Peer review contributes to the success the UK has had in developing a world class research base. It is fundamental to the work of the Research Councils and they are fully committed to its use as the principal mechanism for allocating research funds.
Given its importance, the Research Councils are keen to ensure that peer review is operated as efficiently and effectively as possible. To this end RCUK responded in June 2007 to an initial project report and consultation exercise setting out how the Research Councils can ensure that researchers in universities and institutes can focus more of their energies on actually conducting their research.
At the beginning of the project, RCUK commissioned a survey from the consultants DTZ Pieda of researchers and research administrators, to establish the costs to institutions in the preparation of research proposals and of the peer review processes undertaken on behalf of Councils. It also undertook an analysis of the full costs incurred within the Research Councils' administrative processes.
RCUK published an initial report drawing on this survey and other work. It included an estimate of the total costs incurred. In addition, the report contained a number of options that could help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the peer review process. RCUK invited organisations to respond to a consultation document , to ensure that the impacts of the options were properly assessed and to understand the contribution the research community can make in shaping the way forward. A list of those who responded can be found here, along with a detailed analysis of those comments.