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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Office of Scientific Quality Review (OSQR)
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OSQR News!

Updated 3/4/2014

Vacancies (updated March 2014)

Vacancies in a project team can create challenges both in the preparation of plans and for their peer reviewers.  Vacancies have varying impacts on a research plan. Thus, there is no single solution for how to address them in the plan. OSQR Officers, Joyce Loper and Mike Grusak, and Coordinator Mike Strauss have developed a series of scenarios intended to illustrate the range of ways researchers can (and should NOT!) address vacancies when preparing a plan. See here for information.


Revised Milestones Table

Recently the OSQR Focus Group took up discussion of the Milestones Table required in plans and several suggested alterations. After much discussion we will be introducing a slightly modified form for the table with the next revision of the Handbook. A copy is attached here. It should be stressed that there are NO substantive changes, only alteration of the format slightly and some clarification of the footnoted instructions to plan preparers. If plans in preparation already have Milestones Tables they SHOULD NOT be altered to this format. Where Milestones Tables have not been developed we believe this new format will be somewhat easier for researchers and recommend it. Revised Milestones Table


Best Practices

Recent discussions of the ARS Peer Review Focus Group have centered on assessing best practices for success in peer review from across the agency. While not intended to replace guidance in the OSQR Handbook, the resulting document does provide much useful information to aid Areas and individuals in the development of plans for review. Click here to view this new report from the Focus Group.


What is OSQR?


OSQR Handbook
Conflicts of Interest List  
Project Plan Information, Format
Examples of Hypotheses
Project Plan Revision 
Integration of Project Plans 
Examples of Successful Project Plans


Schedule of Peer Reviews 
Postponement Guidelines 
Some Advice from an Area Director 


Reviewer Information
Be a Peer Reviewer


Scientific Writing Resources 
OSQR Presentations 
ARS Focus Group on Peer Review  OSQR Panel Reports
OSQR Staff



Last Modified: 2/7/2017
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