Guidelines for proposal evaluation
Access to Elettra and FERMI beamlines is provided to scientists on the basis of the proposal scientific merit. To this purpose, Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste (ST) has appointed two independent, external Proposal Review Panels (PRPs) to receive advice about the scientific value of the proposals.
The PRPs are composed of experts in various fields of synchrotron radiation and FEL research and applications and its composition is agreed upon with Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste partners. The Elettra PRP in particular is divided into sub-committees according to the specific field of scientific and technical expertise. The PRP role is crucial to implementing the access policies of Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste and ensuring the quality of the research conducted at Elettra and FERMI by ranking the proposals and the base of the scientific merit, while providing a report to the users about their submission. Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste believes that such a feedback is essential both to guarantee the overall transparency of the process and to improve proposal quality. For these reasons PRP members are required to provide both comments and scores for the proposals submitted to Elettra and FERMI.
Proposals related to cultural heritage will also be refereed by experts from the field, who will evaluate the proposal only from the point of view of its cultural impact.
The scores span from 1 to 5 (best to worst). The comments must be provided by individual reviewers and should be consistent with the score. The Chairperson of each PRP synthesizes the individual comments into one single brief assessment that is transmitted to the proponents.
The final score on each proposal is the average of the individual scores provided by the reviewers, weighted on the basis of the average score given by each sub-committee.
The main criteria to be kept in mind in the evaluation process are:
the impact of the proposed experiment on the outstanding problems in an active field of research and the possibility to produce one or more publications on a highly cited scientific journal or
·the probability that the proposed research will help solving important technologically or socially relevant problems, or
the probability that the proposed measurements will contribute to the development of a new promising application of synchrotron/FEL radiation.
In all cases the PRPs evaluate the suitability of the required Elettra or FERMI beam-line(s) for the performance of the proposed experiment and the achievement of the specified research targets goals.
When appropriate, the PRPs take into consideration the degree of success of previous experiments performed at Elettra or FERMI by the same proponents.
Given the above general criteria, grading guidelines are as follows:
1.0 - 1.5: Highly innovative research proposal of exceptional quality and outstanding scientific and/or practical relevance. It must get beamtime.
1.6 - 2.0: A well-conceived and original research proposal, with strong potential for making an important contribution to an active field of research. No alternative analytical tool is available. It should definitely get beamtime.
2.1 - 2.5: Very good proposal, with a relevant scientific case and likely to produce significant results. The need for Elettra/FERMI is evident and it should get beamtime under normal circumstances.
2.6 - 3.0: A potentially excellent proposal which is lacking some information, e.g., preliminary results, further explanations, etc. Although not groundbreaking, it is near cutting-edge and likely to produce significant results. The need for Elettra/FERMI is evident. It may get beamtime, unless there are too many exceptional proposals.
3.1 - 4.0: Elettra/FERMI may be required and the science interesting, although in a well-worked area of research. It is of lower priority in a competitive environment. It may get the beamtime, if the pressure on the beamline is not heavy.
4.1 - 5.0: Doubts exist regarding the scientific content of the proposed project, or the scientific case is not clear, or there is no clear requirement for Elettra or FERMI. It should not get beamtime, unless there is no demand on that particular beamline.