The CNRS's scientific expert reviews are collective in nature. The organisation mandates groups of experts to analyse and summarise all the scientific literature available on the subject of a given expert review.
There are 4 main stages in a collective scientific expert review.
The MPES team initially dialogues with those requesting an expert review to analyse their requirements and properly frame the request. If the CNRS is capable of carrying out the requested expert review, the next step of this phase involves writing a set of specifications (cahier des charges). If it is an external request, the CNRS and the requesting body sign a formal agreement thereon.
Organisation of the expert review
The MPES is responsible for making sure all the necessary skills are brought together to carry out an expert review in a team with scientific leaders managing the experts who carry out the study.
It works with support from the ten CNRS Institutes to identify the right experts on the basis of their scientific activity and their competence in the area of expertise. It also analyses applications from scientists volunteering to take part in an expert review.
The MPES makes sure there is no undue influence on the expert review. It ensures the experts' impartiality, independence and the absence of any conflicts of interest before they start work on a review conducted under the CNRS's responsibility.
The MPES supports the scientific leaders in organising the expert review. This involves creating the bibliographical corpus the review will be based on and also distributing and planning out the work of the group of experts.
Carrying out the expert review
The MPES provides methodological support for the scientific leaders and experts working on the expert review by liaising with the CNRS research support departments and making sure the rules on scientific expertise are respected.
Each sub-group of experts is asked to analyse and summarise a sub-section of the bibliographic corpus. Collective work sessions are organised to make sure all the relevant conclusions are included in the expert report and that all the points set out in the specifications are covered including issues that may be controversial or for which knowledge is lacking.
This work culminates in a collective expert report and a synthesis intended to be accessible to a wide audience.
The expert report and the accompanying synthesis are collectively approved by the group of experts.
Promotion of the expert review
The CNRS is responsible for the publication of the collective expert report and all associated communication activities. The expert report and its accompanying synthesis are published on the CNRS website with access for all. If those requesting the review are in agreement, a conference is set up to present the results of the review to a wide audience.