Confidentiality in NIH Peer Review
Maintaining confidentiality in NIH peer review is an essential core value that allows free exchange of scientific opinions and evaluations. In order to protect confidential information, portions of NIH review meetings (initial peer review and Council) are closed or partially closed to the public if grant applications and contract proposals are being reviewed or discussed. All discussions, application materials (except those in the public domain such as publications), and information about conflicts of interest and assignments of individual reviewers to particular applications are strictly confidential.
Certification. Reviewers must sign a confidentiality certification and lobbyist status certification before gaining access to applications and meeting materials. See:
Security. Review communications and grant applications are handled so as to protect sensitive data and confidential information. See Awareness Guides for Protecting the Security of Grant Applications:
Breaches of Confidentiality. Applicants should never contact reviewers on the study section where their applications are being evaluated, and reviewers should report to their SROs if they are asked to breach their confidentiality agreements. This is true before, during and after the initial peer review and through Council review. Bona fide breaches of confidentiality may result in consequences for reviewers, including notification of their institutional officials.
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