Strengthening Technical Peer Review at the Army S&T Laboratories
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV FORT MCNAIR DC CENTER FOR TECHNOLOGY AND NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY
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The assumption underlying the value of peer review is that the quality of work is substantiated or improved through critiques by individuals who are independent, objective, and have specialized knowledge in the subject matter. Outside review often provides a different perspective that can be useful in shaping future work. The use of peer review, using experts in possession of varied and extensive experience, can much improve the quality of work and efficacy of results. The Army Science and Technology Executive, Dr. Thomas Killion, requested a study of peer review methods in use at Army laboratories. This paper discusses Army laboratories in terms of generally accepted best practices and compares them with techniques at other DOD laboratories, and at a few other government agencies. The paper recommends that the Army require peer review of the technical quality of its laboratories and proposes a set of norms that must be met. The principal recommendation is that reviews be performed by independent experts who visit the laboratory for two or more days, looking at the technical projects and the strength of the technical staff, equipment, and facilities. The recommendations include a caveat about potential conflicts of interest in these panels.
- Test Facilities, Equipment and Methods