Procedure Manual Appendix XV. Specialist Expert Reviewer Nomination and Selection

The USPSTF values the opinions and input of specialists who are experts on the topics undergoing systematic review. The USPSTF has implemented a process for conducting outreach to specialty organizations to ask for nominations of expert peer reviewers of systematic evidence reviews. The organizations are solicited for nominations of scientific reviewers when the draft research plan is posted for public comment. They are asked to include a brief explanation of how the nominated individual meets the USPSTF’s criteria and a current curriculum vitae. All supporting materials and conflicts of interests are reviewed by the USPSTF Scientific Program.

Once a nominee is selected as a scientific expert reviewer, they are asked to provide scientific feedback on the draft systematic evidence review. Reviewers are requested to provide feedback based on their individual opinions and expertise, not on behalf of the organization that nominated them. This does not preclude organizations from also submitting comments about the draft evidence review, as they have the opportunity to comment during the 4-week public comment period.

All expert reviewers are required to submit a conflict of interest form and sign a nondisclosure agreement. The draft systematic evidence review is considered confidential and should not be shared. All expert reviewers are given the option to be acknowledged as a reviewer in the draft systematic evidence review.

Organization Criteria

Organizations need to meet the following criteria to be included in this process:

  • Based in the United States
  • Operate on a national level (i.e., not a state or community level)
  • Issue preventive guidelines (i.e., not treatment guidelines)

Note: USPSTF Dissemination and Implementation Partners and Federal Liaisons already review the systematic evidence review; they do not need additional outreach.

Expert Reviewer Criteria

Organizations should consider the following criteria when nominating expert reviewers:

  • Experience in evidence synthesis and skills in evidence-based medicine
  • Content expertise in prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment of the topic
  • Specific expertise in critical aspects of the field such as populations at increased risk, evaluation of large clinical trials, and risk stratification
  • Willingness to disclose any significant conflicts of interest and any preconceived position that would prevent objective review
  • Familiarity with USPSTF methods

Current as of: October 2017
Internet Citation: Appendix XV. Specialist Expert Reviewer Nomination and Selection. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. October 2017.

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