SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
  12 May 2011
Volume 12 Issue 5

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SETAC North America Technical Committee (SNA TC)—Peer Review Role

Cam Irivine (CH2MHill)

Did you know that organizations approach SETAC North America (SNA) to conduct independent peer reviews by our members with the appropriate technical expertise? One of the SNA Technical Committee’s (TC) activities is to organize and oversee peer reviews of material developed outside of SETAC as well as within. Requests for a SNA-sponsored peer review could come from a variety of sources, such as members, private organizations, and governmental agencies, and may encompass a broad range of activities, including chemical or site risk assessments, public or private research programs, facility assessments (including Good Laboratory Practice compliance), government technical documents (e.g., guidelines, summaries, issue papers, reports to Congress), and research grants and proposals.

SNA, through its respected members, plays a unique role in the peer review process, consistent with our mission, goals, and identity as a professional society. That role will be defined by SNA's (1) expertise in the applied environmental sciences; (2) balanced membership across academia, business, and government; (3) global membership and expertise; and (4) charter as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. SNA's peer reviews typically involve member participation from all three sectors, unless special circumstances restricted a sector from participating. SNA will strive to avoid overt situations of competition with the commercial peer review activities of its members and for-profit organizations.

SNA's peer review capabilities are focused on issues of national importance and/or global technical issues where the Society has a unique perspective, and on issues that are consistent with the mission of the Society.
In 2010 the SNA Board of Directors (BoD) approved the TC’s standard operating procedure (SOP) for peer review. A copy of this SOP is available on the SETAC Communities website. This SOP describes a review process designed to assist public and private organizations in technical peer review activities related to the environmental disciplines of the Society and its members.

Briefly, the SNA TC works with the BoD to identify and coordinate a review panel of subject material experts. The SNA TC also coordinates with the requesting organization to develop a scope and format for the proposed peer review, the preliminary charge to the peer reviewers, and the criteria for evaluation. Once approved by the BoD, the SNA TC coordinates the identification and selection of review panelists from within or outside of SETAC.

This summary is one of several articles we hope to provide in the Globe to inform SETAC members of our SNA TC activities. We are open to new members and hold quarterly conference calls to discuss ongoing efforts. We are also identifying members that can serve as liaisons between the SNA TC and Advisory Groups to facilitate communication and to maintain awareness of emerging scientific and technical issues. Please feel free to contact the current chair, Trina von Stackelberg, the incoming chair, Cam Irvine, or our past chair, Emma Lavoie, with any questions or issues you may have, including an interest in serving on the TC.

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