College of Reviewers Membership Roles and Responsibilities

1. Background

CIHR seeks to achieve the highest standards of excellence and integrity in the practice and management of peer review and has put in place mechanisms to ensure that peer reviewers receive the ongoing support necessary to meet these standards through their participation in the College of Reviewers (College).

The objective of this document is to inform and support the College of Reviewers Membership Agreement by describing CIHR's and members' roles and responsibilities along with defining the requirements and expectations of members' participation in a variety of peer review roles and activities to ensure the highest standards of confidentiality, integrity and transparency in peer review are upheld.

2. Definitions

College of Reviewers ("College")

The College is a peer review resource designed to engender a shared commitment, across the Canadian health research enterprise, to support excellent peer review of the diverse and emerging health research and knowledge translation activities. Over time, the College will serve CIHR and partners peer review needs and will be an internationally recognized and centrally managed resource for the Canadian health research community.

Member

The term "member" refers to an individual who has accepted the College invitation and who has agreed to the terms outlined in the College Membership Agreement.

Peer Review

The term denotes the process used by CIHR to review applications submitted for funding. CIHR's peer review process involves the evaluation of applications by a group of reviewers, who have (individually or collectively) the required experience and/or expertise, as determined by CIHR, to assess the quality and/or potential impact of the proposed research and/or the research related activities, within the context of the funding opportunity objectives. CIHR's peer review process is supported by academic reviewers, as well as non-academic reviewers, including (but not limited to); industry, government and community-based representatives.

Other definitions to be used in the interpretation of this document can be found in CIHR's Glossary of Funding Related Terms.

3. Roles and Responsibilities

3.1 Membership Agreement

Members are required to agree to the College Membership Agreement which details the expectations of membership in the College.

3.1.1 Membership

Individuals must meet the applicable member selection criteria in order to be considered for membership within the College. In order to build capacity in the College, individuals who do not fully meet the selection criteria may be considered for associate membership within the College.

The length of a College member's term is three years, which is renewable.

Members may terminate their relationship with the College at any time; however, with the exception of extenuating circumstances, the College will request that the member fulfill any outstanding peer review commitments prior to terminating their membership.

3.1.2 College Roles

The College includes roles to support mentorship activities, competition delivery, review quality assurance practices and College oversight.  

3.1.3 College Learning Requirements

Members are required to fully understand the competitions for which they are reviewing and their specific role within the competition, their role(s) within the College, and the role of the College within the health research landscape. Learning activities are available to College members to address these requirements.

3.1.3.1 Mentorship Program

Mentorship will be available for members who are new to a particular College role and for other members as needed. Members may be asked to act as a mentor.

3.1.4 Performance Management and Quality Assurance

In support of continuous improvements to peer review and to recognize the contribution of its members, the College will put in place performance management and quality assurance programs.

3.1.4.1 Performance Management Program

CIHR will monitor the performance of the College membership base to ensure continuous business improvement, resource alignment and recognition of contributions with the goal of strengthening the quality of peer review.

3.1.4.2 Quality Assurance Program

A quality assurance program dedicated to review quality will be in place to systematically ensure expectations are being achieved by members. Members may be asked to participate in quality of review assessment activities.

3.1.5 Recognizing Peer Review Service

CIHR is committed to recognizing in meaningful ways the significant contributions of members to peer review and the health research enterprise. CIHR will work with stakeholders, including research institutions and other funders, to actively promote the value of peer review to the health research enterprise. Members' participation in peer review, including the quality of these contributions, will inform the College's recognition platform.

By accepting to join the College, members agree to allow CIHR to use their peer review activity data in annual reports that summarize their peer review activities and performance within the College.Members will be provided with reports that summarize their annual peer review and College specific activities. Research Institutions and other organizations will be provided with a consolidated annual report that includes information regarding peer review activities of members who are affiliated with the institution or organization.

3.1.6 Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest

College members are obligated to comply with the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations and adhere to the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Agreement for Peer Reviewers and Peer Review Observers

4. Monitoring and Reporting Requirements

CIHR is responsible for monitoring and reporting on the effectiveness of the Membership Agreement. The Membership Agreement will be reviewed at regular intervals, and will be updated as deemed necessary by CIHR.

5. References

6. Enquiries

For questions regarding College Member Roles and Responsibilities please contact college@cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

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