The Necessity of Commensuration Bias in Grant Peer Review

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8 (39):423--443 (2021)
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Abstract

Peer reviewers at many funding agencies and scientific journals are asked to score submissions both on individual criteria and overall. The overall scores should be some kind of aggregate of the criteria scores. Carole Lee identifies this as a potential locus for bias to enter the peer review process, which she calls commensuration bias. Here I view the aggregation of scores through the lens of social choice theory. I argue that, when reviewing grant proposals, it is in many cases impossible to avoid commensuration bias.

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Remco Heesen
London School of Economics

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