Article

Scientometrics

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 11-23

Does Peer Review Predict the Performance of Research Projects in Health Sciences?

  • L. Erik ClaveríaAffiliated withNeurology Unit, General Hospital
  • , Eliseo GuallarAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, National School of Public Health Instituto de Salud Carlos III
  • , Jordi CamíAffiliated withInstitut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica (IMIM), Universitat Pompeu Fabra
  • , José CondeAffiliated withAgency for Health Technology Assessment, Instituto de Salud Carlos III
  • , Roberto PastorAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, National School of Public Health Instituto de Salud Carlos III
  • , José R. RicoyAffiliated withNeuropathology Unit
  • , Eduardo Rodríguez-FarréAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmacology and Toxicology, CSIC
  • , Fernando Ruiz-PalomoAffiliated withDivision of Internal Medicine, Hospital Ramón y Cajal
  • , Emilio MuñozAffiliated withInstitute for Advanced Sociologic Research

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Abstract

Peer review is a basic component of the scientific process, but its performance has seldom been evaluated systematically. To determine whether pre-approval characteristics of research projects predicted the performance of projects, we conducted a retrospective cohort study of all 2744 single-centre research projects financed by the Spanish Health Research Fund since 1988 and completed before 1996. Peer review scores of grant applications were significant predictors of performance of funded projects, and the likelihood of production was also higher for projects with a basic research component, longer duration, higher budget or a financed research fellow. Funding agencies should monitor their selection process and assess the performance of funded projects to design future strategies in supporting health sciences research.