About the Peer Review

User time obtained through General User Access is via competitive peer review two times per year emphasizing the excellence of science.

Evaluation Criteria

Each proposal is reviewed and scored by at least three external reviewers and at least one member of the Peer Review Committee for “All Other Beamlines” and at least two committee members for “Macromolecular Crystallography”.  All reviewers have an opportunity to request clarifications from the applicant if required during the review process, using the electronic proposal system.  Reviewers are asked to provide an integer score in each of the three Evaluation Criteria, as described below:

Quality of scientific research in the context of the field 

Does the proposal describe what is to be studied and the importance of it? What hypothesis would be tested, how will the results impact the field, and what is the likelihood of success?

Suitability of CLS resources being allocated relative to the proposed research 

Is this a good use of CLS resources?  Does the experiment require the resources being requested?  Reviewers are also asked to comment on the appropriateness of the number of shifts that have been requested.

Quality and capability of the researchers based on their track record

Does the research team have recent synchrotron and/or other relevant experience? If they are a past user they should have clearly demonstrated their track record and productivity in the proposal.  A list of publications reported to CLS can be viewed here.

To aid reviewers further, the rating scale can be calibrated as follows:

Peer Review Committee (PRC) - Macromolecular Crystallography

Peer Review Committee (PRC) – All Other Beamlines 

The members of the PRC may include national and international representation knowledgeable in synchrotron-based science that perform research, manage research or use research. The CLSI Director of Research appoints the Chair and members with recommendations from CLS external advisory bodies (Scientific Advisory Committee, Beamline Advisory Committee and Users’ Advisory Committee) and suggestions from the community at large.
The PRC members:

Review and Allocation Process 

Once all reviews have been completed, the Peer Review Committee meets to discuss the results. Particular attention is paid to proposals showing a high standard deviation. Once consensus has been reached, proposals will be ranked in order based on scores for the quality of science and suitability. Proposals with equal scores will be grouped together (binned). These scores and recommendations with respect to shifts are then passed on to the Allocation Committee, chaired by the CLS Director of Research, and composed of Beamline Scientists and the Assistant Director of Research. They are responsible for the final allocation of beamtime. Proposals close to the cut-off score will be closely analyzed, and score for the quality and capability of the researcher may be the deciding factor.

how can we help?

If you’re looking for information on how you can use CLS techniques in your research program, please contact us using this form.

Example queries may include: Feasibility around a potential experiment? A scientific problem we can help you solve? Is your question related to a specific technique? Do you want to know more about how to apply for beamtime?

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