Conflicts of Interest

Our goal is informed, unbiased discussion of each proposal:

  • Grading committee members should have neither direct nor indirect interest vested in the outcome of the review.
  • The subset of the review committee discussing the proposal should have sufficient knowledge to assess the science.

It is critically important that conflicts of interest, or the appearance thereof, are avoided during the selection process. Conflicted reviewers should not provide preliminary grades for a proposal and will leave the room and not take part in the discussion or grading of those proposals during the panel meeting.

The following are identified as conflicts:

  • Personal involvement (PI or Co-I)

  • Recent former advisor/student of PI or Co-I

  • Involvement in a closely competing proposal regardless of whether that proposal is also before your panel.

    • Proposals are judged to be 'closely competing' if their scientific goals, or their observations of the same targets, are sufficiently similar that an impartial panel, knowing one had been approved, would be unlikely to approve the other. Such conflicts should be direct and specific; a Panelist or Chair should not be excluded from considering an entire sub-category of proposals.

  • Strong competitor as the PI or co-I on the proposal
  • Close personal ties (family, etc.) with PI or Co-I

  • Close collaborator as the PI or Co-I on the proposal

    • A close collaborator is someone who is an active collaborator on a current research program, an active collaborator on at least 3 projects completed within the last 3 years, or an active co-author on 3 or more papers in the last 3 years (co-membership of a large consortium, such as SDSS, is not a disqualifying factor).

Reviewers are asked to identify all such potential conflicts of interest as part of the recruitment process.

Since Cycle 1 proposals are anonymized, STScI staff will identify conflicts using the conflict lists supplied by the panelists. If a reviewer feels that they have a conflict with any additional proposals, please contact the panel support scientist before grading that proposal so that the conflicts can be updated accordingly.

Next: Cycle 1 Review Galactic/Extragalactic TAC Meetings