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Audit Report: IG-0419

April 6, 1998

The Department of Energy's Peer Review Practices

Fulfilling the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 has presented Federal science agencies with the challenge of defining ways to quantify and evaluate the outcomes of research. Measuring research program performance is particularly important for the Department of Energy because of its substantial investment (approximately $7 billion in Fiscal Year 1996) in research and development activities. The Research Roundtable, in 1995, observed that the results of research could be evaluated using the performance indicators of relevance, productivity, and quality. One method for doing so is formal, objective evaluation by independent reviewers, or peer review. The objective of the audit was to determine whether the Department had established and was managing a peer review process for evaluating scientific and technical projects.