College of Reviewers Membership Agreement

1. Interpretation

1.1 Definitions

A capitalized term has the meaning given to it in this section

  • “College” means the College of Reviewers
  • “Member” means the individual who has accepted an invitation to the College and who has agreed to the terms outlined in the College Membership Agreement.

1.2 Term of Agreement

This Agreement will be effective the date agreed upon by the Member, and shall terminate three years following the date agreed upon unless the agreement is terminated by the Member or CIHR.

2. Purpose and Principles

2.1 Purpose of Agreement

The purpose of this Agreement is to set out the expectations of membership in the College.

2.2 Principles

This Agreement was shaped by a set of core principles. In accepting to join the College, Members agree to apply the principles listed below to any role they fulfill within the College.

  1. Participation - Peer review depends, by definition, on the willingness of peers to participate in peer review. Receiving peer-reviewed funding for research includes the responsibility to provide the reciprocal benefit of reviewing the work of peers. Participation in peer review provides Members an opportunity to share ideas, learn from others, and embrace the collective effort to move science forward.  The success of peer review hinges on the participation of Members and the pool of expertise available to review applications.
  2. Confidentiality - Confidentiality is at the center of maintaining trust in peer review.  It is essential that all information acquired while participating in the peer review process is protected and handled with the utmost care and respect. 
  3. Excellence - Peer review is the internationally accepted benchmark for ensuring quality and excellence in scientific research. The College supports excellence in the practice and management of peer review by providing documentation, learning and support to enable Members to apply their own expertise in peer review.
  4. Impartiality, fairness and honesty - Success of peer review is critically dependent upon the willingness and ability of all reviewers to be fair and transparent; to exercise rigorous scientific judgment; and to understand, and take into account in a balanced way, the strengths and weaknesses of each application. Peer review is intended to be fair and unbiased, with appropriate processes to manage real, perceived or potential conflicts of interest.
  5. Integrity - Peer review is essential in helping to maintain the integrity of research and its scientific quality. The College structure contributes to the integrity of peer review, by providing consistency in actions, methods, measures, principles and expectations. College Members are expected to act in good faith and in the best interest of Canada, CIHR, and the research community for the purpose of supporting the creation of new knowledge and its translation.
  6. Transparency and Accountability - Peer review ensures accountability to the Canadian public. Transparency assures that health research projects are reviewed with the best interests of Canadians in mind. Transparency is demonstrated through open communication, published policies, standards and procedures as well as measurement and reporting of results.  Applications for funding will be reviewed in accordance with published criteria for each funding opportunity.

3. Responsibilities of the Member

3.1 Participation

The Member agrees to:

  1. Participate in peer reviewing activities upon invitation, when possible;
  2. Actively participate in the peer review process; 
  3. Maintain their Reviewer Profile by updating/validating their profile information, as required; and
  4. Provide high quality reviews.

3.2 Learning and Mentoring

The Member agrees to:

  1. Complete the necessary College learning activities; and
  2. Participate in mentorship activities upon request.

3.3 Quality Assurance

The Member agrees to:

  1. Authorize CIHR to monitor their participation for the purposes of continuous business improvement, recognition of contributions, membership progression and strengthening the quality of peer review; and
  2. Participate in the evaluation of review quality upon request.

3.4 Sharing of Information

The Member agrees to:

  1. Allow CIHR to share their Reviewer Profile with other Members of the College;
  2. Allow CIHR to provide data to their primary research institution or organization regarding their participation and peer review activities;
  3. Allow CIHR to use their peer review activity data in reports that summarize their peer review participation and activities;
  4. Allow CIHR to use CCV and Reviewer Profile data to inform College activities, including but not limited to, sharing this data with Competition Chairs to support the matching and assignment of reviewers to applications;
  5. Allow CIHR to use their anonymized reviews in analyses, training materials or any other means that support the objective of improving CIHR systems and processes; and
  6. Allow CIHR to share their Reviewer Profile with partner organizations for use in specific competition recruitment.

3.5 Confidentiality

The Member agrees:

  1. To abide by the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations;
  2. That all information received through or related to his or her involvement with the College is hereby deemed “Confidential Information” and includes, without limitation, applications, proposals, meeting materials, College deliberations, discussions, evaluations of applications, and peer review documents;
  3. To not share or disclose Confidential Information with anyone, including not with his/her employer or organization; and
  4. To not use Confidential Information for the benefit of the Member or of any other individual or organization.

4. Responsibility of CIHR in conducting activities related to the College

4.1 Participation

CIHR agrees to:

  1. Manage requests and queries centrally;
  2. Manage and monitor Members’ workload and activities in relation to CIHR peer review; and
  3. Recognize Members’ peer review contributions.

4.2 Learning and Mentoring

CIHR agrees to:

  1. Offer opportunities for learning and mentorship to Members.

4.3 Quality Assurance and Performance Management

CIHR agrees to:

  1. Use performance data to inform renewal, recognition and membership progression activities;
  2. Use results from the College evaluations to improve the College’s learning programs and effectiveness of peer review;
  3. Provide activity reports to Members on a periodic basis; and
  4. Monitor the adequacy of the College’s expertise base.

4.4 Sharing of Information

CIHR agrees to:

  1. Provide activity reports to Members, and their research institutions or other organizations;
  2. Collaborate with research institutions and other organizations to strengthen support of peer review activities; and
  3. Safeguard entrusted information in accordance with the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.
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