William Kennedy

Publication Details



    Urology is a field with many subspecialties and, as a consequence, urological research grant applications are distributed to a variety of different study sections at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It has long been the conviction of urological investigators that urological grant funding suffers as a result of this distribution. We investigated the composition of these study sections to identify the prevalence of urological expertise (or lack thereof). The review challenges the concept that urological research grant applications are being subjected to adequate peer review.Aided by personnel from the National Institute for Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Cancer Institute, 22 study sections to which urological grants are distributed were identified. A 3 to 5-year retrospective MEDLINE analysis of all the scientific publications of each study section member was done. Urological experts were identified by the criterion of having more than 1 urological publication published per year or a proportional equivalent. An equivalent analysis was performed for the study sections reviewing cardiology grants to serve as a comparison.Data analysis revealed that only 12 of 351 study section members reviewing urological grants are urological experts (3.4%). Only 3.1% of the collective published productivity of these members is in the broadly defined field of urological investigation. Omitting the published productivity of these 12 experts, less than 1% of the published works of the remaining 339 members reflects interest or expertise in urological investigations. Of the 22 study sections only 8 have urological expertise represented in their membership. Except for 1 study section, representation of urological experts was usually limited to 1 individual reflecting a 5.9 to 11.1% minority in these study sections.The lack of urological expertise represented on the NIH study sections reviewing basic and clinical urological research grant applications has far reaching ramifications. Consequently, grant applications on genitourinary diseases that commonly afflict a preponderance of Americans are inadequately reviewed at the NIH. Only through the provision of appropriate peer reviewers will this problem be solved.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1995RY81700075

    View details for PubMedID 7563369

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