Using peer review to improve research and promote collaboration

Acad Psychiatry. 2014 Feb;38(1):5-10. doi: 10.1007/s40596-013-0027-1. Epub 2014 Jan 22.


Objective: The declining success rate of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant applications highlights the need for interdisciplinary work within a large, diverse department to improve chances of federal funding success. The authors demonstrate how systematic peer review promotes two goals: enhancing the quality of research proposals and cultivating a collaborative departmental culture.

Methods: Changes to the Research Review Committee (RRC) in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh were instituted to accommodate the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of grant applications, integrate revisions to NIH grant application processes, and incorporate advances in computer technology.

Results: The internal peer review process is associated with success in obtaining research support and with significant levels of collaborative scientific work reflected in both grant applications and peer-reviewed publications.

Conclusions: A rich collaborative environment promoted through a rigorous internal peer review system has many benefits for both the quality of scholarly work and the collegiality of the research environment.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Peer Review, Research / standards*
  • Research Support as Topic / standards*