The Center for Independent Experts: The National External Peer Review Program of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service

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  • Requirements are growing for peer review of the science used for governmental management decisions. This is particularly true for fisheries science, where management decisions are often controversial. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service instituted the Center for Independent Experts (CIE) in 1998 as a national peer-review program. Operations of the CIE, run under a contract with the University of Miami, maintain the independence of reviewers from the agency, and follow strict conflict of interest guidelines. Reviews by the CIE fulfill the requirements of the Information Quality Act and the Office of Management and Budget's Peer Review Bulletin. The CIE completed 101 reviews between 1999 and September 2006. Ninety-eight reviewers have participated in CIE reviews, with 72% of them coming from overseas. Case studies involving groundfish data and stock assessments, and marine-mammal abundance, are described, including the scientific issues, CIE operations, requirements for the reviews, conclusions of the reviewers, and the agency's responses. Impacts of the CIE on the agency's science include improvements to regional stock assessment processes and to stock-assessment and field-survey methods, and reductions in contentious challenges to the agency's science.
  • Keywords: Experts, Peer Review, Fishery Management
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  • Brown, S. K., Shivlani, M., Die, D., Sampson, D. B., & Ting, T. A. (2006). The Center for Independent Experts. Fisheries, 31(12), 590-600.
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  • 31
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