Interested in helping some of the United States’ leading investigative journalists review corruption risk data across the fifty states? Have experience working with state governments in the US and want to get paid for that work? Then we have a job for you!
The State Integrity Investigation – a three-way collaboration between Global Integrity, the Center for Public Integrity, and Public Radio International – is recruiting “peer reviewers” in all fifty US states to review the project’s Integrity Indicators assessing the risk of corruption in each state’s public sector. This crucial work kicks off in November 2011 and is an important part of ensuring that our final reporting and data are as accurate as possible when we publish in early-2012. All work will be performed via an easy-to-use web platform, and all reviewers will be paid for their participation in the project.
Interested in learning more? Details on how to apply and what’s involved are below.
The State Integrity Investigation is one of the first attempts to systematically map corruption risks and opportunities for transparency and accountability reforms in all of the fifty US states. While many research, reporting, and advocacy efforts have explored discrete issues such as campaign financing, freedom of information, and ethics rules in the states, the State Integrity Investigation is a groundbreaking effort to assess the potential risks of corruption across a state’s entire public sector, ranging from inquiries into state procurement and tendering policies to the transparency around redistricting decisions, pension fund management, and insurance commissions.
Leading investigative journalists have been hard at work during the past several months scoring their states’ Integrity Indicators: nearly four hundred detailed questions unpacking the risks of corruption in their states. They have performed hundreds of original interviews with government officials, private companies, and the local research and advocacy community; thousands of hours of document research were then layered on top to support each and every Indicator score for their states.
Now, it’s your turn to help…
The peer review process
Individually contracted and carefully vetted peer reviewers, selected for their independence and expertise in particular states, will be asked to review the draft Integrity Indicators for their state. Peer review comments are used to interpret – and in some cases adjust – scores identified as containing errors, bias, or out-of-date information. Peer reviewers will be engaged in a “blind” review of the material – the lead reporter for the state will not know peer reviewers’ identities until after the project publishes. This is to ensure that peer reviewers are unrestrained in their commentary.
For each state’s Integrity Indicators, peer reviewers will be asked to consider the following:
- Is the particular Indicator scored by the reporter factually accurate?
- Are there any significant events or developments that were not addressed?
- Does the Indicator offer a fair and balanced view of the anti-corruption environment?
- Is the scoring consistent within the entire set or sub-set of Integrity Indicators?
- Is the scoring controversial or widely accepted? Is controversial scoring sufficiently sourced?
- Are the sources used reliable and reputable?
In reviewing each indicator, peer reviewers are offered one of four standardized responses:
1. "Yes, I agree with the score and have no comments to add."
2. "Yes, I agree with the score but wish to add a comment, clarification, or suggest another reference." Peer reviewers then provide their comment or additional reference, which is published alongside the original data.
3. "No, I do not agree with the score." In this third case, peer reviewers are asked to explain and defend their criticism of the score and suggest an appropriate alternative score or reference.
4. I am not qualified to respond to this indicator.
The peer review process does not assign direct attribution to peer review comments (comments are published as “Peer Reviewer 1: XYZ” as opposed to “Sally Smith: XYZ”). This helps to ensure that peer reviewers are unrestrained in their commentary. Peer review comments on the state’s scorecard are published alongside the final scorecard and play an important role in final scoring adjustments prior to publication.
Who we are looking for
Ideal peer reviewers can come from a variety of backgrounds – academia, civil society organizations, media organizations, retired state officials – but share the following characteristics:
- Demonstrated subject matter expertise in several of the key dimensions of state government assessed in the project
- A non-partisan public profile
- Have not worked in state government in at least the past three years
Peer reviewers will be given two weeks to review their state’s scorecard via the Indaba fieldwork platform, an easy-to-use web-based project management tool (see http://getindaba.org for details). We expect to make the bulk of the state scorecards available for peer review in November 2011, although some may not be available for peer review until December. On average, it takes between two and three days to review a state scorecard. Each state’s scorecard consists of 330 questions (or “indicators”) to be reviewed.
Peer reviewers will be contracted by Global Integrity and paid US$300 for reviewing their state’s scorecard.
How to apply
— Global Integrity
— photo credit: NLNY