Double Anonymous Proposal Information

Dual anonymous reviews are becoming the standard for proposal and grant reviews in astronomy (HST, JWST, ALMA, NASA grants, Gemini, ESO, NOIRlab, etc.). This means that the proposers do not know the reviewers, and the reviewers do not know who the proposers are. This process aims to focus the review on science and mitigate biases associated with the proposal authors and team. For example, dual anonymous reviews have been successful at mitigating the gender gap in successful proposals with HST (Johnson & Kirk 2020).

The LMT will begin dual anonymous reviews in observing cycle 2023-S1. The science and technical parts of the proposal must be written in dual anonymous format (see more details below). Proposers will enter their non-anonymous information on the cover sheet in Hedwig.

Writing an Anonymous Proposal

It is the responsibility of the proposers to follow the guidelines below to make sure their proposals are anonymous. If proposals are not compliant, they may be returned or rejected. We have borrowed heavily from the ALMA dual anonymous peer review guidelines found here.

The LMT proposals consist of 3 elements:

  1. Science case (PDF document, must be anonymous)
  2. Technical case (PDF document, must be anonymous)
  3. Cover page information (entered in Hedwig, non-anonymous)

Items 1 and 2 must adhere to the dual-anonymous review criteria as follows:

  • Do not identify the PI or co-Is in the proposal
  • Do not use any identifying information in the proposal, such as your institution, your career stage, or your grant information.
  • Use 3rd person when referencing work by the proposal team: e.g. instead of “In Smith et al. 2020 we found..” use “Smith et al. (2020) found…”
  • When referring to existing data from LMT or other observatories, refer to either a published paper containing the data or, for unpublished data, use the project code. E.g. “Figure 1 shows LMT data from proposal 344.”
  • If discussing software or codes that are not publicly available, use “obtained via private communication”
  • If you are resubmitting a proposal, do not give the proposal code or PI for the previously submitted proposal.
  • Only include reference papers that are published or in public archives (e.g., arXiv). Do not reference papers submitted or in preparation that are not in the archive.

Procedure for Anonymous Review (for LMT project and TAC)

Proposal submission: Proposers upload their science and technical proposal information (both anonymous) into Hedwig. They complete the Hedwig cover sheet, which is not anonymous.

Review preparation: Proposals will be given a numerical ID which will be attached to the science and technical documents. Proposals should be referred to in all correspondences, panel meeting discussions, grade spreadsheets, etc. by their numerical ID only. The anonymous documents will be distributed to the panels. A third document will be prepared from the cover sheet info, which will also have the proposal numerical ID. This document will not be given to the science panels but will be given to the regional review panels in stage 2.

Dealing with conflicts: The proposal handling team will flag any conflicts between the proposal authors and the panel members and pass this info on to the panel chair: “Panel member A is conflicted on proposals XX, YY, and Panel member C is conflicted on proposal ZZ.” Panels members who are conflicted on certain proposals will not be able to access those conflicted proposals. Panel members who are conflicted should not discuss the nature of their conflicts with the panel. (bottom of the Proposal Review page for more details).

Review stage 1 (Scientific Review): science reviews with cross-partner panels. These panels only see the anonymous proposal documents (1 and 2 above), and they will form a ranked list. Reviewers should not try to guess the proposers and should focus on the science. When a panelist is conflicted, they will leave the review.

Review stage 2 (Community Review): regional partner panels, merge proposal rankings from different science panels for their region. At this stage, the panel will look at non-anonymous info provided on the cover sheet (component 3 above) to ensure the proposal is consistent with regional priorities (e.g. student led projects, etc.). The default is for the regional panels to maintain the science rankings unless there is something obviously missed.