Peer-to-Peer

Paying taxes is not a qualification for assessing research programmes

Massimo Pinto has discovered an unusual qualification for being a peer-reviewer: paying your taxes. Since 2006, Italians have been allowed to donate 0.5 per cent of their taxes to charity in a highly specific way (previously, such donations had to be made to the church or the state). On his Nature Network blog Science in the Bel Paese, Dr Pinto points out that one can elect to donate one’s contribution to specific research institutes. Leaving aside the fact that some of the intended recipients do not yet seem to have received their 2006 or 2007 contributions, specifying an individual project could have the effect of bypassing the peer-review system, particularly in Italy, where science funding levels are low. Dr Pinto writes that taxpayers have three choices: 

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