Peer Review Committee Membership Policy

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This is the Membership Policy of the Digital Square Peer Review Committee. The Membership Policy of the Digital Square Peer Review Committee has been approved by the Governing Board. Any substantive changes to the policies require board approval.

Purpose

The purpose of this Membership Policy (this “Policy”) is to delineate the criteria for membership on the Peer Review Committee (the “PRC”) of Digital Square. This Policy also outlines conflicts of interest and recusal, which may arise as part of the PRC participation in the Digital Square Notices. This Policy includes information on the composition of the PRC, roles and responsibilities of PRC Members, an overview of the voting process, commitment and collaboration requirements of members, and terms of membership.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Peer Review Committee

The PRC plays a critical role as technical experts who assess the technical and programmatic appropriateness of submitted concept notes and applications through Digital Square Notices. The PRC provides feedback, which helps the Digital Square Governing Board to prioritize investments in high-quality digital health products and services. The PRC is not a governing body, and its recommendations to the Governing Board are non-binding. Digital Square will create an investment package recommendation of the highly-scored applications for the Governing Board based on the funding round objectives, donor priorities, and Digital Square vision. The Governing Board makes the final decision on the allocation and funding of the applications in the Notice. In some cases, the donor will determine the funding. More information on the funding scenarios can be found here.

The PRC is encouraged to be an advocate for Digital Square and promote, as appropriate, participation and engagement in the Digital Square Notices. PRC Members are also encouraged to offer feedback on concept notes and applications s during the concept note and application co-creation phases.

PRC Members are required to review fully submitted applications against the Prioritization Framework. Highly rated applications aligned with the Prioritization Framework will be shared with the Governing Board. To facilitate the PRC review of applications, Digital Square will assign applications to PRC Members in groups for review. For each application reviewed, the PRC Member must submit a review form that provides feedback aligning with the Prioritization Framework domains which include impact, cost, technology, and probability of success. The PRC Member must also assign green-, amber-, or red-lit status for the full application. A green-lit application meets all criteria for investment through the Digital Square Notice. The application demonstrates a global good that aligns with country priorities, can adapt to different countries and contexts, and will scale easily across countries. An amber-lit application meets at least one of the criteria for selection for investment, but a potential risk has been identified and will need to be addressed by the submitters of the application through the Digital Square Notice. A red-lit application does not meet any of the criteria for investment through the Digital Square Notice, or there is high-risk identified in the application’s ability to meet its objectives.

Composition

The PRC comprises a diverse set of the foremost leaders and thinkers in digital health technology including country governments, donor organizations, implementing organizations, technology vendors, and other constituencies. The PRC does not have a limit on the number of Members. Seats are allocated to individual members who are experts in the digital health field. There is no term limit. Digital Square’s goal is for the PRC to be made up of a group of well-rounded members with technical expertise, experience implementing global goods with governments, health workers and clients in countries, and/or individuals who serve as investors in global digital health including global goods. Members must meet the following membership criteria:

  • Are recognized as experts in global health informatics, information technology, software development, and/or interoperability.
  • Have expertise in regional and global digital health systems.
  • Are willing to comply with required participation as described in the governance documents.

Commitment and Collaboration

The success of cocreation and collaboration for Notices through the Open Application Process (OAP) platform is dependent on active participation of PRC Members and adherence to the expectations outlined in this document. PRC Members must agree with the roles and responsibilities outlined in this Policy via membership agreements.

PRC Members must ensure availability and commitment to contributing time to participate in the Notice process, and review and score each application that is assigned to them. To ensure that the PRC Members are aware of the level of commitment for each Notice, Digital Square will provide details on the number of expected applications that the PRC will be asked to review.

