The transformative nature of transparency in research funding

PLoS Biol. 2014 Dec 30;12(12):e1002027. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002027. eCollection 2014 Dec.


Central to research funding are grant proposals that researchers send in to potential funders for review, in the hope of approval. A survey of policies at major research funders found that there is room for more transparency in the process of grant review, which would strengthen the case for the efficiency of public spending on research. On that basis, debate was invited on which transparency measures should be implemented and how, with some concrete suggestions at hand. The present article adds to this discussion by providing further context from the literature, along with considerations on the effect size of the proposed measures. The article then explores the option of opening to the public key components of the process, makes the case for pilot projects in this area, and sketches out the potential that such measures might have to transform the research landscape in those areas in which they are implemented.

MeSH terms

  • Financial Management*
  • Peer Review, Research
  • Research
  • Research Support as Topic*

Grant support

The author received no specific funding for this work.