Mistakes Are Meant for Learning, Not Repeating – Biosketch Compliance

Biosketch Compliance

Title: oops post-it note On November 5, NIH started sending email notifications to applicants indicating reviewers found one or more biosketches that did not comply with our current biosketch format (NOT-OD-15-032). Hundreds of letters have already gone out. If you’ve received one of these notifications, don’t panic. These letters are currently just warnings and require no action on your part. However, they do demonstrate NIH’s commitment to enforcing compliance with our biosketch policy.

What does it mean to have a compliant biosketch?

eRA systems ensure some biosketch rules are met by flagging errors upon submission. Applications that violate these rules won’t even move forward to NIH for consideration.

  • A biosketch is attached for each and every Sr/Key person listed in the application
  • Each biosketch is less than or equal to 5 pages
  • Each biosketch attachment is in PDF format

But, there are additional rules you must follow to be compliant that aren’t systematically caught by eRA systems.

Did you catch the part where I said “reviewers found” the non-compliant biosketches? We have provided instructions to our reviewers to flag any applications with biosketches that don’t follow current guidelines. Don’t make extra work for your reviewer – give them a clean application without the distraction of non-compliant formatting they have to write up.

Having trouble keeping up with NIH’s biosketch rules and getting your key personnel to follow them? Encourage people participating on your application to use SciENcv. Not only does SciENcv help manage biosketch information, it also creates perfectly compliant biosketches.

If you’ve received a warning letter, learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them. Eventually, these warning letters will be replaced with notifications that applications have been removed from consideration.

  • Include each section (A – Personal Statement; B – Positions and Honors; C – Contributions to Science; D – Research Support or Scholastic Performance)
  • Include no more than 5 contributions to science with no more than 4 citations per contribution
  • Ensure that if you include the optional link to a full list of your published work in a site like My Bibliography that the URL is public, accessible without providing any login or personal information, and doesn’t link to websites that may violate page limit rules
    • Note: We will restrict this link to federal (.gov) sites beginning with applications to due dates on/after May 25, 2016 (NOT-OD-16-004)
  • Refrain from including information, such as preliminary data, that belongs elsewhere in the application
  • Follow NIH guidance on font type, font size, paper size, and margins (See section 2.6 of application guide)

Original post NIH eSubmission Items of Interest posted November 16, 2015