Dual Anonymous Proposals Guide for Reviewers

The primary objective of the review is to select the best-justified science. Removing the names of the proposal team from the proposal allows reviewers to focus directly on the science, rather than the scientist. The TAC panels and chairs rank proposals in order of scientific merit, and recommend the resources that should be allocated to each. The experience of the team is not a consideration for the initial science ranking.

Please do not spend time attempting to identify the team or the principal investigator.

A reviewer's preliminary grading should center on the scientific merit within the field, the broader importance for astronomy, and HST’s unique capabilities must also be required to achieve the scientific goals. The discussion during the meeting should focus on the specific criteria. Chairs and Levelers should be quick to refocus or terminate discussion when it moves to PI or team. 

Please note that the goal in anonymizing proposals is not to reduce content to the extent that useful information is eliminated. Proposers are encouraged to present relevant past observations and theoretical analyses, together with complementary observing programs. However, as outlined in the Call, the information should be presented in an anonymized fashion ( eg "observations of NGC 950 were obtained in HST Cycle 24 by Smith et al (2020)" as opposed to "we obtained observations of NGC 950 in our HST Cycle 24 proposal (PI Smith)."). Any privileged information should be cited as having been obtained through private communication. Panelists should contact their panel support scientist if they feel that a proposal is not compliant with the anonymizing guidelines. As far as possible, panelists should ignore any such breaches or errors in grading proposals. However, particularly egregious cases may be flagged for potential disqualification by STScI staff.

Observing time with HST is openly available to any scientist who presents a highly compelling scientific case. However, that observing time is also a highly valued resource that must be used responsibly. To that end, the panels will have the opportunity to review a proposing team's expertise to verify that they are capable of executing the program they have described, and in disseminating those results. This review will take place after the panel has ranked all programs based on the selection criteria. Panelists will be given the opportunity to review prepared statements by the proposers on their team's expertise and background. If, by consensus, the panel has serious concerns that a team lacks sufficient expertise or resources to execute the project described in the proposal, they may flag that proposal for potential disqualification to the Director. Panels must provide an appropriate justification for that action. This process does not change the ranking of other proposals. If a panel does flag a proposal for disqualification owing to lack of necessary expertise, it is not replaced by a lower-ranked proposal.

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