Goal of the SRCD Diversity Reviewer Database
The SRCD Diversity Reviewer Database (DRD) strives to increase the diversity of scientific review panel participants at federal agencies and foundations when reviewing research proposals focusing on developmental science. Via the DRD resource, authorized Scientific Review Officers (SROs) have access to the curriculum vitae (CVs) (and biosketches in the format requested by agencies or foundations when participants in the DRD have opted to provide these) of minority scholars and others whose research focuses on the development of racial and ethnic minority children and youth. All of the researchers participating in this Diversity Reviewer Database have indicated their interest in taking part in the scientific review process. They have each provided permission to SROs at specific agencies or foundations to access their materials.
Why has SRCD developed the Diversity Reviewer Database?
Research focusing on awards of major proposals at the National Institutes of Health has indicated a disparity by race and ethnicity. In 2011, Ginther et al. reported a disparity of 10 percentage points for Black and African American scientists in receipt of NIH R01 funding, controlling for an applicant’s educational background, training, previous research awards, publication record, and institution characteristics. Subsequent research has continued to document this disparity (Hoppe et al., 2019). An important finding in the work by Ginther and colleagues was that participation in the proposal review process was one approach that helped to diminish the disparity.
How the idea for this resource emerged
With funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, SRCD initiated the Scholar Development Program in which Black and African American scholars in developmental science have received mentoring in the development of a major research proposal by more senior researchers who have submitted and received funding for such proposals. As part of the first convening of the Scholar Development Program, Dr. Richard Nakamura, then director of the NIH Center for Scientific Review, participated in a two-hour discussion with the participants. The idea for this Diversity Reviewer Database grew out of that discussion. The participants felt that they would benefit from experience in reviewing proposals; Dr. Nakamura indicated there was a need for a resource providing areas of expertise and ways to contact researchers of diverse backgrounds interested in serving as reviewers.
SRCD piloted a first round of the Diversity Reviewer Database in PDF format in 2018. Materials from over 50 scholars were submitted and shared with SROs at NIH and NSF. Multiple participants gained experience as reviewers through the distribution of this pilot version. We were excited when requests for the materials came from further agencies beyond NIH and NSF. We are grateful to the funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to now move from the pilot phase--involving PDFs--to a searchable database.
Transition to a restricted access searchable database
With the DRD, SRCD will be reaching out to developmental scientists periodically for updates on their CVs and biosketches and to include the materials of further scholars. SRCD will also regularly reach out to federal agencies and foundations to let authorized SROs know the materials have been updated. The database is set up to make it easier for SROs to search for reviewers with appropriate backgrounds for a particular review.
To participate as potential reviewers through the DRD, users must have an active SRCD early career or professional membership, hold a doctorate degree, and upload a CV (and an optional NIH, NSF or other biosketch).
Funding Agency Eligibility
Funding agencies and foundations may request access to search the DRD for potential participants on proposal review panels by emailing email@example.com. Access is granted to individual Scientific Review Officers by SRCD. Requests for access should include information about:
- The SRO's office, agency, or foundation and the SRO's position and title within it;
- The nature of the review panel(s) for which the SRO is seeking potential reviewers, making clear that there is a focus on developmental science;
- Confirmation that accessing the DRD for potential reviewers has been discussed and approved within the office, agency, or foundation, including names of those with whom this has been discussed and individuals who have provided permission to access the DRD if this is required; and
- A statement assuring confidentiality in using the DRD, indicating that access to the database will not be shared further, even with colleagues in the same office (who are welcome to submit their own requests for access separately), and that the materials of potential reviewers will be handled as confidential and not shared further without written permission from the potential reviewer.