Tuesday, June 26, 2007

#36: Picture the Grant Reviewer

A reviewer at the National Institutes of Healt...Image via Wikipedia
Always write for your audience, not your client. And in the grant writing business, your audience is your review panel. Who are they? Your agencies' peers. People who research and consult in the area the grant addresses.

I write to a specific individual I picture with applications stacked up around him, late at night, eyes blurring. But here's Scott Adams' (of Dilbert fame) take on peer review. It's a bit different than mine.

The Dilbert Blog: Peer Review: "Peer Review

Peer review in science is a good thing, in the sense that it works better than any other process you can think of. But how well does it work? Dilbert Blog reader Jeff points to this link about the limits of peer review.

The article fits my preconceived notions quite well. Assuming scientists are human beings, it seems to me that most peer reviewers would fall into one of these categories:

1. Asshole
2. Biased egomaniac
3. Nice person who doesn’t want to make people feel bad
4. Too busy to put any quality thought into it
5. Person with low self-esteem who doesn’t want others to succeed in his or her field
6. Coward who doesn’t want to rock the boat

I suppose some scientists have plenty of free time, no biases, and would be happy to see colleagues succeed beyond their own careers. But seriously, how many of those scientists could there be? I don’t know any non-scientists who could fit that description."

Have you been a reviewer? Defend -- err, tell us about yourself.
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