IntroductionAllocation of research funds relies on peer review to support funding decisions, and these processes can be susceptible to biases and inefficiencies. The aim of this work was to determine which past interventions to peer review and decision-making have worked to improve research funding practices, how they worked, and for whom.MethodsRealist synthesis of peer-review publications and grey literature reporting interventions in peer review for research funding.ResultsWe analysed 96 publications and 36 website sources. Sixty publications enabled us to extract stakeholder-specific context-mechanism-outcomes configurations for 50 interventions, which formed the basis of our synthesis. Shorter applications, reviewer and applicant training, virtual funding panels, enhanced decision models, institutional submission quotas, applicant training in peer review and grant-writing reduced interrater variability, increased relevance of funded research, reduced time taken to write and review applications, promoted increased investment into innovation, and lowered cost of panels.ConclusionsReports of 50 interventions in different areas of peer review provide useful guidance on ways of solving common issues with the peer review process. Evidence of the broader impact of these interventions on the research ecosystem is still needed, and future research should aim to identify processes that consistently work to improve peer review across funders and research contexts.
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DOI 10.1186/s41073-022-00120-2
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Centralized Funding and Epistemic Exploration.Shahar Avin - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):629-656.

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