During the PRC Review Phase, PRC Members commit to reviewing, providing feedback, and scoring applications using the Digital Square Feedback Forms by the proposed deadlines. PRC Members commit to supporting Digital Square in reviewing, providing feedback, and voting for all of the applications in their assigned group. While it will vary by Notice, it is anticipated that PRC engagement during each Notice which occur over a three- to four-month time frame, and will range from two to five business days. Ad hoc meetings, reading days, and virtual communication will be called for as needed.

PRC Members are requested to advocate for Digital Square and promote Notice announcements among their networks. PRC Members should have the willingness and commitment to engage in discussion of ideas and dialogue with concept note and application submitters through the OAP&P. They should also have a willingness to share honest and unbiased feedback and review of the applications with Digital Square.

Finally, PRC Members must demonstrate the ability, commitment, and enthusiasm to act as an ambassador and advocate for the Principles for Digital Development. The Principles of Digital Development are a set of living guidance intended to help practitioners succeed in applying digital technologies to development programs. Subject to their respective roles, PRC Members will act in good faith in the best interests of the development of digital health global goods.

Term

Term Length

There is no maximum term length for PRC membership; however, representatives should plan to participate for a minimum of one year for continuity. Membership will be reviewed on an annual basis. Membership agreements will also be updated annually, as appropriate, to correspond with changes in the member organization or terms of reference.

Termination

A PRC Member who does not fulfill his/her responsibilities as described in this Policy or misses two consecutive Notice application review processes will be removed from the PRC at the discretion of the Digital Square contacts.

Resignation

An individual may resign by providing written notice to the Digital Square contacts

Conflict of Interest and Recusal Policy

This is the Conflict of Interest and Recusal Policy of the Digital Square Peer Review Committee. The Peer Review Committee Membership Policy, Conflict of Interest and Recusal Policy, and Peer Review Committee Membership Application and Selection Process of the Digital Square Peer Review Committee has been approved by the Governing Board. Any substantive changes to the policies require board approval.

Conflicts of interest

Members will disclose to the Digital Square contacts any personal/financial conflicts through the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form before application review. Each PRC Member must certify to the best of his or her knowledge, he/she has disclosed all conflicts of interest that he/she may have with the applications; he/she fully understands the confidential nature of the review process and agrees: 1. To destroy or return all materials related to it. 2. Not to disclose or discuss the materials associated with the review, the evaluation, or the review meeting with any other individual except as authorized by the Digital Square contacts. 3. Not to disclose procurement information prior to the award of the agreement or contract. 4. To refer all inquiries concerning the review to the Digital Square contacts. Disclosure of conflicts of interests may or may not require recusal from evaluation of applications. The purpose of the Conflict of Interest and Recusal Policy is to protect the integrity and reputation of the PRC’s recommendation-making processes, particularly in regard to recommendations that will result in the allocation of resources, by establishing procedures to identify, evaluate, and address any actual, perceived, or potential conflicts that may arise. Those involved in scoring will be expected to abide by the provisions of this Policy.

Definitions

PRC Member(s): An individual with digital health, global health, health informatics, and/or health policy expertise.

Family member(s): A PRC Member’s grandparents, parents/guardians, spouse/domestic partner, siblings, children/dependents, and/or grandchildren.

Conflict of interest: A situation where a PRC Member has an actual, perceived, or potential organizational or financial/personal interest, as defined below, that may:

  • Affect the conduct of his/her duties and responsibilities with respect to Digital Square.
  • Create the perception that the PRC Member is using his/her position in Digital Square for organizational or personal financial gain at the expense of Digital Square.

Organizational interest: An organizational interest arises when a PRC Member is an officer, director, trustee, partner, or (negotiating to become) an employee of an entity that may benefit financially from an application on which he/she would make a recommendation. Financial/personal interest: A PRC Member has a financial/personal interest when he/she or any family member may benefit financially or in any other significant way from a transaction or other financial arrangement between Digital Square and an entity with which the PRC Member has:

  • An ownership or investment interest.
  • A senior leadership or board member position (whether paid or unpaid).
  • A direct or indirect compensation arrangement, including through a business, investment, or family member, or in the form of substantial gifts or favors.
  • A potential in securing any of the above.

