Peer Review

What is Peer Review?

Rating Scales
Policies and Ethical Requirements
NSHRF Peer Review Roster


The NSHRF is committed to research excellence and supports exceptional and innovative research with significant aims and the potential to positively impact the health and wellbeing of Nova Scotians. A key component of accomplishing this mission is awarding research funds based on expert review committee determination of excellence through review of the knowledge, expertise, and experience of the team; feasibility of the overall research plan; and adherence to the objectives of the funding opportunity.

Since its inception in 2001, the NSHRF has established a track record for excellence in application review. The NSHRF is continuously evolving its review processes to ensure transparency, accountability, impartiality, and fairness. The information available below is an introduction to current polices, definitions, scales and guidelines.

What is Peer Review?

Peer review in the academic arena is the evaluation of a scholar or a scholarly work by peers - typically qualified members of the scholar's discipline or profession with similar or greater competence, expertise, or rank. It is intended to be a mechanism of a self-regulation within a field or an institution in order to assure that standards of quality are met, demonstrate credibility, and encourage improvement. Peer review may be applied to a product of scholarship (e.g., manuscript, book, creative work, or performance), other scholarly activities such as grant proposals, conference abstracts, and ethics review submissions, and scholars and their bodies of work (e.g., for awards, hiring, annual review, and promotion and tenure). Peer review may also apply to programs and organizations (e.g., accreditation).[1]

Rating Scale and Scoring Rubric

The NSHRF is committed to excellence and will only fund applications that achieve an overall committee rating of 3.0 or higher. The following scales are used by reviewers to rate applications. Final funding decisions are made based on the review committees' final ratings, NSHRF Legislation and Regulations and funding availability.

NSHRF Guidelines

Policies and Ethics Requirements

All NSHRF polices and ethical requirements in relation to application review can be found in the following document:

NSHRF Peer Review Roster

Reviewer Selection Process

NSHRF uses a roster system to optimize the alignment of peer reviewer expertise with application content, while maintaining continuity in committee membership.

After a competition closes and applications are reviewed for eligibility, those individuals on the roster with relevant expertise and availability will be invited to complete a self-assessment of expertise and conflicts of interest in relation to the applications submitted.

After completion of the self-assessments, reviewers will be confirmed for participation in the review process based on the following:

  • Alignment of expertise with content areas and methodology of applications
  • Minimal conflicts of interest with applicants
  • Availability for meeting dates
  • Gender balance, and institutional and regional representation on committee

All other individuals will remain on the roster for future competitions.

Roster Updates

Individuals may decline to participate as a reviewer for a particular competition, but remain on the roster for future competitions. Individuals may remove themselves from the roster at any time by notifying NHSRF. NSHRF will regularly update the roster by adding individuals with relevant expertise and an interest in participating in the peer review process. If you would be interested in joining the NSHRF Reviewer Roster please contact the Manager, Research Programs

[1] Gelmon, S.B, Jordan, C.M, & Selfer, S.D. (2013). Rethinking Peer Review: Expanding the Boundaries for Community-Engaged Scholarship. International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, 1(1), 1-10.