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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Peer Review in Environmental Technology Development Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6408.
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Peer Review in Environmental Technology Development Programs

The Department of Energy's Office of Science and Techonolgy

Committee on the Department of Energy—Office of Science and Technology's Peer Review Program

Board on Radioactive Waste Management

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1998

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Peer Review in Environmental Technology Development Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6408.
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This work was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Contract No. DE-FC01-94EW54069. All opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Energy.

International Standard Book Number 0-309-06338-8

Additional copies of this report are available from:
National Academy Press
2101 Constitution Ave., NW Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area) http://www.nap.edu

Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Peer Review in Environmental Technology Development Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6408.
×

COMMITTEE ON THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY—OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY'S PEER REVIEW PROGRAM

C. HERB WARD, Chair,

Rice University, Houston, Texas

BARRY BOZEMAN,

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

RADFORD BYERLY, Jr.,

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (retired), Boulder, Colorado

LINDA A. CAPUANO,

AlliedSignal Aerospace, San Jose, California

RICHARD A. CONWAY,

Union Carbide Corporation (retired), South Charleston, West Virginia

THOMAS A. COTTON,

JK Research Associates, Vienna, Virginia

FRANK P. CRIMI,

Lockheed Martin Advanced Environmental Systems Company (retired), Saratoga, California

JOHN C. FOUNTAIN,

State University of New York, Buffalo

DAVID T. KINGSBURY,

Chiron Corporation, Emeryville, California

GARETH THOMAS,

University of California, Berkeley

Staff

GREGORY H. SYMMES, Study Director*

SUSAN B. MOCKLER, Research Associate

ERIKA L. WILLIAMS, Research Assistant

ROBIN L. ALLEN, Senior Project Assistant

*  

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Peer Review in Environmental Technology Development Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6408.
×

BOARD ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT

MICHAEL C. KAVANAUGH, Chair,

Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., Oakland, California

JOHN F. AHEARNE, Vice-Chair,

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, and Duke University, Research Triangle Park and Durham North Carolina

ROBERT J. BUDNITZ,

Future Resources Associates, Inc., Berkeley, California

ANDREW P. CAPUTO,

Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, D.C.

MARY R. ENGLISH,

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

DARLEANE C. HOFFMAN,

Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, California

JAMES H. JOHNSON, Jr.,

Howard University, Washington, D.C.

ROGER E. KASPERSON,

Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts

JAMES O. LECKIE,

Stanford University, Stanford, California

JANE C.S. LONG,

University of Nevada, Reno

CHARLES McCOMBIE, NAGRA,

Wettingen, Switzerland

ROBERT MEYER,

Keystone Scientific, Inc., Fort Collins, Colorado

WILLIAM A. MILLS,

Oak Ridge Associated Universities, (retired), Olney, Maryland

D. WARNER NORTH,

NorthWorks, Inc., Mountain View, California

MARTIN J. STEINDLER,

Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois

JOHN J. TAYLOR,

Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, California

MARY LOU ZOBACK,

U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California

NRC Staff

KEVIN D. CROWLEY, Director

ROBERT S. ANDREWS, Senior Staff Officer

THOMAS E. KIESS, Senior Staff Officer

JOHN R. WILEY, Senior Staff Officer

SUSAN B. MOCKLER, Research Associate

ERIKA L. WILLIAMS, Research Assistant

TONI GREENLEAF, Administrative Associate

ROBIN L. ALLEN, Senior Project Assistant

PATRICIA A. JONES, Senior Project Assistant

ANGELA R. TAYLOR, Senior Project Assistant

LATRICIA C. BAILEY, Project Assistant

LAURA LLANOS, Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Peer Review in Environmental Technology Development Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6408.
×

COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES

GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair,

University of Virginia, Charlottesville

PATRICK R. ATKINS,

Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

JERRY F. FRANKLIN,

University of Washington, Seattle

B. JOHN GARRICK,

PLG, Inc., Newport Beach, California

THOMAS E. GRAEDEL,

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

DEBRA KNOPMAN,

Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, D.C.

KAI N. LEE,

Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts

JUDITH E. McDOWELL,

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

RICHARD A. MESERVE,

Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C.

HUGH C. MORRIS,

Canadian Global Change Program, Delta, British Columbia

RAYMOND A. PRICE,

Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario

THOMAS C. SCHELLING,

University of Maryland, College Park

VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL,

Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, Florida

E-AN ZEN,

University of Maryland, College Park

MARY LOU ZOBACK,

United States Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California

NRC Staff

ROBERT M. HAMILTON, Executive Director

GREGORY H. SYMMES, Assistant Executive Director

JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative Officer & Financial Officer

SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate

MARQUITA SMITH, Administrative Assistant/Technology Analyst

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Peer Review in Environmental Technology Development Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6408.
×

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government, and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Peer Review in Environmental Technology Development Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6408.
×

Preface

In March 1996, the National Research Council's Committee on Environmental Management Technologies (CEMT) recommended that the Department of Energy (DOE)-Office of Science and Technology (OST) develop and apply a standardized, rigorous, and independent external peer review process to all of its technology development programs (NRC, 1996). A subsequent report by the General Accounting Office (GAO, 1996) echoed these findings. As a result, in September 1996, OST instituted a new program to perform peer reviews of technologies (or groups of technologies) at various stages of development. Shortly thereafter, OST requested that the National Research Council (NRC) form a committee to evaluate the effectiveness of its new program and make specific recommendations to improve it, if appropriate. In particular, the committee was asked to review the following:

  • internal procedures used by OST to identify the need for timely peer review of projects and programs;
  • structures, protocols, and procedures for obtaining peer reviews of OST projects and programs, including who decides what will be peer reviewed, what criteria for peer review are used, and when in the R&D process peer review is requested; and
  • feedback of peer review results into program management and development decisions.

