May 26, 2022

Frontiers Has Developed an AI-Based Recommendation Tool That Enables Fast-Track Review of COVID-19 Research Proposals

Update November 24, 2020 Do You Have a Conflict of Interest? This Robotic Assistant May Find It First (via NY Times)

Update July 1, 2020 Artificial Intelligence to Help Meet Global Demand For High-Quality, Objective Peer-Review in Publishing (via Frontiers)

From Frontiers:

An Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool to help funders identify specialists to peer-review proposals for emergency COVID-19 research has been developed. It aims to help fast-track the allocation of funding, and in turn, accelerate the scientific response to the virus.

The open-access publisher Frontiers has specifically developed the recommendation tool to aid funders during the crisis by helping them identify new reviewers. Under normal circumstances, the review process for research funding typically takes place by committee and can take a matter of months. However, since the COVID-19 outbreak, experts have become less available, and the urgency of this situation commands a tighter timeframe.


Fred Fenter, executive editor at Frontiers, said: “It is fantastic to see the research community rallying to solve this crisis and, in particular, the response by funders to issue rapid response calls for research projects into the virus.  This, however, will put a lot of stress on their review processes. This is where we can contribute by making available our technology and network of experts to help alleviate the huge reviewer demand in a narrow field of expertise. Using our AI platform, funders can circumvent some of the disruption being created by COVID-19. They can identify a broader pool of specialists and expedite the review process.”

The publisher’s in-house technology team has exploited the AI technology they use to review research articles when they are submitted to any one of its 79 scientific journals. The Coronavirus Reviewer Recommender suggests experts based on the Frontiers knowledge graph and advanced information extraction/retrieval methods. Input can be text, such as a call for proposals, or sets of relevant publications and/or authors.


The Coronavirus Reviewer Recommender is the latest tool made available on Frontiers’ Coronavirus Knowledge Hub. This includes the Coronavirus Funding Monitor, a centralized portal of current funding opportunities for the research community offering a curated list of open funding calls and other support for researchers, non-profit organizations and commercial organizations. Both tools have been developed by Frontiers to help increase the impact of and coordinate information about unprecedented amounts of emergency research funding being mobilized across the globe to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.