In the process of Research and Development (R&D) project selection, experts play an important role because their opinions are the foundation on which to judge the potential value of a project. How to assign the most appropriate experts to review project proposals might greatly affect the quality of project selection, which in turn could affect the return on investment of the funding organization. However, in many funding organizations, current approaches to assigning reviewers are still based on simply matching the discipline area of the reviewers with that of the proposal, which could result in poor quality of project selection and poor future financial return. Additionally, these approaches might make it difficult to balance resources and resolve conflicts of interests between reviewers and applicants. Therefore, to overcome these problems, there is an urgent need for a systematic approach to support and automate the reviewer assignment process. This research aims at proposing an intelligent decision support approach for reviewer assignment and developing an Assignment Decision Support System (ADSS). In this approach, heuristic knowledge of expert assignment and techniques of operations research are integrated. The approach uses decision models to determine the best solution of reviewer assignment that maximizes the total expertise level of the reviewers assigned to proposals. It also balances the distribution of proposals at different grades and solves conflicts of interests between reviewers and applicants. Its application in the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the computational results of its effectiveness and efficiency are also described.
Liu, O., Wang, J., Ma, J., & Sun, Y. (2016). An intelligent decision support approach for reviewer assignment in R&D project selection. Computers in Industry, 76, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compind.2015.11.001