We have five principles of peer review, which must be implemented by our member charities across funding for all types of medical and psychosocial research.

  • Accountability: Charities must be open and transparent about their peer review procedures and publish details, including the names of members of scientific advisory panels or other decision-making bodies.
  • Balance: Scientific advisory panels must reflect a fair balance of experience and scientific disciplines.
  • Independent decision making: The scientific advisory panel must be independent of the charity's administrative staff and trustees.
  • Rotation of scientific advisers: Scientific advisory panel members must have a fixed term of office and not have tenure.
  • Impartiality: Scientific advisory panels must include a significant number of non-beneficiaries. There must be a conflict of interest policy and potential beneficiaries should not be present when decisions are made.

You can read about how to implement our principles of peer review in this guidance.

We've also developed a thought-piece for charities to reflect on the future of peer review and consider changes that could be made.

Peer review audit

We assess charities’ peer review processes when they apply for membership and carry out a full audit of all our members every five years. The audit collects benchmarking data on the work involved in peer review enabling us to reassess our principles and ensure our members are keeping pace with best practice.

Passing our audit is considered a hallmark of quality by universities, government and funding bodies.

The process and outcomes of the most recent audit can be found here: Peer Review Audit 2020.