The committee was directed to compare OST's practices to generally accepted norms for scientific and technical peer review, including practices for selection of peer reviewers and screening for bias and conflict of interest.

This is the second of two reports prepared by the committee. OST requested an interim report (NRC, 1997b) to provide a preliminary assessment of

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Peer Review in Environmental Technology Development Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6408.
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the program. In particular, OST asked the committee to consider whether it was moving in the right direction toward the implementation of a credible, effective, and defensible peer review program. In this final report, the committee provides a more detailed assessment of OST's peer review program after its first complete annual cycle.

Another NRC committee, the Committee on Prioritization and Decision Making in the Department of Energy-Office of Science and Technology, is currently conducting a parallel evaluation of the decision-making processes throughout OST's technology development program. One aspect of its work will be to examine the role and importance of peer reviews in OST's decision-making processes. Our committee therefore has focused its work on OST's peer review program itself (including an evaluation of how peer reviews, if conducted, could be made more useful as an input to OST's decision-making processes), but has not evaluated these decision-making processes explicitly.

In conducting this study, the committee was briefed on the newly instituted peer review program by OST staff at six committee meetings. The committee wishes to thank Gerald Boyd, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science and Technology, in particular, for meeting with the committee at three of its meetings. In addition, Jef Walker, Anibal Taboas, Texas Chee, Miles Dionisio, and other OST staff were very helpful in providing requested materials; briefing the committee on various aspects of the peer review program; sharing various "lessons learned" about the peer review program; and coordinating briefings by other relevant DOE staff. They also helped facilitate committee members' observations of a number of the peer reviews. The committee also would like to thank the staff of the Institute for Regulatory Science (RSI) and representatives from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)—most notably, Alan Moghissi, Ernest Daman, and Howard Clark—for arranging for the committee to observe selected peer reviews, providing the committee with draft peer review reports, and sharing their thoughts on OST's peer review program.

In addition to briefings by DOE, RSI, and ASME, the committee also heard from representatives from other organizations that utilize and/or conduct peer reviews. The committee wishes to thank all of the invited speakers who made presentations to the committee on peer review practices in their organizations, specifically, Brad Smith from the Department of Defense's Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, Donna Dean from the National Institutes of Health, Hratch Semerjian from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Donald Senich from the National Science Foundations' Small Business Innovation Research Program, Dorothy Patton and Jack Puzak from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), David Morrison from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Don Barnes from EPA's Science

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Peer Review in Environmental Technology Development Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6408.
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Advisory Board, Robert Marianelli from the Department of Energy—Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Donald R. Beem from the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and Carl Guastaferro from Information Dynamics, Inc. The latter two organizations have conducted reviews for federal agencies for many years. Although the mission of each of these organizations is distinct from that of OST, these presentations illustrated that many of the fundamental characteristics of successful peer review programs are applicable to a diverse range of objectives, from reviewing proposals to reviewing ongoing technology projects.

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report:

Paul Barton, U.S. Geological Survey (emeritus)

Daryl Chubin, National Science Foundation

Mary English, University of Tennessee

George Hornberger, University of Virginia

James Johnson, Howard University

Jeff Marqusee, U.S. Department of Defense

John Taylor, Electric Power Research Institute (retired)

While the individuals listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, it must be emphasized that responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

This report could not have been completed without the able assistance of National Research Council staff. Robin Allen provided meeting and committee support during the early stages of this study, as well as assisting with the final review and publication of this report. Rob Greenway prepared the camera-ready copy of this report for publication. Susan Mockler prepared meeting minutes, conducted research, and edited several drafts of the report. Erika Williams provided exceptional meeting and committee support for most of the study, and made significant contributions to the report by compiling committee members' written contributions into coherent drafts and by conducting research. The committee is especially grateful to study director

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Peer Review in Environmental Technology Development Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6408.
×

Gregory Symmes, whose writing skills and insights contributed significantly to this report.

One of the challenges of this study has been that OST's peer review program has been somewhat of a "moving target" during the study period, because OST has made a number of changes in the program throughout the study, especially in response to the committee's interim report. Although this has made the committee's work more difficult at times, it reflects a positive commitment within OST to improve the peer review program as potential improvements are recognized. The committee hopes that this report will be useful to OST as it strives to implement peer review as an important tool in its decision-making process.

C. HERB WARD, CHAIR

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Peer Review in Environmental Technology Development Programs. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6408.
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