Review Quality Checklist

The following checklist was developed as a practical tool to assist applicants/reviewers to apply the review quality criteria to their received/submitted reviews.

Criterion Definition Interpretation
Appropriateness Review comments are fair, understandable, confidential and respectful.
  • Review respects the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy
  • Absence of comments that suggest bias against the applicant(s) due to sex, ethnicity, age, language, career stage, institutional affiliation, or geographic location
  • Review is original, and written in clear and understandable language
  • Absence of comments that can be construed as sarcastic, flippant or arrogant
Robustness Review is thorough, complete and credible.
  • Review contains a detailed justification of each rating, including meaningful and clearly expressed descriptions of both the application strengths and weaknesses
  • Comments align with the given rating
  • Review addresses all applicable adjudication criteria and does not include information that is not relevant to the adjudication criteria
  • All comments on grant content are factually correct
  • Absence of statements which could put into question the reviewer's scientific knowledge or expertise
Utility Review provides feedback that addresses the needs of reviewers, applicants and funders.
  • Review comments are constructive and may help applicants to improve their  future submissions and/or advance their research
  • Review contains information that allows other reviewers to understand the reviewer's rating(s)
  • Review is detailed enough to be used by CIHR to evaluate and refine review process elements

Note: Reviews reflect expert opinions, which are influenced by the scientific knowledge and/or experience of an individual reviewer. Consequently, the review quality criteria are not designed to ensure the validity of a scientific opinion expressed in a review. The validity of scientific opinions is addressed by other elements of the peer review process, such as ensuring appropriate reviewer to application assignments and participation in peer review committee discussions.

If you have any questions about the Checklist please see Questions and Answers or contact the College of Reviewers: college@cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

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