Conflict of interest established

PRC Members will not use their position of influence to secure any financial gain for themselves, their family members, or the organizations with which they are affiliated. There are several possibilities for determining whether an actual, perceived, or potential conflict exists:

  • A PRC Member discloses that he/she has an actual, perceived, or potential conflict.
  • The Chair determines an actual, perceived, or potential conflict exists.
  • The PRC determines an actual, perceived, or potential conflict exists.
  • The Governing Board (the “Board”) of Digital Square determines an actual, perceived, or potential conflict exists.

Categories of interest

Interests can generally be categorized according to the following types:

  • Direct: A direct interest in any PRC recommendation may be established when a PRC Member directly benefits from such a recommendation through an organizational or personal/financial interest.
  • Indirect: An indirect interest in any PRC recommendation may be established when a PRC Member indirectly benefits from such a recommendation through an organizational or financial/personal interest.

Duty to disclose

A PRC Member must disclose organizational and/or financial/personal interests and the nature of such interest when he/she becomes aware that a conflict exists, could be perceived to exist, or is likely to occur through the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form.

Recusal

1 Conflicts should be identified prior to application reviews as outlined in the section Duty to Disclose. Should an actual, perceived, or potential conflict arise during the course of application review, the PRC Member will disclose the conflict to the Digital Square contacts through the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form as soon as possible upon learning of the possible conflict and may be required to recuse themselves from voting. Disclosures or recusals must be submitted prior to evaluation or submitted evaluations may be deemed ineligible and future participation on the PRC may be restricted.

2 Should an actual, perceived, or potential conflict of interest apply to the Chair, the same recusal process applies. If an actual, perceived, or potential conflict of interest arises during the course of the review, he/she will disclose the conflict, recuse him/herself, and appoint a temporary Chair to call for a vote to appoint a new Chair.

Failure to disclose

1 Failure to disclose or disputes over whether a conflict exists may be referred to the PRC for resolution. Failure to disclose a personal or financial interest by a PRC Member may result in immediate dismissal from the PRC.

2 Should any PRC Member have reasonable cause to believe that another PRC Member has failed to disclose an actual, perceived, or potential conflict of interest, he/she will inform the Chair. The PRC Member will have an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose. The reporting PRC Member should have reasonable grounds for suspecting a violation and must do so in good faith. Knowingly reporting false or frivolous information is contrary to this Policy.

This is the Membership Application and Selection Process of the Digital Square Peer Review Committee (PRC). The Peer Review Committee Membership Policy, Conflict of Interest and Recusal Policy, and Peer Review Committee Membership Application and Selection Process of the Digital Square Peer Review Committee has been approved by the Governing Board. Any substantive changes to the policies require board approval.

Membership

All seats on the Peer Review Committee are allocated to individuals who are experts in digital health. Membership is confirmed via membership agreements between the individual member and Digital Square.

Member Selection Process

The Digital Square Contacts maintains oversight of the inclusion of new members to the PRC. Digital Square seeks to maintain a balance of expert peers who possess technical and implementation experience in digital health information systems, as well as leaders in advocacy and policy in the digital health space.

Digital Square may recruit PRC Members to ensure equity, balance, and diversification of the PRC; however, individuals can also apply to join the PRC. Should an individual wish to apply to be a member of the PRC, they must complete a PRC application form, which will be reviewed in full by the Digital Square Contacts. Applicants will be notified within three weeks of completing the form whether they are accepted to be part of the PRC.

For more information about how to join the PRC and to request an application form, please contact Amanda BenDor at abendor@path.org.

Digital Square Contacts

  • Carl Leitner, PRC Chair and Deputy Director cleitner@path.org.
  • Amanda BenDor, Global Goods Community Manager abendor@path.org.
  • Jackie Clark, Project Administrator jclark@path.org.