Paola Marchionni of JISC has give her permission to reproduce the feedback from the peer-review of my last JISC grant which sadly failed. I want to publish it here, as part of my desire for open science rather that as an opportunity to reply which, perhaps unfortunately, the JISC process does not otherwise allow.

I am a little surprised by some of the comments, to be honest. The main criticism was more expected though, which essentially says “it’s not crowd-sourcing if you pay people to develop content”. You have to try these things, but I did think that actually paying for content might be considered to be a little revolutionary. Ah, well, better luck next time.

Markers felt the form of this proposal was “robust”, however there wasn’t enough clarity on the deliverables and especially on how the value of what was being produced would be assessed down stream. They felt there was also some lack of information on how the currently JISC funded K-Blog project, due for completion in July 2011, related to this project and what the impact on its team would be, which seems to be the same team as the one proposed for this project.

The main concerns, however, were around whether this could really qualify as a crowdsourcing or community project - it was felt it was more about disclosing data than community engagement - also considering that the authors of the articles would be paid. There were some doubts about the sustainability of the project beyond the 7 months duration of the funding, as lack of funding would prevent more articles being created and metadata added by the team. One marker also felt that a risk analysis should have taken into account the risk of disparate communities not being aware of the content and using and engaging with it. A more clear identification of the various communities the project aimed to reach and a more targeted strategy for engaging with such communities would have been useful.

Finally, another issue that was raised was that there wasn’t sufficient information on how the partnership with Manchester University would work, either formally or informally, and the dissemination plans could have been stronger, as they relied mainly on the role of K-Blog.

— Paola Marchionni