the Gallo conclusions, and the reassurance that outcomes in grant scoring (and other parameters) are essentially indistinguishable between the two modalities.

A critical point in the final outcome of a grant, nevertheless, is how it ultimately scores compared to the initially posted scores (e.g. prior to the committee's review). I have participated in both review format, and my sense is that body language and eye contact, the tone of the review and the reviewer's passion (or lack thereof) can critically affect the outcome. These aspects are absent from the Teleconferencing format. My prediction would be that grants undergoing Face-to-Face reviews are therefore likely to see greater swings in scoring from the initial posted score to the final scoring by the committee. This is a critical factor, which should be addressed, as it would signal a more robust input and in-depth discussion.

No competing interests declared.

RE: The ability of Face-to-Face vs Teleconferencing to move a grant

sgallo replied to maschner on 19 Jun 2014 at 15:20 GMT

Thanks for the comment. We have done some preliminary work regarding pre-meeting scores versus post-meeting scores for primary and secondary reviewers. If one subtracts pre-meeting from post-meting scores, we do see a distribution of score changes, indicating that indeed many scores do change as a result of discussion. However, so far we have NOT noticed a significant shift in the distribution of score changes as a function of review format (teleconference versus onsite). What would be most revealing would be prospective studies to see if teleconference panels ranked individual proposals in a similar order as that of onsite panels.

No competing interests declared.