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NIHR Peer Reviewer Confidentiality Agreement


Published: 10 June 2021

Version: 1.0

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Confidentiality of documents

NIHR documents (such as briefing documents, research applications, reports, their titles, authors and any information contained within) viewed by NIHR Peer Reviewers and Reviewer Development Scheme members must be treated confidentially by the reviewer. If the reviewer wishes to seek input from a colleague, they need to obtain permission from the NIHR funding programme before sharing any details of the brief/application/report, or applicants.

By consenting to act as an NIHR reviewer, individuals agree that:

  • they will not disclose the content of any briefing document/application or report to any other person (including work colleagues) without the prior consent of the funding programme
  • they will not disclose to any other person the fact that an applicant has applied for a research award
  • they will not use the information for any purpose other than providing a review of it to the NIHR
  • any personal information contained within the application will be treated according to the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR), and therefore they will not disclose this information to any third party

Confidentiality for NIHR reviewers

When asked to complete a review task, a reviewers completed responses are considered confidential by the NIHR, but may occasionally be subject to requests for release under the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act (2018). Reviewers should take in to account the potential for requested release of confidential sections when providing written comments.

In addition to this:

For reviews of briefing documents:

  • reviewers’ attributed comments will be included in the research brief which goes, in confidence, to the relevant committee
  • occasionally, research briefs or comments may be released to a third party or government department, or where we are under a statutory obligation

For reviews of applications:

  • the reviewer’s anonymised response to section 1 will be passed to applicants to consider, and respond to, prior to the meeting of the funding committee
  • that comments in section 1 from all reviewers of the application are also shared with other reviewers (anonymously)
  • that the reviewer’s attributed responses to sections 1 and 2 will be shared in confidence with the relevant prioritisation or funding committee

For reviews of final reports:

  • the reviewer’s anonymised response will be passed to the author to consider and respond to
  • the reviewer’s attributed response will also be passed to the editor
  • that comments from all reviewers of the report are also shared with other reviewers (anonymously)

More information on how the NIHR uses and protects information including personal details can be found in the NIHR Privacy Policy.