Peer Review and Conflict of Interest Policy

The Maryland Sea Grant program uses a careful peer-review process to achieve high-quality evaluations of all solicited research proposals. The program solicits reviewers who are experts with appropriate experience and knowledge to provide meaningful input on the proposals under consideration.

Maryland Sea Grant employs various types of formal and informal review, depending on the proposal under consideration. These methods include, but are not limited to: mail and electronic reviews, technical panels, outreach or end user panels, extension panels, and formal advisory committees. Please consult the specific Request for Proposals for evaluation criteria and methods.

Peer Review: A widely used, time-honored practice in scientific and engineering communities for judging and potentially improving a scientific or technical plan, proposal, activity, program, or work product through documented critical evaluation by individuals or groups with relevant expertise who had no involvement in developing the object under review (National Research Council 2000). 

Conflict of Interest: Any financial or other interest which conflicts with the service of the individual on the review panel because it (1) could significantly impair the individual's objectivity or (2) could create an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization (National Academy of Sciences 2003).

To maintain the integrity of the peer-review process, Maryland Sea Grant asks that reviewers be forthright about possible conflicts of interest. We request that potential reviewers who cannot provide an objective evaluation or who may have a conflict of interest inform us right away. Such conflicts might include: a major professor/student relationship with the applicant(s); publishing with the applicant(s) in the last four years; a colleague of the applicant(s) in the same academic department; a direct or indirect supervisory role over the applicant(s) in the last year; grants, contracts, or any financial interests with the applicant(s); or relation by blood or marriage to the applicants.

Reviewers must read our conflict of interest policy and sign off that no conflict exists before providing an electronic review or serving on a Maryland Sea Grant review panel. You must submit this conflict of interest disclosure as part of the review process in eSeaGrant.

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