How to annoy your grant reviewer, in 5 easy steps!

5 thoughts on “How to annoy your grant reviewer, in 5 easy steps!”

  1. Great critique. I would like to see a survey from N>>1 reviewers though to see what the common annoyances and likes of proposals are. The reason being, of course, that reviewing is unfortunately a subjective task, and it would be nice to see if the reviewers at least have an average set of expectations, and even nicer to know what those expectations are.

  2. That would be an interesting survey! I should point out that the most important things are, of course, the scientific or educational merits of a proposal. For the fuzzier issues of readability or annoyance (i.e. the topic of the post), from being on lots of review panels, I think that in a broad sense what most reviewers want are proposals that are clear and well-organized, and that don’t waste their time with puzzles or irrelevant text. Regarding my more idiosyncratic points, I think the considerable majority of panelists would agree strongly with #3. #2 has come up several times. #5 is rare but important when it arises. #1 and #4 seem to annoy me more than most people!

  3. Hi,

    I just happened to come across this post now. Do you also happen to have such a list for manuscripts?

  4. Thanks for writing. No, I don’t have a similar list for manuscripts, though several of these points apply there also (especially 2 and 4). It’s interesting that manuscripts have less of a tendency towards overblown, overdramatic statements — they are still there, but are less common than in grants. Perhaps because the manuscript describes work one has already done, rather than the future, one is more constrained by reality.

    1. Your last line makes a lot of sense. Great posts by the way. Perhaps manuscripts could be a subject of a future post?

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