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Conflict Criteria

The goal of the review assignments is to provide informed, unbiased assessments of the proposals. In general, a Reviewer has a major conflict of interest when their personal research would benefit if the proposal under review is accepted or rejected. 

The JAO will automatically identify major conflicts of interest based on the following criteria and endeavor to avoid them in making assignments:

  • The PI, Reviewer, or mentor of the submitted proposal is a PI or co-I of the proposal to be reviewed.
  • The PI, Reviewer, or mentor of the submitted proposal and the PI of the proposal to be reviewed have been collaborators on a proposal submitted to the Cycle 7 main call or the Cycle 7 supplemental call.
  • The PI, Reviewer, or mentor of the submitted proposal is at the same institution as the PI on the proposal to be reviewed.

Each Reviewer has the responsibility to identify other conflicts of interest not automatically detected by the JAO and inform the ALMA Proposal Handling Team (PHT) of any major conflict of interest in their assignments using the Reviewer Tool, as described in Step 3 of the instructions describing How to Use the Reviewer Tool. In addition to the above criteria, a major conflict of interest occurs when: 

  • The Reviewer has been advisor or student of an investigator on the proposal within the past 5 years.

  • The Reviewer is a close, active collaborator of an investigator on the proposal. An “active collaborator” implies that there are ongoing, direct scientific interactions between the Reviewer and any proposal investigator, and not merely a participant on a common project or paper. A co-author or co-investigator on a large survey team, for example, would not automatically be considered an active collaboration. A close collaborator is defined as:

    • Active collaborator on a current research program or accepted ALMA Cycle 7 proposal.

    • Active co-author on 3 or more papers in the past 3 years.

  • The Reviewer has close personal ties (e.g., family member, partner) to an investigator.

  • The Reviewer is proposing to observe the same object(s) with similar science objectives.

 A student Reviewer must declare any conflict that applies to either themselves or the mentor. Please work with the mentor to ensure that the conflicts of interest are identified accurately.


Reviewers who identify a major conflict of interest in their review assignments should reject the considered proposal and indicate why they believe a major conflict of interest exists. The PHT will evaluate the reported conflict(s) and, if it is approved, assign a different proposal(s) to the Reviewer.